#27 - Kultar Ruprai - The Art of UX mentoring: The Creative Journey of a UX Designer

Feb 27, 2023Dianne Eberhardt

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Dianne: Hello everyone. Welcome to Pixelated Perfect. Today I have Kultar with me. I'm super excited to chat with him a little bit about his design career. He is currently based in the UK. He is a design lead and a mentor. He's been designing for over 18 years. He currently is working at Williams Commerce, which I'm sure we'll hear a little bit more about. And he's also a mentor on the ADP list. So thank you so much Kultar, for joining us.

Kultar: Thanks for reaching out and thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Dianne: Of course, of course. I'm super excited. So let's dive right in. Can you tell me when design came into your life?

Kultar: Um as far back as I can remember, in all honesty. So I studied design. I remember early, early secondary school well, actually even before that, even in primary school. Just enjoying sketching and drawing through academic studying secondary school. I remember taking up all the, you know, the art classes, graphic classes, anything that was creative, you know, woodworking, technical drawing, and just realizing that I enjoyed that. And as you progress through academic studies, they try to get you to put yourself in a box and choose what you wanna specialize in. And I never really wanted to pick one box. I never really knew what I wanted to do. I just knew I liked being creative. So I remember that the A level marks a level time when I picked graphic design. So I specialized in graphic design and it just so happens my other studies around that time were psychology, you know the way the brain works and science is specifically biology, the human body.

Kultar: So it all in all, all that kind of stuff still gets used to this day. The way with the way, you know, user centered design and how people behave, how the mind behaves, how we use technology, it all, it all falls back into patterns and studies that relate back to design. And this is going back into the early nineties now. So roundabout then is when I knew this is what I kind of enjoyed. Yes. I progressed that through to university. So studied foundation, studied multimedia design. Back then it was very much CD ROMs and flashlights. Yes. So figuring out how that works, how the timeline works and Tweening works and making things engaging and interactive further, I furthered them studies into a master's in design. So I went on to study a master's in design and manufacturing and straight out the pan.

Kultar: As soon as I graduated from that, I went into my first job, which was basically a, a, a startup in the local city center doing graphic design work and very, very early stages of HTML building. Wow. And that's where, and that's where I kind of learned everything that I've learned for the past five years needs to be thrown out the window and I need to start again, , because it, it, it, it very much is not reflective of what is actually happening in the industry. Or you might get a job, or that is something that you've not studied for or it's not part of that reamer, so you have to learn on the job. So very, very early doors I had to kind of adapt and go with the flow.

Dianne: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's great. So question, what, what made you decide to get your master's in design? I know you said design and manufacturing, cuz I know a lot of designers usually they're like, oh, I don't need a master's, or like, they just jumped straight into work. So what was that like reasoning for you there?

Kultar: Good question. It's going back a few years now. So I remember at that time everyone was graduating. Everyone was you know, sick of studying, sick of exams. Mm-Hmm. . I got offered an conditional offer from the university that I was on. It was too good an offer to refuse. So regardless of what grade I got, I had a place in this master's course. Wow, okay. So so I just said, yeah, what's one more year?

Dianne: Right? Yeah, for sure. I, I, yeah, I was just curious cuz that's interesting. So, so you, you graduated after your master's, you got your first job in a startup, and you also said that you were doing graphic design and HTML. So was that your first time kind of dealing with H T M L or was that something you had already been studying and you felt like you had knowledge of?

Kultar: No, the, so I see so many articles nowadays which should design his no code and, and should they not, and all that webflow and all this kind of stuff. So yeah, for me, for me it happened by chance and by accident. I was on my university course and I just happened to be in a H T M L class, which was, you know, as a designer everything's visual, everything's, how does it make you feel? Then all of a sudden you entered the matrix and it's just hash, you know, hashtags and codes and open variables and, and symbols and you just think, whoa, what is all of this? But, so I stuck it out. I got to learn the fundamentals of what was xh, HTML and css. Yeah. Which at the time was like, you know, fine, I don't need it to do my job, but it's handy to have.

