Learning from African Women In Design
Highlights from my interviews with 10 women in design for The African Tech Woman podcast
In January 2020, I spoke to ten women who have made a career for themselves in design across various sectors for The African Tech Woman “Women in Design” series. The episodes were published weekly from April and June. Here are a some things I learned from those episodes.
Florence Dairo is a UX Designer at Toptal. In Dark UX: Ethics of Design, we talk about her journey in design and the challenges she faced to prove herself as a newbie. “It is important to observe the client more than just asking them what they want”, she says. In a society where we’re taught to not overly question anything, Florence encourages having a curious mind as it is definitely something that people going into design need to grow and become better designers.
Winifred Yachiga Amase, Creative Design Lead at Redwire Marketing, talked about how she was able to grow her career in design in Teaching Design as a Form of Learning. We talked about how people undermined design as a career and how she had to always explain the work that goes into design. She largely believes teaching will help in further learning. She teaches different courses in order to help people understand that design is something that everyone can do if they really want to go into design. “What makes a good designer is the passion to create.”
Senior UX Researcher at Interswitch, Praiz UX, shared on The importance of UX Design and the need for a UX researcher in design. She states that knowing the people she works with helped her to grow in a good environment and being able to relate with people she had to collaborate with helped her to do her work the way she wanted to. Being a UX researcher helped her to understand what people want because people will not always tell you what they want, which helped her to be able to be innovative and creative.
Kache, a multidisciplinary designer working at RelianceHMO talked about perseverance in her journey which made her grow and learn. We talked about The Importance of Design Systems and how it’s important to get feedback so you can grow and develop your skills. An important takeaway, “a good designer knows their purpose and is focused on that in order to give the best results.”
Bolanle Banwo, a self-taught Brand Identity Designer, is the founder of The Female Designer Movement and Geneza School of Design. She identifies more as a brand identity designer than as a graphic designer because she helps brands tell their story through visuals. She shares her tips and important lessons a brand identity designer should know in order to be successful in What Brand Identity Designers Should Know. “It is important to make clients feel like the decision-maker while still ensuring that the right choices are made for them.” Being a brand identity designer means that you ensure people fall in love with the brand, and are able to connect with people through adverts.
Mentie Omotejowho is a fully freelance multidisciplinary designer. We spoke about Surviving As A Freelance Designer. For Mentie, being in the freelance world enabled her to learn from the different companies and projects she worked on, versus being limited to working with one company or one product. She encourages other freelancers to know their value and not undervalue their work to clients. Mentie firmly believes freelancing helped her grow her skills in design and while it is not an easy path, it definitely has its benefits.
Orezi Omokiti, UX Designer at Synergy Designs, takes us through her journey into design and being able to manage herself and time while working remotely. To her, being a good designer is being able to apply different processes to different projects, being able to adapt and deliver results that fit diverse projects. As someone who works remotely, she believes working at home helps her to be calmer and more focused even though it can be hard working with teams. Listen to the set principles she follows while working remotely in How to Survive Working Remotely in Nigeria.
A Product Designer at Sterling Bank, Gbemisola Abijo discusses The Importance of Collaboration in Design. Developers and designers work hand in hand to make a product successful, and being able to work with developers is important in order to create feasible designs. She shares her experience and how collaboration helped her become a better designer.
Uyai Umoren Effiong is a Service Design Consultant. In Understanding Service Design, she talks about the fundamentals of service design and how it is used. Service design is complex and does not have a physical form that can be pointed out as it deals with interacting with a service from the beginning to the end. For Uyai, working as a service designer was not something she jumped headfirst into and she breaks all there is to know about it in this episode. “To be a good service designer is to be able to connect with clients and be proactive.”
My final interview for the series was with Eniola Abiola, a Product Designer at Yellowcard. She talks about Dealing with Imposter Syndrome and how having a strong support system helped her career. “Being self-aware and knowing what works for you is important in order to grow.” Her journey into tech has been a relatively smooth one majorly because of her support system and that sense of community she believes helped her to find her path.