How Being a Sushi Chef Influenced My Design Career

Rob Ignasiak draws parallels between his humble beginnings as a Sushi Chef to his current career as a UI & Motion Designer.

Robert Ignasiak
Aug 23, 2017 · 7 min read
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Roll With the Flow

Like many artistic trades, there are countless ways to approach both design and making sushi. Whether you’re stepping into the kitchen or behind the screen, what you learn almost immediately is that developing the best workflow usually gets the fastest and most consistent results. Seems like common sense, but let’s dive in deeper.

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More Than a Pretty Plate

No matter where you go, sushi is meant to look visually appealing. Even grocery store sushi has some form of symmetry and consistency. I always loved plating the individual pieces and giving life to them. Much like digital assets, the ‘fish assets’ must be multi-purposed. Turns out, a beautiful plate of sushi also follows many of the same rules as well-designed site; It can’t just be pretty, it has to be functional.

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Lobster Mango Roll
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Crafting Combos

It’s safe to assume a lot of people have had a tuna roll at least once in their lives. It’s one of the most frequently ordered rolls (save the California) in sushi restaurants around the world. It’s a simple recipe — nori, rice, tuna and green onion. This combo is classic, the green onions having a mild bite that pairs well with the neutrality of tuna.

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Omakase with Pairings
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www.costanoavc.com via Dribbble

Becoming O-fish-al

As an intern who transitioned to a UI and Motion Designer at PRPL, I’ve learned that — much like in my sushi apprenticeship — you have to start small and move up. While I was still fresh to the kitchen, my responsibilities were cutting vegetables and making rice. Similarly, when I started in design, I began by creating email templates, small print materials, and presentation decks. After months of hard work, I was given the opportunity to design wearable interfaces for global brands, and have since been able to carve my own path in UI and motion design. But in both instances, it was only after I proved my capabilities with the smaller tasks that I was able to graduate to larger assignments, building on the lessons learned from before.

A World of Inspiration

As a designer, you get used to finding inspiration anywhere and everywhere, and usually in the most unexpected places. As it turns out, my design mentor was a former sushi chef as well, which helped me find some common ground when stepping into this new career. I am thankful to my talented and patient mentors from both worlds who have made me who I am today. The lesson for you is to always keep your eye out for new ideas, and adapt your knowledge to the situation at hand. You never know when those skills from your old grind will come in handy.

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2014
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2017

Purple, Rock, Scissors

Our digital economy runs on results.

Robert Ignasiak

Written by

UI Motion and Motion Designer @PurpleRockScissors

Purple, Rock, Scissors

Our digital economy runs on results. We believe in goal-driven design, pinpointing the intersection between business goals, user goals, and the products designed to bring them together.

Robert Ignasiak

Written by

UI Motion and Motion Designer @PurpleRockScissors

Purple, Rock, Scissors

Our digital economy runs on results. We believe in goal-driven design, pinpointing the intersection between business goals, user goals, and the products designed to bring them together.

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