HomeNewsInterviewing design interns at Facebook

Interviewing design interns at Facebook

uxdesign.cc – User Experience Design — Medium | Geunbae “GB” Lee

What their thoughts and experiences have been in the design field.

Asking questions about their experiences getting into the design field: How did you get into design? What is design to you? How do you stay inspired or motivated? What are some of the tools you use? What would you say to students in design like you?

Several of the former Product Design Interns at Facebook (Summer of 2017) were happy to share their personal experiences and thoughts. Hopefully, this article helps those who are just getting into design. Special thanks to Amanda, Daniel, Katherine, Rohan, Ally, Jane, Eric, Robyn, Hunter, Yifei and Ishaan for your time and participation!

*This is not representative of all the former Summer 2017 Interns, just several who were willing to share their personal experiences. And this is NOT about their internship projects. It’s only to utilize Medium as a place to share their thoughts and experiences to other people about design.

Amanda Hum

Degree Pursuing

B.S in Industrial Design at Carleton University

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedInFacebook

How did you get into design?

My mother and father were both artistically talented sometime during their youth. My older sister was probably the main inspiration and reason why I first became aware of design. She studied at a graphic design school and worked at Google as a product design intern and soon after at Facebook as a product design intern turned full time designer. I would say that she was definitely a big influence and reason for why I became interested in design. You could say it was a “following in her footsteps” type of scenario. 
During my time in high school in my senior years, I was trying to figure out who I was and was trying to find what I was passionate about. Naturally, I am a very observant and curious person. I have a highly detailed-oriented mindset and I am always questioning how things work or how they’re made. The minute details that I find in the things around me provokes me to discover more about it or to do research on it. I find myself dissecting objects and figuring out different configurations or ways to make them better or to have them serve other functions. I also feel that I am also an empathetic person, so I am cognizant of the feelings and emotions of the people around me. 
In terms of the things I was learning in school, I knew I wasn’t very interested or talented academically but I really enjoyed and did well in my art electives (this is where my family artsy genes kicked in.) I took classes like visual arts, technological design and photography. Soon after I realized that all these courses had one thing in common: design. I liked participating in these courses because it allowed me to express my ideas visually and allow for a way for me to creatively work with my hands. I developed a passion for design because it combined aesthetics, functionality and usability. I eventually developed a passion for design and began to pursue it head first. Following high school, I knew I wanted to go into design and was eventually admitted to an industrial design program and have loved it ever since.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

The user is at the forefront of design. The purpose of design is to create experiences, products, services and systems to bring value to people’s lives. Design is interdisciplinary and considers different aspects of the world. Applied science, psychology, art, engineering and communication are all factors that can come into play when thinking about design. To me, design can be seen in many different perspectives. It can be seen or expressed visually, physically, emotionally, psychologically and abstractly. Design is an iterative process of conceptualization, ideas, interactions, systems, interfaces, people, places, services and more. It considers aesthetics, functions, usability, ergonomics and economics. Everything in the world needs to be designed to a certain degree, and this calls for considerable research, thought, adjustments, reiterations and often times redesign.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

Inspiration and motivation can sometimes be hard to come by when designing. Stressful deadlines can affect output negatively at times. In times like these, I would step away from the computer screen to take a walk or read a book. In times like these, inspiration comes to me easier than trying to force an idea while under pressure. Breaks like these are necessary for me because I can become blocked if I think about an idea constantly. Hobbies are also a great way to stay inspired. I love video games, piano, and cooking because it allows me to be have fun and be creative in other ways. 
My motivation can be stunted when I’m under stress so I try and meditate or exercise to get my mind thinking about other things. When I come back to designing, I have a fresher mindset and a new sense of inspiration.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

As an industrial designers, I mostly deal with 3D CAD software. This includes Solidworks, Rhinoceros and Keyshot. As a product or UI/UX designer, I use tools like Sketch, Figma, Origami, Principle, InVision, Keynote, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign to name a few.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I’d would really like to get into 3D motion graphics or animation some day. Because I have a background in industrial design, which deals with 3D objects in space, I think this would be a unique challenge for me to undertake. 
I am a really big video gamer so game design, character concepts or character modeling would also be a really cool thing to learn.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself pursuing the career path as a product designer. My long term goals would involve working and growing with a company where I can continue to learn new things, take on more challenging and complex responsibilities, and to contribute as much value as I can. I would want to work on something that can bring meaningful value to people’s lives. I would love to work somewhere I can have ownership in what I work on and to have a voice within the company.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

I would say, try not to have a one track mind when you’re in design school. Design is interdisciplinary field and being in a design program doesn’t mean you have to work in that specific field of design (ex. going to graphic design school to become a graphic designer.) Design can lead to so many new opportunities and its up to you to discover and pursue what you feel passionate about.

