Hi John, care to share a little bit about yourself?
Hey there! My name is John Schnobrich and I’m a former college athlete, pre-med student, turned product designer currently working at Sure in Santa Monica. I’ve been a product designer tor close to seven years. I have a background in cognitive science, but a love for everything aesthetically pleasing. I’m originally from Las Vegas, NV. I moved to LA close to a year ago... what incredible timing, right?
Outside of work, I enjoy binging tv shows, movies, trying to find the newest restaurants on the block, and photography. During my down time. I’m constantly learning new topics related to design, psychology, and any other topic that is interesting to me. Remember, kids, feed your brain!
Can you tell us what you do as a Product Designer at Sure for those who are unfamiliar?
As a product designer, I work on a multitude of different projects. Currently, I work on enterprise and direct to consumer level products. Along with creating and maintains a complex design language. When I’m not neck deep in Figma. I’m creating user stories, flows, mid-fidelity designs to help our users.
Other than that, I help bridge the gap between the design and engineering department by writing documentation, building prototypes or whatever is needed for a smooth handoff.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
I started off as a traditional graphic designer, after a couple of rough jobs and uninspiring moments. I needed to pivot into something that I could grow in. The idea had come for me to supplement my design background to help me pay for college where I would eventually become a surgeon.
During the process of undergraduate degree, I had always wanted to break into product design but the opportunities were few and far between. I was lucky enough to get my beak wet for a couple of years at an agency. When I outgrew my position, I knew it was time to take a dive in the deep end and move to LA where there are more opportunities.
What made you interested in design?
I have a background in cognitive science, but a love for design. Marry the two and you have product design.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to those at the companies you’re interested in. In the digital age, and our new way of getting your foot in the door could be as simple as a direct message. Also, focus on what you can bring to the role. You are not just a cog in the machine.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in your field
Proactive, eager, and detail oriented
Most difficult thing about your job?
Removing bias. As a product designer, often times I find myself leaning towards a particular mental model or schema because it’s something that I’m accustomed to rather than what could potentially serve the user best.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Plans are great, but it’s important to highlight how you’ll switch between plans when things do not plan out.
Best advice you've received/heard?
Anything in life worth doing, is worth overdoing.
Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who wants to learn more about Product Design?
There are so many amazing resources at the tip of our fingers. Reach out to mentors, look up YouTube videos, and find the part of being a product designer that is interesting to you.
Don’t be afraid of the jargon used, read often and everything you can about it. If you want to be a product designer; the best advice I can offer is — open the tool and start creating. Gather your bearing first before, jumping in the deep end.