TrueTalk with Desi

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Gerisha Nadaraju, Product Ops lead
26 Sep 2019
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Desi is our spontaneous, hard-working, rockstar 🌟 UX/UI designer. She is a marathon runner, gig-goer and has the enviable trait of being able to have a big night out and still make it to the gym the next morning. We all enjoy the positive can-do attitude and great sense of humour that Desi brings to every situation.

Tell us a bit about Experience Design at TrueLayer and what you do?

Do you know the feeling of pushing a door when you actually have to pull it? Of course you do, and I am sure you are as frustrated as I am every single time.

The XD (Experience Design) team is here to make sure this doesn’t happen to our clients and their end-users. No, we don’t actually hold doors open for them, but we do make sure that the user journeys in our products provide them with the most frictionless and intuitive experience possible.

I am a UX/UI Designer with a great passion for frontend development. TrueLayer is where those two worlds meet for me. Here, designers and developers roam free, sharing not only the same space but ideas, passion and projects. ✨

In fact, just a few weeks ago we finished our first big project as a team. We released our brand new shiny Console, where we put all of our collective expertise and effort together to make sure we make the developers using it really happy.

What is the most challenging thing about your role?

While there is a constant stream of exciting projects to tackle, one that is ongoing and probably the biggest challenge for me is building our Design System: Prisma.

A Design System aims to put common standards across reusable components, making sure that both designers and developers are aligned and updates are only a click away. Prisma is the tool that will help us scale faster and help us at making our brand more consistent and recognisable.

Building a design system is hard. This is our “little utopia” and we work very hard every day to make sure we are one step closer to making it a reality.

What attracted you to Design?

When I finished high school, I applied to go to Film School to become a Director.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t make it!

It was the only school that offered this course and they only accepted 6 people per year. Unfortunately at that time in Bulgaria, about 5 films on average were made annually, so even if I had made it, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make a career out of it.

My plan B and the closest thing I could think of was Multimedia which eventually led me to finish an MSc in Creative Advertising in Edinburgh. Before I knew it, I was taking my first steps as a Designer and haven’t stopped ever since!

How do you maintain balance while working in a fast-paced startup environment?

This is my first startup experience and I am still trying to find my balance . It is also the first time I feel like I am part of something bigger and I really want to see TrueLayer succeed. Therefore it is sometimes easy to get carried away in work.

Fortunately, I am also fairly new to London. I moved here a year ago to join TrueLayer, and I am committed to the idea of making the most of the endless offerings of this city — from gigs to shows and more! This means I often frequent comedy clubs in the Camden area and I never say no to a random gig, even if it’s a bit out of my way. A recent Friday adventure with some lovely peeps from work was chasing Shonen Knife, a Japanese band I’ve never heard of before, all the way to Brighton!


What is something unexpected you recently learned at TrueLayer?

I am absolutely fascinated by the process of scaling a company. When I started, there were around 20 people, and a year later, we have more than tripled that number. What I didn’t anticipate was how involved each one of us has to be in order to make it work. You have to look beyond the responsibilities in your own team and focus on the bigger picture. This could involve anything from hiring to shaping the company values or looking for ways of refining the communication company-wide.

What is rewarding about working for TrueLayer?

Working for a start-up at this stage gives you plenty of opportunities to learn and get involved in many projects that take you out of your comfort zone and set the bar higher: creating design libraries, taking the lead on product redesigns, tracking and understanding metrics, making SVG animations, fixing bugs alongside developers, meeting clients and many more.

It is a lot of work sometimes but it is the best way to take your skills to a different level . The most rewarding thing for me is to see that all of your work is actually valued. If you are willing to take a risk, you will be given a chance. I have been trusted with owning projects earlier than I imagined and it has been an exciting opportunity.

As a bonus, you also get to work with some seriously amazing people.

What keeps you motivated?

Seeing progress. Being able to do something that you once thought was out of your reach. Of course, the more specialised you are in something the harder it is to see the progress in the short term but you need to be persistent and keep going. You might not see it today or tomorrow but at some point, you will realise you have improved.

What helps me along the way is jumping on tasks and side projects that are out of my scope and challenging myself. Learning new things is an easy way to get my quick fix of instant gratification. Recently I have become acquainted with the mysterious ways of GitHub-cherry-picking commits, stashing changes and rebasing my branches. Next, I am planning to render some new skills in React.

If you weren’t a designer what would you be doing?

You mean apart from being a successful film director? It is not easy to say. There are many things I would like to pick up as a hobby: learn how to play a musical instrument, get back to drawing classes, do more sport, learn Japanese, join a kayaking club or maybe even write a fantasy novel. Do I want to pursue a career in any of those? Still not sure.

What’s a great book that you’ve read or podcast you’ve listened to recently and why?

There is a podcast I really enjoy and have followed in recent years. Its goal is to expose the unseen and overlooked aspects of design, architecture, and activity in the world. Its name,‘99% invisible’, is based on a quote by the American architect, designer and inventor Buckminster Fuller: ‘Ninety-nine per cent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.’

What is your life motto?

Showing up is not enough, you need to make an effort.


I try to apply this to all aspects of my life and make the most out of every situation.

Psst. By the way, if XD sounds like your place, we are on the lookout for some super ⭐️s to join the team.

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