Member Highlight (S01E04): Meet Nidya, Our Senior Graphic Designer!

Welcome back to the member highlight blog! This time, we are having an interview with Nidya, our senior graphic designer. And just like other Pixelians that we’ve done the highlight on before, she’s been lucky enough to be able to figure out her passion since she was young; drawing! 🎨 

Back then in school, she would often find herself bored listening to the teacher that she would get sleepy during class. So instead of listening to the lecture, she would doodle on a piece of paper, “It was how I overcome the boredom. Doodling was a daily dose of caffeine to me at that time. So whenever I got sleepy, I would doodle. It helped.” she said.

Curious about her career journey as a graphic designer? Before she became a Pixelian, She was a former graphic designer at Esquire Magazine. She has also worked for digital agency, startup, and retail company. If that sounds ordinary to you, let us tell you something a little bit different; her parents used to want her to be a doctor! “My parents really wanted one of their children to become a doctor.  But I got accepted into a design program well before I graduated highschool. The class had already started before my highschool final exam even begun. I enrolled for a couple weeks and found myself having go to back home just to take the exam. So my parents sort of had no choice but to give in at that point” she added. 

Our pixelians find music as a cure for everything, and so does Nidya. In fact, Panic! At The Disco cd sleeve was her inspiration to become a graphic designer, “If you love panic at the disco, you must have known this Panic! At The Disco special box set. It contains all these really cool knick knacks with really beautiful graphics. The marvelous user experience really drew me in. I really loved looking at them. It was the moment when i thought to myself that day, I think I can do these too, maybe not yet, but I know I will. ”  She explained. Yes, and here you are, girl! 😆

Remember when she said drawing was a coffee to her? Well… here’s the fun fact, unlike any other workers who needs caffeine to kickstart their day, she’s a non-coffee drinker! “Without coffee, I’m still able to manage my brain and energy. If there’s an urgency to do something, I can stimulate my brain to do so.”

Yes, the ability to survive a day without coffee right there. We envy you, Nidya…

Design Case Study : Oyku Logo

Who’s Oyku?

Last week, Nidya and Celsy, our senior graphic designers, did a design case study for Oyku.  Oyku is a platform to celebrate the art of storytelling and narrations from Turkey, and they are currently in the early stage of developing the app.  So listeners can listen to high-quality audio stories from their phones or preferred gadgets. 

The Problem

Oyku’s current logo doesn’t depict it’s philosophy and target demographic clearly. There are also challenges present when it comes to developing a cohesive visual identity.

The Task

We wanted to create a logo that will best represent Oyku’s core mission as a company. In addition, we envisioned to establish a logo that can be expanded into a visual language for brand communication purposes.

 

THE PROCESS

 

Keyword Mapping

We started off with keyword explorations. This helped us explore all possible design directions available to ensure that we pursue one that will give Oyku a distinctive edge from its competitors.  We also believed that Oyku’s key identities approach should be accessible, user-friendly and entertaining.

 

The Concept  

The concept was derived from ellipsis. Widely used in stories, the symbol is known to indicate suspense. This best represents Oyku’s singular mission to bring its audiences the most affable storytelling experience in three simple steps… Play. Listen. Discover. The three dots also represent the three personas in this storytelling journey, the narrator, oyku & the listener. Connecting the dots to your whole story.

 

Logo Development

 

Chosen Logo

  +

 

Brand Pattern

 

Implementation & Collateral

So on a scale 1 to 10, how do you like our take on this logo implementation? Feel free to let us know how much you love it! 

Member Highlight (S01E03): Meet Wisangga, Our Senior Illustrator!

Who doesn’t want to have a full control of everything while you had the chance? That’s also what one of our Pixelians said about his passion in drawing and illustration:

“Being an illustrator allow me to be the director of my own, like i’m the master of my fate. You know in life, you may not be able to change the reality, but you can always have a 100% control of how you want the story to be in your illustration. The ending is yours to decide”

Yes…

Let us introduce you to our senior illustrator, Wisangga Pranata!

