Founder & Design Lead | April 2020 - Present
Note: This case study was written in October 2020. A lot has changed since then
Team: Nadia Le, Jess Lam, Maggie Iglesias Pena, Yashar Hoang, Kimberley Chong, Calum Mills, Nabil Mir, Jack Shugrue, Uju Oduah, Nadiminti Sarvani, Dario Sanchez Martinez
Strategic Advisors: Jonathan Javier, Jerry Lee
Design Buddies strives to connect and support designers from all backgrounds. All our programs are free to be inclusive.
Timeline last updated October 2020.
Design Buddies was built on 3 problem areas:
Design Buddies is an active design community.
Our Impact section last updated October 2020.
I work closely with my admin and moderator team to implement and improve our community.
I lead a team of 11 admins. I placed each in separate roles and delegate tasks based on their interests: Community, Social Media, Design, Logistics, Events, Finance, and Content Creators.
I facilitate a series of administrative meetings:
Our team organizes everything on Notion:
In the beginning, I made the mistake of taking in everyone who wanted to help out to be on the admin team. I didn’t have a vetting process nor set expectations from the start. It resulted in admins feeling confused of what to do. We were also a small team struggling with balance.
I then wrote roles with descriptions and opened up admin applications. In the roles, I was specific about the responsibilities and expectations.
Our applications were open in July with under 2,000 members in the community. In 1 week, we had 70 applicants. We interviewed 11 from those and took on 4. By having members apply for specific positions, the expectations were clear.
I also manage our external collaborations with other organizations through partnerships. Our complete list of partners is in the appendix.
In the beginning, I made the mistake of saying yes to all organizations who requested to partner. Many of them looked for free design work and “shoutout for shoutout.” We let some go and made sure all partners have a mutually beneficial relationship. We set clear roles and expectations. We focus on quality over quantity.
I design all the marketing and social media posts for the community using our branding and tone. Here are some highlighted works.
Our growth comes organically through members and admins sharing about us on social media. We also focus on:
Events drive community engagement by providing a way for members to meet each other and also drive post-event discussions.
With Amazing Design People List (ADPList), we have built our mentorship program.
Mentors from Design Buddies can sign up to receive their own card on ADPList after going through a vetting process. Mentors are part of a mentor community and are invited to give talks to the community.
Mentees may reach out to mentors on ADPList after reading through the Mentee Guide Brian and I worked on.
As part of Camp Figma, I teamed up with Nadia and Marissa from our admin team to build Hop Land – a game design system that utilizes design systems in Figma.
We made sprites as components.