For early stage

Your nimble, strategic design partner

I help startups find product market fit and get traction.

A lean design process makes finding product-market radically faster than the standard startup product development process.

I help founders distill and illustrate their product vision, get to the root of what motivates customers, rapidly prototype ideas, and get them in front of real users.

Let's talk about what you're buildingGet in touch

What I do

Design concept sprints

I design broad, high-level concepts for experimental features. These are great for exploring new products, testing with users, presenting at board meetings, and using in pitch decks.

Design concept sprints

How I saved my company $500,000 in one week on request

Full-stack feature design

I work as the designer on feature teams, distilling complex problems into simple UIs that users love. I specialize in working quickly and making life easy for engineers and PMs.

Designing a product in 15 minutes

Rapid design prototyping example

Minimum viable brands

I create beautiful, functional visual brands for startups that aren't ready for big, expensive brand projects.

Hacking a minimum viable brand for startups

How to get a 'good enough' visual brand for a fraction of the time and cost on request

Front-end web development

I love CSS (yes, really) and pairing with engineers code features with simple, maintainable code.

Firefly: Build and deploy real web apps in minutes

I built a Firefly and React boilerplate for front-end developers

Design audits

What parts of your product are blocking engagement? I help teams find (and fix) problems using design critiques and usability tests with real users.

Pitch decks

I help my clients raise money with pitch decks that look great and tell the company's story as a compelling narrative.

Want to level-up the team you already have?
See how I scale design
How I workDesign agenciesFull-time designers
Agile process

See designs on the first day, then we iterate—engineering is unblocked early, design research happens in parallel

Waterfall process

Big upfront research phase, then a separate design phase; engineering often blocked until after design

No process

It depends on their startup experience—most designers just deliver work at their own pace

Flexible budget/scope

I book time in small blocks so I can quickly scale up or down as we go

Fixed budget/scope

Agencies need high utilization, so they estimate projects up front in one big chunk

Fixed hours

Staff designers work 40 hours/week (regardless of need)

Strategic partner

I use design to validate business hypotheses and find value for the business

Low strategic ability

Focused on “how can we build this”, not “what should we build”

Low strategic ability

Focused on making things look good and polishing details

High startup experience

I've done this before and made all the mistakes already. I tailor my work to your growth stage.

Low startup experience

Many agency designers come right out of school with no work experience

Low startup experience

Designers who haven't worked at startups learn by making mistakes on the job

Embedded in your team

I work alongside your staff and coach. New skills and customer insights stay in-house.

Behind a "wall"

Isolated from your team, lessons stay with the agency and disappear when they leave

On your team

But in-house designers focus on building features over learning and growth

What my clients say

Sam is a UX god.We were blown away by how quickly he broke down our complex goals into a simple, beautiful, intuitive design.

Not only did we launch an awesome product on time, but the work went way above and beyond our expectations. He taught us a ton about building great products, and he laid the foundation for our engineers to keep building great designs. Our only regret is that we didn't book more of his time!

Jason Corso, CEO, and Brian Moore, CTO
Co-founders, Voxel51 A.I. Platform

Sam is an incredibly talented product designer and coach.

He was instrumental in helping FarmLogs design a product and brand that quickly became recognized for our ease of use, igniting years of rapid growth for our company.

Jesse Vollmar
Co-Founder and CEO, FarmLogs

We needed that je ne sais quoi that would take our product from functional to fabulous. Turns out, it was Sam.

I initially contacted Sam because I admired his work at Farmlogs, and we needed a similar level of design polish. But what we got was so much more: a better understanding of the journey our prospects take before they become customers, a documented design language that we are applying not just in our product but across our marketing materials, and an appreciation for what is needed *at our business's stage of growth*. I could not recommend Sam more highly.

Dawn Verbrigghe
Founder and CEO, Jottful

I'm Frodo, and Sam's my Gandalf.

I’m so grateful to have Sam on this project, I don’t know where I would be without him (probably pulling my hair out).

If you're struggling with a big design project, my advice is this: get yourself a Sam.

Liza Pagano
Art Director, Ithaka/JSTOR

Let's build something great together

Get in touch