Before he joined manypixels, he used to work at advertising agency, “People said that advertising agency is a terrible place. Well, i’m not saying that this is the case, cause i also learned so much from there. But, i prefer it to be here it’s very flexible. No doubt” he said.

How did his passion towards drawing and illustration grow? Believe it or not, the moment where he laid his eyes on a huge box with a brand new television inside of it arrived at his house, was also where it all started, “I’ve always thought of television as a magic box, where all the fascination happens, because i remembered that was where i first saw the legendary characters of cartoon such as doraemon, dragon ball, and so on. They were inspiration to me” said Wisangga. Anyone curious of what was his medium to draw? On a soil, with his point finger! “Yeah, i drew those cartoon characters on a soil. It was really fun though” he added. Well, isn’t that super cool? 😆

And nope, we’re not done yet. Wisangga is also one of our most multitalented designers. Ever imagined someone who can draw really well, sing, write a song, act, and dance? Speaking of dance, here’s the fun fact: He admitted that he was the coordinator of dance extracurricular in his highschool, and was able to perform headspin! (okay we all get dizzy just to think about it…😵)

Last but not least, did we mention that he’s the most melancholic pixelian amongst of all?

Well, let his pick of favorite song do the justice…..

Monthly Highlight : July 2018

As July has ended (well… didn’t it feel like it just passed in a blink of an eye?) we would like to share some updates about what happened in Manypixels within these past few weeks, included:

  • The expansion of our team
  • What we do to strengthen the relationships within team members
  • New product launch
  • What we’ve achieved so far
  • and the list goes on…

So yup, this kind of blog post would be updated every first week of the month to let you know how was the previous month going. We want to be as transparent and as honest as we can be by showing every single thing we do and what lessons did we take from doing such things. Alright,  let’s get started!

1. Team Expansion

Can’t deny that July has been the most significant month amongst of all in terms of employees growth. We’ve hired product manager, human resources executives, social media marketing executive, project managers, and numerous of designers. With the total of 25 people on board (plus remote designers) we are ready to serve you the best experience of future design services! And now that we’ve received more than 1350 requests in our platform, we realized how we still need to expand our team. So yes, to be able meet your expectation, and to speed everything up, we’re currently hiring more positions. If you’re interested to be one of us, simply click here!

2. Team ActivitiesAs our team expanded, we realized the importance of doing such activities that would tie up the team together. So, we started to hold 2 important meetings; the first one is conducted every Monday at 11 and we call it as ‘weekly stand up meeting’ and the second one is held every day at the same hour, with different purpose.

The weekly stand up meeting is more like a weekly update from each of the division; what are the highlights of last week and what’s the plan for current week. At the end of the meeting, we present one huge clap for everyone in the team to appreciate the great work that they have done last week, and to a hopeful week ahead.

The second meeting is the one that was firstly initiated by Daisy, our project manager. The sole purpose of this meeting is to share perspectives toward some issues (if present) or simply just to have a light chit-chat. Through this activity, she wants to let everyone know that nobody in the team is going to have to deal with the problems alone; as a team, we will always got each other’s back! (isn’t she the sweetest? ❤)

3. Product Launch! It’s gonna be really exciting! 

Did you know that we’re going to launch a new product this August? Well, add this to your list! The main idea of this product is to address one of your issues regarding to digital marketing content.

So, from the picture above, any guess of what it is going to be? 😏

  1. Numbers… numbers… and numbers…

Looking Deep Thoughts GIF by TipsyElves.com - Find & Share on GIPHY

What could be better instrument to measure any kind of progress other than number? We’d say nothing! Quantitatively speaking, other than receiving more than 1350 design requests in our platform, we are making US$33.293 in  monthly recurring revenue with 135 subscribers, and 97% ETA expected!  But nope, we are not there yet. Not close enough to the destination. As a small startup, we realized that there is still a bunch of things we need to do to be your go-to design services.

