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Stepping Into the Real World: Living Out the Creative Dream
16 Dec 2021
Meet Karoline Paarup, Designer at Shape and the person behind some of the fun artwork displayed on the walls at the office. Karoline started her career here at Shape and has moved from small projects to being in charge of her own – a role she enjoys.
In January 2020, Karoline finished her degree in multimedia design and digital concept development and started the process of looking for her first “real” job. Not long after she kept getting exposed to an ad on Instagram about a job opening in the Design Team at Shape, and now the rest is history.
The first few months at Shape were indeed very historic. As most of us know, Denmark closed down due to the pandemic in the middle of March 2020, and it was just then, Karoline had her first day.
“That was just the way it was. It was a little strange to meet everyone online for the first time, but it gave me time to really learn the different systems and other aspects of the job, which is good since I hadn’t worked with apps before.”
While Karoline knew that digital design was the direction she wanted to go, she never really thought about what kind of designer she was or wanted to be before she started at Shape.
“There are so many directions you can go with digital design. But when I started here, I was told that I’m especially good at the UX part – making the puzzle fit before we add colours and the whole UI part.”
Destined to be creative
Being a designer requires a lot of creativity on a daily basis, but how do they do it?
“Some days you just don’t have it. That’s the reality.”
And where did she get it from?
“I remember my dad bringing home Illustrator version six or seven or something like that when I was in school, and I would spend a lot of time making posters and other creative things. I didn’t know that I wanted to do digital design, but I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life.”
But with a mother who’s a flower decorator and a father who’s an IT manager, digital design seems like a funky mix of the two.
“I actually thought I would be an interior designer at one point, because I like to put things into systems and make everything look neat. But I guess that’s also what I do now, and why the UX part of app design is something I really enjoy.”
Just the right learning curve
When you first start a new job, it can be a bit overwhelming to jump into the deep end, but at Shape they are used to dealing with people of all experience levels.
“I started out with small projects to get to know the business and how to actually make apps, and I progressed from there. You don’t just get fed to the lions. You get challenged and pushed but in the right way.”
And working on the different projects has led to Karoline being in charge of her own.
“In October I got my own project, which is really cool. I like knowing all the decisions that have been made before I joined a project, and now I do, because I made them.”
But having your own project doesn’t mean that you’re alone with decisions, presentations, and ideas.
“That’s the good thing about how we do it at Shape and in this team. We’re always a united front when we talk to clients, and I have a lot of people to spar with. We all have our strong suits, and we complement each other very well.”
More than just a team
While being creative is a big part of the job, client contact is also a very vital part – a part that may not come natural to everyone.
“This is an area where I’m definitely still learning, and where I have learned a lot already. I’m still not entirely comfortable with presentations, but it’s getting better. I just hope it’ll come natural to me some day. Until then it’s nice to have my team there with me to back me up.”
And the Design Team is a very tight-knit team.
“We spend a lot of time together. We’re not just colleagues, we’re friends.”
And the team members enjoy Karoline’s humour, which she’s not shy to share with everyone.
“I think I’m very sarcastic. They usually find that pretty funny.”
But she’s not all fun and games.
“I’m a perfectionist. Maybe a little too much sometimes. I would like to build my own design system at one point where everything just works perfectly.”
And the perfectionist really come out when she’s asked what the favourite part of her job is.
“That last 10 %. When you get into the last nerdy details and get to work with those details, it’s so satisfying.”
Small town girl in a big city
But surely Karoline can’t also be creative in her free time.
“I like being creative in my free time too. But more offline.”
And her creations hang for everyone to see at the office.
“I started working with pearls, which have been hung on the walls in the office.”
But all in all, Karoline is just a down to earth girl from Fyn, who ventured to the big city.
“I like it in Copenhagen, but I’m very much a small town girl, which is why I’m very excited to move into my new apartment outside of Copenhagen that I get the keys to at the end of this month.”
Jump on board
”The atmosphere is great here. Our company motto is ‘do right’, and I think we do that really well. It’s pretty unique, and I actually feel bad that not everyone gets to experience what we have.”
Do you want to join the team? We’re currently looking for a UI/UX Designer among other positions. Check all of them out here.