The String and Key Crew: Erica Buki
As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Erica Buki.
Company Role: Graphic Designer
Most likely to: Talk to a random dog on the street
Secret talent: Great at activities that people do when they retire
As a native New Yorker by way of Long Island, our talented designer spent many summers as a kid at sleep away camp dreaming of becoming an artist. After graduating from Binghamton University with a B.A. in graphic design, she got her feet wet in basic code working in front-end development. Then the city that never sleeps called her name, and she came to Manhattan to pursue her master’s in packaging design at Pratt Institute. There she learned about branding and how to be a better designer. She continued securing the bag as an in-house designer for a marketing department and started to battle between wanting to work in print or digital design. Luckily, being a jack of all trades led her to apply at String and Key, and she became part of the team in January of 2021.
Let’s get to know a little bit about Erica and her love of Pickleball, among other things.
What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
I work in the art department as a graphic designer. Three days a week, the team has a stand-up meeting where we discuss what we’re working on or address any concerns. Each day is different; one day I’m working on concepts for a marketing campaign, animating a logo, or coming up with an emoji for everyone in the office.
What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
I like how they encourage growth. When I’m interested in something, I will communicate it to someone on the team and they will help me with whatever it is, whether it’s looking for books or articles to read or taking classes.
What excites you about your job?
To see what direction my role goes in as it grows. As String and Key grows and changes so do my projects, and that requires that I’m more fluid with my process and what I’m working on. It makes it so that I’m a generalist, but it also pushes me out of my comfort zone. The first month I was here, I worked on an illustration project, even though I have no background in illustration. It was fun and scary, and it made me take a step back and figure out how to complete the work. Once I did figure it out, I felt a real sense of accomplishment!
What do you find most challenging about your role?
It’s actually a positive thing. I’m not micromanaged, which is the dream, but it also makes me have to be more responsible. It makes me stay on top of tasks and deadlines, and that can get tricky as I get busier.
What are the values that drive you?
Curiosity and also feeling proud of the work that the team and I produce. I want to reach the best solution possible with what I work on and make people happy and proud. I like it here, and I want my work to be a reflection of the support they give me.
How do you stay on top of your game?
Doing a lot of reading! There’s this one blog I really like that highlights the different new rebrands of the world, and what the general consensus is on those. I also like to use LinkedIn as a place to find interesting articles to see what’s going on not only in the design industry, but also with other businesses. I’ve also been reading a bunch of design books to help guide my artistic decisions.
What drew you to tech and what excites you about the industry?
I’ve always loved tech because it comes with problem-solving or a goal I want to achieve. I have to take a step back and figure out how to get to the solution. That can be anything from trying to save a file that’s not working or creating something in Photoshop, where I have a final vision and then trying to figure out how to get there. There are a lot of different things most people won’t consider when thinking about art and technology. I also know that’s where the future is headed and where the jobs are, and I want to be a part of that. If I had known how art and technology could be used together, I would’ve gotten on this career path sooner.
What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — that you’ve learned in the last month?
If we could back it up like six months, I have a good one. I’ve learned a lot about Pickleball. It’s a sport named after the inventor’s dog, Pickle. It’s basically tennis for older people. The court is smaller than a tennis court, and you always play two-on-two with a ping-pong ball and a paddle. It’s been really fun to learn how to play!
If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
Honestly, I would love to do a day in everyone’s shoes. Though if I really had to pick, it would be Tahina who is our People Experience Specialist because she does great things that seem like they’d be really fun and rewarding. Also, though I don’t know enough about code, I’d also love to be a developer.
What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
I spent a lot of my time during quarantine learning how to play bridge. It’s a really complicated game, but because I spent so much time learning it, I could definitely give a one-hour presentation on the basics of bridge. I could also give a presentation on Harry Potter, which I’m very well versed in.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Normally, during non-Covid times, I like hanging out with friends. I also do some athletic things like play softball, ski, and of course play Pickleball. Otherwise, I like to do other types of art like painting or shooting videos with my GoPro for my friends and family.
Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
#Quirky #Curious #Dog-lover #Funny #Creative
Phone call or text?
Eggs or toast?
Facebook or Twitter?
Ice cream cone or snow cone?
Ice cream cone.
Music or audiobooks?
Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!