A Coffee with Mel

In a long list of people you’d want to sit down and have a coffee with, Mel Gross (they/she) ranks at the top. They are a walking example of best friend material—not only do they lift other people up, they embody talent, kindness, a hunger for knowledge, and a genuine passion for leaving the world a better place than how they found it. Plus, they’re just really interesting to talk to and hang out with. Oh, one more thing—they’re also our Iperdesign front-end developer and designer. Here’s what else we learned about Mel:

What’s your favorite drink order? 

If we’re in a coffee shop, I’d probably order a black coffee either cold or hot. But if we’re in a bar? Gin and tonic or an IPA.

What is your role at Iperdesign?

I am a freelance designer and front-end developer at Iperdesign. I frequently bounce between both the design and development teams, helping them and bridging the gap between the two departments.

What are some of your current goals?

I am still early in my career, so my biggest goal has been to figure out my interests and professional niche. I’ve been learning a lot about design systems, illustrated web designs, and project management recently, which are all areas I am interested in.

What is one writing or designing pet peeve of yours?

I don’t think I have a lot of pet peeves, but… I do love a good grid system, and I hate bad visual contrast!

When you show people around Philadelphia, where do you take them first?

South Street is my favorite spot in Philadelphia. Here’s my favorite route: I start with a donut from Dottie’s Donuts, then I swing over for some thrifting at Philly AIDS Thrift and Retrospect. From there, I grab the latest comics and albums at Atomic Comics and Repo Records and finish the day eating, drinking, and playing at Tattooed Mom.

If you weren’t at work today, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be at the beach, reading and swimming, or playing video games with my partner and adorable black cat.

Do you have any music or podcast recommendations?

I’ve been listening to a lot of pop music recently, but my favorite musical genres are hyperpop and old-school Brazilian pop music (MPB). I would recommend giving both a try.

Any hidden skills or talents?

I love arts and crafts! I’ve been getting super fast at crocheting recently.

Who is someone you admire and why?

This is a hard question to answer because I admire so many people. I admire all the generations that came before me for all the knowledge they’ve shared and the progress they’ve made. I admire all the women, people of color, and queers who fought before me. I admire all the references of strong, compassionate, and capable humans I had as a child. I admire my generation for breaking so many toxic cycles in our society. I admire all the younger generations that are working hard to change this world into a wholesome and safe place for everyone to bloom. I admire my teachers, coworkers, family, and friends who support me, my ideas, and who I am through actions of love.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

I’ve been thinking about the word “Foreigner” a lot recently. I think it would be a fitting title given my multiple nationalities and ongoing struggle of being a forever-foreigner.

What’s your favorite quote? 

“Good news, bad news, who can say?” I’ve been really inspired by this quote from a Chinese parable. The protagonist of the story was wise to live in the present moment and in harmony with life, instead of trying to control and fight it.

What’s your 2023 resolution?

This year I want to finally get my driver’s license! I’ve been putting it off for years but no more!