joining whiteboards

Bridging design worlds: My experience as a Designer-in-Residence at Asana

Vanessa Koch

As the world reimagines traditional education models, Designer Fund pioneers a new approach toward design education. Bridge connects experienced designers with top startups in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from an incredible community at Designer Fund while designing in residence at Asana.

Joining the Team

After officially signing on, emails full of welcomes and hellos filled my inbox. (Clearly, I was excited to start!) Upon arriving my first day, an array of Asana swag covered my desk.

With a background in visual communication design, my residency at Asana marks my first experience building a product in a startup environment. I’m passionate about designing a simple yet powerful product that facilitates communication between individuals and teams.

joining 1

My design process begins with pen and paper and gains momentum through product team collaboration. In our Asana design critiques, we’re often found whiteboarding and flailing our hands excitedly in the air. As a small team with big ideas, we iterate and ship quickly.

Joining the team 2

The Sights & Sounds of Asana

Our environment expresses our core values – mindfulness and balance. Focused work habits allow time to enjoy cups of tea and conversation, piano melodies, and office views at sunset.

sights & sounds

Asana + the Design Community

Asana Movie Nights bring like-minded people together to watch films with themes of design and creativity. Lively discussions, creative inspiration, and new friendships often follow.

movie night

The Bridge Community

The pace of startup life is notoriously fast, and Bridge reflects that pace through workshops and fireside chats every Tuesday. These gatherings attract a vibrant group of people who share ideas and build a spirit that transcends any individual startup, team, or designer.


Design entrepreneurs hold great potential for social change. Designing for Asana will continue to provide the opportunity for me to build an innovative product with an amazing team. I’m proud to be a member of the Asana team and the Bridge community.

Special thanks to Loren Baxter for the photos.

  1. avatarJohn J. Locke

    This seems like an awesome program. Very exciting stuff. Please keep us up to date with your adventures at Asana.

  2. avatarBrett

    Asana is a place I would dream to work for. I would like to create a similar environment within my group. It is difficult in established large organisations. That won’t stop me from trying. I appreciate the pictures in this post. The art work of the office is pretty cool. I think I need to put up the “Finish What You Start” in my cubicle. That is my goal for myself, and I expect the same from others.

  3. avatarSamir Pipalia

    Why are you using whiteboards and not your own products when you have testimonials all over your site mentioning how people moved from a whiteboard to your product? It’s an amazing product, but I think you must practice what you preach if you want wider acceptance!!

    1. avatarKimberly Snodgrass Asana Team Member

      Thanks, Samir for the thought. For the majority of our meetings, we do use our own product to take notes, to follow agendas, and to comment on tasks. However, When in a meeting about the design of our product, we typically brainstorm on whiteboards, paper, and post-it notes.

    2. avatarJim Renaud Asana Team Member

      We at Asana aren’t anti-whiteboard. Whiteboards have their place to draw and collaborate visually. As a designer, illustrating rough design ideas on a whiteboard with co-workers is a fun and useful process. We often take photos of these ideas on the whiteboard and add them to tasks in Asana right from our mobile apps. However, using a whiteboard to organize your tasks and projects and to keep notes is what Asana is much better at and not what whiteboards are best at. I hope that helps clear up our process.

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