Matias Fiori - Building a career rooted in design fundamentals


Matias Fiori shares his advice on building a product design career from design fundamentals! He provides specific actions to take and things to consider to help you along your way. From where to focus your energy with breaking into product design to how to level up once you get your first job, this episode is a great one to check out! Read the article below and listen to more advice from Matias in the full episode!

🧱 Don’t skip over the design fundamentals!

Matias has found great success by using the knowledge he collected during his education and career. You don't have to have a formal graphic design degree, but you do need to put in the time and effort to understand the fundamentals, so you have a foundation to build your career.

🧠 Be like a sponge.

Take the early part of your career to learn as much as possible. From color theory and visual hierarchy to what makes the best and most functional mobile app - learn everything you can and keep building up your skills to propel you along your career.

Learn to love each project that comes your way.

You must approach each project as an opportunity to learn and grow. With this mindset, you can learn to love all projects regardless of scale or how much creativity you get to leverage. With every new opportunity, face it with a growth mindset.

Building a career rooted in design fundamentals

In this episode of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Matias Fiori, Lead Product Designer at UX Cabin, who lives in Uruguay. Matias has worked at UX Cabin for over two and a half years.Over the last couple of years, Matias has grown from an individual contributor on projects to helping to lead design teams for various projects. He brings so much value to our team through his graphic and product design expertise and shares excellent advice on how he has found success in product design during this episode.

How Matias found his love of design

From the time Matias was a child, he was interested in all things visual. He enjoyed the intros of cartoons and movie posters and seeing the personality of shows and movies embedded in a logo. His sister's husband urged him to look into design when deciding what to study at university.

Matias earned a bachelor's degree in graphic design and took his first job in advertising. He quickly decided this was not what he wanted to do and made the leap to freelancing, which led him to open a design studio with two of his friends. They did everything from silk screen printing, rock band posters, and magazines to other traditional graphic design and some software design.

In 2019, Matias and Seth met when UX Cabin needed a logo created. Matias created the logo and, shortly after, joined the team as a product designer. Over the years, he has grown from an individual contributor to a Lead Product Designer who helps mentor other team members.

Advice for aspiring and brand new product designers

During Seth's chat with Matias, there was a lot of advice on how to approach product design when you are first stepping into it. Matias has so much advice to share with a background in graphic design. Here are a few things to take to heart as you begin your journey in product design, and you can listen to even more advice in the full podcast episode!

🤔 Learn design from a holistic perspective.

Gain a strong knowledge of design fundamentals to be more prepared for your career in product design. Whether this knowledge is collected before you start your career or during your work - keep learning. Take time to understand art, study paintings, color theory, visual hierarchy, and composition to gain new knowledge.

👏 Don’t be so hard on yourself!

When you are just starting, it is the time to relax and give yourself some room to grow. You will not be an expert right out the gate. The early stages of your career are more about learning, experimenting, and making mistakes - and then learning from those mistakes.

"Try to relax a little bit because that first stage of your career is going to be all about experimenting, learning, and making mistakes."

Find the joy in each project you work on.

You will find that some projects do not allow you to leverage your creativity as easily. It is essential to learn how to love what you are doing during those times. Changing your mindset to find joy in what you can learn from this project will make it so much more enjoyable, and you will create better work.

How to level up in the early stages of your career in product design

Once you land your first product design job, you will want to keep getting better at what you do. Matias shared a few things to keep in mind when trying to level up in your product design career.

👏 Absorb knowledge like you are a sponge.

There will still be so much to learn when you start in your first product design role. Keep digging in further to learn more.

If you are designing a mobile app:

1. Download all the best apps on the market, create accounts and start exploring.

2. Look for the flaws and read material guidelines to learn more.

3. Replicate what they are doing and analyze what they did to accomplish a strong product.

📢 Learn how to make stakeholders feel heard.

One of the essential soft skills in design is learning how to communicate with stakeholders in a way they know that you heard and understood their requests. When presenting designs, consider that they may not understand all of the decisions you made. Be respectful and address their concerns and needs while considering their point of view.

“Learn to love what you are doing instead of always pursuing what you think is going to be your ideal.”

🎯 Remember that experience comes with time and effort.

1. Efficiency brings confidence: once you have a better idea of what will work, you won't have to explore as much.

2. Confidence will help ease your mind: once you know the time associated with a task and you aren't worried about missing deadlines.

3. Being more relaxed will help you be more articulated: once you understand the steps needed for problem-solving, things will go more smoothly.

Thank you so much, Matias!

This episode with Matias offers excellent advice on getting started and then leveling up during your product design career path. We are grateful that Matias joined us on the show and shared his exciting design journey so we could all learn from his example.

Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which includes more about how Matias found his way and landed at UX Cabin and his hot take on design labels. Don't forget to follow Matias on Twitter, LinkedIn, and his website to see what he has been up to!

Where to find Matias

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