Product Designer at Spotify


RosieFerris (Product Designer at Spotify)

Rosie Ferris is a Brighton-based Product Design Manager at Spotify, helping lead teams working across the mobile app experience.

Brighton, UK • June 10, 2024

What led you into design?

Since I was little, I've always loved making and creating. I’m very grateful that my parents and grandparents always provided me with art supplies and encouraged me to explore my imagination through different mediums, sparking my love for art. Many years later, I attended Kingston University's art school, where I was exposed to the power of conceptual thinking and encouraged to pursue challenging ideas.

Today, my primary motivation stems from a deep curiosity about people and how technology can be used to enhance their lives. I am driven to create and improve products with this aim in mind.

What does a typical day look like?

I’m a design manager at Spotify and I work with an amazing team as part of the core mobile experience team. We spend most of our time imagining how Spotify could be better for both listeners and creators around the world and thinking about the future of Spotify as an audio platform. 

One of the things which makes being a designer at Spotify so exciting is that there isn’t really a typical day. We always ask ourselves “what is the best way we can use our time to achieve our goal”; the answer could be a workshop, jam session, planning or observing user research, exploring design concepts, crafting a point of view, analysing data and insights, prototyping or sweating the details to create high-quality designs.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I find inspiration in a variety of places, from storytelling in various mediums like podcasts, TV shows, books, and films, to real-life experiences like travelling to new places.

One of my favorite ways to clear my head and get new ideas is by taking a walk by the sea. I find it gives me the mental space to think and generate fresh perspectives.

I’m always inspired by the people I interact with on a daily basis. My colleagues are super talented and have unique stories and perspectives, and learning from them helps me to think more creatively.

And of course, my interest in design, technology, and business also inspires me. I enjoy learning about the latest in product thinking, sharpening my business skills, and exploring how these ideas can be translated into design. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and I try to keep an open mind and stay curious to find new avenues for creative inspiration.

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

I love Airbnb’s ‘categories’ feature. It’s such a simple thing to look at it, but the thought behind it is really considered. Instead of making users work out how to use searches and filters and make sense of the app, it’s really reflective of how they think about their travel and makes something that’s traditionally been pretty dull and functional into a really engaging experience. You can always tell when a lot of care has been put into something, no matter how simple it seems on the surface.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Being part of the team responsible for bringing podcasts and audiobooks to Spotify has to be my career highlight so far. It was a significant shift that transitioned Spotify from being historically focused on music, to a platform for more types of audio requiring lots of careful considerations and thoughtful design. This not only expanded the company’s offerings so listeners could enjoy more content they love all in one place but also helped to position Spotify as a leading player in the broader audio industry which made for a very exciting journey :)

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Designing for millions of people and working on a global product that listeners love (and that I personally get a lot of joy from) feels like a huge privilege and you want to make improvements to the experience but also are conscious that it’s one that people really love and value. Some changes are big changes, other changes are small changes but they are all very impactful because of the scale and appreciation that people have for the product.

Emerging technologies keep us looking to the future and investigating how these advancements may change our perspectives on the user interface and the broader experience which I find exciting.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

One of the things I’ve learned is although you may have many people in your life who encourage you and support you in your career be that colleagues, managers, mentors, family and friends - your career and journey is just that, yours, and your responsibility. 

I think it’s important to check in with yourself, and where you want to go. That means actively working on your own personal development and includes evaluating your strengths and growth areas regularly and developing a growth mindset. I believe that having a desire to continuously learn, develop, confront uncertainties, embrace new challenges, share knowledge to contribute to others learning and not be afraid to fail will push you and elevate your potential.

It’s a good practice to get into being reflective to try to understand yourself and skillset better. I also would also recommend noting down the types of design problems you maybe haven’t got the chance to work on yet but would love to, you’ll grow a ton from trying new things and tackling a new challenge outside of your comfort zone. Also think about the people around you in your team and what qualities or skills you appreciate about them, and what you could learn from working with, or observing them.  

Another thing I see that really makes designers shine is “designing in the open” - sharing work more widely more often and from early stages. Showing proactiveness and enthusiasm to invite people into the conversation and also being vulnerable and not letting ego get in the way - when you are struggling with something or asking because you’re unsure how to approach a problem you will find heaps of knowledge and advice and getting more and more perspectives will help you grow, gain confidence and have more conviction in your design proposals. 

Also, be humble, and stay playful ❤️

Anything you want to promote or plug?

I love the podcast Love Letters hosted by Boston Globe columnist Meredith Goldstein. If you like love stories and being tugged at the heart strings, it's for you too!

If you want to say hey I’m here on Twitter and Linkedin.