Wondering what you need to be a product designer? We caught up with Wakelet’s in-house designer Finlay Thorburn to find out
1.How did you become a Product Designer at Wakelet?
‘Having just returned from India – where I was working as a visual communications designer for a management consultancy – I was looking to transfer my design skillset towards digital technology with a social mission. Wakelet offered this, as well as an unmissable opportunity to join a high-potential, high-growth start-up.’
2.What are essential skills for a Product Designer to have?
‘I think you should always have an innate passion to create. I’ve been very design-orientated since childhood. Product Design enabled me to leverage this innate creativity to a strategic design process in researching problems, identifying opportunities, and building valuable proposition in the form of products, services and systems.’
3. What role does Product Design play in start-ups?
‘The value of a start-up is its ability to change direction quickly. Working in a nimble company, you’re always making and acting upon quick-fire decisions. The key when approaching product design in a start-up is that it’s not about perfection, it’s about rapidly crafting and continually iterating. You need to create solutions that are functionally viable and enriching for a user to experience.’
4.What challenges have you faced?
‘It’s been challenging to not have a competitor benchmark. We’re creating something totally new at Wakelet – it’s never been done before! Our design is always going into the unknown but aims to produce something that users love to use, trust completely, and enjoy the attention to detail.’
5.What does your role entail at Wakelet?
‘Designing stuff! I have to be pretty flexible. One day I’ll be assessing user insights to conceptualize new features and improve user experience, another I’ll be producing marketing materials and high-level brand innovation. I’m always switching between a macro focus on the design direction of Wakelet and zoning into the micro details to ensure this direction is properly implemented across our product.’
6.What advice would you give to an aspiring Product Designer?
‘Take a holistic approach to design and learn the whole process. The principles of Product Design manifest in many different ways in an innovative business. Learn the key principles and then double down into the specific skillsets required, this way your ability will always have a relevant value.’
7.How do you use Wakelet?
‘I use Wakelet daily for planning work, researching design, noting down ideas, working on personal projects, travel itineraries and so much more. It’s the most versatile product for synthesizing and connecting content and extremely conducive for creating new ideas and opportunities.’
Follow Finlay on Wakelet @fin