Daniel Park

Degree Pursuing

BBA in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram

How did you get into design?

I started my design career in architecture. After graduating high school, I went to pursue a degree in architecture at the University of Toronto but after one year I dropped out because my mentor at the time told me “Daniel, if you are willing to slave away for 8 years at school and another 8 years designing toilets with a bleeding nose and still smile through the entire process, continue in this field”. This was supposed to be encouraging, but I was not down to spend 16 years of my life doing something that I wouldn’t love doing. After my brief sprint in architecture, I went to an institute to pursue graphic design — I dropped out again. Except this time I switched into a different major which was the web design program. This was around 2013, so the web hype train was just picking up steam (Adobe flash was still a thing). From there I liked what I was doing and found out what kind of design I wanted to continue doing.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

Design is such a broad term that you can define design as anything you want it to be. At this particular moment, design is a means for me to do the thing I love. The type of design that I’m most interested about is product design in the digital space. In that space, design is about creating the most elegant and useful solutions for end users much like how furniture designers design their products. The type of design I want to go into next is creating experiences for people to enjoy and have fun with.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

In my life there are things that I “have” to do and things that I “want” to do. Right now, design is at the intersection of these two extremes so I’m fortunate and blessed to be in this industry. As a result, I’m always motivated and inspired by what other people are creating. Recently, I’ve been into brutalistwebsites.com. In order to stay motivated I keep asking my peers on how to become unstuck whenever I become stuck. As a designer you’ll always reach a point where you can’t move forward, and talking to other people is how I unblock myself.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

I mainly use Sketch and Origami to design and prototype. For higher fidelity prototypes, I might code something in HTML/CSS/JS in order to make the prototype as close to the final product.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

Physical computation is on my mind. The way that the digital and physical worlds can interact together in order to create fun, exciting, but meaningless experiences is what gets me excited. In order to learn, I’m in the process of building a couple of LED/web projects. I’m also trying to learn how to produce music because I see in the near future a connection between physical computation and sound.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

In 5 years I hope to start an art studio that focuses on physical/digital experiences. The things that Dave & Gabe do is the type of work that I want to do in the future.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

Don’t just be a T-shaped designer, but aspire to be a T-shaped human — seek out experiences outside of your career path, learn new skills, and pursue hobbies that are not related to your field. Learning and doing activities outside the realm of your job is how you can reward yourself and keep the passion flowing.

Katherine Liu

Degree Pursuing

Bachelor’s in Symbolic Systems with Concentration in HCI at Stanford University

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram

How did you get into design?

I found my way into design through a very serendipitous route — I’ve always loved art and building stuff with my hands since I was a kid, but it was never more than something I just did for fun on the weekends. In high school, my friends and I discovered that our school computers had Photoshop and Illustrator installed on them, and we used to go to the library and make all sorts of wacky and terrible illustrations. I started making posters for club events and getting into graphic design, but by the end of high school I was still pretty convinced that I wanted to go the pre-med track and apply to a bunch of medical programs for college. 
Sometime around college application season, I was doing some deep thinking about what I really wanted to do on a daily basis for the rest of my life — and it made me really sad that I was basically going to relinquish the feeling of just… making things. I think I realized that I didn’t actually want to go to medical school — I’m still passionate about the healthcare space, but I wanted to help people in a different way. Around the same time, I was starting to learn about this space called “product design” and how it combined strategy, problem-solving, talking to people, and (for now) visual communication — I was totally entranced, and decided that that was what I wanted to pursue. Through some lucky aligning of the stars, I got to spend a summer doing my first design internship and learning a whole lot through making a ton of mistakes. And since then, it’s just been a lot of growing through talking with other designers, doing design work in lots of different areas, and trying to push forward with my own passion projects!

