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Product Designer & Much More

Howdy, I’m John Wayne Hill

I’m a San Francisco based Designer Leader who enjoys contributing to product designs, setting vision, and helping teams execute best-in-class experiences. In my free time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors and capturing the beauty of nature & people through my lens.

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Portrait of John Wayne Hill in San Francisco, CA
Product & UX Design Leader

John Wayne Hill is a Design Leader with 15+ years experience leading teams and products.

As a seasoned Design Leader based in San Francisco, I have spent more than 15 years working closely with teams and partnering with product and engineering departments to create outstanding user experiences for people across the globe. My expertise spans a wide range of platforms and industries, with a significant portion of my career spent in design agencies.

My approach to design leadership combines strategic vision-setting with hands-on involvement, ensuring that I can guide my teams effectively while also contributing directly to the design process when needed. I am committed to fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment, where team members feel empowered to share ideas, challenge assumptions, and take risks in the pursuit of innovation and excellence.

Discover more about my design leadership journey, my individual contributions, and my coaching work by exploring the sections below.

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Portrait of John Wayne Hill in San Francisco, CA

John Wayne Hill with design team
John Wayne Hill with mentee


John Wayne Hill is a Design Coach who works with designers and new leaders to help them bring out their absolute best.

Throughout my career as an individual contributor at design agencies to leadership and management at Ancestry, True, and more, I’ve coached and mentored a wide variety of designers. As a coach, I will help you learn more about yourself as a designer, help you grow your skillset as a leader, and help you navigate the tricky waters of being a new leader or manager. Through reflection, honest and direct feedback, and creating opportunities, I’m certain I can help you grow into the designer or leader you want to be.

As a design coach, I believe that fostering a growth mindset and encouraging self-discovery are essential for personal and professional development. I am committed to helping designers and leaders unlock their potential by providing actionable guidance and support tailored to their individual goals and aspirations.

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Woodworker & Furniture Maker

John Wayne Hill is a Woodworker and custom Furniture Maker operating DeathGhost Studios in the San Francisco Bay Area

John Wayne Hill designs and makes custom furniture and household goods built to last. Beautiful, modern, and made by hand. Creating custom items, made to order, just for you, and readily available household goods, finely crafted, beautiful, and easy to use.

At DeathGhost Studios, I blend traditional woodworking techniques with modern design principles to create functional art pieces that elevate any space. My passion for woodworking is fueled by the satisfaction of transforming raw materials into timeless, high-quality furniture and goods that will be cherished for generations.

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John Wayne Hill of DeathGhost Studios
Tree Trunk Table designed and made by John Wayne Hill of DeathGhost Studios

Bergen, Norway photograph of harbor by John Wayne Hill
Female throwing rubber balls into the air while laughing against a red background


John Wayne Hill is a portrait, lifestyle, and landscape photographer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Photography helps me understand the world. I enjoy finding an image within a landscape and I really enjoy creating an image of a person and their personality. My photographic style is rooted in my ability to connect with my subjects, allowing me to capture their true essence in a natural and authentic way. I draw inspiration from the rich tapestry of life, embracing the beauty in everyday moments and celebrating the unique stories each individual has to share.

My photography journey has allowed me to develop a keen eye for capturing candid moments and genuine emotions. Whether it’s a breathtaking landscape or an intimate portrait, my goal is to tell a story through my images, creating lasting memories for my clients.

I also give back to the Design community by openly publishing photographs on Unsplash for free. Check out my Unsplash page for more!

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Writer & Author

John Wayne Hill is a writer focusing on the field of Product Design & Design Culture

As a writer, I explore the ever-evolving world of product design and design culture, sharing my insights and experiences through articles, essays, and thought pieces. I aim to create a dialogue within the design community, encouraging designers to reflect on their practices and fostering a deeper understanding of the impact of design on society.

Drawing from my extensive experience in the industry, I also provide practical advice and tips for those looking to hone their craft, covering topics such as design principles, process improvement, and team collaboration. Through my writing, I hope to inspire and empower designers and design enthusiasts alike, helping them navigate the challenges and rewards of the design world with confidence and clarity.

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Read Design Is Hard
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Blog & Articles

Latest by John Wayne Hill

AI-generated illustration of a "Brain Mascot" by John Wayne Hill
Design Like a Pro: How to Make an Impact in Product Design 8 Principles for Increasing Your Impact With a Growth Mindset

Design Like a Pro: How to Make an Impact in Product Design 8 Principles for Increasing Your Impact With a Growth Mindset

As a product designer, you likely know that design is hard. But with the right mindset and guidance, you can conquer any challenge that comes your way. That's where Design Is Hard comes in – our latest post offers 8 Principles for

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