How to Have an Awesome Career in Design — Insights from Design Director of SPOTIFY Christian Wilsson

Christian shares with Squelo what inspires him and his formula for success.

Christian Wilsson has worked in design for the last 15 years and for the last 6 years at Spotify. Before joining Spotify he ran his own production agency for 2 years and prior to that he was part of the founding crew at Stardoll where he also met Daniel Ek. He now runs a team of 7 designers in Stockholm & New York.

What does your day as a Design Director at Spotify look like?

If I’m not traveling, the day usually starts in our Stockholm HQ with a team stand up in which we go through what happened yesterday, what the goals of the day are and whether someone needs support on a project. Then there’s usually more meetings/design reviews/one-on-ones and syncs with various people. There’s also a couple of interviews every week with people who our recruiters pass on for the roles we’re hiring for. There used to be a lot of email to answer as well, but ever since we moved over to Slack it’s been declining which is really nice, since it frees up a lot of time for me and the team to do the craft we love.

How and when did you find your passion for design?

I was always painting growing up so that has been a passion of mine for a very long time, but I wasn’t aware of design and the fact that it was possible to work as a designer (I grew up in a very small blue collar city in Sweden) until I was about (maybe) 14 years old and did an internship at an ad-agency where my aunt worked. After that I was completely hooked and knew that this was what I should be doing when I got older. From there on I made sure that the classes I took were all helping me to achieve that goal and finally I got the job I was searching for.

Where do you find your inspirations for new branding & marketing efforts?

For the rebranding we did more than a year ago, the inspiration came from music and the culture/creativity that surrounds it. We took a really deep dive into the visual history of music together with Collins (an awesome design agency in New York) and we landed somewhere super nice I think. For our marketing efforts we’ve moved into a place where we now use a lot of our data as inspiration when we build and tell stories that are relevant to the group of people we want to recruit to our service. Personally, I do a lot of running, read blogs, follow interesting people on Instagram and Twitter and listen to a ton of music. Hanging out with my kids is also a good way to get inspired.

What does it take to get where you are today?

Some talent to begin with + a good size network of people that can help you with contacts + timing and little bit of luck.

What 3 pieces of career advice would you tell your younger-self?

Learn as much as you can while in school, don’t ever skip class and don’t grow up.

What’s your personal goal for 2016?

Would love to learn how to do a proper Eggs Benedict. Poached eggs are hard to get perfect!

Connect with Christian on Squelo.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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