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

I think design is all about intentionality — a lot of it is about solving problems in a more strategic way than people might usually think. That’s how I like to think about the difference between art and design when people tell me that they’re not artistic enough to be a designer. Art is meant to be interpreted in many different ways by many different people, while a design is really meant to elicit an intended interpretation or reaction. For example, an art piece might make you ask questions, while a piece of design might provide the answers — think about the different feelings you get when you’re in a modern art museum that’s raising a lot of questions and conversations, versus when you’re trying to navigate somewhere using a piece of technology.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

I think going to work is actually a great motivator — if there are tons of smart people around you, there are so many chances to learn that it’s hard to be bored! In terms of my own side projects, I know that I’m the kind of person who has a hundred ideas running around my mind at any moment, and I love starting new things. I’m beginning to keep myself accountable for finishing projects by getting other people involved — whether that’s through running a campaign in Kickstarter or promising to put new work up in a gallery by some deadline, I find that it’s much easier to hold myself to my ideas if I’m not the only person who’s invested in them.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

I’ve been fascinated by animation and film in general for quite a while, so I’m hoping to spend the next year or so taking a deeper dive into that world — I just love the interplay of sound and visuals, I think film has an immense power to move people.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

Pen and paper! I carry a notebook around with me everywhere to write down thoughts or silly observations, but that’s also where I do most of my ideation work for design. All the digital programs (Sketch, Photoshop, assorted prototyping tools) are just where I move my thoughts to make them higher fidelity — but the real thinking work happens on paper for me. It’s a lot faster and easier to move around your ideas, and it helps me be a little looser and riskier when coming up with solutions.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

Hopefully learning and working with smart people on things that I’m passionate about! I know this is a vague answer, but my journey so far has been shaped by all kinds of unexpected events and connections — so I’m a little disinclined to make very concrete predictions. There are so many huge and fascinating challenges out there, and doing work in any of those areas is really exciting to me.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

Build your passion projects on the side. Classes and extracurriculars don’t always fulfill your deeper interests, and building your own projects will give you the space and freedom to go as big or small as you want. More specifically, if there’s a story you want to tell, tell it! The world needs to hear more stories from all kinds of perspectives, and I think that design students have the chance to find unique new ways to share their stories and inspire others.

Rohan Kapoor

Degree Pursuing

B.S in Computer Science at UCLA

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedInFacebook

How did you get into design?

My dad came home one day talking about how he needed a simple website for his business to attract new customers. I, a curious freshman computer science major who didn’t know a single thing about web development at the time, volunteered to build it, hoping to save him the money he was planning to spend on a freelancer. He agreed and I began my work. Along the way, however, I found myself spending most of my time playing with type, thinking about the overall layout of the site, and just making sure everything on the screen was pixel perfect. Although the final launched site wasn’t amazing, I felt so fulfilled and accomplished because I made something all by myself and had a lot of fun along the way. At the time, I hadn’t realized that this was something I could form a career out of, so I placed it on the back burner and continued to pursue software engineering opportunities for the next two summers. However, after continuing to dabble in design and learn more about the field, I finally made the decision to shift gears and pursue it as a potential career opportunity.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

To me, design is really about solving problems. Whether it be designing legislation or designing a door handle, it’s an idea that can be applied to any industry (or at least every industry I can think of). As a digital product designer, I like to make sure that my design work is: 
Intentional: There should always be a good reason for why a design decision has been made
Invisible: You might have heard this idea before. The basic concept is that the user should never realize that the product was actually ever designed. He/she just uses it
Intuitive: This ties in with the last idea. I strive to minimize the amount of thinking on the users part when it comes to completing a task. He/she just does it
Accessible: This really just means that I strive to account for as many edge cases as possible. My work should always be easily usable by all of the intended users. And it starts with clearly defining who all of the intended users are. 

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

To be honest, staying motivated is something I’ve always had trouble with. I’m a fairly curious person, so I like to shift gears and move in a lot of different directions. Lately, I’ve also started to realize the lack of importance of motivation. I think it’s much more important to stay disciplined. I can’t say I have the secret trick to achieving this, but for me, it helps that product design is something I genuinely enjoy. So it makes staying disciplined a little bit easier. In terms of staying inspired, I’ve always had the most success by working with people who are far more skilled than I am. I learned more about product design during my three months at Facebook than I had ever before, simply because I was working alongside other designers who seemed to be lightyears ahead of me in skill.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

Usually I just use whatever tool I need to get the job done. I’d say that Sketch, Principle, HTML/CSS, and Javascript are sufficient enough for 90% of the work I do.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of my time learning how to perform more informative user research. I think learning how to effectively learn from your users is an incredibly powerful tool that is often times over looked by young designers.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

