I'm originally from Scotland, but grew up for the most part in Luxembourg ( you know, that place people insist isn't real 😂 ) and now live in lovely Forest Hill, London near the b-e-a-utiful Horniman Gardens!
The Alzette River in Luxembourg👇
Forest Hill’s Horniman Gardens 👇
I signed up for the Design Systems Bootcamp as I was finding more and more at work, I was contributing to and adjusting components a lot, but mostly having to figure it out for myself.
I felt there was an opportunity to learn some new best practices so I could really enhance my skill set and learn more about how to properly build and maintain a Design System.
When I was a teenager I loved collecting basketball shoes and sneakers (to the point I paid my sister to camp outside a Nike store to get a pair of Nike Air Yeezys for me ). I soon as I learnt you could design sports footwear for a living, I began dreaming of designing signature shoes for NBA players 🤩
I managed to seek out the head of design at Air Jordan at the time, and contacted him for advice on whether to study fashion footwear or not, instead, he recommended studying product design. From that point on I realised there was more to product design than footwear, and that my real love was for the creative problem-solving aspect that makes our craft so wonderfully special!
Originating from a physical-industrial design background, product development can be super costly and the opportunity to make changes once it’s out in the wild is near impossible.
Since I pivoted into digital and UX/UI, I’ve fallen in love with the supafast nature of the industry and the greater amount of impact you can have in the digital realm than you would with physical products.
I love how quickly I’m able to learn how the effect my designs have been on customers just from looking at our data and using that to design future iterations.
Honestly, it can be super mixed, but it typically starts with a morning zoom-meeting alongside my stack team, we talk through what things we want to focus on for that week and then if our focus isn’t right, we re-align. After that, I go about my day figuring out what to prioritise and then start working on it, this might involve doing research, defining user journeys, running ideas by stakeholders, ticketing up final designs or QA’ing designs ready to be tested and fed back to the devs.
If I’m ever stuck I’ve a few tricks that help me, I usually like to hand sketch if I’m super stuck as a means of getting away from the computer for a bit, rather than focusing on pixels.
I also try my best to make time to go for a walk through the Horniman gardens nearby, it really helps with clearing my mind and stepping away from work for a moment, plus they’ve two really cute alpacas and lots of beautiful plots with a huge array of flowers and plants! 🥰
My setup’s nice and simple, I work out my room as we’ve not got much space in my flat, but being perched next to the window allows for lots of light and a healthy amount of people watching 👀 I’ve also got my record player and sound system conveniently next to my desk, to bust out the tunes through the day, which is a must!
It's amazing! Firstly, Zander is an electric teacher ⚡️ He gets you supa fired up and inspired about what's being taught in the classes. Secondly, the classes are just the right size where you feel like you have space to ask questions and get to know your other classmates. Since finishing the course, my classmates and I still have zoom catch-ups and I really hope to continue chatting and trading tips with them!
I just loved the classes, I was always really excited for them, to see my classmates faces and to zone out from work for 2 hours and learn. I think it's so important to always be learning, no matter where you are in your career!
Additionally, I’ve loved having catch-ups with my classmates, most of the time we’re in the same situation career-wise, so it’s great to chat with designers outside of work that you can relate to, plus you never know what you have in common, I found out recently my classmate played in the same high-school basketball tournaments as me a few years prior 🤯 Or another was at the same uni as me and ran around in the same groups of friends, the world is unbelievably small, especially in the design community and those connections can be so nice to have!
I think the pre-course content and homework was amazing. I've never done a course where that much pre-course work is given to you and I really enjoyed it as it gets you invested from the get-go! I read loads of books, designed and documented components in Figma, and got loads of great feedback on the homework.
I also learnt a bunch of good lil tips and tricks, like how to use ‘space between’ with autolayout, setting up variants, and how to document your design system properly; all these nuggets of knowledge have really improved my day-to-day practices post-course!
Oooft tough question, think probably being able to acknowledge the fact that you don't know everything, once you get over this hurdle the world’s your oyster and you should constantly be seeking ways to improve and what new things you need to learn to up your game in your design career.
I think also putting the work in, turning up to class is great, but if you really want to get the most out of a course like this, then it’s important that you do the homework and reading. For most people, this can be a strain on your family/social/personal life, but if it’s possible to sacrifice that time for the period of the course then it’s totally worth it.
It would have to be the peer to peer payments feature we introduced last year, it’s by far the most complex thing I’ve ever worked on and to this day it’s used by around 1 million kids worldwide 🤯 To have that level of impact on how kids send and request money is super cool! I also learnt some really valuable lessons from working on it that will stay with me forever.
Okay, I’m gonna go rogue here, but I have to say Nudie jeans have and always will blow me away with their product and service. On the surface level, they’re just a mere jeans brand BUT they’ve 3 parts to their product that make them amazing:
That kind of circular approach to a product and business is something I don’t often see, even though IDEO published a big design article on it years ago, and I think it’s really cool to see a jeans company take such a progressive approach! 😍