Kultar: Right. But what I learned was that was a blessing in disguise because throughout my career, especially my early, early, early years, I would design stuff and hand over to a developer and it was very much an over the fence job. Here you go, here's what I designed. And they would go away and build it. Mm-Hmm. and as H T M L and developing became more and more difficult, you know, responsive design, different outputs, mobile phones, different desktops and laptops, resolutions, that job I have a massive appreciation for, but I didn't have the skills to communicate this is what I was after or this is what I wanted. So it just so happened that I knew code, so instead of getting frustrated, I would jump in and help out or even build things myself. So if I wasn't, if I wasn't comfortable handing this over to someone, I would design a website, I would build it then.

Dianne: Right. I mean, I think that's a great skill to have and I think it is like a hot topic because there are all these no codes and they're like, designers don't need to know code. And I'm working so closely now to try to build a better relationship with designers and developers. Yes. And I, I actually personally don't know code and I feel like that's definitely been lacking in my career as a designer because I think if I did know code, I would be able to not only maybe do a, some tweaks, but also be able to understand what I was, how I was designing and designing it in a way that would make sense to hand off. Yeah.

Kultar: Yeah. So part of my mentoring and what one line I always hear myself say to a lot of people that I'm talking to is to become a great designer, to become really, really good at what you do. It's not just what you do in the design, it is what you do outside of the design. And I wish someone told me that right at the start of my career because I spent so much time thinking in, you know, you know, honing my craft and thinking I'm the best at what I do. This is the best design, but everything you do to become a great designer happens outside of that design. And what I mean by that is how you communicate with others, how you explain to others and stakeholders, what you've done and what decisions you've carved in and what data informs your design. Because at that time it was very much, here's my design, here you go.

Kultar: I'm not gonna explain what I've done. Explaining what you've done and, and a strategy that you've taken and the decisions that you've made is very much a skill. And most designers, you know, are either introverts or kind of like them, they fail at that kind of aspect or they don't know how design fits into the bigger picture mm-hmm. or the business of design. And that's something that I wish I learned very, very early on, cuz. So the more I learnt about that, the more that made me a better designer because I knew what I was doing, how it fit to the bigger picture and more, more importantly how it was going to drive a return on investment.

Dianne: Yes. I love, they said that, I actually had a podcast where I was talking to someone about this in more detail too, and I think it's, it's interesting. It's like you were, like, you were honing in on your craft as a designer. Like that's what you thought was most important. But most designers getting sort of don't realize that really, like the value, the big value they can provide is communication and understanding the business of the company. Yeah. And that's so interesting. That's not something that like, it's like you usually learn it, you get thrown into it and it's something that you pick up and realize. And so it's, it,

Kultar: It's definitely a tough one. And yeah, that's all it's also a part of that Al is also listening to others, getting feedback, knowing what feedback to action and, and, and all of that stuff. Everything outside of the design. And it's just as important as honing your craft and your skills.

Dianne: Yes. So what do you tell these designers that you're mentoring, how do you suggest that they can gain these skills? Or what should they be working on to improve some of this?

Kultar: It depends on the actual person and where they're at. Their level of confidence, their level of knowledge. Some that we were doing was getting them to shadow some of the more senior and experienced people to get a feel of not just how they sell the design, some of the terminology they use and how they navigate around certain scenarios. Especially when someone's asking questions and they dunno the answers to or and just to be a bit more you know, professional about things. Mm-Hmm. , that's, that's a good way to get them, you know, involved in that kind of scenario. Get, giving them a chance to see firsthand and then slowly getting them to practice internally, getting them to practice presenting to, to other team members to build up that confidence and then edging them more and more towards being client facing.

Dianne: Mm-Hmm. . Totally. Yeah. That's great advice. So in this first in your first job as the, the graphic designer and kind working on web designs, what, what was kind of, I guess what's next from there? How, what skills did you learn and where did it take you from there?

Kultar: Okay, so I'm, I'm trying, I'm trying to think now cause it was a while ago. So, in my first kind of startup, it was very rough and ready. It was mm-hmm. , this is the job, go and do it. And this is, and it varied from designing for print for like other local businesses in the area, designing websites you know, designing dashboards and all kinds of other stuff that was around at the time. And at that point when I knew I was ready for the next step up I, I've worked for a wide variety of businesses mm-hmm. . So throughout my career from that startup, I've kind of journeyed onto in-house. So working for really, really large corporations, being an in-house designer, then working for agencies, working for startups, working freelance. So I kind of know the difference as a designer being the difference between being in-house and being an agency and the different challenges that come with that, and the different opportunities that come with that, and the different mindsets that you need to kind of switch between, between those as well.