Therefore, we appreciate any feedback! Feel free to drop some comments or shoot us an e-mail for any questions to info@manypixels.co

So, that’s it for the July review! And here’s to the more challenging journey ahead 🍻

See you on the next monthly highlight!

Member Highlight (S01E02): Meet Daisy, The Product Manager!

Have you met Daisy, the product manager of Manypixels? If you haven’t, well this is your chance to get to know her better 😋

Her interest towards graphic design world has grown since she was in high school. So it takes no surprise that long gone before she joined manypixels, she was a former graphic designer. Oh and moreover, she used to run a startup too!

She jumped at a chance to become a product manager at Manypixels when Robin asked her to post a job vacancy at Manypixels. Knowing that there’s a marketplace for design is something that really amused her. So, instead of being a job poster, she decided to be an applicant too 😆

And yes, as a new chapter enters, another challenge appears, “I have to continuously improve, oversee, and manage the product quality based on company’s vision. As we strive to be the future of design services, i will have to ensure that our products are able to ‘patch up’ the deficiency of other design services itself. But thankfully, i’m being well surrounded by great people; other #Pixelians i’m proud to call my team mates.” Daisy said when being asked about the challenge she faced as a product manager. She can’t deny that having a super fun working environment is one of the things that keep her feeling motivated.

If there’s something extra about her… (that is super extra to us, for sure) she loves motivating others! So, everyday, at 11 am, she conducts a daily sharing session with other #Pixelians, where we gather in circle to share our perspectives towards an issue. For example, this morning we talked about life’s biggest fear. Every single team member must share what are their biggest fears and how did they overcome them. The sole purpose of this sharing session is to let everyone knows what each of team member going through, so they wouldn’t feel alone. 

And speaking about fun fact… you wouldn’t believe that she could imitate chipmunk’s voice! So anyone wants to hear Only You by Alvin? 🐹

3 Lessons to Take From Working In A Leading Online Transportation Company

Hi! It’s me again, Andita! This time, in the middle of our deadlines (yes… 😜) i had a chance to have a fruitful discussion with our two designers. What did we talk about? Can you guess it? Well, in case you have no idea… we talked about how was their previous experience working in Uber and what are the key takeaways to take from there!

Undoubtedly, to be able to work in a pioneer of online transportation company was a great milestone to Dina and Zulfa. There are valueable lessons that they earned; from how to perform well in a fast paced working environment to a deep understanding about branding. Let’s find out!  

 

  1. ✔️The Can-Do Attitude

Nowadays, having the can-do attitude is one of the most important thing. Zulfa said as she used to receive tons of design requests for different needs, from the social media to offline contents, she had to do it all! This is the attitude that she brought to Manypixels. With an infinite number of to do list, i managed to complete them all, and was able to complete her jobs within tight deadlines ✔️✔️✔️

 

  1. 🕐 Time Management

The ability to juggle from a task to another is something that designers should master (undoubtedly😆). This is also what these two designers learned from their previous company. Both Dina and Zulfa said that to have an unexpected workload is a common thing for them. However, with the right time management, they will be able to set up and predict the time needed to do all the tasks!

Well, i personally agree with them. In fact, to me, having a really good time management not only will enable us to finish everything on time, but also allow to have fun!  🎉

 

  1. 🎯 Consistent Branding

This is another key takeaway that Dina got from working in Uber. As she was introduced to all of the aspects that built the consistent branding of the brand itself, she also had the chance to learn how to localize the brand so that they can ‘fit’ into the society. For instance, as a multinational company, she needed to create something as an identity to show that “hey, this is Uber Indonesia!”  or something like that. So, in terms of company branding, she had to infuse the culture of Indonesia to the icons or illustrations with the company’s own style. This valuable lesson was also something that she applies here in Manypixels.

