This week I had the amazing opportunity of talking with my first ever mentor, Gloria Lo. Gloria is a Product Designer at Canva, a university tutor, and what you can call an overall creative! When she is not designing you can find her singing, painting, and writing.
If you want to know more about this remarkable mentor, keep on reading! ✨
Sheldon Cooper — The Big Bang Theory
Of course, I have been a Product Designer at Canva for the past 2 and a half years. I am also a tutor at the University of Sydney, and a mentor on ADPList. Outside of work, I also like to paint, sing, and write.
Yeah, so I am a self-taught designer. I did not go to a Bootcamp nor did I study for a design degree,but learned how to design by exposing myself to the field.Before becoming a Product Designer, I was a financial auditor during my university years which was kind of boring for me because I could not see the creative side of it, nor could I see myself doing this for the rest of my career.
Michael Scott — The Office
I was lucky to have met some amazing people in the startup industry, where I got to learn more about what it was like to start a company from scratch. Since then, I gained more exposure as to what designers were doing in startups by attending hackathons, going to meetup events, and talking to professionals in the industry.
What I like most about this career path is that every day is different. As designers, we are challenged daily in not only needing to wear the designer hat but also needing to wear several hats.
What I love about this field is that it requires a lot of creativity.
Besides being a designer, there are some days when I also get to be a data analyst, researcher, interviewer, product manager, and so on.
“As a Product Designer, I approach challenges as a generalist rather than a specialist, solving problems from a larger scope.”
Something incredible about being in this field is that as designers, we have an influence on how people act and behave in society. The role of a designer is to ensure that we are focussing on solving the right problems so that we can design for a better society and a more inclusive future. The fact that my work gets to have an impact on both a small and large scale truly inspires me.
At Canva, I get to see the influence of the product on a greater scale within the design industry.
Given that our product is so diverse, it has a larger audience. It’s amazing to be able to see our impact on all the different types of users the product serves for. Canva is designed to ensure that no matter what your age, skills, or background are, it should be easy for you to pick up the tool and create something that visually communicates your idea. As product designers, we want to make Canva accessible to anyone — from young children in schools to small business owners and up to the elderly.
At work, I am part of the Product team and collaborate within several teams that focus on different features of the product. Something that I’ve been really excited to share with you is that we’re close to launching a new website builder that will allow you to create a very simple landing page. We are currently in the process of improving and iterating on it as it is still in its early stages, so keep your eyes peeled!
Excited Jonah Hill (and Denisse’s reaction)
I’m interested in providing the type of mentorship that can help students and mentees get their first job in design. A lot of the questions I get are related to getting your foot in the door, portfolio reviews, design interviews, etc. I hope to provide the support that my mentees need in order to achieve their goals.
Most of the questions that I get are related to portfolio critiques, interview tips, and how to break into the industry. The reason why I started writing on Medium was so that I could share the answers to these types of questions in more detail.
For example, I get a lot of questions about how to improve a design portfolio. There are a lot of things that you can do to improve your portfolio, but I think it really comes down to ensuring that you have a strong personal statement when someone lands on your homepage.
It’s important to inject your personality into your portfolio, as your portfolio is like your design fingerprint — it represents your identity, style, and beliefs.
To not be afraid of asking questions, and accept that it’s okay not to know everything. Life is all about learning, so it’s important to acknowledge that even when you’re in your most senior years, there are still going to be times when you won’t know everything. To grow, we must accept that there’s still so much out there to learn.
As our CEO, Melanie Perkins would say, “we’re only 1% of the way there”.
That’s a testament to how you should always be in a growth mindset and never standstill. There will always be a learning curve, and as part of your growth and development, it’s really important to recognize that there’s still room to improve.
And lastly, never let your ego get to you!
Let's get to know our mentor Jannis Hegenwald, a Design Manager at Atlassian.