A couple years ago, I never would have guessed I’d be pursuing a career in product design. This might be a cop-out answer, but I really can’t say where I see myself in 5 years. I’m a fairly curious person and I like to dip my toes in a lot of different areas. In terms of product design, I do know that I am naturally drawn towards product thinking, product strategy, and interaction design. Whether it be still working as a product designer, starting my own company, or doing something completely different, I’d like to say that I’d be pursuing a career where I am utilizing those skills.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

Work on projects! That’s the only way that I was able to see major improvements in my skillset. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to work on a self started project or can’t think of an idea, put yourself in a position where you’re forced to do something. Whether it be joining a club or organization, or applying for something that requires you do a project for you application, the important thing is to just gain as much experience as possible. Also when it came to personal projects, I never concerned myself with the trendiest design tools. I just used whatever would get the job done in the most efficient way possible.

Ally Keller

Degree Pursuing

Bachelor’s in Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / Instagram

How did you get into design?

I think design was something off the beaten path for me if I’m being completely honest. It was something that I didn’t set off to really pursue, however after 3 colleges and 2 years of taking time off school I discovered design at an early stage e-commerce startup up where I was interning. I also owe a huge thank you to my teachers at General Assembly because the part-time course I had there ultimately pushed me to transfer to Parsons.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

That’s a challenging question because it’s heavily dependent on perspective. At a very high level, design is an art form and when I think about what design solves in the real world it’s complexities rely heavily on situational awareness. Think about a hardship or frustration that you experience daily, if you have ever imagined any type of solution than you already know first hand what design is about.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

When I’m really looking for inspiration I walk outside and look around at what’s happening directly in front of me. I love New York City for that reason, it gives me an opportunity to have exposure to every imaginable situation, every kind of person, and an absurd amount of architecture. Those are the things that I’ve found impactful so far in life. I’m a designer because I truly love to work with people and I find that the complexities within our behavior and body language provide a lot of insight into the every day struggle of being a regular person. I use that as inspiration when building a digital product, those observations and interactions help me to leave my ego at the door when it comes to design because for me the core of being a designer is about creating things for others.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

Interaction + Motion design have RADICALLY impacted the work that I’m doing right now. This type of design has been like discovering an entire new way to work, because it provides additional levels of complexity within design iterations. I’ve found myself really enjoying the iterative cycle of motion and love the complexities of designing for so many moving pieces, it adds a significant amount of scale and storytelling to a design.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I’ve been spending a lot of time designing hardware and using rapid prototyping tools throughout my time at Parsons. Imagine things like laser cutters, physical computation components, and VR headsets. I would love a way to connect more of my education with my professional work in digital product design and have been really interested in learning how to build a bridge between these things.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

Owning a jetski stand in Miami Beach… It’s weird and unconventional but it’s going to happen.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

Embrace a love for words, and don’t shy away from learning how to be an amazing writer. I think that there’s a lot of value in learning how to craft a story around the work you do, and confidence in this area comes from learning how to say what you mean and mean what you say. A designer’s work can be beautiful but it’s incredibly powerful when you can get inside the head of the person crafting the solution and narrative.

Jane Byon

Degree Pursuing

B.S in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation at University of Southern California

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / Instagram

How did you get into design?

Fine art has always been my "thing" ever since I was five when drawing was the only way to get me to sit still. So I knew I wanted to go into visual arts, but only really discovered design in 7th grade when my school offered an IGCSE Design Technology class. That's when I fell in love with industrial design and product design. What drew me in was the tangible immediate application of my ideas. I was no longer limited to just visual messages and communication through my fine art. Design to me was also like a logic puzzle, which was and always will be an obsession of mine. Plus, I find I'm much more creative when given constraints.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

I would define design as: finding problems and answering them with creative/smart solutions that people can get behind. It's about improving how we live, because design dictates how we interact with every manmade thing - tools, systems, or sometimes even social structures and mindsets. By meticulously examining a single action or process, whether that's pouring a kettle or voting in a presidential election, good designers try to find the most efficient or beneficial behaviour then get everyone to adopt it by making it easy and desirable to do (i.e. making the design of the product or system that you interact with cheap, intuitive, accessible, beautiful etc.). The impacts may vary from saving you 20 minutes in the morning to strengthening democracy, but all designers do is try to change how you live one action at a time.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

