Mannheim, Germany 🇩🇪

Marvin Messenzehl

Freelance Product Designer

Hey I’m Marvin 👋 a freelance product designer with a huge interest in behavioral psychology. When I’m not building digital products, I explore the roads with my bike 🚴‍♂️
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Where are you from and/or where are you based as a Memorisely student?

I’m born and raised in the beautiful city of squares in Mannheim, Germany, which is actually a pretty interesting city, since our city layout is built like a chessboard. So we don’t have normal street names. Rather we use names like G6 or N1, and everyone knows exactly where it is!

Just half an hour away is also the German Wine Street and the second-largest wine region in Germany. A great place for some good trips and hikes.

What inspired you to pursue UX/UI and become a designer?

That's actually a very good question! I have always been involved with technology and learned to code at an early age! Sometime during my computer science studies, I did the #100DaysOfCode challenge and developed for 100 days at a time on small private projects. Of course, I was just throwing lines of code together and wanted to learn something new, but the result was very interesting.

I had developed a few small apps and programs during this time and of course, showed them directly to my friends and acquaintances. Only to find out surprisingly that they can't even find the login button.

That's when I realized how important design is in the digital world and that you should never underestimate it. Since then I've been working with UI and UX design and trying to learn new things.

After working a few years as a developer and building a corporate innovation lab I set foot in the design world as a freelancer and since then I support different projects, companies and startups in the area of product design & design systems.

Which Bootcamp did you choose to enroll in, and why?

I joined the Design Systems Bootcamp in November 2021 and was totally intrigued! Since I'm super interested in Design Systems and there are always great project calls for it, I wanted to level up my freelancing skills for it a bit. This was a complete success, because after a short time I got a huge project with Design Systems reference!

In February 2022 I started the UI UX Bootcamp and wanted to broaden my horizon and learn new things together with motivated and talented designers. This was also the right decision, since I’ve already learned so many great things on this journey!

What's it like to be a student in Memorisely's virtual classroom?

Especially when we work on our small tasks during the practical part of the sessions, you almost feel like you're sitting next to your classmates. It's completely normal to look over your virtual shoulder or even leave a 🔥 emoji in the cursor chat! All in all a great experience.

What has been your favorite part of Bootcamp so far? What's one learning that has surprised you in Bootcamp?

I think the most fascinating part for me is that we can learn everything directly in practice and in a design tool like Figma. It makes learning so much more interesting! As someone who has spent several years in classical studies, I can tell you that I just can't watch Power Point slides anymore.

At Memorisely, we jump right into practice and learn everything we need to actually work in design teams. So there are no more surprises and you gain a lot of important experience.

What is the biggest challenge you face learning UX/UI Design?

Especially at an early stage in my design career, I compared myself far too often to other designers. Just by looking at Dribbble, you can see incredibly great work by very talented designers. It can make you wonder if you're actually doing a good job. Today, however, I know that this is completely unfounded and all designers only boil with water! You should always believe in your own abilities and be convinced of yourself. The rest comes by itself.

I also think it is very important to ask for feedback as early as possible. Especially in an early phase, where your work may not yet be 100% finished, this can be very unusual. But over time, I've learned that it can be very valuable and save a lot of time, especially later on.

What does a typical day look like for you as a student?

Every day starts with a good cup of coffee to wake up first. Since I have the feeling to be always super fresh and productive in the morning, I try to do an important task right away.

In the morning, I usually have my first meetings with clients or teams and try to get some design work done before I eat.

If it's not raining, I try to get some fresh air and listen to some podcasts or audio books. It's always a great way to clear your head and focus on new tasks! That way, I still have enough energy for the next block of work in the afternoon. I usually try to schedule my meetings here, because it's a good way to divide the day into creative work and meetings.

On some days I also manage to get on my road bike and go for a ride. This is my absolute favorite when it comes to switching off and unwinding from work and screens!

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What is your current workspace setup?

Since I can sometimes be a bit nerdy when it comes to desk setups, I've tried out an enormous amount here and am now super happy!

The heart of the setup is my MacMini M1, which is not only super fast, but also nice and compact. With it you can actually do everything you need!

Because I have super many video calls for a few years now, I have also invested in a good studio microphone and regret that not a second (It’s the Sure MV7)! Also switching between standing and sitting during the day also had a crazy impact on my productivity. So if you have the possibility to setup a standing desk, I can totally recommend it!

Oh, and of course a small plant may not be missing. I named it Jony, after one of my biggest design idols, Jony Ive 😁🪴

What are your go-to or "must have" apps?

Of course Figma! But that’s a no brainer, haha ⚡😁

Since I’m also a bit of a productivity nerd the todo app Todoist must not be missing. It’s a super good way to organize all my tasks across my projects and make sure that I hit all my deadlines!

Additionally I’m a huge fan of Notion, which is kind of my second brain. I literally save everything in Notion. From interesting links, general notes, invoices and even daily journal entries. Investing in a good Notion setup is definitely worth it!

A few months ago I’ve also found out about Raycast, which is some kind of Spotlight alternative for the Mac. The cool thing is that it’s super customizable and there are a lot of extensions to fit it perfectly to your needs!

Another important part of my toolstack is Cleanshot. For me personally, the best screenshot tool out there!

What (digital or physical) product recently blew your socks off?

One issue I’m facing is that over the years, I’ve subscribed to an absurd high number of newsletters. And recently they just totally crashed my Mail inbox. That’s why I was super stoked to find out about Mailbrew! Mailbrew is an indie product, developed by two very talented designers and developers, which actually manages all your newsletters, favorite twitter accounts, blogs and RSS feeds. This way I only need to check all of my socials only one time per day and I don’t miss anything. Truly an amazing product!

Speaking of physical products, a good friend gifted me a very nice candle. And that’s a supa special one! Because it crackles like a fire! How crazy is this? It’s literally like a mini fireplace at your desk and I absolutely love it!

What tunes do you listen to while designing?

It mostly totally depends on the work and the mood. Typically, it's different lo-fi beats that always bring a calm and chilled mood.

Currently I'm also diving more and more into different funk and soul playlists, because they bring such a good mood and the pixels in Figma just fly around!

Since I'm a big Pink Floyd fan and have every album on vinyl, I also like to listen to one of the old albums we Wish You Were Here or Dark Side of The Moon during super deep focus work!

Share three pieces of advice for fellow and/or future students?

  1. Team up and communicate with classmates. I made some amazing good friends during our bootcamp time!
  2. Ask for feedback and don’t take critique personally. It will be a huge part of the design job
  3. Don’t always compare yourself with other people. You’re perfectly fine the way you are and that makes you special!

Thanks for reading my story!

Mannheim, Germany 🇩🇪

Marvin Messenzehl

Freelance Product Designer

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