Font Awesome

Nerd Show and Tell: Meet Frances Botsford, Product Designer, Web Component Enthusiast, and Succulent World-building Hobbyist

by Font Awesome

Meet Frances Botsford, Font Awesome’s Product Designer. Frances tells us about the last bit of work she did on the “Font Awesome Reusable TidbitS” project (work out that acronym, hehe), and the latest in web components. Frances also recalls a post-college job where she helped build stages for outdoor concerts, and her new interest in creating miniature scenes with HO scale figures for her succulent collection.

What’s your professional background, and what’s your role at Font Awesome? 

I’ve got a bit of a checkered past … I’ve always loved computers and art, though. I went to art school, then grad school for information science, and worked in various places, from higher ed to start-ups, libraries to consulting. 

What did you build in this last split? 

I worked on integrating some new options for Font Awesome subscriptions. A bunch of users, especially international users, want to use Font Awesome Pro but buying a subscription has been challenging. Hopefully, some of what we’ve just built will open that door for folks! 

I also worked on a little experimental side project in our “cooldown” time between splits called “Font Awesome Reusable TidbitS,” aka the Icon Wizard. It lets people add a modifier to just about any Font Awesome icon. It’s pretty fun.

Build the breakfast of your dreams with the Icon Wizard

Is there anything in the tech world piquing your interest these days? 

Web components are really exciting for me as a front-end developer/designer. It’s a perennial challenge to design and code reusable components that render consistently in different environments, especially with the complexity of apps and ecosystems these days. There are a lot of approaches to solving this. Design systems, pattern libraries, javascript components, old school style guides — and none totally hit the mark on being both efficient and functional over time. Web components are a pretty interesting addition to that, and they seem to be gaining more and more adoption. We’ve done some work in web components with Font Awesome, but there’s still a ton to explore. 

Is there an icon or icon theme that’s missing from Font Awesome that’s on your wish list? 

I’m pretty well set with the recent addition of the face-zany icon. But I do love croissants and can’t ever get enough … I’ve been dreaming of getting more of those by adding a plus sign to the croissant icon, and now with the Icon Wizard, I can do just that. 

What are your favorite Font Awesome icon(s), and why? 

Ah, how to choose?? Let’s see … Sparkles is probably my most used icon — a touch of sparkle and a sprinkling of magic all in one icon. Code is great for obvious reasons. Since I lean old school tech, I can’t live without image-polaroid, cassette-tape, and computer-classic.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever worked at? 

For a little while after college, I built stages for big rock shows in parks and other spaces they were going to put on a show but didn’t have a stage. It was super fun climbing the trusses, wielding power saws, running wires, and working with some awesome people. And I got to see a lot of really great shows from behind the scenes. 

Did you see any notable bands on the stage and truss building gig post-college and did you ever watch shows from up high on the trusses?

No, I didn’t get to watch from the trusses, but I did see some big bands: Green Day, Tool, Everclear, and Jethro Tull. I got to do the spotlight for Jethro Tull since the light guy was shorthanded. That was a good challenge considering Ian Anderson’s energy on the stage. Also, Tool brought three large trailers full of toys, including several motorcycles.

What are you nerding out about after work these days? 

I’ve been growing various succulents for a while now. I have recently been getting into creating miniature scenes with them using HO scale figures. It’s amazing how a little figure can change your whole perspective on a setting and bring you into a different world. After a day of creating digitally, it’s great to dig into the dirt and get my hands dirty. Plus, there are some really great figures out there. I recently came across a vampire coming out of a coffin … haven’t found the perfect plant and setting for that one yet, but it’s gonna be spooky.