About Alex

Alex Cornell

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Longer Biography

I’m an interface designer, filmmaker, and periodic musician. I live in San Francisco and am currently working at Meta. My previous company, Cocoon, was acquired by Substack in 2021. Before that, I was the lead designer for Facebook Live.

In 2011 I cofounded Firespotter Labs (now Dialpad). We built and launched 4 products: UberConference, Nosh, NoshList and Jotly. As creative director and design lead, I worked on all aspects of the products, from the interface design to the marketing videos. Some exciting highlights were winning TC Disrupt in 2012, making the frontpage of the Wall Street Journal, and launching a redesigned UberConference.

After a great run, in 2014 I left Firespotter to start Moonbase. We focused on startup promo videos, many of which can be seen on the site. 

Prior to Firespotter, I spent three years studying design as apprentice to Scott Hansen (ISO50/Tycho), as well as writing for the blog and running the studio. Based on my work on the blog, I released a book in 2012 with Princeton Architectural Press. You can buy it on Amazon. I also upload music to Youtube and Spotify where I have over 25M plays. Some time ago I graduated from Duke University.


Currently I am a Director of Design at Meta, working on Generative AI. I used to design the Linear mobile app. I designed the Substack app. I used to be the lead designer for Facebook Live. I was also the creative director and cofounder at Dialpad, where I led the product design team. I went to the Academy of Art for a Master’s in Graphic Design.


I sing and play guitar and piano. You can see lots of my music videos on Youtube and listen to my tracks on Spotify where I have over 25M listens.


Most of my photography is project-related, though I also take a lot of pictures when I travel. My most well known photos are of the flipped iceberg in Antarctica. I shoot with a Canon 1-DC.


I used to write for the ISO50 design blog and developed a love of process posts and tutorial writing. I try to put out an article in this vein every couple weeks. I also maintain a blog on this site.

Buy Things

I have partnered with PurePhoto to make high-quality, large format prints of my flipped iceberg images available. Buy prints here.

My Book: In 2012 I released a book with Princeton Architectural Press called Breakthrough. Inside you can find interviews with Erik Speikermann, Jaime Lidell, Tycho, Ji Lee, Paula Scher, Nicolas Felton, and many more.  You can buy it on Amazon.


  • The Great Discontent: This interview with TGD was conducted in 2012 and covers a lot of interesting topics.
  • Startup Launch Tutorial: This is a comprehensive video and post I put together about making a startup promo video.
  • How They Got There: I'm interviewed in Khoi Vinh's new book about design careers.
  • PetaPixel: Here is an interview I did with PetaPixel explaining my travel photography process in-depth.
  • VICE: Motherboard: Coverage of my trip to Iceland and the travel video we shot while there.
  • Fast Company: "It's a simple, brilliant idea. It's also a lie.The creation of San Francisco-based designer, musician and film artist Alex Cornell, Tickle is..."
  • Gizmodo: Our "Uber for Drones" concept, covered here, explored the possibility of drones on demand.
  • Travel Photo Tutorial: A video and post I wrote about taking pictures in extreme places.
  • Mashable: "Does the ease of smartphone texting, especially with free services like iMessage and WhatsApp, make people flaky to the point of destroying your get-togethers?"
  • Quartz: "This three-minute video from designer Alex Cornell imagines a future San Francisco in which an autonomous drone is set free to patrol the skies of the city..."
  • Business Insider: "While on a boat expedition to Antarctica's Ciera Cove, Cornell got one view he wasn't expecting."
  • Wall Street Journal: This article about our fake app, Jotly, was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. My grandfather was proud.

Site Credits

This site was built to house all of my projects and writing. It was designed by me and built by the magical people of Fuzzco. It’s hosted on WordPress and uses these typefaces: Tiempos, ITC Grouch, Regular, Replica and Inconsolata.  My archived sites: Portfolio, Blog.