This week it’s all about design in our first #DesignTalk — find out how our designers chose their current career, what inspires them most and just how ‘arty’ you need to be to be a designer. (Hint: not very ‘arty’ at all)
For the very first #DesignTalk we interview Jessica, who has been a carwow designer here for nearly two years! Find out how she became a designer, her favourite tools and her biggest inspirations.
How did you start your journey as a designer?
It started as a hobby. Since I was a little child I’ve always been into drawing and actually wanted to become a comic artist. I thought about going to Japan, learning Japanese and then becoming a famous manga artist. Many years later, I eventually ended up studying Japanese at university and living there for 3 months.
After graduating from university, I had the opportunity to design the interface for a Japanese Grammar Dictionary application that my boyfriend developed. It was during that time that I discovered that design was more than just making nice stuff. Before that moment, I’ve always thought that design was pure art, and that’s when I decided to study to learn more about it. While studying, I started freelancing and I eventually got my first job in Germany for a very-early age start up. It was really a good experience and I learned so much. After that experience, I decided to move to London as it is considered the home of the best European startups.
How did you learn to design?
I’m a self-taught designer, so all my knowledge comes from my passion and from all the books I’ve read, on-line courses, podcasts, lots of research on Google, tutorials on Youtube, and practise, practise, practise!
I have also to admit that most of the stuff I know, I learned during my first job. In the team I was working on, there were two really senior designers and they taught me a lot. One of them in particular, Clemens (Head of Brand), could be considered as my first mentor. I’ll never forget how patient he was whenever I asked him to explain new concepts and how he always encouraged me to push my limits and think outside of the box. I honestly think that, if you’re lucky enough to work with very experienced and inspiring people, you can benefit a lot and learn quicker.
Right now, at carwow, Ragnar is the person I look up to. He is the designer I’d wish to become. He is self-taught like me. And to add to that, he is also a self-taught coder!
Can you briefly describe your design process?
The most important thing about design is that it involves other people. Design is making sure that things work. Therefore, it’s important to involve everyone in your team. My team consists of developers, data people, and product managers. Together we decide why something needs to be done, how we should go about it and what should be built as a result. As a designer you simply can’t do all of this alone. We make better decisions to collaborate on what makes sense and how the page should look. It’s about collecting information and insights from different people and translating that into a design.
What are the main tools you use?
- Pen and paper(!)
- App called Sketch — used for wireframes, sketches, and the final layout
- Marvel — used for prototyping
- Zeplin — used to hand over the design to the developers (translating the design into code)
What’s a major aspect of your job that you think people might not expect?
There’s a common misconception that designers are artists, therefore if you’re not good at drawing, you can’t even become one. Most people don’t seem to understand that design is not about about pretty visuals, it’s about solving problems. Unlike art, aesthetic in design does not play the lead role, but instead supports the main purpose-functionality.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I basically look everywhere and take inspiration from real-life experiences. When needed, I go for a long walk. Of course I also go online (dribbble, pinterest) for visual inspiration.
And who are the people that inspire you?
- Julie Zhuo — https://medium.com/@joulee
- Meg Robichaud — https://dribbble.com/megdraws
- Geoff Teehan — https://twitter.com/gt
- Muzli — https://medium.com/@usemuzli
- Uxdesign.cc — https://medium.com/@uxdesigncc
- Google Design https://medium.com/google-design
How do you collaborate with developers?
I always make sure to make them aware of what I’m doing from the beginning so that they can start working on their parts. It’s important to involve them in the initial design process. This way, there will be no big surprises, and everything will be as flexible as possible. We need to understand each other, that’s the only way to make something good.
Read more about it in my last blog post: here! ←
Best 3 design books -
Personal website: http://jexyla.com/