woman sitting in flower bed smiling

Meet The Team: Liz Radtke

Liz's 2017 Trends. #1 - Engaging Photography and Videography Technology has created more opportunities to interact with users via photography and videography. Drone videos are becoming mainstream, letting anyone create an impressive, movie-quality overhead view of an area. Appearance and usability are improving in 360° virtual tours, becoming more immersive, especially when you add in the new trend in VR headsets.

Liz “Lizard” Radtke – her entrance into Mixed Media Creations is as mysterious as her masterful design skills and vegan superpowers.

Liz graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2009, and continued working in-house with the HR company where she had interned. Eventually, Liz decided to take a step back and carve her own path as a freelance graphic designer.

After freelancing for a bit, Liz decided she wanted to focus on just the creative side of things. She came to the little MMC office on Main Street in Old Town Lewisville, and immediately clicked with the team. It was love at first sight. Following her interview, she promised to bake a pie for the team if they hired her. It was apple. Liz was hired as a graphic designer and a little over a year later was promoted to be MMC’s first ever Creative Director when Mixed Media Creations had blossomed, and quadrupled in size.

Liz and her husband, Brian, currently live near Lewisville Lake. They enjoy spending time with each other and their dog, Scooter, walking the trails, playing Frisbee, and poking around the woods to find cool native plants. She also enjoys binge-watching Netflix and illustrating. A few years ago, she partnered with an author/friend to illustrate his book: Dō – Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #2 - Mobile Videos If a video is being watched, it’s most likely on mobile, and most likely in a social feed. Video marketing is growing, and with that marketers are refining the experience. It’s now imperative that your video has captions, both for accessibility and for those that prefer silent browsing. Make sure your videos don’t start automatically and videos that start without sound on are gaining in popularity as well.

Now, Liz loves the feeling of looking at a project and knowing that MMC did an amazing job. She’s not in it for the awards. She simply loves looking at the work her team produces and knowing they crafted something wonderful.

What do you watch on Netflix?

I like the Netflix originals like House of Cards. I like anything that is on the dark side whether it’s comedy or drama. I just finished Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I also LOVE Aziz Ansari’s Master of None.

When I’m just doing chores, doing the dishes, sometimes I’ll just put on Star Trek: The Next Generation and just groove on that while I’m scrubbing some plates. I notice that you can follow the story really well even without seeing the screen because they emote way too much.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #3 - Basic User Interface is Evolving Just a few years ago, your average user had no clue what the “hamburger menu” was. Now, most users can operate one with ease. Just like that humble menu, other symbols that are more mobile friendly and driven by simplicity will take over. User testing will keep you on the forefront of how your demographic likes to browse.

Why do you like things that are a little dark? Are you a little twisted?

I like reality. I like the authentic emotions you feel when you see something with that kind of honesty.

Sometimes it’s good to watch something a little lighter, which is why I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. I like the dark stuff because it cuts to the core of who we are as humans. But I’ll also watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 or terrible 80s “B” movies.

You can have corny and dark.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #4 - Continuity Between Devices Too often a desktop website had features the mobile site or app doesn’t have or vice versa. This is going to become a thing of the past as users demand a robust and full range of abilities no matter what device they’re using. This means more innovation on fitting complex tasks into small spaces is in order.

What is something that you watched recently that resonated with you in that way?

I just watched the last season of Samurai Jack. I used to watch it as a kid, but just this year they resumed it for a final season and made it into a gritty, grown up cartoon. It was dark and crazy and entertaining.

What inspires you?

That’s a hard one. I like looking at other people’s art and seeing that passion that they have to express. That can cover the gambit of a million different subjects.

I don’t particularly spend a lot of time looking at classical art. I did that in college, sure. I took the test. I just like seeing random people’s art who aren’t getting anything out of it except for their expression and satisfaction. That’s really, really interesting to me.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #5 - Stark Minimalism Simple, flat design has been a trend for a while now, but designers are pushing the envelope with ultra-stark layouts relying on only a few key elements carrying the message. Extra large text with lots of white space and unusual layouts pack a lot of personality without a lot of clutter. Not only is it beautiful and bold, but it plays very well with another trend in the industry - easy to understand user controls.

What are you passionate about in the design industry?

Man, UX now. User experience, that’s really captured my attention the last couple years. It’s just the idea of really thinking through what you’re doing and using testing and statistics to make sure that what you thought you knew is true.

I am all about not assuming and getting behind the reality of the situation, and using that to make a product that actually works better. That does what it’s supposed to. Catching all those hidden issues that you had no clue were there.

When you improve on UX issues, when you structure things better and make sure everything you do online is accessible, it doesn’t diminish the artwork. It makes it better. Form doesn’t fail because the function took over.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #6 - Simple Microinteractions A micro interaction is any small interaction you may have with a button or action on a webpage or device. When you press a button, the way it responds to your touch is important to how you understand the interaction. Trending towards the simple but powerful, subtle animations give you the feedback you need to know your wishes were carried out. The experience should be so smooth that the user doesn’t even have to think about it.