Dianne: Right, right. Totally. Do you have a particular industry or a particular in-house freelance startup world that you prefer to work in as a designer?

Kultar: No, I don't. I, I, I like it when the job is varied so you don't get stuck doing the same job, but also each different scenario will, each different experience will teach you something different. And that's why I really appreciate my journey, just thinking back because I, whether it was good or bad, I learnt something Right. Great. But personally I prefer being agency side cuz I like the variety. And just the different things that come with that.

Dianne: Right. Yeah. I'm kind of the same, but I feel like, I feel like when you're in the agency world, it's like you get to talk to so many different people, you get to learn so many different things. You get to work on so many different projects. Yeah.

Kultar: You get, you get exposed, you get exposed to a lot more different worlds and, and you get to deep dive into them. And things that you wouldn't normally encounter if you were to do so in-house, but then in-house you have the advantage of starting a project, releasing it and seeing it through, and then evolving it and developing a brand and doing multiple iterations whilst also doing different things. And for the brand I, you know, I I remember working for a number of different large corporations, you know, I dunno if we can name drop here, but you know, you

Dianne: Whatever you want .

Kultar: So, you know, with the likes of mobile in the telecommunications industry, you know, Vodafone and,warehouse, Argos, Homebase, things like that, where they are very, very unique, ectors and, and they are utilizing digital transformations and doing really, really cool stuff. So, right. Umou get to kind of innovate and try new things and see how that, that works within the bigger picture. And, things like, for example, Vodafone, like they, they, there was an, there was a scenario where they wanted to branch out under a different brand and I was fortunate enough to be there at the time and help them figure out what they should do before going down the oxy route. So,

Dianne: Interesting.

Kultar: So yeah, you get to do cool things like that.

Dianne: So in a scenario like that, for instance, like what was your role in the company and how were you able to kind of work through?

Kultar: It, it was very, very early doors and I, and I happened to be there when they, when they wanted to experiment down different avenues of innovation. So my job was to kind of validate which one was viable and we did some user testing with a small group of people to figure out if this was going to be, you know, worth their time and money and investment. And it, the, some of the, it was very, very quick and it was, there was a lot of gorilla testing, a lot of fast feedback. But all in all, the feedback that they, that we got it man, it managed them to give them the thumbs up to say, yes, this is viable. And also like h how to take things forward.

Dianne: Yes. So it sounds like you also have had experience like working in large companies and in startups and this was kind of, maybe it was a startup then, or it was like a branch of a larger company mm-hmm. That you're kind of working in. What advice do you have for other designers that are trying to decide, like, do they wanna go the startup route, or do they wanna go the big company route?

Kultar: Yeah, that, that, that's that. I've had a couple of those scenarios recently. It depends on where they are and where they want to go. So for example, if they're trying to get their way, if someone is trying to become a designer or is a designer and is trying to get into the industry, it's always good to know where they want to go. But don't let that hold you back. You might, you know, there's never one route to get there. You might need to hop, skip and jump a couple of different jobs to gain experience before you are ready for that perfect role at this cool tech startup that is your dream job. Yes. Ultimately, that shouldn't stop you from going straight there, you know? But as long as you know what you want. If, and, and design today is such a wide variety in terms of a wide spectrum of jobs.

Kultar: So you can have ux, you can have ui, you can have product, you know that, that's another debate what you call yourself. But yeah, so many, there's so many different strings. And then let's just take one string for example, let's take ux, you have so many different levels in that you have UX designer, UX researcher, you know, there's in, if you're a UI designer, are you just print? Are you brand, are you digital? Are you all of those? And there's know what you want to do and you won't necessarily know the answer to that until you try it. Right? So, don't box yourself. Go and try as many things as you like and as soon as you know what you enjoy, follow it. And then it, for me, I, I, I've, I've said that since day one, I've never boxed myself and to this day it's, I approach everything. Like it's a toolbox mentality. So I have a number of tools and a number of skills, whether I don't need to use every single one to get the job done, depends on the job that is in front of me.

