• Paula Popowski

take a look at

My Work

  • All
  • Digital
  • Print
  • Video
  • Access Magazine logo
    Access Magazine
  • Pens to Lens movie poster detail
    Pens to Lens Movie Posters
  • NCSA Responsive Website
  • detail from "there is no repetition"
    There Is No Repetition Program
  • NCSA: A World Without Supercomputing
    A World Without Supercomputers
  • Arco Properties logo
    Arco Properties
  • Detail of NCSA pocket folder foil stamp
    NCSA Pocket Folder
  • American Trade Hotel Logo
    American Trade Hotel Proposal
  • Camp Drake Billboard Campaign
    Camp Drake Billboard Campaign
  • Caricatures of Michelle Butler, john Towns, Dama Slagell, and Kenton McHenry on the cover of the NCSA coloring book
    NCSA Coloring Book
  • NCSA Strategic Plan
  • National Petascale Facility Installation
    NPCF Wall Installation

find out more

About Me

Hello! My name is Paula Popowski. I am a big picture thinker, I tell stories, and I solve problems that affect millions of people. I do this by designing and creating print communications, online interfaces, and digital products that are goal-driven, user-centric, and delightful to use.

Paula Popowski

I currently work as the Lead Designer for Wolfram|Alpha, a knowledge-based computational engine used daily by 1.2 million students, teachers, researchers, and hobbyists around the globe. Working closely with product leadership, marketing, business analysis, researchers, developers, and content strategists, I am involved in the full creative life cycle of web projects, including the development of new products, streamlining of existing user interfaces, and implementation of marketing campaigns that speak to diverse international audiences.

My identity as a UI/UX/Visual designer is grounded in a capacity for cognitive empathy, a deep interest in how people connect through verbal and visual communication, and a passion for problem-solving.

I have over 10 years of hands-on industry experience in higher education, government, information technology, nonprofits, real estate, hospitality, and tourism. My superpower is leading clients and project teams from ambiguity to clarity by setting direction that combines user, business, and development goals.

consider my



Creative Services, University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, IL

Taking +80 projects per year from concept development to final execution, I developed innovative and strategic marketing, communications, and branding solutions for a broad range of university audiences; provided leadership, direction, and implementation regarding UI design, usability, UX research, and ADA compliance; guided clients in brand discovery and strategic planning; and developed pattern library and visual standards for websites and apps.


NCSA, University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, IL

As the lead designer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign my primary responsibility was to develop, implement, and oversee the visual identity of NCSA through print, web, mobile, video, and social media.


School of Art + Design, University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, IL

I taught and developed the curriculum for Introduction to Graphic Design, a service-learning graphic design course that used reversed classroom techniques to focus on process, theory, and real-world design issues.


Conservatorio S.A.
Panama, Panama

During my stay at Conservatorio I created, developed, and managed bilingual design projects for international markets, collaborating with stakeholders in establishing a unified marketing strategy for the company and its affiliated brands.


Champaign, IL

I work with clients from a wide range of industries and backgrounds to identify strategic opportunities and solve marketing challenges through print, web, mobile, video, and social media.


Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery, sculpturesite.org, BorderZone Arts, and more!
Bay Area, CA

From 2001-2005 I worked for various art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. During this time I acquired increasingly sophisticated design and marketing responsibilities, including designing websites, collateral, ads, environmental art, and identity packages for art galleries as well as coordinating PR campaigns for nationally recognized exhibitions.


UX Certification
Nielsen Norman Group

Graphic Design AAS, GPA: 4.0
Parkland College
Champaign, IL

Art History BA, GPA: 3.97
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ


Art Director
Pens to Lens Screen-Writing Competition

Coordinating Committee Member
University of Illinois Web Conference

Portfolio Reviewer and Mock Interviewer
Parkland College Portfolio Seminar, CUDO Portfolio Review, U of I College of FAA

Inaugural Board of Directors Member
Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO)


Design: Art Direction, Strategic Branding, Style Guides, HCI Principles, Typography, Grid, Hierarchy, Color, Illustration, Brand Identity, High-fidelity Comps, Rapid Prototyping, Visual Design, Editorial Design, Photography & Image Editing

Web Development: Web/Tablet/Mobile Responsive Design & Development, Web Accessibility Standards, ADA Compliance, Browser Testing, Agile, Sprints, Scrums, UI Pattern Libraries, Light Front-end Development (html / css / frameworks)

Research: Personas, Questionnaires, Competitive Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Analytics, Needs discovery, Brand Discovery Workshops

User Experience & Content Strategy: Problem Solving, Wireframing, Usability Testing, Content Inventories, Card Sorting, Page Tables

Management: Strategic Thinking & Ideation, Goal-setting, Event & Campaign Organization, Nurturing Students and Emerging Professionals, Community-building, Networking & Building Long-lasting Relationships, Client Pitches

Languages: Bilingual in Spanish and English, Intermediate Fluency in Italian and Portuguese


get in touch

Contact Me

Hey, Let’s work together! If you like what you’ve seen so far and would be interested in talking further, please drop me a line. Also, feel free to contact me with any comment, joke, or insight if you so feel inclined. I will get back to you as soon as humanly possible.

Meanwhile, nothing stops you from looking around a bit. Visit my work page to get an overview of my capacities. Read more about me to discover my philosophy and work history. Or download a .pdf version of my resume.