What is something that you’ve seen recently that would reflect this?

We tested a site recently, and I was really surprised to see how many people were scrolling straight to the bottom to the footer for contact information. A lot of designers want to put all that information at the top. But these people were skimming over that right to the bottom. Where would you get that info unless you were watching people use your site? Everything you thought was intuitive might not be.

You know, every website is unique – it has a different structure. Every website needs to have its own testing to find a solution uniquely tailored to it.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #7 - Straight-Talk Everyone is more savvy about advertising these days. Younger people can take offense to it, especially if the ad comes off as pushy or clichéd. To capture audiences, marketers speak in an authentic and honest way. This has also seen a rise in “sneaky” methods such as ads disguised to not look like ads and could involve more targeted and personalized messaging based on data collection.

What are some of your favorite websites?

I love the InVision blog. It’s just very clean and well structured. They keep it updated often with really valuable information. I will bookmark everything they post and it takes me a while to get through just because there is that much good stuff on there.

Can I say our own website? I was really proud of putting that one together, but I might be biased.

You know what website I don’t like – Facebook because they have about a million buttons that are hidden in about a million spots. And they keep moving it. And it’s so cluttery. And if you saw one post that you liked yesterday, and want to find it again, good luck.

I still use it. I don’t know how you can’t.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #8 - Unusual Color Combinations When it’s all been done before, you gotta go outside the box. Surprising combinations, bold gradients, original patterns, and large flat color areas are rising in popularity. Really vivid color layers as well as softer, vintage tones are notably popular. The modern retro style has embraced not just the 80s but the 90s and even the early 2000s for a throwback to the nostalgic.

What are some other websites that you hate?

I usually don’t go to them, right?

I’ve seen new websites that look like they’re 10 years old.

Maybe there are some designers that need to go back to school.

By the way, if your website doesn’t have a way to contact you online, I’m going to close it rather than call you.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #9 - Flexible Website Construction Websites more than ever are moving towards modular designs, making them easier to compose and edit. CMSs and pre-made elements are driving down costs while increasing the ability for anyone to update their sites quickly and easily. Combining these with custom design can create a very powerful, unique, and flexible website.

What do you think about the Space Jam website?

Oh man, the magnum opus for its day. A shining example of what was so perfect and pure back then.

I really miss back in the 90s and early 2000s where everybody had an awful GeoCities page. They looked terrible, but they were so much fun. I coded my own page that was full of bad drawings of unicorns and dragons. We didn’t know any better. We didn’t care.

I feel like you could find any information back then that you couldn’t find today, unless it’s on Wikipedia. Joe Schmo doesn’t just go out and make a GeoCities website about the random junk that he’s interested in. Today he might update Facebook or maybe Wikipedia. Unless it’s a conspiracy theory.

Liz's 2017 Trends. #10 - Animated Photos By now we’ve seen cinemagraphs and certainly GIFs are a mainstay of social media, but they’re also catching on as tools in design. Look for gorgeous, custom cinemagraphs as engaging scenery on websites and GIFs popping up in advertising in social feeds and email blasts.

Do you have any favorite conspiracy theories?

Aliens built the pyramids. It’s so completely out of the blue. Like “Oh we couldn’t explain how the pyramids were built, so it must have been aliens.” Wait – make sure you write that in a way where people don’t think I actually believe that.

Who would you love to do an art collaboration with?

Like I’m bringing them out of time…

Well I tell you what – it sure as heck wouldn’t be Leonardo DaVinci. He started so many projects he didn’t finish. He would take prepayment on commissions and then not finish them, or finish them 10 years later. He WAS a genius, just really too distracted.

Maybe Goya or Salvador Dali, just so you can see the weirdness come out.

Dali was so bizarre – but he knew that was his brand. He knew exactly what he was doing. Now Goya, he hid in his house and painted that dark stuff. That came from the heart.


I figure as long as you’re collaborating with somebody, you might as well have some fun.

What do you think the world will be like in 2020?

That’s close. That’s like 2 and a half years from now.

In the near future, phones will be thinner.* Wireless charging…

Oooh. And people will give up on wired headphones and stop complaining about the iPhone 7. I guess we’ll be up to the iPhone 10 by then. Wireless headphones will work better. They’ll have to be waterproof for all the times I’ve run them through the washer on accident

Anything that you would like to leave our readers with?

Passion is contagious. Catch it.

Did you know? MMC offers Video, UX, Photobooth, Photography, Design, Animation, and Web services at the forefront of the trends mentioned here. Contact us today to learn more about how we can rock your next project.

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*Apparently not, according to a recent leak.