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Unexpected Skills

May 2022


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Spotify Design Team

There are some experiences, unrelated to the design craft, that shape our practice for the better. In this 3x3, we speak to three designers about the unexpected skills they believe give them an edge. As always, they must answer in three sentences or less.

What unexpected skills or experiences have helped you as a designer?

Barton Smith

Staff Product Designer

I didn’t expect people skills to be such an important design skill. At some point, the biggest barrier to shipping good design didn’t come from my ability to understand product strategy or interface design. It came from making that work a reality—conveying the ideas effectively to leadership, motivating the team to push a bit harder for quality, providing constructive and thoughtful feedback, and all the other people-things in between.

David Owen Morgan

Senior Product Designer

I’m starting to cope better as a professional imposter, recognising I’m only really happy working right on the very edge of what I know and what I don’t know. For twenty years I’ve chased job roles and projects as vehicles for learning, aiming to hone our design craft at the state of the art. But now I realise there’s no threshold of achievement in craft that quiets the imposter in your head… you can only get better at working with that voice.

Youn Lee

Product Designer

I was a product manager collaborating with various stakeholders and dealt with unexpected issues unique to each discipline. That experience instilled confidence in me on how to approach problems and communicate with users and stakeholders with different backgrounds.


Spotify Design Team

We're a cross-disciplinary team of people who love to create great experiences and make meaningful connections between listeners and creators.

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