Kit French is a graduate of the Viridian Cohort. Prior to joining Designation she worked as a creative lead at Type E Design.
Tell us briefly about your job.
I work as a visual designer for MINDBODY in sunny San Luis Obispo, CA.
Tell us briefly about your company.
MINDBODY is a SaaS company in the wellness industry. If you’ve ever booked yoga, crossfit, haircuts or massages online, you’ve probably used MINDBODY. I currently work on a team of six, but the whole marketing department has about 70 team members. I work to support marketing efforts in the forms of email design, social media marketing, event design, landing pages, and animation.
What did you do professionally before you started at Designation? Why did you decide to attend?
I worked at Type-E Design, a boutique design agency in Alexandria, VA. We did everything from print to digital design. For one project, I had to redesign a mobile app for a conference, and that’s what started my journey to UX/UI. As the only designer working on it, I googled like a mad woman. While that feet-to-the-fire approach got the job done, I knew I needed a better education in the fundamentals. I found Designation on Course Report, read all the reviews, stalked the Facebook page for a good month, and took the chance.
How do you describe your Designation experience?
Intense and gratifying. Those three months ran the gamut of emotions for me. I made friends with really great people, had some tough conversations with teammates, stayed up way too late, fell asleep on the bus, gave kick-ass presentations, was told I can do better, felt the imposter syndrome, went on a bazillion third interviews, got an offer and moved to California. That about sums it up.
What was your favorite part of the Designation experience?
1. Client Phase! Working and presenting to actual stakeholders took the Designation experience up a notch. The workload was more intense and I had less time. But it gave me a chance to put what I learned into reality and showed me where I needed to improve.
2. User testing! I spent time making a design, choosing colors, pictures, and layout. I put it in front of actual users and they nullified or verified my design decisions. Testing taught me some things might work visually but inhibit usability.
3. My cohort!
What did you find was the most useful skill, tool, or experience from your time in the program?
Doing the same process over and over again. I feel anyone can learn tools. It was learning to verbalize and make sense of things—how I worked, what I made and why I made it—that was really important.
How did Designation help prepare you for your job?
It was really helpful for me to extensively write about my projects before I put together my portfolio and went on interviews. I’m not good at winging it in interviews; it was helpful to get all my thoughts on paper, then boil down to talking points, key details, mini-victories, and lessons learned.
In general, I gained a lot of confidence by attending Designation. At my current job, I work with a lot of market and UX researchers. It’s great to be able to speak their language and request relevant research for them to conduct.
Working and presenting to actual stakeholders took the Designation experience up a notch.
How did you stand out from the competition in applying for, interviewing for, or getting this job?
I wrote a lengthy and personal thank you note to each person I interviewed with. I addressed points I missed in the interview and added answers. And I made it clear that they needed me and I was ready to join the team. After accepting my offer, it was important for me to contact everyone else I was interviewing with and thanked them for their time. Don’t ghost people; you never know who you might meet again.
What advice can you give to someone trying to start in the design industry?
Be immersed in everything relating to design and do lots of work. And I keep this list of rules by John Cage near my desk. I check in with them whenever I feel myself getting too serious.