Product Designer at Figma


NatashaTenggoro (Product Designer at Figma)

Natasha designs digital products, interfaces, and creative systems, based in Toronto, Canada. Currently a Product Designer at Figma, working on FigJam.

She/Her • Old Toronto, Canada • June 1, 2024

What led you into design?

Most designers have always turned to creative endeavours as a child, and that's a story that feels closest to me. It's nothing novel! No eureka or "Aha" moment in particular. My parents gifted me one of those nostalgic art sets for Christmas once (yes - the ones where the markers never worked), and it was endgame. I was really good at art throughout school, be it painting or sketching, and knew I wanted to work in the creative field in some way. Fast forward a bit — when I was thinking about attending art school, I bumped into John Maeda during a college tour of RISD and asked for a picture (It was truly a photo opp situation since I did not know who he was). Eventually, I googled him and was introduced to the design and tech world. That's when I knew I wanted to "generalize" and use different skills (beyond fine arts!) to make things for others.

What does a typical day look like?

I don't get up early, that's for sure. I'm the type to roll out of bed at 8:45 am to start work at 9 am. Mornings are usually frantic, but I always make coffee and down my supplements before the day begins. I work from home on the East Coast, so this is typically the time when I get to draw rectangles in sports mode since most of my team works during PST hours. I find a good playlist and am heads down until my afternoon meetings. My meetings are mainly 1:1s, design crits, and execution-focused team stuff these days. I have another burst of flow state between 4-6 pm and then call it a day and migrate to the couch. Sometimes I finish earlier and head to my pottery studio.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I did a Neil Gaiman Masterclass once, and he talked about the importance of having a compost heap.

"Everything you read, things that you write, things that you listen to, people you encounter, they can all go on the compost heap. And they will rot down. And out of them grow beautiful stories."

That's my usual go-to source of inspiration. My compost heap has had a few evolutions, but now I mainly use the Notes app for random thoughts or ideas and FigJam for more visual pictures/videos/screenshots of things that inspire me.

Beyond that, my parents inspire me so much. My dad is in the middle of cultivating a tourist attraction in Lampung, Indonesia. I loved seeing how he turned a rugged landscape into a scenic lookout that people can visit to escape the city. Is he more of a designer than me? Probably.

Also, the design team at Figma inspires me tons. I am blown away at the calibre of work being produced every day. Inspiration is easy to come by when you work here.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

So much, but for right now, I've been loving the branding for Cliik Home by Little Troop. I love seeing such clever range & visual quality to niche brands—like home containers! I definitely don't need anymore, but did I buy them? Yes.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I've fallen in and out of love with so many of my previous projects — so my answer changes quite a bit. But my most recent project was launching a bunch of helpful AI features to FigJam to make meetings more fun to create and run, which I'm very proud of! I chat more about our process here—but so much more to come soon. It was also fun to contribute to Jambot's initial inception. Collaborating on design with Aosheng felt so intuitive and energizing. The team was thrilled when it was featured in Fast Company's list of 2024 Most Innovative Companies in Applied AI.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

This year, I've set strong intentions on fostering deeper craft and quality, so establishing focus becomes exponentially more important. I've been known to take on too much work too quickly, so I'm trying to be more intentional with what I say yes to. Figma really lives its "Run with it" value, and there are so many exciting problems to work on here, so it's easy to want to do everything all at once. Setting meaningful boundaries around my bandwidth while still making space for spontaneous ideation with my team has helped create spaces of focus. It's obviously a skill I must recalibrate monthly since it doesn’t always come naturally. 

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Here are a couple of truisms that helped me:

Be brave. Any idea you have where you're saying, "this might be stupid," is worth sharing anyways. Send that prototype, talk about your ideas, and don't be afraid to be seen trying.

Measure your success on the amount of progress you've made, not how "perfect" something is.

Inspect and unpack the work of people you admire. Build your compost heap.

"Design is a verb, not a noun. Design is a process. The art is the assembly, not the product." Invest in the company you keep in order to make the "assembly" the best part of the job.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Find me on Twitter (@natashatenggoro) and Posts by (@natasha)