My Work

Me, Professionally

Twenty-five years ago I was rotating tires, repairing flats, and fixing cars.

I was miserable.

I went into the auto industry by way of an insatiable desire to learn. Cars had a lot of history and interesting things to teach me, but as I quickly discovered, it was a finite reservoir.

In early 1994 I met the web.

In 1998 I got my first computer, since then I’ve been in a constant state of learning. Within two years I turned my “hobby” into a full-time job. For the last twenty-three years, I’ve worked on a variety of projects with scales from millions of users to a just handful. Each project offering me a new learning experience and challenge.

My work truly sparks joy.

Photograph of a younger James doing work by street light, the screen is vivid but dark. A bright street light illuminates James typing on a laptop while sitting in an office chair outside surrounded by greenery
“Midnight Oil” ©2009

Currently, I’m working with Mozilla to improve their Design Systems.

Previously, I worked with RiteAid/Elixir, and AutoZone® on their Enterprise Design Systems; EllisLab improving content management; Amazon in the Books Org; A start up or two; An amazing agency in Nashville; And I even ran a tiny studio for seven years.


I’m a “Senior Staff Designer” for the Firefox team, working on the Acorn Design System. Which means I spend a lot of time and effort on thinking about, organizing, explaining, and cataloging design and development decisions into digestible documentation, and reusable components.

2022 / James Mathias

Design System work is the building of bridges across silos, where each silo thinks they are/should be the source of truth, but what we are building is a complex mesh of shared responsibility and that requires cross-functional community.

Source @jmathias

The rest of my work is advocacy for and education about the work our team does, the services we offer, and the tools and code we steward, curate, or create.

Process & Approach

I draw a lot of rectangles, write a lot of notes in the margins, and I explain and defend every decision. In all seriousness, learn about my process.