There are - among many others - three main questions I think of when it comes to applying for a designers position. Is this the right place to spend my time and energy? Am I the right person for this job in terms of professional skills and personal attitude? And the most important question is.. *drum roll* ..what is this company actually representing?
This article will work as my first contact in answering the most common questions regarding the applying process. It will not replace a face to face conversation, because they work far better than writing.
There is no right place
In February ’87 I was born in the German Democratic Republic, which was a state in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War period from 1949 to 1990.
I grew up in an environment that had an interesting sense of design -diplomatically phrased. It was characterized by a constant socialist and communist style of creating things for everyone. It often looked uniformed and unappealing to the eyes. Both my parents were workers with full time jobs with no academic background. In Fact I am the first one in my closer family who studied on an academic level.
I could have become a plumber and taking over the plumbing business from my grandfather. I did not. I wanted to create things. Things that can trigger emotions and start discussions. Things that needs to be researched first by asking people questions and iterate the shit out of it. I strongly believe that my roots and the fast changing environment helped me to become a thoughtful and adaptive designer. The Restaurant Seerose today is still a vibrant place for having dinner and meeting people, despite everything around had changed dramatically. Fast changing environments is what I learned to live with. Getting used to something means getting comfortable and eventually living with it. The longer we live comfortable the harder it gets to break out and try something new. Either at work or at life in general.
From there to me
I must admit that I don’t really care about the overall hiring criteria of the HR department. I don’t even like the term Human Resources. It’s a terrible way to address people. Let’s just say that real peace comes from the inner mind of every single one of us, and that is what really shapes the overall experience inside a company. That being said, I want to introduce you to who I am and what I do.
I started designing Interfaces and everything that has to do with it 6 years ago. Before that my work focused on editorial design, namely newspapers and magazines. Throughout the last couple of years I helped several startup companies to realize their interfaces and also worked for big companies building better user experience either in one of their tools or professional software. I also had the pleasure to work with IXDS and Intuity on very interesting projects. Together with the Interaction Design Lab of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam I did some research work for a project called: Safer and Secure European Routing. In some of my free weekends I attended several Hackathons and helped developers fulfill their goals. As diverse as it seems, all my work has one thing in common: i could identify myself with the product or service. This is why I put my effort and love into it.
I somehow got into design research. It’s fun to find insights that might lead to great ideas or products with the combined methods of standard research tools and design methods. Together with the Urban Complexity Lab I did some research on information design for maps. This project got international attention by showcasing it at the Habitat III conference in Quito Ecuador. The UN updates the New Urban Agenda and among many other important issues regarding the development of urban areas around the globe there is a growing interest in making the world more inclusive by design. This project is called AIM (Accessible Information Mapping) and stems from a team effort driven project with two other students at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam. We were proud to hear that this project even got a cityvis award in the category student. I recently talked about this project at the re:publica 17. I think everyone should at least know of the challenges we face as humans in the 21st century. It’s even more awesome to actually do something.
Being creative doesn’t stop when I leave my studio. With my VLOG on Youtube I try to sum up important parts of my life and I also use photographies and Instagram to express myself. In my humble opinion generating output every day is definitely a principle worth striving for. When it sucks you’ll get feedback without reluctance and this will make you better eventually. As a designer and a person in general.
But wait! I am much more than my work. I am a person with motivation and intentions. Like every other person I try to have a balanced and happy life. For me it’s being outside that helps me manage everything. Hiking, climbing, running, swimming, playing and basically everything that has to do with some sort of movement. This creates experiences and memories which last for the rest of my life and keeps me sane when the work is giving me a hard time.
A product for people..
We have good reasons to ask and listen to people. Designing products should always start with the why. Finding the real intention of people is one of the most important first steps to eventually meet their motivations and helping them reach their goals. Why did Instagram become so popular? It works very close to the initial intention of the people's needs and motivations. I want to share some of my moments with others. Additionally I slip in some nice filters to make sure everyone gets the idea of my mood. Read the bold text as the initial intentions that Instagram fulfills in an extremely easy and fast way. The italic formatted text is what adds to the experience and brings the love. People are now proud of their pictures and are more likely to share it with the world. To make it perfect: contributing to a system means spending time and effort which eventually leads to valuing a product much more.
This is maybe not an ideal blueprint for great product design. But it can help to understand why we love some products over others. The designers managed to keep in mind what the initial intention of the people is. Diversity also plays an important role in everyday design. I always try to look at frictions from different points of view and evaluate them with different groups of people with their needs in mind.
To roundup this read: with this little experiment I have tried to create an image of me and my work. Where my focus as a designer lies and what my motivations are. Now let’s have a coffee and talk.
I work as an Interface and Interaction Designer in Potsdam and Berlin. My tools of choice are Pen & Paper, Keynote, Sketch, HTML/CSS, Principle, Camera, Phone . You can call me Seb.
Online Portfolio: sebastianrauer.com (Unfortunately active NDAs are giving me a hard time showing some of my recent work)