Coffee Chat: An Interview with Designer Paula Borowska
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Today Justas Markus presents an inspiring and motivating interview with designer Paula Borowska, a travelling freelance designer and writer.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a designer and writer. I’ve quit my start up job in the Spring to travel Europe. 3 months off quickly turned into 9. I’ve seen 13 European countries this past summer and will be visiting at least 4 Asian ones in the fall. I’ve recently been focusing on writing too; I’m trying to expand my communication horizons and writing helps so much with it. It also helps with comprehension of unfamiliar topics too. That’s how I ended up writing Mobile Design Book with Tomas Laurinavicius.
When did you started your design career and where?
I knew I wanted to be in web design while I was still in high school. My dad taught me the basics of HTML and CSS as a child and I picked it up pretty quickly. I wanted to be a full stack developer while in high school however, I did not want to go for a Computer Science degree – I felt it was too much. I wanted something between Computer Science and Art school; I think I got it. While in college at New England Institute of Art, I found out i can combine my love of psychology with web design and pursue a career in usability and user experience. So, that’s exactly what I did. After graduating, I moved out to SF by chance actually while I was still 20.
Who inspires you to be a designer ?
I wouldn’t say who but what. I don’t enjoy mediocrity. I don’t like using products that are unattractive. And, although I’m not a product or industrial designer I want to make sure whatever I work on is in fact great visually and through its experience. I don’t enjoy using things that look cheap, that look like no one cared to make it look like anything. I want to be someone who cares because I want to live in a pleasant world.
How does your work day look like?
It’s hard to say. I don’t have a stable environment right now and I won’t till the end of the year. Somedays I’m extremely unproductive because I want to walk around and hang out at the park all day. When I’m done with that, I just want to relax and read. But, sometimes I will work for hours straight as soon as I’ll wake up. Or, something will hit me that I will work through the night.
At this point, I’m trying to embrace my irregular patterns and work with them. Actually, I’m trying to figure out how I can work smarter by working less. I don’t enjoy being busy and I think it’s a common praise among the community but I don’t agree. My surroundings are changing often, I’m traveling so I’m all over the place; I want to embrace my surroundings and enjoy the day rather than spend it on the computer.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently freelancing on two project. Adobe needs my help sometimes prototyping possible product ideas – it’s a pretty cool gig and yes, they have some cool ideas they are trying to execute. I’m also working on a landing page for an app called Hupla. I enjoyed that project because it gave me a lot of creative freedom to play around with new ideas.
I’m also trying to bring back my blog to live – Being Limited. It’s a blog devoted to exploring UX. I cover quick topics like what makes a good sign up button in about 500 words. I enjoy making quick but to the point posts and that’s where they live.
How do you manage your time?
Oh that’s an easy one: I don’t.
Where are you currently based and what’s next?
As I write this, I am in San Francisco. After, I will be visiting Long Island and Boston for two weeks before I depart for my 2nd round of travels this year. As of right now I am going to be in Milan, Venice, Prague and Paris all within one week. After, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I’m thinking of squeezing in Philippines or Singapore too. Maybe, if luck may have it, I can have a few days of a layover in Sri Lanka on my way back home (it’s NY, by the way).
Working in the office for company or you’re freelancer?
I am currently freelancing a little. If anyone needs my helps I can gladly take on a small project right now. Come December and January I will be applying to full time position. I can’t say I miss the 9-5 but it’s time for something a little bit more stable. Naturally, I don’t know what I want whether I want to work for a start up or a big company. I’m not picky about location either SF or Amsterdamn will do! However, I am going to be picky about the job responsibilities and culture; I’d list it all but it will get verbose!
What are the tools you can’t live without?
I currently have been using an iPad 2 for my reading and that thing is a brick. It’s indispensable but I want an iPad Mini. (If anyone is willing to make donations, hollar!) I love, love, love to read on my down time. I also found that I cannot go long periods of time without pen and paper. This is to make notes, sketch, or just doodle but a small notebook is a must.
Get in touch with Paula