That’s all from them! Feel free to leave us some comments 😉

See you on the next blog post!

Warm Regards,

Andita.

Member Highlight (S01E01): Meet Binsar, Our Senior UI Designer!

Binsar joined Manypixels in June 2018. He was a part time UI/ UX researcher at Indonesia Government. Other than the flexible working time, super fun co workers are what he loves the most about being Pixelian; “Of course it’s so different from working at the government. You know, other than doing the thing i’m deeply passionate about here in Manypixels, i get to work with brilliant people with the same age as mine. We share a lot of common things, effortlessly.  Work becomes less heavy since then, it’s so exciting.” Binsar said.

What keeps him inspired to do his work? There’s only one answer to him: Music! 🎧 🎼 🎸Just like everyone else, he can’t live without music, and even feel more concentrated with his headphones on. Moreover, he practices music too! You would find him carrying the guitar everywhere, especially when he needs a break from work for a while. All of Banda Neira’s songs are his favorite to jam to.

When asked about the idea of great design, he said that it isn’t solely an aesthetically appealing piece of artwork, “It has to be useful, it has to be helpful. It has to be able to solve the problems, not adding the confusion” he added.

Fun fact about Binsar: While most designers or creative people are known to be a ‘night owl’, he can’t stay up late! And prefer to do his work early in the morning. Who’s with him?  ☝🏻

Best Design Spotlight (S01E01)

We Just Started A New Blog Post Serie!

🎧Song listened to while writing this post: Kings of Convenience – Rule My World 🎧

Well, looks like this blog is going to be a bit more active…

… I just joined Manypixels!

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Andita and I recently joined and will work primarily as a Content and Social Media Executive for Manypixels. Before joining Manypixels, i used to be an intern at two well known internet companies in Asia. And yes, i was a freelance content creator too. 

Now that i am a #Pixelian, i’m gonna manage this blog with Robin. Yet, we will make sure to allow everyone in our team to write on it. We want it to make it like a place where we can share our thoughts of building a company.

During my first week of work,  Robin explained me how he wants to honestly show how we do every single thing. One of the idea I had is to make a “Best Design Spotlight” where we show the idea behind a popular design we made, and why such services can add value to your business.

Let’s not wait, and here is the most viewed project of the week which is our take on an illustration for our upcoming product.  

Yup, this is it! 

The ideas behind this design

The idea was to show all benefits in six illustrations, so that we could make a landing page more attractive (and thus convert better).

Based on those, we have then created an illustration that portrays our values to every one of our clients.

Cue the drumroll 🥁

Ta-da!

The blue themed isometric illustration was made! If you are curious, here is the concept behind it:

  • “We join your Slack team and Trello board”

Slack and Trello are well known as chat platform and project management applications for professionals. The first illustration implies how assigning tasks would be as easy as sending us a message through that application. Our project manager will then join your Slack and Trello team.

  • “Faster turnaround”

To satisfy your needs, we offer 24 working hours turnaround per task! Not to brag, but, we are blazing fast. 😎

  • “Daily output”

You will be able to receive the design updates to your mailbox or Slack daily.

  • “Two tasks at the same time”

Our designers will work on two design tasks at the same time, no problemo.

  • “Briefing consultation call”

We always want to improve and understand your business goals. We’ll touch base with you on a weekly basis for a consultation on your business objective goals (just so that we’re on the same page).

  • “Weekly Consultation call”

Feel the need of strong leads to understand where the bigger picture of your project should go? Let’s have a weekly consultation call to understand your UX or other graphic needs with our in-house experts!

Why illustrations?

When we started making illustrations, we thought : What values are illustrations adding to our customer businesses?

Illustrations really help convey emotions but also add uniqueness to your brand. People are tired to see many landing pages or emails but if they see illustrations, they understand effort was put into conveying a particular message and it catches their attention as a result.