Dianne: Right. Yeah, I like that. I like them, it's like your toolbox. So depending on what you're thrown into, what kind of project you have, that's where you decide which tools you're gonna need.

Kultar: Yeah. If I can, I can be a UX designer and a UI designer and a brand designer. I've done all of that stuff. Right. But I don't necessarily need to do it on every single project. I can, I can code, but I don't need to code on every single project if the opportunity is there and I need and I need to. And, and if it helps, then yeah, I'll, you know, I'll just take the old hat off and start coding. But great. And it, and it goes for other things as well, management, leading teams coaching and, and, and everything else.

Dianne: Yeah, totally. No, I think that that makes a lot of sense. I really like not boxing yourself in and using your toolbox . Yeah. Where, so in your career, as you've kind of like shifted into different, you said you did some agencies you've done a little bit of everything. Yeah. How, what was that experience of gaining this knowledge and gaining these tools in your toolbox? And when did you know, like that you were ready to be like a mid-level or a senior or a manager? What, what did that kind of look like for you?

Kultar: So whenever wherever you go for a job interview, the typical scenario, the typical question you get asked is, where do you see yourself in five years time? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? It's very, very cliche. I get it. But you want, you, you're not actually paying attention to the answer. You wanna know if the person has ambitions or not. Mm-Hmm. . And my typical answer would be I want to be, you know, head of design. I want to be, you know, running a team and I work from a junior level to become head of design. I've, I've, I've done that and I've got to where I wanted to go. And not everyone is cut out to be a good design manager or might not enjoy it, or you, you know, you don't get taught to become a design manager quite often.

Kultar: You just naturally progress and inherit those responsibilities. Yeah. it's only when you get there, then you get sent on these courses on how to do this and how to manage and how to, what's the difference between managing and leading. But again, I, I still to this day think that that is another tool that's in the box. If I need to manage and lead a team, I can. Yeah. so, yeah, I, as soon as I got to that point, I knew right, okay, I've got a lot of skills here. I don't need to do every single one of them, so let's just go where I enjoy the most and, and I can add the most value.

Dianne: Hmm. I like that. So what advice do you have for designers that also have that mindset like you did or like becoming head of design? Like what, what would you, or I'm sure you as a mentor, you've talked to about this with your mentees, is like, how do you tell them of how to get there, what steps they need to take or what they really need to get good at? Because obviously managing is very different from designing . Yeah, yeah. In many aspects.

Kultar: So firstly, they need to know what they want to do. So they need to, a lot of, a lot of the time design the, the sessions I have is, I dunno what I, I want how to get into design or what I want to do. So right at, right at the bottom end of the spectrum. So figure out what you want to do and then once you know what you like doing, work on your craft, put the time in, don't put the work in, and you can then see how far you want to go before your head hits the glass ceiling. So in some industries, and in some jobs, it's natural to progress to kind of a direct level for example. But for design, there is, it's, I speak from experience, so I can, I can, i, I know you can you can go to a certain level and, and then your head hits the glass ceiling in terms of you, you can be the, the best designer or the most experienced designer in your team, you, and then you can either choose to carry on doing that, or you step back from the designer, you manage the rest of the team.

Kultar: Right. And it's, it, it's great because throughout my career, that's kind of, you know, you know, that's coming and you know what it's about and you know what to do. And, but now there's a new term for it. It's called design ops. That's the new buzz buzzword, right. So, yeah. In I, you typically tend to find every, so often there's a buzzword that gets thrown around and then gets used to death. Yes. First, first it's responsive, and then it's agile, and then it's ux. And then until that word becomes dirty and no one knows what it means right then, then there's a new one to come around and flat design and all that kind of stuff. So design ops is the new thing, but it's good because it gives a spotlight to an area that is really important.

Kultar: And it, it's, and that is essentially what I said earlier, it's everything that you do outside of the design, but that is more of a, it's, it's what, it's what a head of design or a design manager is supposed to do. It's what I like to call your being the shield for the team. So and so the head of the, the tip of the spear, the design manager or the most experienced designer in the team, depending on the setup, is there to take, is to be the shield for the team. So it's, they're there to take all the politics, all the fluff, all the stuff that gets thrown and shield the rest of the design team from all the, the, the politics and red tape. Yes. So they can go and do their job. Great. And, and they use that shield to push the boundaries and, and move forward. And that covers everything from processes to stakeholder management, you know, where, where are you bringing the most value, how design fits into the biggest delivery of things. All that kind of stuff.