I just go out and see things. That can be looking at other artists on Instagram or going on a spontaneous journey downtown to meet strangers. Unusual experiences and other people's perspectives can really get you thinking and help you get out of your head. One thing I love doing is going to an art museum and trying to make my own version of the artists' styles. Experiments like that often expand my palette and let me break out of a set style I've fallen into because my one style obviously won't apply to every design problem. The main thing for me is to stay excited about something, anything, and be willing to look for new obsessions. Design ideas are everywhere because almost nothing is perfect so chances are that you'll find opportunities to improve an aspect of anything you're excited about and make a design out of it.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

For software design, I mainly use Sketch for its plethora of plugins and compatibility with other programs. I've been playing around with Adobe XD as well and am still discovering all the capabilities of Framer. For graphic design, I use Adobe Illustrator for vectors, icons, or large format and I use Adobe Photoshop for all other graphics (Photoshop will always be my favourite program). For industrial design, I mainly use Solidworks.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I've done a lot of web front-end development but never delved in React so I'm in the process of building a project with that this year. And, of course, I'm always trying to find the best design process that works for me with incremental improvements.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

Hopefully doing product-strategy-heavy design work that I'm proud of at a company I respect. I know I'm going to Facebook in a full-time position after graduation and I hope I'm still there in 5 years and still happy.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

1. Break your baby. Test the limits of your work/belief and don’t get too attached. 
2. Ask yourself “why” five times. If you don’t have an answer for each level, your idea may be unneeded or your user may be undefined. 3. Relax. Even the adults don’t know what they’re doing.

Eric Liang

Degree Pursuing

B.S in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedInFacebook

How did you get into design?

In high school I was involved with a lot of visual and design-y hobbies like photography, graphic/print design, and video production. I never knew that "product design" was even a thing, so I applied for colleges as an intended computer science major cause I was always interested in technology.
In my first year, I was super lucky and got the opportunity to take the Web Design Decal, which is a student-taught introductory course. That class was my first introduction to UX/Product design and I started working on some small projects.
In my sophomore year, I was looking for software engineering internships but I sucked at technical interviews and got discouraged so I thought "what the hell let's give design a shot". Luckily, I had worked on a design/frontend project the previous summer so I had a portfolio piece to present. I got super lucky and found my Spotify internship through Twitter (saw a tweet from my future manager), interviewed in April, and started in June.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

Everyone will probably say this, but it's worth repeating: design isn't about satisfying the designer / manager / team / execs, but making sure that the users in context are happy. That means having a good intuition for what does and doesn't work, but also challenging your design assumptions by going in the field and meeting actual customers. A mistake I made starting off (and still do) is using whether I'm happy with the design as a measurement of quality. Sometimes you have to compromise your own standards of interaction or visual beauty to meet whatever user / app / company/ legal goals you run into, and that's ok.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

I really enjoy looking at and reading through other designer's work, especially work from a different field in design (architecture, interior design, etc). It really shows how diverse design is and motivates me to keep on learning.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

I have an unhealthy obsession with Muji pens and notebooks. On the computer, I use Sketch and Figma for wireframes, and primarily Framer for prototypes. I love the flexibility that Framer provides, especially for more hi-fi prototypes.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

Not currently. I'm in my final year at Berkeley, and this fall I'm taking history and polisci classes in my exchange program in Hong Kong. Next spring, I'll need to take a pretty intense courseload to graduate on time (oops) but I'm looking forward to getting back into design after graduation! In particular, I'm interested in learning more about VR design, since that tech is just starting to take off.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

Honestly, I have no clue. Hopefully working on a project I'm passionate about with people that I enjoy working with :)

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

The design community is surprisingly small, and designers are super friendly. It's totally fine to reach out to random designers and ask for help and advice. I found my first design internship in Twitter of all places, and it was after sending lots of DMs and @'s asking for advice. Most of the people I reached out to were supportive and gave great feedback, and really helped jumpstart my career in design.
If you're stuck on a design problem (or really anything to be honest) give it a break and find another activity to do. Personally, I go on a run whenever I'm stuck and it really helps clear my mind.

Robyn Goodridge

Degree Pursuing

Bachelor’s in Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University

Profile Links

Portfolio WebsiteLinkedIn

How did you get into design?

