Ben Lister

Product designer specializing in design systems

I am a product designer, creative leader, and developer specializing in Design Systems. I have deep experience as both a staff product designer and player-coach and thrive in environments that offer a variety of challenges. I enjoy hands-on design, documentation, and prototyping, but I am equally excited by the strategic parts of systems work, like system adoption, intake models, communication strategies, cross-functional partnerships, tracking metrics, and enablement.

Previously, I was a product designer at Gem, where I led design on the company's analytics and recruiter capacity planning products. Prior to that, I led the design, vision, and strategy on Gusto's design system documentation site, Workbench. Before that, I was the first design hire at Sprout Social, where I worked for nearly ten years. At Sprout, I co-created and was the design lead for Seeds design system.

I started designing on the web as a hobby in the late 90s. My first project was a fansite for the band Nirvana that featured a Flash intro, countless MIDIs, and a guestbook for visitors to deface sign. The hobby quickly became a side job when I landed a banner ad deal with the band's record label and later began doing freelance design work for other music sites. This experience helped me learn the foundations of design, programming, and most importantly, enabled me to discover my passion for design.

I cut my teeth as a front-end developer at the dawn of the Web 2.0 era at an agency where I did work for clients such as Hyatt, The Ford Motor Company, CUNY, and the University of Miami. I shifted my focus to product design in 2008 and have been designing for startups big and small ever since. For the last eight years, my specialty has been design systems, where I've worked in leadership, strategic, and hands-on practitioner roles for two major systems.

I like spending my time away from the screen cooking, traveling, watching the Chicago White Sox, hiking, and cycling. Still a Chicagoan at heart after 15 miserable winters years there, I currently live in sunny Oakland, CA, with my wife, daughter, and two crazy Whippets named Devo and Phoebe.