Dianne: Yes, yes. Yeah, I think I like what you said. I think that it's definitely a buzzword and it's also really important. And I'm glad that it does have a name now because there definitely is an importance to this, this role of kind of managing

Kultar: It's always been there. It's always been there. And you've all and you kind of just end up, the most senior person just ends up doing it with their job. Right, right. But, there comes a fine line between doing design, managing a team, and then dealing with the business and it's too much and Right. It's not, it's no wonder designers the higher they get, they burn more now and imposter syndrome they have to deal with.

Dianne: Right. And it's like, it's kind of the shift of the business side of things. It's like your, your design, design design, not that design shouldn't think about the business. Obviously it should , I mean, in many aspects, but there gets to a level if you wanna make this jump. And like you said, it, it all always existed. They didn't know it ex they didn't have a name for it or that person just kind of took over that role. But it's a lot of additional thinking and it's different parts of your brain and it's Yeah. Managing people and it's communicating to stakeholders and it's knowing the business side of the company, which is a lot for someone to like,

Kultar: I dunno how to raise a PO and then, and get and put an invoice together. I just, I design stuff. Right.

Dianne: Right. Exactly.

Kultar: It's, it's, it's all that stuff like, you know regular one-to-one meetings and you know, performance reviews and Right. All that. All that fun stuff.

Dianne: All the fun stuff. Yes. . Yeah. I also liked what you said about there's kind of this glass ceiling. It's like, do you wanna continue to hone in on maybe one specific skill set? Or do you wanna kind of like move to this management lead type of position? What did, what have you done? It sounds like you've done a little bit of everything, but maybe what do you enjoy the most? Is it kind of being that design ops or is it being more of honing your skills expert?

Kultar: I love designing. I think I, I mean for me as a, I'm a designer at heart. I like being creative. I know that's where I can add most value. And but I've always been in a position where I've been with a team and been a great influencer within the team. So helping others naturally just comes second nature. Yeah. So, so so yeah, I think that's kind of where the natural glass ceiling link gets hit. Right. And but I think it's a, it's, it's a massive plus point to have cuz you can help support team members without being the manager, but Right. And and, and just being a, a a a, a beacon of influence or knowledge where some of the other junior members or people who are a lot more can still be confident but need a second opinion can come to.

Dianne: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a really powerful place to be. And I kind of, I think what you're saying makes sense is like, you're a designer, you love designing, you always wanna be able to design, like, you don't wanna necessarily have to deal with all the management stuff. You like the design, but you also love mentoring and helping and being the second team. Yes. And I think that's an amazing role to have where it's like, you're senior and you wanna help these designers and you want them to be able to come to you, but it's not like you have to fill out a performance review for them. It's like you're really there to just support them.

Kultar: Well, well, well I do, I do manage some of the team members as well. So there is a little bit of the performance reviews there. Okay. I think that, that, I think you have to take a little bit of that to the regardless. But that's where things like ADP lists come in handy because, you know, it's, it's all of that stuff without the paperwork, you just, yes. You are giving back to the design community just via experience and answering questions and stories.

Dianne: Yes, totally. I agree. I I love that aspect of it as well. Yeah, no, this is, that was super interesting. So, so where, what are you doing now or what have you, I guess kind of where we left off as you were doing all these different things, you had all visuals, you've done a little bit of everything. So like where, from there to maybe where you are today, what was that transition and what have you done?

Kultar: So I always set myself gold yearly, gold New Year gold what, this year I wanna try and do this and position myself fit a little bit better. And one of my goals, one of my passions was to start mentoring and you know, as well as, you know, market you know, feature on podcasts and kind of do a standup talk, all that kind of stuff. You know, it's natural to kind of want to do that. And I think now more than ever, especially since there's so many different podcasts out there, you know, a lot more people want to feature. But for me, my reason is I want to give back to the design community. That's one of my passions that I feel good about. So I think it was during lockdown or, or when we were just coming out of lockdown one, I I said, right, you know, I wanna sign up to one of these platforms where I can give back. And it just so happens ADP List was around, so I signed up. I've only been there for I'd say around about nine, 10 months.

