A Design Story

The many things I designed over the years with my personal logo in the lower middle.

Today, let me share you the journey that made me decide to pursue a full-time career in UX/UI design.

It all began around 1999 or 2000 when I developed a habit of drawing things on the white walls of our ancestral home using a black permanent marker. Two of the notable things I drew were the TV Patrol and the ABS-CBN logos. Both are iconic in their own right back home in the Philippines. Even though I made our house look ugly and unwelcoming to the visitors, I realized later that that was where I planted my seeds when it comes to my desire to design.

From there, I evolved from drawing TV logos on walls to TV show titlecards and sets, along with basketball uniforms and sneakers on sheets of paper. Using pencils, pens, and sometimes Crayola crayons or Faber-Castell colouring pencils became the norm. Drawing became a favourite hobby and I liked it so much that I would keep sheets of drawings and sort them in an expanding file organizer. I still have it in my home office for future ideas and to reflect on the good old days.

When I moved to Canada in 2010 with my parents and two sisters, I began designing things digitally aside from doing what I have already known. I learned Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at Bishop O’ Byrne High School and kept learning tips and tricks in my own time. It was there where I digitized the basketball uniforms I drew by hand and also made other things like logos, marketing posters, basketball courts, and even hockey uniforms. It even came to a point where I would come up with endless ideas that I needed to type them down on a Mac Pages document so that I can do them later. Four years later, I started contributing on the creative aspects of the business projects I was part of while doing the Management and Society program at University of Calgary. By then, I was satisfied being a self-taught “designer” on the side. I didn’t need to go all out like a professional. I just needed to show something good enough for the sake of it.

That all changed when I took an Interface Design course at SAIT in May 2020. It was through this course where I was able to develop a fundamental grasp on what UX/UI design is. I also grew to love the course as the Spring/Summer semester progressed. One notable project I did was a mobile application prototype that was based on a popular Calgary-based music festival with three individuals. I researched, sketched, wireframed, and prototyped on Adobe XD like a true UX/UI designer. I even volunteered to create the PowerPoint presentation background image to make it on brand with the actual prototype. It was my favourite project of the entire program. I enjoyed every minute doing the project.

After I finished the course, I reflected on what transpired and thought:

I wished I discovered UX/UI Design earlier. This looks like something that I would enjoy so much.

I was taking Software Development at the time while I was doing the course. To be honest, I only took it because it was the best option for me at the time. My dreams of being a newscaster, architect, basketball player, basketball coach, sports commentator, businessman, and graphic designer didn’t pan out so I was left with no choice but to choose another passion where I can start fresh and build progress from there. I’ve done it before while taking Sociology at the University of Calgary and Database Administration through the DS4Y program, so I was confident that I would pull it off again on my third try.

But in the end, Software Development was too much for me. I loved learning the theories and basics of programming languages like Java, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but the advanced coding aspects were tough to figure out even with enough practice. I tried my best but it didn’t pan out. Again. I appreciate the new skills and learnings, along with the memories I made there, but I reailized I was better off designing things than developing codes. It was about time I finally give designing a serious try. And this time around, I will do everything to make this move work.

In September 2021, I transitioned from from pursuing a career in Software Development to UX/UI design. It felt like a natural fit for me given my relentless desire to design. At the same time, I can embrace the other things I learned in school and apply them in UX/UI design situations.

The first thing I did was to visit LinkedIn Learning to watch and learn how to use Figma, InDesign, and Sketch. I also did free courses on UX writing and research, plus Axure. I also familiarized myself with other UX/UI design concepts that I didn’t learn in school. I also made it a habit to look through beautiful portfolios every now and then to seek inspiration and learn new tricks on how to pull off what they’re doing. Lastly, I began compiling a list of websites related to UX/UI design on Pearltrees for further inspiration and hopefully use them while I am at work. Not only did I go all out and research on all things UX/UI design, I also joined Calgary UX to be a volunteer last month for their virtual events and for an upcoming initiative that will feature Jr. UX/UI or Product designers in the form of social media posts. I have been attending this community’s virtual events since October 2020 and I enjoyed listening to stories and learning new skills. But I wanted to be more than just an event participant that would ask a question or provide a comment everytime. I want to be actively involved in the community and its members in any way I can. I could have not picked a better online community to join and belong to. In hindsight, it felt great do things that involves my true passion.

As of this writing, I have not found yet the UX/UI design opportunity for me to showcase my skills and expertise, but I do know a few things I will look forward to:

I can’t wait to design a mobile or web application and have it be presented to anyone, especially my superiors. I will do everything I can to make it attractive and user-friendly.

I can’t wait to be not only involved in the design process, but also in the planning portion. I will truly make sure that user and/or business goals are fully addressed.

I can’t wait to work with affinity diagrams, user personas, storyboards, competitor analysis, user flow diagrams, and many more UX/UI design methods.

I can’t wait to unravel my curiosity and ask people about what they want in a digital application. I love being around people in general. I love listening to their stories and why they do the things they do. I bet I might even learn something new from them.

I can’t wait to go all out and have fun with my coworkers and colleagues while in and out of work. Let’s have fun reflect on our UX/UI experiences and talk about other things like life, sports (Go Flames Go!), and maybe even the weather LOL. We can watch paint dry too while we’re at it.

Most of all, I can’t wait to be part of an uprising movement where designing with purpose and redefining living life to the fullest through technology due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are important factors to consider.

The best is yet to come.

Here’s my UX/UI portoflio (still in progress but trying my best to come up with good case studies).

Here’s my other work.



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