Some ways to use illustrations:

1. In your blog post: To convey a particular key point or as a header of that blog post.
2. In your landing page (as a “How it works” or “Benefits” illustration like this one)
3. In your newsletters
4. As social sharing image or Facebook ads (Facebook ads do not allow a lot of text, so you must convey it with pictures of illustrations)

P.S. – Don’t you know that we are on dribbble? Well, now that you do… follow us here. 😉 Our exciting projects would be uploaded regularly there! 

See you on the next post!

Warm Regards,

Andita.

5 lessons on running a startup in Asia for 6 months (that you can apply too!)

(10/07/2018: DRAFT, updated version will be here soon!)

6 months ago I took a one-way flight to Jakarta.

After running my company in the Netherlands it was a totally new experience for me. Aside from cycling to work in a sleepy town of 50,000 habitants to beating the traffic each morning in a city of 20 million, much bigger changes happened to me: I learned a lot about leadership, but also about scaling a company from 0 to 30 employees in 6 months in a country with a different culture than mine.

I summarised all my learnings in this blog post, let me know if you have had the same experiences and how you overcame these problems!

1. How to ensure your team is aligned (the most important job of a founder): Explain and clarify the vision and ensure communication flows.

As a CEO you constantly sell.

You sell your company products / services to your clients, you sell your vision to investors but the most important people you have to sell to are your employees.

Having a clear vision helps your employees understand their role as part of a bigger picture, something greater than them. It helps makes them innovate and see how their work contribute to making the company bigger.

Some examples of things we did:

1. Wrote roles and responsibilities for each of our team members
2. Set up an all team meeting of 15min on Monday. This team meeting is an opportunity for people to say: “Look what I have worked on, and why and how it will lead to our high-level objectives“. It is also when all of us try to be as inquisitive as I can: “Why did you do this? What was your thinking behind it?
3. Created an induction day where the first day is only about learning about the company.

2. How to keep your team happy and engaged: Create “Aha” moments for your team. 

Today I walked to the designer table (our office is an open office) and I saw frustration in the eyes of one of our designers, Dina. I asked her “What’s wrong?“. She told me “I just can’t be inspired (…) I have to translate that client concept into an illustration  and got no idea how to do that“.

 

Employees hate to be frustrated or confused about their job. On the other hand, employees love to be challenged with a difficult task, find a solution, and have this adrenaline rush that flows through their veins and create an “Aha” moment to them. Try to guide employees through overcoming obstacles and they will feel as empowered as ever!

Some examples of things we did:

1. Created open office hours. Each day at 2pm, all team leaders are free to talk about everything.
2. Set 1-on-1 with each team leader where they focus on removing obstacles for their employees.
3. Do not over schedule yourself with tasks. The best that worked for me is to have a lazy schedule and a deep, focused work schedule (like writing this blog post)
4. Ask often how the work is from the employees by asking stuff such as “Are you bored?”. If they are not bored, then it is a good sign the work they do motivates them.

3. How to do get things done (without having to do them all yourself): Show the way

Here is the typical mistake I did: I explain a project to the manager and the vision, tell them how great it will be and then ask them “Come back tomorrow with this“. Most of the time this does not work.

Some examples of things we did:

1. Show the way with new projects, get your hands dirty at first. Doing the work at first vs. explaining it might also make you realise you have “grey spots” in your idea.
2. Anticipate any obstacles a project may have.
3. Do not get too friendly: The work must be done and employees must reach (or exceed) their objectives. Make sure to remind your employees on this.

4. How to communicate (don’t): Connect instead

Perhaps one of my biggest learning running a company here in Asia is that connecting is more important that communicating. If you do not connect, you talk AT each other rather than to each other. In addition, communication is highly contextual here in Asia: Focus on how you deliver your message and explain projects, and what is not being said rather than what is being said.

Finally, I have also realised that we often feel as westerners that we have a superior form of communication. Just accept you decided to do business here and that you have to adapt to a different way of communicating things.

