I was offered an internship at Canva during my final year studying Design Computing at the University of Sydney. During the course of my degree, I finished an internship in a bigger, older company so I was interested in working in a faster-paced environment. I’d be lying if the prospect of an awesome bar, espresso machine, and free breakfast and lunch didn’t influence my decision to work at Canva.
During the 3-month internship, I joined an exciting team and worked on a research-based design project, which will provide direction for the future of the Canva App Store. Through various onboarding activities, including but not limited to a trip to Bronte Beach and partaking in “The Amazing Race”, I was able to meet the whole team and get to know the rest of a cohort of 30 interns. Somehow I managed to get a job after this internship! Here’s what an average day in that job looked like before the whole COVID-19 thing happened and my life became a purely indoor affair.
Catching a bus to Central station and engaging in regular morning commute activities like watching droplets on water run down the window, listening to music, and twiddling my thumbs to name a few.
Partaking in the absolute best aspect of Canva’s workplace culture - free breakfast. This usually consists of a couple of soft boiled eggs on toast with some fruit and a maybe glass of milk if I’m feeling particularly wild.
I take the stairs up to level five where I sit with the Print and Partnerships team beside another product designer and product manager. I quickly check my calendar and email anything urgent. Holy heck I have a meeting I’d completely forgotten about which starts in a minute. It’s a design jam session with the other designer in the team. We will be collaborating on a new user experience flow for a print product being developed. I check the name and level of the meeting room and walk briskly over to it. We do some thinking, sketching, and discussing and eventually finalize decisions about the design. I write down some notes from the meeting and take these back to my desk along with the sketches.
I make some higher fidelity Figma prototypes based on the designs we sketched that morning. These are not pixel-perfect designs at this stage, but just a good way to flesh out how the user experience will work and communicate it to others. After putting together a few alternative designs, I screen record one and send it to a Slack channel with a few people on my team for feedback.
Time to partake in the second best aspect of Canva’s workplace culture - free lunch. Today’s lunch is burritos. How good. I take lunch to the rooftop, eat and chat with a few folks on my team, some of the other grads, and maybe some strangers.
After quickly making coffee to avoid an otherwise inevitable post-lunch food coma, I attend design crit. This is a weekly meeting with the whole Canva product design team where two or three people pitch their designs to the team, usually briefly explaining the problem and going through a Figma file to explain the designs. The rest of the team ask questions and give feedback. I usually find these crits really interesting because it’s an opportunity to see what other designers and teams are up to and to get inspired.
The rest of the day is spent researching for a longer-term project. At some point I might take my laptop downstairs to the cafe for a change of scenery, and write up a Confluence doc outlining the design specification for another project that’s pretty much finished and is ready to hand over to developers. I may or may not also consume a few Tim Tams or mint slices at various points throughout the second half of the day.
If today is a Friday I might stick around at the end of the day to drink a beer or two and play a game of ping pong or eight. Then head home :)