My experience as a Designer-in-Residence at Asana

Over the past year, we’ve partnered with the Designer Fund for Bridge, a program that connects experienced designers with top startups in San Francisco. For the most recent Bridge session, Asana welcomed Tyson Kallberg to our team as our second Designer-In-Residence.

It was a crisp August night on a turf field in the Bayshore, and I’d just skinned my knee trying to keep a ball inbounds. I landed in San Francisco a few hours before and found myself playing offense on the Asana soccer team the night before my full day of on-site interviews at the office.

I arrived at Asana after applying for the second season of the Designer Fund’s Bridge Program. After deciding to leave my job of six years in Vancouver to move from agency work to product design, being “Designer in Residence” at a small startup in San Francisco sounded like a great idea.

Despite the minor injury, I made it through Asana’s in depth interview process (the soccer part was optional!)  Thanks to how rigorous it was, I’d gotten to really know the team and I was sure I belonged there.

After a few weeks of moving preparations and heartfelt goodbyes in Vancouver, I hopped on a flight and landed in San Francisco for my first Bridge session, and my first day at Asana.

Working At Asana

Let’s get it out of the way: the delicious meals, the yoga, the workstation setup? It’s all awesome, but that’s not the special part. There’s a ton of great things about Asana’s culture, and the most important part to me was the concept that we’re all ‘a group of peers’. As a designer at Asana you have an enormous amount of ownership and accountability over your work. You’re empowered to collect feedback and apply it intelligently. In the end, you feel trusted.

Reimagining mobile

My background before Asana was largely rooted in mobile. I worked on applications for everything from medical companies to entertainment properties. Asana was a chance to take those skills and learn a whole lot more about ‘product’.

My first (and current) project is reimagining the mobile app experience.  We’ve built a new mobile team and are devoting a lot of resources to this redesign. Being given a chance to work on such an impactful project as a new designer is incredibly exciting.

The Designer Fund’s Bridge program

The Bridge program allows designers to work fulltime at their startup and once a week come together “in residence” to teach each other skills and learn from inspirational guest speakers. Each session follows a pretty similar format: us “Designers in Residence” get to talk about the past week, there’s a workshop, dinner, and then a “fireside chat”.

Bridge presents a fantastic opportunity for a recently transplanted designer like myself to meet other designers (and even a few heroes). But, Bridge is more than just sessions and outings — it’s a chance to form a lasting connection with the larger design community.

I’ll be sticking around for another round of Bridge with Asana and the Designer Fund.  It will be exciting to see our updated mobile app develop and to continue to iterate on our powerful product. I’m also looking forward to the Asana team growing with another Designer in Residence. Join us! Applications for Session 3 of Bridge open on January 28th.

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