Will You Sign Our 2022 UX & Design Yearbook?

Sal Bolaños
5 min readDec 12, 2022

If you asked any adult to name one item that they can go back to in order to relive history, chances are a yearbook would come to many minds. You know, those hard books filled with page after page of photos that documented your proudest moments and showcased how far you came over the course of a single school year. They’re easily one of the best ways to preserve memories, and the thrill you get out of stumbling upon them while visiting your parent’s house over the holidays, or cleaning out your attic will never get old, no matter how much you hate to admit it.

Any ways, why am I talking about yearbooks?

In December 2019, I was at my mom’s house and came across my high school yearbook and besides regretting my hair cut, I started to think about my future at this big new job I was going to accept — Head of Design at TransUnion. Knowing there was no design leadership established at the time, I knew I needed a way to recap our work to the business, especially if we were going to be the new team joining a tech-led organization.

So, to help me remember, I wrote a note on a napkin and put it in my wallet so I wouldn’t forget in 12 months. Fast forward in December 2020, I found that napkin and it reminded me about this yearbook idea. Luckily, my team had done tons of work in our first year ranging from user research, to standardizing UI patterns, to even running workshops… you can say we had a pretty solid year one portfolio. However, the hardest part was coming up with a REASON why I was about to email the whole company a random link to a digital yearbook from the new design team.

As I brainstormed, I remembered my fellow peers from the InVision Design Leadership forum always sharing with me how hard it was to get their business partners to embrace change specifically when it came to experience design so whatever I wrote needed to be relatable to their interest. Of course, revenue was a huge thing so we mentioned it in our story, I also thought about success metrics supported with quantitative data, then layered in the qualitative part to show we understood both sides of the house. Overall, all I really wanted to do was make sure that our sole mission was clear — We wanted to inspire folks to think differently, be more inclusive, fearless in breaking down silos, more empathetic with each other and proud of the work they delivered.

Within minutes of sending our 2020 yearbook link, we received so much great feedback around how fun it was to see a team bring a different perspective, how interactive the yearbook was and how the overall vision really resonated with them.

Others shared that they really enjoyed the case study style we laid out for each notable project, the success that came out of it, the user insights we shared, the lessons we learned, the transformative UI direction we were laying out for the future of our products and so much more.

Example of our 2020 Notable Project List
Example of our 2021 Notable Project List

Another section we felt was super important to share and track were the numbers behind every created prototype, wireframe, new component or the number of user interviews we conducted. These numbers were so interesting to review at the end of the year because it sort of defined the type of year we had in regards to execution. One thing we learned is that some numbers do not need to increase nor decrease. For example, if we did 28 usability studies in 2020 but 18 in 2021, it’s not something to freak out about because maybe the year was more dedicated to discovery vs UI.

The numbers behind the work we executed, delivered, led and pushed through.

The most fun part about these yearbooks were the themes we came up.

2020 Theme: Sticking Together Through COVID Times (Art by Sal)

2021 Theme: Launching New Products Inspired by All of the Space Innovation (Art by Ian McNamera)

2022 Theme: TU’s Rock Star Band — Given the number of new faces we’ve added to the team, we created a throw me back to early 2000’s punk rock band theme. (Art by Hope Nagai)

2020 Theme: Sticking Together
2021 Theme: {Space Launch] Launching New Products
2022 Theme: TU’s Rock Star Band
2022 Theme: TU’s Rock Star Band

In this yearbook, we also survey the business to see how we’re doing every year and use that as our number one metric to measure our annual performance.

Given we’re still a new team, we find this feedback the most useful so I can share with my stakeholders to show our growth, success, and impact to the business.

Of course, I cannot share the actual yearbook with you all as it does have sensitive information regarding our current and future product strategies, but for now, I hope this sparks ideas for other design leaders navigating their way through companies who may still be new to UX design world. For us it’s been a great way to promote and advocate design at scale.

Cheers to 2023.



Sal Bolaños

Sal Bolaños is a Creative & Design Director who specializes in Experience Design and Strategy. He currently is the Head of Design at TransUnion.