This piece follows the experiences and insights of Design Lead at LottieFiles, Gabriela Schmitz. Based in Berlin but originally from Brazil, this incredibly talented motion designer turned product designer joined LottieFiles as one of the first few employees. Thrown into the deep end with an intense baptism by fire, this self-starter adapts fast to her ever-changing environment with ease and has been such a valuable asset when it comes to all things design at LottieFiles.
I’m a little bit everywhere in design today at LottieFiles; I started as a motion designer and now am a product designer. I joined LottieFiles early on as one of the first employees after they discovered my Dribbble profile; and at the beginning, I tackled almost everything - graphic design, print materials, illustration, animation, UI, UX. I am so happy that today we have a team of 2 more designers; it really helps spread some of the tasks out. Having had my hands on everything in the beginning has really helped me become an all-rounded leader as Design Lead at LottieFiles; the experience I’ve now had enables me to share what I’ve learned and guide any new members joining the design team.
Aside from being able to effectively communicate and train other motion designers, being a former motion designer myself has really helped me in a variety of aspects with my role here at LottieFiles now that I’m a product designer. It has enhanced my skills, and you’d be surprised how much of a parallel there is between the two roles. I did a talk on how having the skills of a motion designer can enhance one’s role in product design at a conference for UXVN that you can check out here.
I made the transition after I began working at LottieFiles. I initially started working as a motion designer at the beginning of the company’s journey, and at that time, I was really focused on motion for products. This led me to dive deeper into understanding some UI principles because I really wanted to make sure the animations I was creating were actually useful for a real-life product. This desire to make sense out of things rather than just throwing things in to make products look nice drove me to take the initiative to start studying product design and testing my hand at it by tackling some small product design tasks at LottieFiles.
Of course, I also made sure to express my interest to my boss (which is also a very important part of the journey) because I knew that in that way, whoever is leading you can be aware of the path you want to take and can help work with you to provide that valuable space for that. During the first months, I was working 50/50 on both motion and product design, and slowly but surely that started to change to 20/80, and finally, now I am working full time as a product designer.
I’ve always been fascinated by cartoons, comics, and animated movies, so at first, my dream was to work in the entertainment industry doing cartoons. Back home in Florianopolis, Brazil, the local university only allowed the study of animation within a general design course, so I got my bachelors in design which gave me great foundations which naturally I found myself applying in my animations and motion graphics projects.
I started working for an animated TV series, then I jumped to working on the YouTube educational series Crash Course, and after that, I moved on to later doing motion graphics for marketing at a tech company. It was in this last job that I first started getting more exposure and more contact with UI and UX designers. I wanted so badly to collaborate with them, but I didn’t quite know exactly how that could be possible because at that time we didn’t really share the same knowledge or tools. That all changed when I found out about Lottie. For me, Lottie was a game-changer; I started working with product teams adding motion graphics to products, and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Show your passion and celebrate your differences. Everyone has their own unique journey and unique skills that adds to their work and makes us all stand out. Where do you come from? How did you get here? What’s been the good and the bad? Even the challenges you’ve faced in life contribute to your story which might even add more flavor and make things more interesting.
The way you present information and yourself is very important and essential for a good first impression. Proactivity may very well sound like a cliche, but it is very much true. You don’t have to know everything, but you need to be proactive to ensure you’re never limiting yourself and are always growing in knowledge, because when you are armed with knowledge, you can be unstoppable.