Some examples of things we did:

1. Seek to connect first by talking Talk about off work thing that happened (but be genuinely interested about it)
– Learn some of the local language
– Focus on what i
– Help people understand you as a leader. People must feel they are close to you.
– All hands meetings.

 

5. How to set values: Do not impose values, embrace them into old ones.

Declaring a company value won’t override a lifetime of cultural conditioning.

The first thing I did in the company is think of some values I thought would be good. However, you have to go one step ahead: Try to integrate those values into values that your team mates already share in their country.

 

 

3 ways we manage our projects for hypergrowth at Manypixels

5 months ago I flew from Jakarta to Yogyakarta, an artsy town on the island of Java in Indonesia.  The main reason of my trip was the following: Meet most of our team so that I could understand how they work and they could understand the objectives of Manypixels and share their ideas too. Thought I would share a few pics along this article!

Milaa (our Head of Production, first from the right) gave a lot of trainings with the same common theme : Project management and communication.

She started the training and started speaking about one of our main values: “Being Friendly”. As a Westerner I never realised how important this value is here in Asia. Being respectful and friendly towards each other helps us connect, work and grow together. We also decided to implement that value with our clients, since we find we do better work in a friendly environment with them too.


During our trainings, we rarely talk about design quality: Designers actually know how to use their pens and pencils. Rather, most of our trainings are about communication.

Attending Milaa’s trainings led me to think about the bigger picture: How are we managing projects for the whole team at Manypixels (not only with designers)? Should we set up best practices so that every project we do (marketing, sales, but also production) is successful and stuff gets done?

To be honest, while you are reading this it might seem simple on the outside but back then it wasn’t all that obvious: I kept on repeating things or explaining things differently not knowing why the projects were not moving. Since then, I have learned a lot about project management (especially with a team with a different culture), and I thought: Let’s write more about this!

Alright, won’t make you wait any longer, here are my key learnings!

1. Self-evaluate

I always have two priorities on my mind as a founder:

The first priority is focus which is :  Working on the right things. It does not matter if you work really hard but move into the wrong direction. Take time to think about which needle-moving tasks get the ball rolling for your business! I can’t stress this enough. Take some to talk to the team, spend time in nature so you can get that lightbulb moment and think “This is what we should be working on!”.

The second priority, specifically when managing projects is: Look at yourself in the mirror. Would you understand this project if you were the employee?

2. No excuses mentality

What happens 99% of the time: Projects do not get completed on time. Why is that? Because possible obstacles to their completion haven’t been laid out upfront!

We manage our projects in two ways at Manypixels. Firstly, each week, we have a 15-30min meeting where the team leaders talks about 2 or 3 things they’ve worked on and what they’ll be working on. Each team leader should be focused on removing obstacles for their team members, but also anticipating any possible blockers to their future long term projects. For example, if you are setting up a sales campaign, which email tool will you use? Have you thought about what could go wrong in that campaign not being launched in that day?

Secondly, projects are either done or not. If the task is clear and the deadline is clear then it is up to your team to execute it ruthlessly and there should be zero excuses so as not to do the work.

3. Self-motivated team and best practices

Project management is not simply “I will find the best project management app” and fill it with todo’s. This is a recipe for disaster!

Example of best practices for tasks

At Manypixels, we do two things in that regard:

1. Hire, train and put the best people on projects that motivate them immensely

This is the difference between good and great employees. Good employees do their work but great employees go above and beyond to complete the task and satisfy the client.  A great employee will yield 10x more value to the company.

2. Best practices to undertake projects.

We have a Trello with best practices (we always only put 2-3 tasks in each card, each with a clear due date and a clear explanation with blockers and expected deliverables).

Takeaways

Project management is best tested when things go wrong. If the team is stressed, if the projects are not being done, ask yourself: Could it be the fact that we have no system that work? That we are doing too much things (= Lack of focus), or that we do not have best practices in place?