Lance Shields, Designer in San Francisco, CA, United States
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Lance Shields

Verified Expert  in Design


San Francisco, CA, United States
Toptal Member Since
January 31, 2019

Lance is an award-winning design director, product designer, and UX strategist with an MBA. He has 20+ years experience doing hands-on UX/UI design and leading design and strategy at three global agencies, two Fortune 500s, and his own design agency. He has helped shape products and brands for Adobe, Red Bull, Visa, Zipcar, and ADP. His work has won multiple awards including Webby, W3, and Davey Awards. He loves solving complex design problems.


Work Experience

Head of Design and Co-Founder

2011 - 2018
Ideas in Digital
  • Co-founded and ran award-winning digital design agency Ideas in Digital headquartered in San Francisco.
  • Headed up design and strategy; hands-on UX and UI design work, led a team of designers and art directors, and responsible for the brand experiences, digital platforms, and campaigns of clients’ global consumer and B2B projects.
  • Created customer-centered and marketing-focused strategies on a global scale across a variety of industries including finance, technology, food/beverage, CPG, travel, insurance, and nonprofit.
  • Focused on creative direction, design, and a collaborative, mission-driven team culture.
  • Led the design and strategy of 5 brand marketing sites, 3 mobile apps, 3 eCommerce sites, 3 major food sites, and 4 marketing videos.
  • Won 10 design awards including 2 Webby Awards, 4 W3 Awards, 2 Davey Awards, and 2 Communicator Awards.
Technologies: Smartsheet, Adobe After Effects, Figma, Axure, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Experience Design (XD), InVision, Sketch

Digital Marketing Group Director

2009 - 2010
  • Effectively provided vision and strategy leadership for MRM and McCann Worldgroup in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Led the social strategy and planning for Japan's fastest growing Facebook community for major confectionery brand.
  • Facilitated conversation and an evergreen application to host a series of branded UGC contests on PC, smartphone, and mobile.
  • Spearheaded the region's first social media platform service at MRM which provides a holistic solution including social strategy, planning, cross-media integration, community management implementation, client training, KPI development, and reporting.
  • Championed cross-group (McCann Worldgroup) digital integration initiatives that helped the larger advertising organization innovate towards higher digital capability for a variety of industries.
  • Recruited and mentored strategists, designers, and account people in the agency.
Technologies: Microsoft Office

Head of Innovation Strategy and Design

2007 - 2009
  • Drove digital initiative strategies and vision, with full ownership of creative and brand strategy, business plans, budgets, and realization of KPIs.
  • Devised digital assets to increase brand recognition, market share, and revenue.
  • Oversaw market research, competitive analysis, user profiling, ethnographic studies, and project planning.
  • Provided strategic leadership and vision to drive digital transformation.
  • Delivered strategy and creative direction for enterprise-level mobile application to drive new business.
  • Led and evangelized the first social marketing projects in this region.
  • Provided the creative strategy and customer experience for a new loyalty program.
Technologies: Microsoft Office, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

Creative Director

2002 - 2006
  • Effectively championed hands-on creative direction for digital and print media, brand building and interactive marketing.
  • Led a team of 8 art directors and designers to form a premier digital branding agency unlike any other in Japan at the time.
  • Was a leader in international design in Japan, which supported Japanese companies' growth overseas. Ran the design studio in Japanese.
  • Successfully launched global websites for Adidas, ANA, Hitachi, Chanel, DoCoMo, Yokogawa Electric and Panasonic.
  • Led and directed multiple new business pitches against local Japanese agencies to grow the agency from 6 to 35 creatives.
  • Won the highly respected Good Design Award for the global rollout of and Best B2B Branding from Japan Marketing Association.
Technologies: Adobe After Effects, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

Senior Art Director

1998 - 2001
  • Contributed as a vital part of a dynamic, collaborative creative digital team during the Dotcom boom in the late 90s/early 2000s.
  • Learned from the best while taking on large-budget, high-profile client work to sharpen my skills.
  • Effectively launched websites and interactive campaigns for, Discovery Channel, i2 Technologies and Answer Financial.
  • Design lead for a small team of 3 designers while doing hands-on design.
  • Played a key part in agency business development that delivered persuasive pitch work and winning projects with Toyota, Williams-Sonoma, and Openwave.
Technologies: Flash, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
2008 - 2010

Master's Degree in Business Administration

McGill University - Tokyo, Japan

1988 - 1992

Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Fine Arts

San Francisco Art Institute - San Francisco, California


Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Experience Design (XD), Axure RP Pro, Illustrator 2018, InDesign CC, InVision App, InVision, After Effects CC, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Illustrator, Flash, Adobe InDesign, Adobe After Effects, Microsoft Office, Figma, Photoshop Design


WordPress, Axure


Creative Direction, UX Design, UI Design, Branding, Product Design, UX Strategy, Digital Marketing, Design Direction, Web Design, Mobile UX, Mobile App UI, User Testing, Design Research, Design Sprints, Wireframing, Identity Design, User Flows, Analytics, Japan, Global Strategy, Logo Design, Design Workshops, Usability, User Interviews, Writing & Editing, Graphics, Prototyping, Mobile App Design, PowerPoint Design, Growth, User Journey Maps, Usability Testing, Voice UI Design, Collaborative Design, Smartsheet, Tablet UX, Art Direction, Information Architecture (IA), Strategy, Content Management Systems (CMS), Game Design

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