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Hme_bwi, there. I’m Rebecca, the voice behind Sword & Sharpie.

I’m a UX designer,  writer, and maker of games. I’m on a quest to help UX Designers working on software teams make a bigger difference for their users. Let’s get better at navigating this insane, wonderful world together. 

Mastering user experience design is about a lot more than the technical work. It can be tempting to focus only on the details of forms and workflows and user needs. But a lot of things can come up between when you craft a beautiful vision and when it becomes a reality. Some of those things are excellent—the products of learning. Some of them are the products of miscommunication, politics, unresolved disagreements—and worse.

How do we as designers make sure users get the very best quality products our teams can create?

How do we close the gap between what gets designed and what gets built?

How do we work more closely with our teams?

How do we empower them to make the best choice for our users when we’re not in the room?

How do we get stakeholders to trust that the team is moving in the right direction?

These are important questions.

Too many designers sideline themselves and limit their potential by focusing only on whether it’s responsive, whether it’s skeumorphic, whether it’s mobile first. Those are all good, important things. You must worry about those things.

But they’re not enough.

I believe that “our work” as designers includes all of the convincing, the hand-holding, the arguing, and yes, even the politics. We must define our responsibility not to our deliverables or other designers, but to our shipped code, to our metrics, to what goes into the hands of our customers. We must be willing to step outside of our dance space and consider ourselves not just designers, but creators of products. Makers of software.

As a designer, your job is to do everything in your power to deliver a beautiful, useful, functional, amazing product into your users’ hands.

That’s easier said than done. But I would like to help more designers get there.

The better we can work with our teams, the better products we make, the more our users will end up with what they actually need. And in the end, isn’t that why we jumped into this UX game in the first place?

Or do you just love the smell of Sharpies? ;-]


My Story

My love of design was sparked by my love of books and the printed word. I forged my skills as a designer at Carnegie Mellon School of Design, and I hardened them designing command and control visualization software for the better part of a decade. My users have been members of the US Army, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and the US Marines.

Currently, I am available for design consulting on UX and the web. I also design games at indie game studio Radiant Wolf. In addition, I write this blog and make breath-taking wedding invitations.

If you’d like to work together, be prepared for someone that laughs loudly and gets shit done.


Why Swords? Why Sharpies?

The sword symbolizes the inherent conflict that comes with passionate collaboration. It also represents honor and our dedication to our users. The Sharpie is our favorite tool and best weapon to solve problems, fight on our users’ behalf, persuade, communicate, and reassure.

I also think of the sword as representing the soft skills—the ability to navigate and influence organizations—and the Sharpie as representing the hard skills through sketches and workflows. 

These are both key to achieve our mission: getting great products built and into the hands of our users.



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