Grace Kwon, Senior Service Designer
To showcase our band members, every now and then we put a Spotifier in the limelight. Today's headliner is Grace Kwon (she/her), Senior Service Designer for Business Affairs in Brooklyn, New York. Put on your headphones, hit play, and read along!
Questions & Answers
Why are you a designer?
Two of my favorite designers Charles and Ray Eames once said, “The role of a designer is that of a very good and thoughtful host, anticipating the needs of his [or her/their!] guests”. Whether it be potlucks or workshops, I love hosting. The art of gathering people and insights are two areas I’d like to master throughout my life and career in service design.
Describe your job at Spotify without using the words "design" or "designer".
Part diplomat, part translator – my job consists of sense-making, facilitating, and untangling complex business processes and data into digestible and reliable sources of truth for clarity and alignment amongst stakeholders.
What would your self-portrait look like?
Who would be your dream person to collaborate with and what would you make together?
Esther Perel. Esther’s take on relational intelligence broadened how I view the meaning of work, life, and love. Whether it be facilitating workshops or conducting interviews, her work has taken my design practice to another level! I’d love to collaborate in building out a service model of her new card game, Where Should We Begin, so that more people can have access to her incredible work and approach to therapy.
What's one piece of design wisdom you would give to your younger self?
Underneath the visual there is the visceral. Always look at what’s behind and beyond what meets the eye.
Complete the sentence: "People are often surprised when I tell them..."
I’ve crossed the largest continental area on Earth – Eurasia – in 20 days. Starting from Vladivostok and all the way across west to Moscow, I was on a 20-day train expedition with only four stops along the way. I learned how to shower with a water bottle (emphasis on the "a") because there were no showers on the train! My special talent: survival.
Show us your happy place – somewhere you go to recharge your creative battery – and choose a soundtrack to go with it. Tell us why you picked your spot.
Location: Bouwerie Iconic Magazines, Soho
Soundtrack: Whitney – No Woman
There’s a place in Soho (NYC) called Bouwerie Iconic Magazines where all the magazines from the world come and go. I can be in there for hours. It’s the place I go to do some personal R&D. Some of my favorite magazines are The Gentlewoman, Real Review, Kinfolk, and Deem Journal. There’s something about touching paper, flipping physical pages, and looking through spreads and spreads of beautiful photography. Print is not dead!
What are you excited about right now?
I worked on a blog post on service design with an incredible group of coworkers here at Spotify. It was a labor of love and I’m really excited for the small but mighty community of service designers out there to meet my colleagues, the amazing work we're doing and the insights we’ve accumulated while tackling some hairy design challenges!
Any final shout-outs or things you'd like to share?
I’d love to give a shout out to my manager, Lisa Selden, Director of Operations in Business Affairs. She took a leap of faith with me when she brought me on as Spotify’s first Service Designer. Her unconditional support for me and my career growth has been invaluable. I want to shamelessly plug in my LinkedIn. Any up-and-coming service designers who need a portfolio crit or a coffee chat – please feel free to connect. I know navigating the service design industry is no easy feat. Here for y’all.
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