Dianne: Okay.

Kultar: So it's not relatively long, but I've already clocked up like, you know, just shy of a thousand minutes and Wow. You know, 30, 40 sessions of people coming from all walks of life, all different levels all around the world asking questions. And I think out of all the sessions I've had, about four or five of those p people have gone on to then get the job that they wanted or get wow. Their goal that they wanted to just form like one or two sessions. And it was very apparent very quickly that, you know, just by giving people advice, your own experience and, and knowledge, you know, it can't be taken for granted because that's someone else's gold trying to get into the industry. And it's just a simple conversation or a simple couple of instructions to get or, or do this, do that it'll make you better, or yeah, change this word on your portfolio and, and things like that. And that helps massively cuz it's insider knowledge and yeah, it all helps. I think. So there's a fine line between, you know, a free 30 minute coaching session and a full-on consultation. So I'm quite firm in drawing the line there.

Dianne: Yeah, yeah. No, totally. I think, I think a lot of people, it's like, it's probably like they know the answer, they know what they should be thinking about, but maybe they're stuck in their head. And so it's just so good just to have someone, and like ADP list is a great resource, it's just to reach out and say, Hey, like, you're a designer, you've been in this, like, this is something that I'm struggling with. Like, what do you think? And just getting that second opinion from someone, it's like, unlock something in their head Of course. And I think that's really great that you can see that progression, you can see them kind of be able to achieve that goal or go to the next step. For sure. For sure. It's just a little bit of help and giving back to, to like our younger selves, like, oh, what, what would it be like to have something like this? And

Kultar: I, yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. A hundred percent.

Dianne: That's beautiful. That's beautiful. I love that. Okay, so where are you today? What are you, what is your current, we mentioned that you're currently working at Williams Commerce. What is, what is that, like, what are you doing there for them?

Kultar: Yep. So currently working for Williams Commerce and Untitled, which is kind of a sub-brand of Williams Commerce who specialize in websites mostly. So,covering websites from, you know, large scale e-commerce websites to the arts and culture sector mm-hmm.

Kultar: and yeah, just really enjoying it. Got a small design team there. So between us we cover everything and every project is a different challenge, you know, so it's not ever a simple or straightforward and, and we get to do things a bit more properly and a bit more thoroughly. So really get to hone our UX processes and refine some of the designs and how we deliver them. And at the same time, you know, mentor some of the other junior design team members at the time. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's really good.

Dianne: That's great. Yeah, and I, I like that you're at, I think that's awesome that you're at a place where you can really dive deep and they appreciate the UX side of things. Cause I'm sure in your career, especially working with different startups, like you said, like sometimes that's not a tool that your customers wanna have. And I think as designers we're always like, it would be so good, so nice to be able to do more research. So that's great

Kultar: That something Yeah, it, it's, it's it's, it's a mixed bag because a lot of people say ux, but they don't actually know what it means or it means different things in different sectors. True. So for this particular one or in this particular instance the processes are the, are essentially the same, but they may alter depending on the project, but it's more so we get to deep dive into someone's sector and know exactly which way the wind is blowing, for example, what they want to achieve out of this project. Because everyone wants a kick website that makes some loads of money, but, you know, how do we do that? And most importantly, this website, it is for you, but it's for your users. So who are your users? What is your current one doing well? What are it not doing well and, and what are some of the pitfalls that we need to navigate around and so on and so forth. And you get to do that in a way which is rewarding.

Dianne: Yeah, that's great. Do you, do you feel like your customers, your clients that you're building these sites for, they, when you tell them the value of like understanding their users, do you think they get it or is there some Okay, that's

Kultar: Great. For sure, for sure. That's amazing. So it's always, I mean, the whole UX discovery or or UX is basically aligning business objectives with what the user needs within the budget of the project. So it's, it's almost like an advanced version of that Venn diagram of time, money,

Dianne: Yes.

Kultar: , quality time, money quality. Right? So you can have two picks, pick one. So it's almost, but with, for this, it's aligning all of all three, how can we give, how can we get you guys what you want by giving the users what they need within the budget that we have.

