Sam, thank you for chatting with me. To start off, can you tell us about your current role at Mappedin?
My title is Visual Designer and I've been doing that for probably a year now. I joined as a Graphic Designer but my role evolved to include other tasks outside of my main marketing role. I work on the website a lot and I've done a lot of print design - sales one-pagers, our business cards, and marketing materials for conferences. Sometimes I do product design as well so I designed the Mappedin leasing tool and a couple of our sample apps. The website has been a huge project since January though so that has taken a huge chunk of time recently!
The new website looks amazing and it looks completely different from the original! Were you involved in the project from the very beginning?
I was and it was a huge process. The project started off as designing a Developer Portal but it morphed into getting a new company website. As a part of that, we needed to do new branding and a bunch of research. I did a ton of user testing on the brand ideas, colours, and key phrases that the rest of the team came up with. There were a bunch of different concepts, everything from colours, to fonts, to choosing whether or not we wanted to use illustrated images or real photos.
It definitely sounds like a challenging process. What there one thing in particular that was the most difficult hurdle to overcome?
The process is so long; it must have taken us about 3 months before we had a solid direction and then the design of the website actually started and the brand continues to evolve through that. Even now, it's still continually evolving in small ways. With design, you have to trust the idea that you are putting forward because there will always be people who don’t like it or maybe it's not their style, but it was about the goals of the company. The hardest part was usually in making final decisions on details, like what type of image to use on the home page of the website and what our main phrase is and things like that.
Was there any one part of this project that you were really proud of?
There was a lot of ups and downs, but my favourite part was seeing the first couple of pages after they'd been built. I had the designs made for a long time and was continuously designing other parts of the website while they were being built so when they were complete and I got to see the animations and see everything work together, it becomes this full thing. It starts off as this design in your head so actually seeing my designs come to life was definitely the best part of the whole process!
That's great! So you have been with Mappedin for more than 2 years now, what made you want to join our team?
I thought Mappedin just ticked all the boxes for me. I thought the product was actually useful and it seemed like a fun place to work where you could get experience and really thrive. It's a smaller company, but not too small. I didn’t want to work at really small business because I'd done that before and I didn’t feel like there was enough room to grow with it. But I didn’t want to work for a large corporation either, so all that stuff put together, it just made sense to me to join Mappedin.
What have you been up to since we started working from home? Have you picked up any new hobbies?
I don’t think so! I’ve been doing a lot of the same stuff that I have always done; I was biking a lot in the summer, I go hiking and visit national parks, I've been playing instruments and video games. My life hasn’t actually been too different, I've just been able to hang out with my friends more often recently.
You are probably one of the few people who have told me that! Do you have any good tips or tricks for working at home?
Well at first, I did not have a good work from home setup. I didn't have a monitor or a chair or a nice desk so there was nowhere really for me to work. But once I brought my equipment home from the office and set it up, I found it really easy to transition.
The other thing I would say is to get outside at lunch. That’s been a big help for me, especially during the summer. There were so many times where you just feel stuffy from being indoors all the time and not seeing people. So my advice would definitely be to go for a walk at lunch. I always grab a bite and then walk for about half an hour. I recently started taking some meetings outside as well, for our morning stand-up calls I’ve just been having it on my porch and that has been really nice. Even if it is a little cold, it's still a nice way to start the day!
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