Growing up I was quite the generalist, but I always had an affinity for anything creative, aside from organized arts and crafts. I was in a few design-related courses in high school, such as graphic design, information technology, metalwork design, and yearbook. I took a leap of faith with the program I am currently in, as I was on the fence about doing a general arts degree or going to a more specialized art school – my program ended up being a pretty great fit, allowing me to appease my inner generalist with courses ranging from architecture to digital UX to speculative design.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

For me, design – or rather, good design – is an idea that takes conscious effort to produce, but is experienced somewhat unconsciously. It’s an idea that has been given shape to fit within a certain context, and if the designer succeeds in understanding that context, the product should make the life of the person experiencing it a little better, even if they don’t completely understand why. It can be something as simple as Gmail warning you that you haven’t attached anything to your email even though you typed “attached” or “resume”, or it can be as big as an architecture firm providing a disaster-stricken city with half-constructed houses that simultaneously support a small budget and allow residents to become co-creators of their new homes. Regardless of the design’s output, whether it be digital or physical, the idea behind it should be tapping into something that is unequivocally human.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

It’s not something I’m always good at, but I’m trying more and more to put myself into new or uncomfortable situations. If I’m too comfortable, I become complacent, which is not conducive to learning or designing. This sounds cliché, but if design is about ideas and experience, I think it’s important to try talking to different people or going different places. To me, part of the great thing about design is that you don’t only have to look at “design” examples to get inspired; I find that inspiration can come from anything, from a conversation to watching a movie I wouldn’t normally have picked out.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

Some of the tangible tools I use for design are post-it notes, huge pieces of blank paper, Sketch, Photoshop, and some prototyping tool like Origami. I am also a huge proponent of research, which normally takes the form of casual interviews or having five billion tabs open on my computer (which I manage with the amazing Chrome extension, OneTab).

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

Right now I am a TA for a second year spatial design course, and I am learning a lot about critiquing design and improving my ability to synthesize and relay information. I am also in a course about women & diversity in tech, where I am trying to learn more about my own biases and strategies that can be used to support the effort of getting workplaces to be more diverse and inclusive. Finally, I am also attempting to learn how to cook, which is almost a kind of design?

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

I see myself living in a place I have not lived before, working on projects that have a positive social impact and hopefully helping others learn how to do the same. By then, I hope I have developed a super eccentric hobby that isn’t only screen-based, and perhaps I finally will have learned how to cook, coded my own portfolio, and salvaged my French.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

I’ll give some advice that I am learning how to take: leave the comfort zone. Don’t get stuck on Dribbble, immerse yourself in your local community, call out micro aggressions when you see them, and make some cool stuff (that isn’t always for you). It’s worth it!!

Hunter Caron

Degree Pursuing

Bachelors’ in Design at York University & Sheridan College

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram

How did you get into design?

I've always loved making things. I think I started really young building lego, then in elementary school I started making brochures and coupons for places around town. In high school I taught myself web-development and realized I loved building things that other people could use and enjoy.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

Design is a wonderfully vague term. Due to it's malleable definition, it can be interpreted by everyone in a way that will help guide them to do incredible things. To me, design is problem solving. That isn't limited to [insert business problem]. Design can be used as a catalyst for social change, or simply to help someone through a rough time. Through my work I try to encourage play and self improvement. I strive to inspire positive change in myself and others.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

I learn in order to make things, and learn throughout the process of making. It's an endless cycle that helps me improve as a designer.  I try and surround myself with people who are genuine & passionate about what they do. Being with people who push you to be a better person is an incredible learning experience and will keep you inspired.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

my brain + caffeine + sketchbook + code
In the overarching history of design, tools are quite ephemeral things. Tooling will always steer creation and can distract you from the work itself. Constraints and shortcuts will dictate your style. I Ideate and create a vision offline, then decide on which tools in my tool belt I need to execute it.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I'm currently exploring technology's affect on our relationship with our memories and how design can influence that.
I think it's important to have some analog hobbies that are creative in their own ways, so I've acquired an espresso machine and taken up the role of in-residence barista at my house for my roommates and I. I've also been working on improving my cooking skills. If you're ever in Toronto, c'mon over for a coffee.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

Somewhere I haven't been before. In a world that I hope to help make marginally better than it is now.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

My advice is to find and talk to people who can give you better advice than I can. Reach out to creatives you look up to. It's scary, but I personally promise you at least one of them will respond and have the advice you are looking for.
Canned advice that helped me -> Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't get comfy. Stay curious. Explore.
Also, get off Medium and go build cool shit (with some cool people).

Yifei Yin

Degree Pursuing

Master’s in Integrated Product Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedInMedium

How did you get into design?

