Never the Same Thing Twice
Our designers never do one type of project and that’s just the nature of the space we’re in. It can be exciting for designers who are comfortable with change and like having irons in more than a few fires.
The designers who work at Moment are tasked with some of the biggest challenges in a wide variety of exciting industries like finance, healthcare, media, and entertainment. We work hard to deliver great work in these industries and are fortunate to be able to switch between projects, almost seamlessly.
One might guess that we hire designers who are experts in each separate industry in order to match our clients’ demand. While we do look to hire designers who might have experience in our target industries, we mostly look for them to be equipped to take on any challenge.
“We actively seek designers from varied backgrounds to enrich our way of thinking about the work we do.”–Alexa Curtis & John Payne
Skills and Core Disciplines
When it comes to designers’ skills, we’re not here to keep the generalist vs. specialist debate going — there’s no shortage of Medium posts touting the benefits of well-rounded designers, sometimes also known as “T-shaped” — instead we’ll talk more about how working on a wide range of projects in different industries keeps our designers’ skills sharp and contributes to their well-rounded nature. (By the way, you can find some of those posts on well-rounded designers here, here, and here.)
Because we don’t let our designers design themselves into a corner (“Hey, you came from an editorial design background, you’re only going to work on those types of projects.”), it allows for them to grow, learn, and become better. The more exposure to a variety of projects ultimately makes Moment’s output stronger.
So how do we make that happen? When designers start at Moment, they create a designer profile that maps their strengths within seven core disciplines: research and insights, product strategy, interface architecture, visual systems, client experience, process leadership, and engagement management. The scale ranges from “I won’t deliver this well, but I’d like to learn how” to “I am a leader in this discipline” with “I will be self-directed and do excellent work” falling somewhere in the middle. Below you’ll see a sample Moment designer profile.
As designers work on projects, they continually assess their proficiency in these seven core disciplines with their mentors and leaders at Moment. This helps each designer track their professional growth. When it comes to matching the right designers with the right projects, we use a similar matrix to map the needs of a project. If it’s heavy on product strategy and visual systems, we make sure designers that fit that profile work on the project. If there’s a designer that wants to grow in certain areas and if a project allows, we staff someone who is able to provide mentorship and guidance on the project. Again, this has allowed our designers’ skill sets to grow in these disciplines and makes us stronger as a company. When you have designers who are able to lead and help their colleagues level-up, it makes everyone and everything we do better.
We’ve talked before about how we like to hire designers from a wide range of backgrounds because it gives us a depth and breadth of perspectives.
For example, lead designer, Courtney Heffernan’s background in social psychology and branding makes her a strong interface architecture and visual systems designer adept at tackling complex user problems. Prior to Moment, she was the interactive director at a branding firm where there was a strong focus on concept and story and where she honed her traditional graphic design skills like typography and grid. This diverse background makes Courtney an excellent designer across multiple industries. For example, in professional finance where attention to detail and data accuracy are extremely important, or media where the storytelling needs to shine above the design itself.
Another one of our designers, Rachael McCarthy has a degree in graphic design and a strong background in visual systems and UX design thinking from her time spent on National Geographic’s digital publishing team.
“My first project at Moment for an e-commerce/digital product company required me to rely on my graphic design chops to help my team deliver a great experience across six platforms. In comparison to projects I’ve worked on since, it had a heavier focus on visual design. I trusted my skills in this area while striving to gain more familiarity and experience with consulting, an area I didn’t have a lot of experience in at the time,” said Rachael. That additional familiarity and experience in consulting has helped her deliver on other projects she’s worked on at Moment like a visual design language audit for a personal banking site and a vision project that has her looking to create an interface framework to accommodate a complex data model for a new banking product.
There’s no shortage of exciting agencies, firms, and companies out there for designers to work at and hone their skills. In the case of Moment—and similar design firms and studios—we work in an array of industries including professional and consumer finance, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, real estate, VR, and the list continues to grow. We’ve been lucky to find and hire talented designers who are open, equipped, and excited to go from project to project in different areas.
“The industries that Moment works in specifically interest me because of their complexity and the opportunities (and necessity) for those spaces to drastically change in the coming years. This wasn’t necessarily something that I was looking for, but moving from an in-house team to a firm that dabbles in a lot of different things — I’m constantly being challenged and learning new things. It keeps me on my toes, which I like,” said Rachael
For Courtney, it’s not just Moment’s industry focus that attracted her to the company. Instead she’s interested in the complexity of problems that come along with them. “I think when I was applying [for a position at Moment] I was particularly interested in the consumer work that Moment was doing for Bloomberg because I was interested in editorial design and how that was changing as it became more and more digital. I also like that Moment works with organizations that touch larger audiences, solves problems that might affect the quality of someone’s life (healthcare), or might solve a workflow issue that someone faces everyday at work (finance).”
Collaborating with any number of clients on projects during a designer’s tenure at Moment is just part of the equation when it comes to contributing to their well-roundedness. Their talents, passions, backgrounds, and intelligence contribute just as much, if not more. Moment’s CEO, Brendan Reynolds agrees, “I recently read that you may be able to buy a person’s time with a paycheck. But their genius, passion and loyalty must be volunteered — and that’s where our potential lies, not simply in our time, but the commitment of our full, diverse, collective talents in pursuit of Moment’s full potential.”
The Challenging Work We Do
Is it easy to be a designer at Moment? If you polled all of our employees, you’d probably hear a resounding “NO.” We’re not interested in taking on easy problems. We love jumping over complex design hurdles and we’ll continue to work with and hire designers that are excited by that too.
“Every project brings vastly different constraints,” said Courtney. “I think that the variety of projects I’ve been on at Moment have taught me to:
- Stay nimble and use what tools are appropriate for the problem at hand.
- Ask more questions to uncover what the problems are rather than reacting to constraints.
- Be comfortable with ambiguity.”
It can be really hard finishing a project, say in personal finance, and then switch gears and ramp up for a project in consumer package goods. With that difficulty comes a benefit in the form of being able to bring insight from different industries to new projects.
“A big part of our job is becoming immersed in the particular industry we are working in, so we can create smarter, more appropriate solutions. Through all the projects I work on, I get a tiny glimpse into other industries and get to solve problems for them. So, not only do I get to grow in my own area of expertise, but also in theirs — it always keeps the work interesting and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job,” said Courtney.
Other firms and studios might hone in on one or two specific industries because that’s what they’re familiar with or good at. At Moment, we’re great at fixing problems, period. Do we like working in finance? Yes. Do we like collaborating on the vision of a new media brand? Absolutely. Do we like advocating for patients for a better healthcare system? You bet. As long as there are complex issues and problems to design for, we’ll continue to solve them, no matter the industry.
If all of this sounds interesting, we’d love to hear from you. We’re hiring.
At Moment, our core values (Openness, Collaboration, and Empathy) are just that; the principles we hold at our core…medium.com
At other design firms and studios—and more often at advertising agencies—project teams can sometimes look like small…medium.com