Darian Rosebrook - Microsoft
Scamp Studio managed to catch five minutes of Darian's time to discuss all things creative, here’s what he had to say for himself…
So Darian, first things first. For those who may not have heard of you. Where do you work, and what do you do on a day to day basis?
I’m currently working as a Product Designer at Microsoft. My focus right now is on UX Storytelling. I’m on a blue-ocean project that is letting me define the narrative we want to explore and solve for. For my day to day, I’m talking to and observing a lot of our internal team’s processes and exploring a lot of what exists externally. I’ll pull my findings into my decks that I’m working on and do a storyboard condensing the notes into a more cohesive narrative. I sometimes help out with small requests for UI work and help others with their decks (either by supplying information or by supplying designed deliverables based on the ask).
Sound’s pretty cool! As you a designer, you have a multitude of different tools at your disposal. What tools do you opt for to do your role? And why?
The teams I’m working with have heavy usage of Figma as their design tool for UI. There’s a large comprehensive system that spans multiple teams within our product that are heavily based on atomic design principles and component architecture. It was overwhelming to jump into at first, but after you figure it out, it saves so much time.
If someone wanted to get a role at your company, what advice would you give them so they can make an impact? And stand out from the crowd...
I’m working under contract, which can be an easier way to work with the company, however, I don’t get the same benefits as if I were hired on directly. I would still have to go through the same process as someone applying to an internal role. The team here is human. Making it past the initial screening is just showing that you have history and you know what you’re doing. Talking to the people within the interview becomes showing people how you think and how you can solve problems. People want to know if you’ll fit in with what they’re doing in the company and with the team. If you want to make an impact, work on how you present yourself. That goes for how you present yourself online (your website, your social media, your portfolio) and how you present yourself in the interview (your professionalism, your personality, your tone of voice and body language) and how you present your work (what do you talk about when someone asks what you’ve worked on, how do you bring people through a project, what do you choose to show and not show). Work on those three areas and keep refining to stand out.
Are there any books/ebooks/podcasts would you recommend for some quality bedtime reading or listening?
For product design, some of the best information I got was in designbetter.co’s podcast. It’s run by a duo from InVision that interviews people around design systems and product design’s impact in business. For books or e-books, I would again look at design better’s stuff, but there are a few others that have been helpful too. The book Creative Strategy and the Business of Design (by Douglas Davis) is super helpful in understanding business and helps you absorb some of how your work as a creative impacts on business metrics. You kind of get to learn the language of business that way. And then in no particular order. The 2 Bobs podcast by Blair Enns and David C Baker, Don’t Make Me Think book by Steve Krug, Ruined by Design book by Mike Monteiro, and the ebooks by UX Tricks (uxtricks.design)
I’ve given you £3,000 to start you up as a junior designer. What’s your budget going on and why?
The first part of my budget is going to get myself a personal website. If my idea is to get hired, people need a place to go to see more about me and my work. Doesn’t matter what it’s built in as long as it’s up and you can update or change things as you improve and go along. The next part of my budget is going towards educating myself on everything I can. Get books, take video courses, and possibly pay someone for a little mentorship. The remaining 1500-2000 of that, I don’t know what I’d use it for, if anything other than putting a very small investment into savings or try to jump in heavy with tools or equipment like a square or dot grid notebook, a pencil, and maybe some simple software to play around with. You don’t need a lot to do product design. Most apps for that are lightweight enough that you could run it on a refurbished 2015 MacBook pro. The tools don’t matter at this point as long as you get to practice.