Talk to a Tykling – getting to know Ain Sahimi, UI Designer
Tyk is able to deliver an immensely useful product to users around the world thanks to the hard work and loyalty of our team of Tyklings. But who are these talented individuals and how do they work together to create the magic that is Tyk?
That’s what our Talk to a Tykling interview series is here to uncover. This week, we caught up with Tyk’s Designer, Ain Sahimi, exploring how she contributes to Tyk and how her work fits with her personal values. Let’s dive in.
What do you do at Tyk?
I am the Designer at Tyk. I design and create visual concepts for the company as part of the marketing team. Occasionally, I would work on UI assets and fun illustrations for the company.
Where are you based?
I’m based in the sunny island of Singapore. I mostly enjoy working from home and on days when I feel like I needed to be somewhere, I would take a trip down to the office. I enjoy working there too, the whole interior looks like a cafe.
Do you prefer to work from home, or do you enjoy the social aspect of going into the office?
Being able to work from home allows you to have more time for yourself. Going to the office allows you to create a deeper connection with your colleagues. So I like a mix of both, really.
What is the background that led you to Tyk?
I graduated from studying Visual Communication. I’ve worked with various companies from large multinational corporations such as L’Oréal to family-owned businesses and small/medium enterprises.
I took many design related roles for the past few years. One of them was a Design cum E-Commerce Executive for a flower and landscape company.
I’ve always liked venturing and understanding the different types of businesses. Tyk being a tech start-up back then got me really interested with what they do and offer. Tyk is different in terms of its brand. It’s loud on visuals. That got me really intrigued!
Back to the question, I would say e-commerce and tech are related per se. Over time, I developed an interest in the tech industry. I even watched the show Silicon Valley just to keep the interest alive. However, I knew I still wanted to do something design-related in the future. Coincidentally I saw a job ad for a junior designer role at Tyk. I was telling myself, “Design and Tech? This is perfect for me!”
You’ve worked across a range of companies and industries. What is it about Tyk that has kept you interested over the longer term?
I love Tyk so much. Tyk offers freedom and trust. You rarely see that in a company.
It allows its employees to express their creativity and have the chance to voice their own thoughts – and they are always heard. Tyk ensures we are doing well by promoting the importance of good mental health too.
Tyk is diverse. We have people from all over the world. We get to learn so much from each other’s culture and backgrounds. Tyk offers benefits such as unlimited holidays and flexible working hours. You’ll be notified if you’ve not been taking enough!
All of these are built on trust. That’s enough for me to keep being interested over the longer term and continue contributing to Tyk.
Have you met many of the Tyk team in person?
Yes! Both virtual and in real life.
Before the pandemic happened, we had retreats every year. That’s the only time of the year where everyone at Tyk will have the chance to meet each other.
As Tyk is diverse, we work with people from different parts of the world. For example, my team consists of people from the US, UK and Singapore. We usually have catch ups and meetings via Zoom. That’s when we can all meet virtually.
On top of that, Tyk has café sessions for different time zones. It’s a chance for us all to meet each other outside of our team to catch up and get to know one another. I can’t recall any mundane session. We talk about anything random. It can be about the weather or a colleague’s yeast pet (yes, it’s the yeast you use to bake with and yes, it is his pet – how awesome!).
Do you get to see any of the marketing collateral that you design for events in action?
It depends. If the event is located in Singapore, I will be given a chance to attend and see my work being displayed. I also get to see first-hand people appreciating the design collateral I created.
When the events are being held outside of Singapore, my kind colleagues would usually give me an update. Although I’m not there physically, I am always pleased to be able to represent Tyk through my work.
It sounds like Tyk has a great onboarding process…
It has, particularly now. When I started, we didn’t have an HR or culture manager, so we had to run things independently sometimes. As the company has grown rapidly over the last 2 years, having those individuals in place now makes the process much smoother for the new Tyklings.
How has that growth impacted your role?
A company that is growing means that it is doing well. I see it as something very positive. Much has changed since the beginning. From being a lone designer in a one-man team, to merging with marketing. Working in teams increases collaboration and allows brainstorming. As a result, more creativity and ideas are developed in the company. It also encourages better communication. All of that has contributed to making me a responsible and a better designer.
Is there a particular pain point in the design industry that you would like to solve?
The pain point that we’re currently facing in the design industry is not giving ourselves the time and permission to explore our creativity and interests – thinking we’re all set and good enough.
The design industry is very competitive. It is our responsibility to find the time to upgrade our skills and to keep up, in order to stay relevant in the industry.
Employers also play a huge role in this, by providing support and giving designers the opportunity and the necessary tools to upgrade our skills.
What are your tips for working in a remote-first organisation?
It’s difficult, but you can make it easy! I remember being very clueless and lost at first with the whole remote working culture here at Tyk. It’s very new to hear such a thing exists in Singapore.
Firstly you will need self-discipline. It’s very easy to slack when you’re at the comfort of your home. I overcome it by having a routine to go to the gym in the morning and properly plan out my day. On days when I have extra free time during work, I would do some art or design research just to keep myself busy.
Secondly, acceptance. Accept that it’s a remote-first company and sometimes work goes out of your working hours to catch-up with the different time zones. This however doesn’t happen often and when it does, I would usually take a couple of hours off the next day – because we’re flexible like that!
Lastly, invest in a good ergonomic chair!
What is a mistake that you made early on in your career and what did you learn from it?
My mistake was thinking I had learned enough and that my skills were sufficient to last me in the industry till the end of time. Boy, was I wrong! Like I mentioned, design is rapidly evolving. Gone were the days when graphic design was solely focused on the obvious graphic elements such as marketing posters and printed materials.
I learned that the only way to stay on the edge is to constantly learn and improve your skills and with that, I am now studying UI/UX as a part-time student at one of the design schools in Singapore. Better late than never, they say…
What are the values that drive you personally? What’s important to you?
Compassion, kindness and creativity. These three values are very important to me because they help me to develop and grow. I also believe that the decisions we make in our daily lives are a reflection of our values and beliefs.
What are your three favourite books and/or podcasts?
There are three books that I really loved reading, The Architect’s Apprentice and The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak, and my ultimate favourite: ZEN – The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno. I love this book so much. Everyone should give it a read. It has shaped the way I think and lead my life.
Finally, what do you do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, you can always find me either in the kitchen or on the balcony playing with my cats (crazy cat lady here!).
My goal is to be a children’s book illustrator one day so I’ve set up a home art studio where I practice art. Hopefully it’ll come true. Call me back in 5 years!