Interview with Uche



Tell us about yourself?

Hi, I’m Uche. I’m a Graphic / Product Designer from Lagos, Nigeria, currently based in Kigali. I create visual identities for remarkable brands, some of my skills are brand identity design, user research, synthesizing research into insights and ideas, Ui/Ux design, interaction design, prototyping, user testing, illustrations and more. I also think one of the best things that has happened to humanity is Game of Thrones. Oh! and I love table tennis.

Movie or Music person?

Depends on the mood actually, music facilitates my work experiences and movies are a good way to relax.

It’s Saturday! Netflix or Hangout?’

Hangout. Definitely, 60% of my clients are businessmen who I meet at hangouts/networking events.

Favorite inspirational place

Niyo Art Gallery

What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?

Haha. I remember one time as I kid in Nigeria, I think I was 11, I thought I had solved the problem of sitting through 8 pm news by cutting off the TV cable but then it hit me like 5 hours later that I couldn’t watch my cartoons. I got the beating of my life – trust Nigerian moms.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Brand identity is not what people tell to your face, it’s what people say about you when you’ve left the room. – Jeff Bezos

What do you do?

I am currently working as a  Graphic Designer at Kasha Rwanda and a freelance Product Designer.

Tell us about a project that you’re most proud of.

I think one of the projects I’m most proud of is designing my portfolio because it gives people the medium to view other projects that I’m equally proud of.

What memorable responses have you had for your work?

A client once told me – “ I came here with the mindset of Yes or No, but WOW is what you gave me.”

Who are your biggest influences?

Paula Scher — Pentagram, Chris Do — The Futur and David Armano

Just to mention a few

Tell us about a UX project that didn’t go as planned.

When I was first starting out in design, I worked for a startup that was creating a building tool for small businesses. I was responsible for designing and building the website template framework from which these websites would be automatically generated. I needed to figure out a way to automatically create a decent website for a business based on their name, industry and brand colors. Challenge accepted.

After a lot of head-scratching and research, I decided to represent each website as a simple list of attributes including template (defines the layout of the website), content blocks (types of content including images, text, and videos), colors (up to 2 company colors) and themes (fonts and styles). I created multiple types of interchangeable attributes to ensure that there was a good range of variation amongst websites.

Unfortunately, the company went out of business before we finished building the product. It was a really fun and challenging project and I learned a lot about the anatomy of a website. If you learn something from a failure, it’s not really a failure after all.

What would you say is the next big trend in UI/UX design?

The rise of voice-first design

Frameless experiences

Emotional design

What do you like and dislike about the freelance world?

What I like – Being my own boss, following my business intuition, and being able to work from wherever I choose and [during] the hours I choose is what I love most. Being chained to a desk was soul-destroying for me.

What I hate – I miss being able to bounce ideas and brainstorm with colleagues, or the sharing of in-house business leads — critical in PR, as everything about my industry is timing. However, another challenge is cash flow —  this is especially difficult when working with inexperienced startups who are looking for cheap but quality work, and they don’t necessarily understand how much goes into a particular design project.

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

No, it’s truly not lonely, don’t know where that stereotype came from. For those that feel it is, there are easy ways to counteract it – meetups,  join design communities, attend events, basically be ready to socialize.

What is your dream project?

The beauty of designing is the culture it possesses, it has been passed down from creative to creative, and it’s that knowledge that makes a good design stand out. With that in mind, my dream project will be to establish a design program here in Kigali, Rwanda. To teach young creatives the skills they will need to compete with the international market. We’ve actually started working on – Citadel Inc in partnership with Figma, we are starting with a 3-month internship learning program so watch out for that.

Three tips to upcoming UI/UX Designers

Every journey begins with a single step—  becoming a UX Designer may be a long time process, but it is worth to follow this path. Do not discourage yourself if you will have some difficulties, because every single step forward will bring you lots of satisfaction!

Set Time Aside to Read — This one’s so easy that it almost feels like cheating but you can learn a lot and improve a lot just by reading around. Take some time each week to read up on the latest developments in UX, buy textbooks from leading designers, even consider taking some UX courses.

Know your audience Every design has a purpose and that is to reach the intended audience effectively. Being a UI/UX designer you need to know who your target audience is and what is important to them. Before you begin the designing process, it is ideal to know who you are designing for.

Identifying your audience early on in the design process helps you come up with better designs and give you a good starting point to work from.

Remember as a designer you have the power to interpret what your audience looks at when they open a site or mobile application, so to increase the efficacy of your designs, you need to use this knowledge to your advantage. This will help you design a more effective user-interface design.

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