I wanted to be an actor and became a designer

Our designer Kai is telling us how he became a designer and what he thinks about his time with us here at diesdas.digital.

Maria Gebhardt
Mar 12 · 5 min read

Our Meet the Team series is starting with a farewell. Kai joined diesdas.digital back in 2017 (actually his first proper job) and he has been an integral part of our design team ever since. Unfortunately, he decided to venture out into the world and left us with the start of February. But before he left, we wanted some questions answered.

Back at the beginning of his time with us.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Holy shit!… An actor! I even applied to drama schools, and it almost happened. I did an internship at a theatre — I practically lived in the theatre for month. It was an interesting time, but also a big part of the reason I finally decided against it. It wasn’t the lifestyle I imagined after all.

So what happened next?

I studied Media Design at the Hof University of Applied Science. There are so many people in the design community, that apparently always wanted to be a designer — it wasn’t like that for me at all. I was more like, “ok, let’s see what happens”. And the first two semesters really weren’t that exciting and I was already wondering again if this actually was for me. Design is not necessarily the job you can have a great career in, the market is too saturated. But then everything worked out pretty well. I decided for a rather small agency. Of course, I also applied to big agencies, and even got accepted, but to be honest, the payment would have been extremely poorly for an intern. They felt kind of a joke compared to diesdas.digital. Here I got at least 800 € per month for my mandatory internship during my studies. (Side note: The wage for interns was since raised to minimum wage.)

You ended up with us through an internship?

Exactly. I did my mandatory internship, which I had to be doing during my studies, here at diesdas.digital. This was back in 2017. I kept on working as a student employee while I finished my studies. And I came back as a full-time employee in February 2019.

What will you miss the most?

Probably the culture here. It felt like family, everyone was really close together. And the sessions in “Zum Elefanten”, it just didn’t feel like work anymore. (Side note: “Zum Elefanten” is a pub just around the corner from the office, making it the local of some employees — before Corona that is.)

Is there any moment or experience you’ll always remember?

Um, there are actually quite a few funny moments. One really special moment has been at the workshop for GIZ (the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), where I have been standing in front of the wall for what felt like 8 hours, like a maniac trying to sort through all the papers we had been given. These papers had been scattered all over the floor and I tried to built a timeline of instruments and objectives of the Agripolicy-Kit. This was quite a big moment for me work-wise.

In general there have been lots of funny things. I still remember our unplugged parties very visually — our very own DJ Turbojürgen (Side note: aka Lars, our CEO) on the turntable. That was awesome. These parties have been super cool, a big part of diesdas.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned here?

I have to wrap this up nicely somehow… Here at diesdas, I think basically it was being independent. I mean working autonomously and independently handling projects. This was difficult sometimes, but it also created a lot of opportunities. I’ve been working with clients basically from the start; the trust in me was very high. That was a pretty cool thing, and made me learn a lot.

Favourite Tool?

Figma! One hundred percent Figma!

What could have been better during your time here?

I often didn’t scrutinise, but simply followed. May it be in design as well as giving contra in general. Especially in the beginning, I questioned things way too little. That would certainly have led to a better outcome in the end, be it with projects or other things. Just challenge, it actually works pretty fine here at diesdas. But as I said, I just didn’t do it.

Was there someone at diesdas, who inspired you?

That’s a bit awkward, but I guess Brent (Side note: our design lead). Yeah, totally Brent. In the sense, that I just learned a lot from him. Not sure if this was inspiration, but if I had to pick someone, then it would definitely be Brent.

Oh wait, Harry! One hundred percent Harry! I learned so much from him. In other ways. Not professionally, as we’re not in the same field, but as a human being. (Side note: Harry is one of our founding partners)

Do you have a general Hero?

Actually I am against heroic figures, that you take as role models. I don’t have one and I’m not that much of a fan of this habit either. There are some people, who take design rock stars like Erik Spiekermann or someone like that as a role model. I don’t. I guess that’s probably also, because it was never really my goal to become a designer in the first place and it just happened that way for me.

What are your plans for the future?

I decided to take a big step and move to Switzerland. I accepted a job at a big company there. I wanted something new, get out of the agency world and work directly for one company.

At the close of our little interview we’ll get a bit philosophical. I’m asking you for “one sentence to be passed on to the next generation” of Designers, if all information was lost.

Don’t take your job too seriously.

This picture was actually taken on Kai’s last day with us, right in front of our office.

Little did we know, what raw diamond we had in front of us, when Kai started as an intern for us in September 2017. He was only 21 years old! But that really didn’t show; during his time with us, he quickly became known for his elaborate design, empathetic dealing with clients and keeping up the team spirit! We certainly could rely on him.

After 3.5 years with us, it’s time to say good bye. We’re wishing him all the best and loads of success, but still: We’ll miss you, Kai!

diesdas.digital is a studio for strategy, design and code in Berlin, featuring a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and strategists. We create tailor-made digital solutions with an agile mindset and a smile on our faces. Let’s work together!

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