Dianne: Totally. Right. Right. It's like a, an equation you have to like, solve for X

Kultar: Yeah. hundred. Yeah, exactly.

Dianne: What are you gonna do? No, that's great. That's great. Yeah. Well thanks for kind of walking me through like overall your career. I think there were some really interesting tidbits that people would learn from this. I guess one of my last questions for you is like, which you already were like, this is so cliche, but like, where do you see yourself going? Like where do you wanna go in the next few years? What is your, where's your design career gonna take you?

Kultar: The dreaded interview question, ? I don't, I don't know. I'm in a position where I'm enjoying myself. Yeah. Design is changing. Yes. Massively. The rate at which design is changing is it's, it's really picked up and is picked up more so since Covid as well. So you know, there was a boom in people wanting to get online for example, and things like, there, there's so much to play, to play and at stake. So you have AR and VR that is now thrown into the mix. You have, you know, TikTok and you know, so much, so many other things going on where technology is just getting more and more advanced. So as long as I'm still in the sector, as long as I'm still being creative, I don't mind where I go. I'm just enjoying the ride.

Dianne: I think that's all said. It's like there's, so, we have no idea what's gonna happen. I think all of us designers are like, wow, like so much is changing. It's really hard. Yeah. And it's, it's really interesting. I've been doing this podcast for about, I guess almost a year now and mm-hmm. More recently when I kind of am like, where do you see yourself going? People are like, I have no idea. Just because it's, you've seen that shift of like technology design and everyone's like, I can't even guess.

Kultar: You can't, you can't, you can't guess where you want to go because things are just moving and changing direction so much. Right. but when I think back to when I was wanting to become a designer, the things that really influenced me as a designer, you know, movies like minority Report or Back to the Future or even recently, like Swan Song and all these other ones where they're movies based on the future and as cool as they are, being a, being a geeky designer, I look at things like the interfaces, how are they interacting? Yeah. And what's some of the technology they're using Minority Report, you know, the gloves and the glass you know, interfaces was just like mind blowing. Yeah. And you have, you know, things like, you know, eye watches and all sorts of stuff. So there's, there's a, there's, and Black Panther recently was an, a good one because the technology in that, it was just holograms coming up and Yeah.

Kultar: Things like that. You just think that is where things are gonna go. And, and I, I can see it happening. It's just a matter of time because you already kind of get like holographic keyboards and stuff Right. The way you can just tap infrared keyboards and whatnot. So it's only a matter of time someone's gonna figure it out. And as soon as that happens, you know, we'll be designing, you know weird stuff. Great. Well look at Google glasses as well. That's, it's where that, that's where all the cool innovation happens and I can't wait because we're, we as designers are gonna have to design with that in mind as well.

Dianne: Totally. Yeah. I love that. It's like ai, what does design look like for ai? What does design look like for holograms? What does design look like for

Kultar: Now? Well, there's so many industries right now that are utilizing art. So for example, furniture places where you wanna buy a lamp or a sofa, you just pull up your camera and you can see what it looks like in your living room. Right? Yeah. So that is a good example of, you know, wow, that's technology taking a leap step. You don't need to go to the shop,

Dianne: Right.

Kultar: And try and picture it or you don't need to print that off and try and put it in your living room in kind of imagine if it fits No, it there in, in on your screen. So yeah, it just goes to show the massive jump from where it was to where it is now, but the rate that where it's changed recently has just been Wow. So yeah, just sit back and enjoy the ride and, and sit. Let's see where it goes. I,

Dianne: Yes, I love it. I love it. I think it's exciting. I think there's a lot of great challenges. I think it's also like how can we build for making this accessible to everyone, right? Because like you said, like everyone wants to be able to put the chair in their living room. That's not like a specific like person that knows technology. It's like your grandma should be able to do it. So that's also super interesting challenge. Yeah, for sure. But I'm excited to see what happens. Well awesome. Thank you so much for chatting with me. It was really great to hear your story, where you came from advice you have for designers kind of getting started or kind of trying to advance their career. So yeah, thanks so much for joining me.

Kultar: No, thanks for having me. Thanks for reaching out. I appreciate it.

Dianne Eberhardt

Dianne Eberhardt

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