In undergrad, I was doing graphics design in my free time just for fun and did visual design for associations at school and also freelancing for startup companies in China. Later on, I got to know about interaction and product design and was very interested in it and decided to pursue a degree towards product design and development in the U.S. and that is how I made my transition to design.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

I always see design as a way to solve problems and create an impact on people's life. It's not too different than other roles like engineers, but the problem we are trying to solve are people problems.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

A lot of designers and design publications on Medium are my main source of motivation. Among them, Julie Zhuo is one of my all-time favorite and role model.  
Besides Medium, I also enjoy having the Muzli plugin by InVision. It curates interesting stuff from multiple sources like Medium, Dribbble, TechCrunch, and Behance, and every time you opened a new tab on chrome, these contents appears.
When I have more specific need for visual inspirations, I will go to Dribbble and Pinterest.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

For visual I mostly just use Sketch, I will use AI for drawing or PS for editing pictures when it is risograph season(jk). As for prototyping tools, I use Origami Studio, Framer and principle for mobile and inVison for desktop. Other than this, I enjoy designing and developing for AR, so After Effects, Unity and Photon are my new best friends. I really like Unity since it is easy to learn and you can create so much out of it at ease. I’d also like to give a shout-out to people working on AR Studio, this is my go-to tool to make face filters.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I am currently getting more and more comfortable designing and developing for AR/MR. I wish I can learn more about 3D modeling tools and voice user interface design. Right now I am working on a side project designing VUI for an AR prototyping tool and developing it with Unity so there is my first step!   
Apart from design skills, I would want to develop communication and presentation skills since they are the key in our everyday work.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

I would like to have shipped something that truly brings impacts to people. I might or might not still be a designer but I wish I can become a stronger person to bring more positive on people and always be excited about trying.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

The journey is the goal.

Ishaan Kansal

Degree Pursuing

B.S in Computer Science at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedInDribbble

How did you get into design?

I think intrinsically I have always been interested in design. However, it was not until freshman year that I realized how much I liked it! I remember working on this one project, a simple events app called Zest, and we did not have a designer on the team. Since I had some experience with web design and movie making from middle and high school, I decided to volunteer and help out with the app design. I'll be honest, it was not the best design and I made a lot of mistakes I would love to change now. But that project made me realize that it was the design and product experience part of the project that really clicked with me and after that I have pursued design!

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

Design to me is a lot of things but at its core it is problem solving. That's the mindset I normally try to keep whenever I am working on designing something because the end goal for me is always to solve a problem in the best way possible. It allows me to think more about what are some edge cases that people might experience. It allows me to have a good basis for the decisions I am making as then I can better analyze the different solutions and *hopefully* make the right choice!

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

Product critique in my opinion is a really amazing way to keep yourself inspired and motivated. It allows you to learn important skills like being able to critically analyze someone's work and try to find potentially better ways of solving that problem. It also helps in keeping track of patterns that are emerging in the different products. These help in increasing your overall design vocabulary which in turn makes you a better designer as you are able to think of more and different solutions!

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

I am currently working on expanding my design vocabulary! I spend a few hours every week looking at Product hunt and the different products that get launched there every day. I try to critique them and try to understand why the designers would have made the decisions they did and what would I do if I was in their position. I am also working on some print and typography experiments right now as that is another skill I have been meaning to explore for a while!

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I mainly use Sketch for interface design. For print and graphic design, I try to stick with Illustrator and Photoshop. For prototyping, it varies based on the needs but in the past I have used pretty much every tool from Flinto to Origami and even coding the prototype from scratch!

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

Ahaha this one is a bit hard to answer. I think in the next 5 years I want to be working on something that I am truly passionate about. I also probably want to have my own startup or be part of something that's small, new and exciting! I do think that one of the things I definitely want to be doing in 5 years is to continue solving exciting and challenging problems!

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

Try to get out of your comfort zone as much as possible! This can be applied to anything but essentially don't be scared to try new things, tackle hard problems because in the end there is a chance you will fail but even when you do you would have acquired new and amazing skills that will help you a lot in your next challenge. This is something I try to do myself and even though I have failed a few times, it has helped me realize where I want to be, what I want to be doing and has made me work on solving some amazing and super hard problems! So, keep challenging yourself! :)

Geunbae “GB” Lee

Degree Pursuing

M.S in Human Computer Interaction at Georgia Tech

Profile Links

Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / MediumDribbble

How did you get into design?

