This month’s edition of Beyond the PX brings us the story of Mechi Bazan, another designer who I’ve chatted to that has moved countries to pursue their career goals. I’m sensing a trend — if you want to shake things up and find your dream position, sometimes a location shift can help you get there.
For those not aware, can you explain who Stripe are and what they do?
Stripe builds the most powerful and flexible tools for internet commerce.
Whether you’re creating a subscription service, an on-demand marketplace, an e-commerce store, or a crowdfunding platform, Stripe’s meticulously designed APIs and unmatched functionality help you create the best possible product for your users.
What has been your design journey up until now?
I studied Graphic Design in the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (Facultad de arquitectura, diseño y urbanismo).
My first job was as a graphic/print designer in a fashion magazine and then I worked in a digital agency for almost 2 years.
Right after that, I got a job offer from Stripe and moved to San Francisco in order to join the San Francisco office.
I’m now based in Dublin.
What does your typical morning look like?
I wake up around 7:30, I take a quick shower and get changed (it usually takes me around 30 minutes to do everything).
Then I grab a bike from the Dublin Bikes station in front of my home and bike 15 minutes to the Stripe office.
I eat breakfast in the office and, when I am finished, I go over my emails.
Do you have any design hacks, or particularly smart processes?
I mostly design with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
At Stripe I work as a print designer for Increment magazine. My process is to look for references before getting into work, it helps me to have fresh ideas and a better sense of what I want to do.
Outside of work, do you hang out with designers?
To be honest I don’t hang out with designers a lot, maybe because in Dublin I don’t know a lot of designers.
When I was living in San Francisco, I used to hang out with designers that worked in different companies. I enjoy talking about design but if I am having some drinks with friends, design and work are the last topics I wanna talk about.
Since I moved to Dublin, I have been hanging out with people in different teams such as sales, global markets and localization. They give me an insight of a world that is not so common to me, which I find super interesting.
Do you find it hard to define what you do to your friends? Could they explain your job?
I don’t think most of my friends know what I do for a living.
They know I work as a designer, but I am pretty sure they don’t know anything about my role.
Whenever they ask me what I exactly do, I tell them that I design a magazine for developers.
Do your career aspirations encroach your life?
I believe that I keep my work and personal life divided very well. In my free time I like to do illustrations that I cannot do at work because the style I like to draw doesn’t match the style of my company.
Since I work as a designer, I feel more free to dress the way I want. My economic situation is better now, so I have more access to buy things that I couldn’t afford before.
Not traditionally known for its illustrative style, how have you settled into the banking industry?
I wasn’t very sure that the payments industry was something I was going to be interested in. Fortunately, Stripe has a lot of projects going on, for instance Increment magazine, were I feel comfortable designing and it’s not as tied to the payments industry as the product is.
My team is full of amazing, talented people, I think it takes an amazing team in order not to fall into the cliches. We all learn from each other and push ourselves to stay away from our comfort zone.
Can you explain your team dynamic?
I work very close with the Creative director and the Editor in Chief of the magazine. They are great, humble and super talented people.
When the magazine is kicked off, we source freelance illustrators for the art of every issue. This gave me the chance to work with people I have always admired. Providing them feedback and some art direction is something that I have never done before joining Stripe, so everyday I learn something very valuable.
We are trying to grow the team at the moment, so you should check our open roles!
What advice would you give for those interested in kick starting a career in designing for the market?
I would give them the same advice that my mother gave to me once “you should not have fear of not being good enough, you should keep trying and keep working hard”.
I believe that the only way to make a change and a difference is not letting fear sabotage your dreams and hopes.
Do you have any advice for people just starting out?
There are a lot of internships available for juniors, I think thats great! I joined Stripe as a junior designer, and even though I learned a lot in the past 2 years, there is so much to keep learning and improving.
So I believe if you are willing to work hard and learn from your peers, there’s always a place for you in the industry.
There we have it! Mercedes has managed to land her ideal job as a designer and illustrator, working at one of the world’s fastest growing companies, on a product that might not have existed without the rapid experimentation and creative startup culture that companies like Stripe excel at.
Key takeaways here for me are: keep going. If you’re not interested in working hard (this doesn’t mean long), then your dreams will always be over the hill. Set your goals, break down your tasks into manageable chunks, and you will succeed like Mercedes.
Until next time.
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