Khoi Vinh — Adobe
Based in Brooklyn, Khoi is the Senior Director of Product Design at Adobe and was previously design director for The …
As a child, I used to draw all day and I loved playing all kinds of games, both physical and digital. Those things were quite expensive at the time, so I created my own rough board and card games using pencils and paper. It took a while to have a computer with an internet connection at home, but when it happened, it was fascinating. I started to play with tools like Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver. I had no idea what I was doing, but that led me to design.
I got a scholarship and my degree in Design opened me to a world of possibilities. I learned the basics of how to shoot films, create physical machines, develop games and design interactive websites. It was also my first contact with user experience design.
I started my design career designing interfaces for web and mobile games, and for a while I thought I wanted to be a game designer — a story that would fit nicely with my experiences as a child. But then I started to become more acquainted with human-computer interaction, technology was evolving fast and smartphones became more accessible. I fell in love with the potential to make an impact through design in that fascinating new media. That's when I decided to focus my career on product design.
Maintaining a routine is something that makes my days feel right. I’m not a morning person, but I try my best to stick to a morning routine. Taking a shower and a big mug of coffee are the two essential things to start the day. I also try to catch up with the news and read in the morning.
I start my work day by checking my calendar, catching up with Slack messages, and preparing for meetings. I work from Berlin, but part of Delivery Hero’s team works from Singapore, which makes my mornings meeting-intensive. It’s in the afternoon that I can make time to focus, and I’m really into time blocking and a good playlist to get into the zone. The best part of my day is certainly when I have a collaborative activity that makes me feel energetic.
My work day usually ends around 7 pm.
I relocated recently from São Paulo to Berlin, and I've been living in temporary apartments until I find a nice place (a very difficult task here). That's why I have a simple setup at home.
I got used to working from home during the pandemic, but whenever I feel like a need a shift, I go to the office.
When I sort of know what I’m looking for, I do some desk research, look for insights from users, talk to people, read articles, or try a new app (I install a bunch of apps for benchmarking).
Recently, the doc.cc publication is being a great source of inspiration for high-quality stories. I also follow what some design teams — like Spotify, Dropbox, and Intercom — are doing and sharing with the community. And I’m really into podcasts, I can’t recommend 99% Invisible and Design Details enough.
It's worth saying how highly inspired I feel when I have a good conversation with people I work with and admire. It can be a career discussion, some knowledge sharing, or just talking about our goals for the future. I'm lucky to work with passionate people who motivate me to be better every day.
Lastly, I love travelling with my partner, and I’m grateful for having such a privilege. Berlin is a beautiful city, has a lively cultural scene, and it's a fantastic source of inspiration too.
I was amazed by the reveal of the new iPhones with the “Dynamic Island”. Apart from the fancy marketing name, it’s a great example of playing the long game, designing around hardware constraints, and building something that’s both iconic and useful.
Substacks’ podcast player is another example that caught my eye recently. It’s outstanding work, it looks and feels fantastic. Whenever I find such a great design, I feel inspired to improve the quality of my own work.
I had the opportunity to lead a team of designers through an intense rebranding-into-product project at QuintoAndar. As someone interested in interface design, design systems, and branding, it was an absolute pleasure. As a design manager, my main goal was to build and support a talented team of designers while defining the strategy alongside the product and engineering leadership. In a partnership with Porto Rocha, a New York-based design studio, we were able to evolve the visual language and start translating the human essence of the brand into the product.
I’m also proud of how we overcame previous challenges at QuintoAndar, like redesigning the entire platform when moving to a new technology, learning how to balance revenue and value to the users, and scaling the design team from 8 designers to almost a hundred.
Apart from that, I’m just looking forward to what's still to come.
At Delivery Hero, our team has the same challenges as any other design team, like positioning the design chapter to be more strategic, being able to adapt to market and organizational changes, and building high-quality products. I’m currently designing the home screen and navigation experience for some of our brands across the world. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, and that makes it a big and exciting challenge.
Personally, my biggest career challenge right now is returning to craft. After a few years as a design manager, I wanted to reconnect with what made me fall in love with design in the first place and return to being a product designer. It took me almost a year of second-guessing if I still have what's needed to make the shift, but I feel like this path is what will make me a better designer overall. It’s not an easy path though, it takes a lot of practice and relearning, but I'm excited about where it's going to lead me.
Stay curious. As a designer, there's always something new and exciting to learn. The more you learn the more you discover new opportunities and get better informed to evolve as a professional.
Be mindful of your career growth. Your career is ultimately led by you and you need to make time to celebrate the things that are going well, reflect on things that aren’t, and change course when needed. Drive your journey as a designer and find what matters to you.
Find people that support you. I believe life is way better when you’re surrounded by people that inspire, encourage, or just make you feel good. These people can be co-workers, mentors, or loved ones. Ant they make a huge impact on you as an individual.