Summer reflection

Part 1: practice

James Grady
5 min readAug 16, 2019

As summer winds down I want to reflect on my work over the past 8 months. A lot is happening with my practice, Design Axl, as well as my pedagogy at Boston University. The two have gained momentum and continue to support each other. Design Axl supports clients in three strategic areas: web design, UI/UX design frameworks, and brand building. Take a look below at some of our latest work.

My daughter, Joy, enjoying summer!

Web design

Our most recent web redesign and fantastic new client is NextView Ventures.

NextView Ventures is a group of seed stage investors who champion founders that want to redesign the Everyday Economy.

NextView was a referral from the wonderful folks at T3 Advisors. NextView reached out in need of some minor updates to their current site. I’m happy to say we were able to effectively illustrate and communicate their innovation.

Illustration by Rachel Harris

We transformed NextView’s website from a homogeneous style into something completely unique with the help of illustrator and designer, Rachel Harris. NextView, Design Axl, and Rachel, brainstormed to create 3 feature homepage animations as well as numerous spot illustrations that give NextView a new personality.

Homepage: Before (left) After (right)

Design Axl teamed up again with Code Greene on this project. Design and development worked hand in hand over 12 weeks to create a system allowing NextView to test wireframes and provide weekly feedback. Front-end design and back-end development happened simultaneously to save time and improve collaboration. Optimization and responsive design were critical to support their continuously updated content. The site loads super fast without compromising quality. (Full case study to come…)

Mobile view

T3 Advisors update

We continue to work with T3 Advisors on updates to the look and feel of the site, including specific client stage navigation on their homepage and new client pages: Early Stage, Growth Stage, and Enterprise. The site received a nice write up on a commercial real estate blog. We look forward to continued collaboration!

Why do we like their homepage? Instead of a header image, they use a header video. They don’t define themselves as a typical brokerage but rather a “collective brain trust” of “makers, entrepreneurs, creators, thinkers, and negotiators.”

UI/UX design frameworks

Design Axl continues to work with SymphonyAI Group across two of their key enterprise companies, Concerto HealthAI (formally Precision HealthAI), and Symphony MediaAI.

Based in Denver, Symphony MediaAI provides services for broadcast, cable, satellite, mobile and digital content providers around the world. Symphony MediaAI is developing a suite of SaaS products leveraging the power of artificial intelligence for their clients. We’re working on user experience, user journeys, user interface, dashboards, and an overall design framework for their new suite of products.

SMAI design framework screens

Most of the work can’t be shown because of the NDA, but it’s been a great partnership over the past few months. In July they invited me to Denver to meet, collaborate, and strategize the path forward. Denver is a beautiful city! I particularly liked the restaurant Forest Room 5. What an interesting pub in the middle of a city. 🌲

Forest Room 5

Brand building

I’m humbled to see the development of brands evolve from napkin sketches to physical construction. Grid City Beer Works is a client from the inception of Design Axl. I’m excited to see them break ground, build their community, and start pouring beer to the underserved folks of Utah. It’s a pleasure working with Grid City and I can’t wait to come out for the grand opening! 🍻

Follow them on Instagram


I’m also excited to see the identity we created for Harves and its partnership with Manchester United beginning to grow into themed entertainment and experience centers across China. I hope to get to visit one of these experience centers soon. 😉 ⚽️

Identity created for Harves in Partnership with Manchester United

Looking forward

I’ve been really fortunate to work with some fabulous clients on interesting projects over the past few months. I’m very thankful for all the opportunities and look forward to continued collaboration with my current clients. I’m always on the lookout for new design challenges. Please reach out, I would love to hear from you! —James Grady, Principal, Design Axl

Please keep on the lookout for more updates.

Send me an email |

Thanks for reading!



James Grady

Principal, Design Axl & Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Boston University