A couple years back, I graduated with a degree in Psychology. While I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and most importantly, what I felt most passionate about, I began to try a variety of things. Several months after graduation, one of the professor at my college recommended me to take a look at the HCI programs. At the time, I didn't know anything about UX or HCI and I wasn't even close to having any background knowledge or skills related to design.
I decided to go back home, fire up my laptop and started to search for those things which ultimately sparked up the interest in me to dive even further. I instinctively knew that it was something I really wanted to learn more about and getting into the Master's in HCI program was a perfect stepping-stone. Passion has fueled me all the way here but without any action to actually learn and create things, I wouldn't be here right now.
Even now, there are so many things to learn and there are a lot of talented designers out there that obviously know way more than me and are capable of coming up with better designs or solutions. That's why I always stay up late, utilize my time well and to learn from others. Also, I always try to help those who are also interested in becoming a designer.

What is design to you? What do you think design is about?

For me, design is solving problems that people face in real-life. Design is also inspirational, motivational and intentional. And it could come in many forms like art, digital products, sculptures, buildings and more. Although many people may assume that design is all about the final product and the success of it can only be measured by how people react to it, it's much more than that. There are a lot of thoughts, plans and back-and-forth communications that have been put through coming up with the final outcome. Even though the final outcome may not satisfy everyone or doesn't solve the problem in the most effective way, there are still opportunities to improve and learn form the past mistakes. After all, design is an iterative process and collaborative activity.
There are so many problems in the world that can be solved from small things to big things. I believe "life" is also something that needs to be designed and carefully planned. Although, it's hard to do everything as planned but overcoming mistakes or unfortunate situations is also a part of it.

How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?

Looking at the works of other people are always inspiring. Every day, I see something that I can't possibly make with my limited skills and knowledge. At first, it was a total let down. However, after getting a taste of that great feeling whenever I came up with my own unique solution to a problem, it became addictive. Still, that happens to me and I don't see it ever going away.
Also, I try to stay updated on the design field and the tech field in general. I believe that knowing what's going on in the industry is very important regardless of what your profession is. So, I often read articles and listen to podcasts. Sometimes, it's better to hear what's out there than being in a room by yourself making things.

What are some of the tools that you use for design?

For designing UI, I use Sketch most of the time. For prototyping, I use Framer, Invision, Origami and Principle - depends on what I want to achieve. When I was first getting myself into design and still, I've always wanted to try several different tools that people use for different purposes. This was to prepare myself for whatever job I would end up getting and the tools I'd be using to design.
Therefore, I recently tried learning several other prototyping tools such as Adobe XD and Protopie. If I have time in the near future, I'd love to learn some 3D tools like Maya and Rhino. Unity would also be interesting to learn further.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?

I've briefly mentioned the tools that I would like to learn above. In addition to the tools, I really would like to learn how to efficiently communicate with other team members in the team. Being proficient in the tools and crafting artistic and cool designs are nice, but I believe that working well within the team is also very important skill for a designer to have.
To be honest, I feel like there are a lot of opportunities for me to grow on that part and I know I'll never be perfectly good at it. But there will always be situations where I would need to talk to others (in and outside of my team) to convince, explain and argue my ideas to building a great product. In the next few years, I look forward to improving my presentation skills and to keep on reminding myself that having a good relationship with other people is very important.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?

It's been less than a couple years since I got to familiarize myself in design which means, I'm going to start out as a newbie designer when I graduate. What's waiting for me out there seems very exciting and unpredictable. It's going to be completely new and the amount of knowledge that I'll absorb in the next years will gradually lead me to my next steps. Rather than transitioning to any different roles, I would love to gain more experience designing.

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?

Looking for inspirations, learning the tools, working on cool projects and finding mentors are all advices that many people will give you. And those are the things that you should be doing on a daily basis. However, you should also try to help other people by sharing information, giving honest feedback and competing fairly.
I still remember, when I first reached out to people that obviously knew more than me, 9 out of 10 times, I would never hear back from them. That's why I always try to share my experiences, ideas and thoughts to other people whenever I have the chance. To be honest, I know my suggestions would not be 100 percent correct but at least it's better than not sharing anything or secretly hide it from others. So, when people come up to you with questions, try to answer them unless you're super busy. For people who ask, your responses will be super helpful.

And find me here:

LinkedIn / DribbbleMedium

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Interviewing design interns at Facebook was originally published in uxdesign.cc on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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