My first year as a designer in a startup

Atharva Patil
UX in India
Published in
3 min readSep 3, 2015


Last month I completed a year as a UX designer at, a startup in Bangalore. My journey began as a young Mechanical Engineering Graduate who knew bits and pieces of Photoshop and had designed poster and flyers for college events.

With high hopes from the blissful unknown of a startup's journey I started my journey as a designer, and a year later here I am a little wiser than I was a year ago.

I learnt a few things over the year which have helped me become a better designer than I was a year ago. Without any further ado here they are:


You may be familiar to the quote by Picasso,

“Good artists copy great artists steal”

Understanding the difference in between copying and stealing was possibly one of my first revelations to becoming a better designer. As the workload in startup kept piling it was sometimes unavoidable to copy a sliver of someone else's imagination to get things done.

But simply copying someone else's solution will not necessarily solve the problem in hand. The solution was devised for a particular problem the designer was facing. If the idea is copied without understanding its crux, it is as good as killing a good design. But on the other hand if the design is understood, analysed and then stolen with the appropriate changes it can add much more value than the sum of parts.


The two basic building blocks of a modern day product development. It is no secret that both disciplines have a discourse with each others methods.

The role of a modern day designer has evolved to be more holistic. The designer is expected to understand technology and Engineers design. Nurturing a good dialogue in between design and technology is the way to go.

We at understood the importance of this and got rid of the traditional isolation between design and technology. We modified it to a designer coming up with a concept and discussing the technical feasibility of the solution from a practical standpoint. Whether the proposed solution was actually feasible technologically or with the limited resources in hand.

An open dialogue between designers and engineers saves time and fosters a good work culture.


There’s no point in designing something that is useful or pretty if you can't convince people the merits of your design.

Presenting a design to colleagues in form images or interactions is not enough. The audience is a mixture of stakeholders, most of whom do not understand design the same way you do. Most of the time they don’t know what is the problem you are trying to solve.

Giving the design a personality and rationality while selling is helpful in convincing the stakeholders with design solutions. Telling them about the specific such as;

“the use of stark colors to highlight the call to action button which was not getting enough engagement in the previous design, the goal is to engage users with the particular call to action”

helps them understand your design better. Walking them through your design process and the rationality behind the designs makes it easy for them to connect to your designs and give better feedback.