Natalia Piana — Blinkist
Italian-born, Berlin-based product designer. She is an illustrator in her free time.
I’ve been studying traditional art since elementary school to high school. I focused mainly on acrylic paintings on canvas. When I got into college, I started to get into graphic design from my art foundation courses. This is where I got exposed to design layout, typography and color theory. When I graduated, I got my first job at a boutique agency in the Chelsea area in New York City. This is where I got exposed to a wide spectrum of work from logo design, print design to front-end development. From then, I found myself focusing on the intersection point where design meets development.
Get up around 7:30 am or 8:00 am. Take a shower and while in there(yeah, it’s super weird) I kind of figure out what I have to to do at work and for my side projects for the day. I walk to the subway and take the subway to work, which is located in Chelsea in NYC. I usually read my book or a couple of articles during my commute. I get into work around 9:30 am and start creating my to-do list for the day. I usually have multiple meetings during the day that consist of demos, critiques, standups and check-ins. If I’m productive, I go to the gym around noon. The workout usually gives me a boost of energy, which helps me finish off the day. I leave the office around 6:30 pm where I usually do 3 things: 1) Go to a design or front-end dev event 2) Go somewhere to work on my side-projects 3) Hangout with friends and/or family. I usually go to sleep between 12:30 am – 1 am.
One of my favorite products that have an enjoyable experience is TurboTax. From the UI to the interaction design, TurboTax does a great job of making something that is boring and mundane like doing taxes into a memorable and satisfying experience.
My favorite project I worked on was building a Data Visualization Library at NASDAQ. It was an interesting problem to tackle because we didn’t have a consistent way to visualize data in our products and this was a great opportunity to establish guidelines for all our products. I also had the pleasure working with a great group of people which made the project even more enjoyable.
I recently started working at Justworks and from my brief time being here I could say that the most challenging parts are understanding rules and regulations around benefits. Our main goal is to handle all the heavy lifting around payroll services, benefits and tax filing for our customers so that they can focus on what matters: building their company. Using design to bring clarity & simplicity to complex tasks is what I take pride in work every day.
The two pieces of advice I have are: never stop learning and to trust the process. When you get started being a professional designer you will go through the phrase of your work not being good and having the lack of self-confidence. But the more you practice and the more you learn about your craft, the better you become and the more confident you become. Keep going and never give up!