Ben Farrell

Senior Experience Developer, Prototyping

A cartoon-style illustration of a dark-haired man, with grey at the temples, glasses pushed back on his head, and wearing a high-neck sweater..

Illustration by Michael Cho

Adobe Design is a large team. We work across products, processes, and tools in different cities, countries, time zones, and cultures and celebrate each other whenever we have the opportunity. Our Profiles are a way to introduce the bright and brilliant folks on our team to the external design community. Spend some time getting to know them.

How would you describe what you do to someone you’re sitting next to on a plane?

I’m a software developer who also became a designer through osmosis. More specifically, as a prototyper I play with new technology and new paradigms to help other people make sense of them.

What has your career trajectory been? A straight shot? A maze of switchbacks? Or a knot you’ve untangled? Would you change the route?

The best word for my career trajectory: bouncy. My career started in children’s edutainment and I made brief stops in healthcare and video publishing before ending up at Adobe. The content has been a mix of web pages, games, and apps, and I’ve worked on a wide variety of devices and platforms helping startups, clients, and big companies. I’ve bounced around and seen so much that I don’t think I’d change any of it. In fact, I’d love to see more.

How do you get into a flow while working? How do you maintain it?

It’s not hard for me, really. A lot of my work can be a mystery to solve, or just fun to play around with. I can get engrossed right away just because the problems are interesting, and I want to figure them out. Sometimes it can be hard to break away.

Tell us about a project outside of work that you’re currently working on.

Lately I've gotten a little bored with just writing code. Since I really enjoyed the teaching aspect of a web development book I published in 2019, I tried dipping my toes into music, 3D, video, and tech to create a campy educational video series. I called it Web Components in Space and I'm up in space teaching web technology. I'm still making episodes and it's been super fun even though my video skills aren't as amazing as some of the other folks at Adobe.

What’s the most important part of your creative process?

This simply never occurred to me before the pandemic, but just quiet time, where you’re slightly bored and letting your thoughts run wild. Being with my fantastic wife all the time and with music, podcasts, or a TV always on in our space meant I was inadvertently missing it... until I realized what I was missing.

What would you try if you knew you would not fail?

This is hard! I don’t mind failing. In fact, it’s more fun and exciting to try something when there’s a possibility of failure. I think if I knew I would succeed, I’d get bored quickly or hesitate to try because the outcome would be predetermined. For me, the tough part is the grey area between failure and doing something awesome.

What’s your greatest extravagance and why?

I don’t know that I stick with my extravagances long term, I move on from them quickly. Although, you can count me as one more person who bought a house during the pandemic, and in the Bay Area, a house is definitely an extravagance.

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