A few months ago, I tweeted asking if people had questions about design interviewing. The interview and evaluation process can often feel like a black box, so I wanted to offer some transparency and advice based on my experience being an interviewer and hiring manager at Dropbox.

I answered a lot of questions, and Zack suggested turning the thread into a blog post so that the Q&A was easier to peruse. While the character limit was a nice constraint, an AMA thread on Twitter is kind of hard to browse.

So here we are. Better late than never.

An introduction to our design team

Hey there, design friend. We’re Dropbox Design, and we’re glad you stumbled upon our publication. This is our first story — a simple handshake to introduce ourselves.

First, a little background. Over the years, Design has played a deeply influential role at Dropbox and has become a cornerstone of our company. From creating a product experience that’s described as “magic” to building a strong, thriving business, Design was there, toiling behind the scenes of it all. While we believe great products speak for themselves, we want to start telling the story of Dropbox Design. You know — the what, why…

Some reasoning behind my decision

First things first, the last two years at Shyp have been the best of my career. I joined the company when there was a group of 10 ambitious people huddled inside a small warehouse. Since then, the company has grown to 200+ equally ambitious people. I’ve was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to build the Design Team and define what design became at our company. It’s been quite the journey, and I owe a lot to Shyp and the team. I’ll be forever rooting for them.

Why did I leave?

Not an easy question to answer and one…

The tangible benefits of designing at 1x pixel density

Let me start by saying, I’m sure this is already apparent for a good bunch of you. But through anecdotal observation and conversation, it appears there is still not consensus on the pixel density at which mobile screens should be designed. Mainly, designing at 1x or 2x.

Some quick context

When I first joined Shyp, we were designing iOS screens at 2x and Android screens at 3x (xxhdpi). It was a huge pain in the ass. Why were we doing this?

  1. It’s counterintuitive to design at a low, non-retina screen resolution. I mean, I haven’t seen an iPhone 3GS in ages.
  2. At the…

A more effective approach to learning

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” — Alan Lakein

As a self-taught designer I know the feeling of sitting down with a glint in your eye and the eagerness to absorb everything there is to know about a particular subject. I’ve made long, long lists of skills I’d like to acquire and bits of knowledge I’d like my brain to contain. So much so, that it has become quite overwhelming.

While this hunger for learning has driven me to excel in what was previously a completely foreign…

Kurt Varner

Design Director at Dropbox. Advisor for startups. Rooting for the underdog.

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