2018 roundup: What did the industry teach these designers?

Luis Ouriach
Dec 28, 2018 · 6 min read

We’ve had a mixed year. 2018 has presented designers with many a conundrum, including,

“what is my job title?”

“what tool should I be using?”

“can I work remotely?”

It’s been bizarre even for those of us that have been working in the industry a number of years. There seems to have been a new job title to change to every week, new tool to practice every month and a brand new product design process to master every quarter. Are you really a designer if you’re not a design manager running a design sprint whilst using Figma?

Yes you are my friend, yes you are.

In keeping with last year’s tradition, I reached out to the designer’s that I interviewed for 8px this year to ask them what their favourite tool of the year was, and their professional or personal highlight.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your 2018, and are looking forward to an even wilder rollercoaster ride of 2019.

François Chartrand 🌞

Product Designer, Headspace

Highlight of the year

First, being a part of the Headspace team as we crossed an important milestone not only for the company but for meditation and mindfulness — 1,000,000 paying members. When I joined Headspace 2.5 years ago, we weren’t anywhere near this number. Seeing steady growth and the power that design can have to educate and inspire people to discover their inner selves is something I’m so grateful for.

Favourite tool

Figma. Hands down the winningest design tool. It’s allowed Headspace to tighten up our design language, ease the learning curve for new hires, and allow collaboration we’ve never seen before between the entire team, not just design.

Darin Dimitroff

Product designer, Webflow

Highlight of the year

Apart from fracturing my shoulder and recovering, I’d say shipping Ecommerce at Webflow.

I’ve been working on parts of this project in and out over the course of a year, so it’s pretty great to see people shipping actual working stores with it.

Favourite tool

I’d like to give a shout out to is Whimsical. It’s really awesome.

Kylie Timpani

Senior Designer, Humaan

Highlight of the year

I was finally able to take my mum on a long, faraway overseas holiday. We went to Milan and Paris and we both spent some great quality time with family. It was the first time in over 20 years my mum had seen her brother and sister. Seeing her face light up with love and wonder throughout the entire trip was my year’s personal highlight.

Professionally, well… I have some exciting news to share in 2019

Favourite tool

Fantastical, the calendar app. It’s so pleasant to use. When my calendar is a vital tool that prevents me from overworking and overcommitting, and therefore curbs my stress and anxiety, having a tool I look forward to using really helps to make sure I stay on track.

Simon Pan

Product Designer, Google News

Highlight of the year

My highlight of 2018 has been discovering optimism in change and realizing my incredible privilege of being able to choose where I live and work.

Up until 2018, my partner and I were working and living in ways that didn’t fulfill our values. We gave a lot of ourselves to our work and sacrificed too much personal time and energy to the point where it was unhealthy.

At the beginning of 2018 we made a very explicit choice to start living a healthier lifestyle, which resulted in us both changing jobs and moving from the city and communities we love.

Being open to this kind of change meant getting back a lot more personal time which ironically has afforded us the space to reflect more deeply about what comes next.

Favourite tool


David Teodorescu

Product designer, Fitbit

Highlight of the year

Speaking about gamification at E-Business Forum in Prague a couple of months ago was a pretty cool experience. I see it as one of those opportunities that help you grow as a designer — the topic required a lot of research so I got to learn new things, meet interesting people during the conference and exercise my presentation and storytelling abilities in front of a big audience. I still think soft skills are terribly underrated so I take any chance I get to improve them. Oh, and Prague definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s an amazing city, definitely worth the trip.

Favourite tool


Nadya Bratt

Associate creative director, welikesmall

Highlight of the year

I’ve finally learned to lower my expectations and I’m a much happier person, haha. Just joking. I’ve had a great year and forged some great relationships along the way. We were lucky enough to work with some great clients such as Oculus and Adobe and some of our projects made the pages of Communication Arts. It’s been a great year!

Favourite tool

Cinema 4D.

Mechi Bazan

Brand designer, Stripe

Highlight of the year

My highlight of the year was traveling to Japan for the first time. It has always been one of my dreams and I am very happy I got the chance to make it true this year. At work, we launched Increment issue 7 https://increment.com/security/ a lot of hard work was involved in this project, I am very proud to be part of it.

Favourite tool

My favorite tool this year has been Todoist, it helped me to keep my projects (and my mind) organized.

Una Kravets

Director of Product Design, Bustle

Highlight of the year

This was such a great year, and it’s hard to pick just one highlight. I think one of my favorite moments was getting to travel to Singapore for JSConf Asia. It was such a cool experience and I loved being able to kick off a JavaScript conference with a talk about creative CSS :)

Favourite tool

I think my favorite tool is just the one I use most often: Visual Studio Code. This text editor from Microsoft has really impressed me, and has only gotten better over the year. I use a theme called Night Owl by Sarah Drasner, along with the typeface Dank mono which has a lot of really nice ligatures for coding. The code ligatures are such a small thing, but they really improve my developer experience on a daily basis.

Anthony Menecola

Product Designer, Shopify

Highlight of the year

I got engaged!

Favourite tool

Bear Writer

8px Magazine

Life, by designers.

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