Here is the interview I had with Girls in Tech Nigeria. Actual article to be found here.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Barbara Darchinger and I would call myself a startup designer. Since beginning 2013, I have been the lead designer at 88mph and 440ng in Africa. We assist startups by giving them access to business networks, mentoring and the know-how to quickly grow their businesses.
In this role, I have created brand identities for over 32 startup companies, designed websites, applications, presentation decks, fliers, brochures, online banners, help with UI and UX, I design practically everything they need to become a professional business.
Moreover I am the designer of a few startups based in Europe and Africa, help them with design as they grow.
Due to my past few years I would say I became a Startup Designer. Startup Designers are not merely people who make things pretty, they drive the product vision, construct the emotions that will try and convince customers to buy products, and if something doesn’t work, they try something else. It’s their job to know the customer, and research the market. Even more important, as a Startup Designer who wants to stand out and make a change to the world, you have to design the best solution, and that requires deep understanding of the business side as well.
2. What has been your major inspiration/driving force in your career in technology that seems to be a man’s world?
The driving force was definitely the surroundings of the last few years. I met amazing entrepreneurs and startup teams, who are talented and want to achieve something as well as change the way people think or interact. It’s so motivating to actually be part of their career and see where they are now and where they want to go. Also seeing how, you as a designer, can actually help them create their brand identity is extremely satisfying. You are part of their journey and the startups are thankful for that.
3. Please tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Being part of how 88mph & 440ng and seeing how the startup world operates. I don’t know a lot of designers who have a deep understanding of the business and investment side as well. That made me become a startup designer.
4. Who is your role model, and why?
My role model is Sylvia Brune, she helped set up 88mph in Africa and headed up 440ng, and 88mph’s Dealweek. She is a talented, smart and great boss. Very straight forward with a mind full of ideas. She always finds a way to approach any kind of project or problem.
5. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Work is never finished, there are always new projects and opportunities coming up, but I try to work the normal 8 hours a day, most it’s far more, sometimes it’s less.
6. How does your being a woman help in your chosen career path?
The multi-task intelligence of women approaches a highly constructive thinking, giving more importance to social responsibilities. We are generally more emotionally sensible and intuitive driven. So the way we communicate this through our design, increases the possible ways to change anything positively.
7. Where/ what do you draw your inspiration from during your work as a designer?
I draw my inspirations mostly from looking through online magazines and creative platforms, but also through just absorbing the world which is around me in detail. My passion about the startup and entrepreneurial world is pushed by all the startups who I am/was part of.
8. Have you ever wanted to give up along the way?
Not yet, but I know that if I want to give up, I’m probably almost where I want to be.
9. Have you ever felt your being a lady in tech was a disadvantage? If yes, please share an experience.
Sometimes people underestimate what you are actually capable of doing. But other than that, being a woman hasn’t been a disadvantage yet.
10. Any piece of advice you have for young women and girls aspiring to be great designers.
Everybody wants to be the perfect designer, but nobody is and can be perfect. Most of the time it’s more important to make it look good now, then perfect tomorrow.
11.In your opinion, how can we encourage more ladies to remain in tech?
I think we are getting there, more motivation, more great accomplishments through women and we will soon have a tech world with lots of women. But as we all know, good things take time.
12.Your favourite quote.
Move fast and break things.