A little bit of background
I’ve been interested in art and creativity since I was a little child. I started attending drawing classes since I was 10 and then I continue studying art in high school. However, when I had to choose a degree I started doubting. There were other fields that I was interested in. In fact, I doubted between these four degrees: Psychology, English and Literature, Graphic Design and Advertising and Public Relationships.
I was very interested in Psychology, I’ve always been fascinated by the human brain, how we think, why we act in a specific way, etc. But in the end, I didn’t study this degree because I didn’t want to spend the whole of my life listening to other people’s problems. I also loved Advertising and Public Relationships but in order to study that I should have moved to another city and my parents weren’t rich so I didn’t choose this one either. Regarding English and Literature, I really liked English and I definitely loved reading but thinking about the future I realised I didn’t want to be a teacher or a professor.
So the logical path seemed to be Graphic Design, I’ve always been interested in art and design so it seemed like the perfect path for me. Also, I saw myself working as a designer for the rest of my life.
I started the degree and I remember that the first year I felt very disappointed, the subjects weren’t what I expected nor professors and I really considered quitting and studying a different degree. But as it’s well known that most students feel this way the first year of university I decided to give it at least until the second year. And it turned out that on the second year I started loving it! Subjects and projects were much challenging and interesting.
Starting the professional life
Finally, after four years I graduated and I was pretty sure that my dream was to work in an advertising company as a creative. I really loved advertising. I didn’t want to work as a graphic designer because the strategic and creative part of the advertising world seemed much more encouraging and challenging. So, following my dream I started an internship of three months in an advertising agency.
And well…it turned out that it wasn’t my field either. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed those three months and I learnt a lot but I didn’t love it. And this was a problem for me because if I didn’t love my job the first three months, what would happen when I had been working in the field for 10 years?
I didn’t know what to do exactly. I didn’t want to work as a graphic designer and I didn’t want to work as a creative in an advertising agency either. Besides, the situation in Spain was far from perfect so there weren’t many good jobs around.
After some months of reviewing job offers, going to interviews, etc, I decided to went freelance. Obviously, I was very very scared and I wasn’t sure if I was making the correct decision but at that time it seemed the correct one. As a freelancer, I could work on different projects and try different things. Now, I’m really glad that I did it because it was the best decision that I could have made!
In the beginning, I started with graphic design projects like logos, flyers, stationery and so on. But still, I didn’t love it, so I decided to open a little bit more the scope and I started taking projects related to web design. At first, I designed and developed simple websites for startups or small companies to advertise their products but as time went by I started taking more complex websites and also mobile APP projects.
During this journey, I started looking for information related to web design and how to improve my skills and the first topics that I found were UI and UX design. This was my first contact with the field, and from the very beginning it seemed very interesting to me. I took courses, read online blogs and books and I started putting into practise the principles and good practises that I was learning in my professional projects.
Time went by and I realised that this is what I really want to do. Apart from art, I’ve always been passionate about technology. So if you combine my main interests which are: technology + art + psychology, the result is quite clear: UX/UI design.
For years I didn’t know what was wrong with graphic design, why I didn’t love it when it supposed to be my passion. And only after discovering UX I realised why. Graphic design is subjective, is mainly focused on the client’s desires and likeness. So I was missing the user and the psychology behind that.
Of course, when I decided I want to work in the field of UX/UI another questions arise like what do I want to be? UX researcher? UX designer? UX/UI designer? UI designer? I doubted a lot, I tried different type of projects during my freelance career, I read tons of blog posts and in the end, I realised that what I really want to be is a Digital Product Designer.
And what does that mean to me? Well, for me it means to understand the real problems of our users and solve those problems to make their lifes easier and more enjoyable. It means to play an important role in the very beginning, deciding what the solution should be or if that problem should be solved in the first place and in the product vision, but also in the very end, designing the UI details and handing in the design specs to the developers.
Working as a UX/UI designer in-house
After a year and a half, I quit freelancing and I took an internship as a UX/UI designer. This internship was extremely helpful to learn from more experienced UX/UI designers the best techniques and more specifically, how to work as a UX/UI designer in a company since it’s very different as a freelancer. Besides, it was very helpful to make sure that being a Digital Product Designer is what I want to do, and that I want to work in a company and not as a freelancer.
Now, I have a full-time job as a Digital Product Designer in a small startup and I’m still loving the field! I’m glad to finally found what I really love and my passion.
It was a very interesting journey, exciting and discouraging at the same time. I felt very disappointed and discouraged when I didn’t know why I didn’t love graphic design or advertising. I thought it was “my thing” for many years that when I realised it wasn’t I felt lost.
Looking at the future, I know that I’m definitely not where I would like to be yet. But I’m quite sure that I’m on the right path. And I can happily say that I really love my work and what I do every day.