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The most creative team PART 1

Marina J.

2021-11-29

11min

Design

We want you to get to know our team, our working style, and, most importantly, the individuals who make up this group. Discover Cinnamon's most creative team.

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How to encompass a whole team of about 20 people within Cinnamon and introduce them to you? How to even describe this team of people doing such ingenious things? Well we know how, we'll introduce you to each member individually! Yes, you read that right. We want you to get to know our team, something about us, our way of working, but most importantly - the people without whom this team wouldn’t exist. 

However, since there are a lot of us, and we want you to meet each one of us a little bit, we'll divide this blog into two parts - in the first part you'll meet 10 designers and their stories, while the other half carefully devises how to impress you and bring you closer to the Cinnamon Design Team!

Our story

In order for each of us to get an adequate project, in accordance with our position and seniority level, our Team Leads and our Head of Design Mateja, try their best to provide us with quality projects, so that in the end everyone is happy and satisfied. How we handle all these projects and deadlines, and how should the ideal Cinnamon Design Persona look like in general, our Head of Design Department - Mateja Bartolović will tell you more:

“I believe in honest and transparent communication. When I see that somebody from my department struggles through tough projects, I acknowledge that and I suggest the ways we can help. It is not always possible to solve this fast, and I am honest about this. Some projects are demanding, sometimes the deadline is not ideal, but it is not possible to avoid that 100% and we simply need to make it through. To make it easier, I try to cheer up colleagues by acknowledging their effort and hard work, by providing info when this period should end, and by making sure from an organizational point that it happens as little as possible. The result is that in the past six months, within the design department, we had only 6 hours of overtime, and we have a team of 20 designers. We value differences and believe we should not stream to an ideal candidate that would fit into some mold. As long as you are professional, you respect others and their work, you have high communication standards, and you are motivated to progress, you are welcome at Cinnamon. Those soft skills are crucial for us to evolve as a team. ” (Mateja Bartolović, Head of Design Department)

Now that we've heard what Mateja thinks about Cinnamon designers, let’s get to know other creatives! We have selected a couple of interesting topics for this blog, which we think would be interesting for you to read about, but also to bring you closer to us - designers and our work in Cinnamon.

From morning coffee to the end of working hours!

“As a Team Lead my day-to-day constantly changes. Sometimes I’m booked in meetings (jumping on calls for projects, reviewing designs, or having check-ins with team members), other times I’m focused on working on a design for a client, writing up internal documentation, or collaborating with my team. I’m more often remote, so my coffee stays planted on my desk from morning till afternoon. But when I am in the office I love to grab my coffee mug and catch up with everyone at Cinnamon or simply help my team in any way I can — from design consulting to answering questions about any help they need!” - says Jake, one of our Team Leads.

He is strongly focused on ensuring that the whole team is stable and satisfied, but he is also very calm and he always makes our weekly meetings interesting and instructive. How his day differs from another designer, we’ll see below:

“My working day in Cinnamon starts with a hot coffee or tea and hanging out with my coworkers during breakfast. I'm one of those people who like to work early in the morning. I feel my workflow then is faster and more efficient. After lunch, it's mostly chill & work. That means putting my headphones on, listening to music, and finishing my tasks in peace.” -says Dino, our Product Designer, working in our team for one of our long-term clients.

But don't be fooled - the afternoon may be even more productive than he thinks! Especially if he finds a new cool playlist on Spotify.

Why Cinnamon?

We often forget to ask our colleagues how they came to Cinnamon in general and what are the reasons they stayed here after a while, so let's hear what our Maja R. says about that:

“It's a great place to grow as a designer and work on various interesting projects. You can also immerse yourself into one big long-time project if that is your preference. When I started working here, I was pleasantly surprised by the team organization and design process. There is time for every design phase and deliverable because quality work is appreciated. Colleagues are always there if we need help. On every project, the lead designer gets a support designer. Like a project buddy.”

Our other designer Mateja R. has been at Cinnamon for a quite long time, and thanks to her organizational skills, she skillfully combines college with work:

“I was looking for a new job and among the many recruiting proposals and messages, Cinnamon stood out. After I first came to Cinnamon for an interview, I knew I would belong here and stay… I just felt it. From the first time I entered the office, I felt a positive and friendly atmosphere which attracted me the most. After joining the team, intuition did not fool me. When you know - you know. Most of all I love the people I work with and that there is no difference between teams or seniority levels. We all learn together, juniors from seniors, seniors from juniors, developers from designers, designers from developers, and so on in any direction you can imagine! Pretty magical, isn't it?”

What to expect from us

It's not all about skills, they are needed and of course, they do the job, but they are not enough. What else did our new designer Nikola learn from this role and the whole team, he will tell you firsthand:

“I'm still new and I'm still catching up, but what a team! There are a lot of rules, but the three (unofficially) most important ones are: The first and most important rule is to ask, always! The Team Leads have the answers to everything, if not them, there are others. The second rule is to be aware that you have someone to help you and cover your back. And third, sit back and enjoy as you soak up the comments from dozens of outstanding designers.”

But if you also ask one of the designers who has been in the company for a long time and has more experience with colleagues, design team, and clients like our designer Slobodan, he will tell you his thoughts:

“In addition to the basic stuff like knowing how to use popular UX/UI tools (like Figma), I believe the designer should know the principles of Design Thinking, what the user-centric approach is, and how to test their prototypes with the users. Also, the designer should know typographic rules and modern UX/UI trends. I find it important to have a certain understanding of development processes and frameworks. The attitude of the designer is also important, to be ready to accept criticism, but also to know how and when to stand up to their ideas and solutions, to know that UX/UI is ever-evolving and that every design can be even better :)”

We work, but we also have fun

To take a break from everyday tasks, we have a meeting once a week where we usually relax and socialize. However, there can be all kinds of fun activities, so our dear designer Emili will tell you more about them:

“Usually, our TL would be in charge of leading the meeting, but what we decided to do is to choose a different person each week to lead the meeting, to present and plan various types of games for the team. Each team member would, through the chosen game, discover a bit more about their colleagues. Some would focus on games where we could talk and get to know each other, others would try to make it fun or creative.”

This was said by Emili, who obviously, like our designer Goran, loves weekly meetings. Let's see what Goran's favorite aspects are:

“It is always dynamic, it is a great idea to change the moderators of the weekly, thus retaining freshness and dynamism. In addition to fun and original activities, it's great because we get an insight into what our colleagues are doing, you get a chance to shoot, confess and ask for real help, feedback, or a short brainstorming about the problem on the project if you have it. Going through projects from colleagues you can always get inspired or learn something new.”

Our clients and projects are awesome!

We all know that we have the best clients and projects, but it would be good to read what our designer Hrvoje says about it. Hrvoje has also been in Cinnamon for a long time, and he has a couple of projects behind him, so he can tell you something about his most "fun" project:

“Usually, projects that I have the most fun with are projects that have the topic so narrow I know almost nothing about. That was the case with my first project - it was an urgent one, and it was about trading in gift cards. I had to do quick but thorough research to study the topic and the industry in general and try to figure out connections that I have never encountered before. Also, the great thing about this project was that the clients were receptive and open to new suggestions. They had respect toward what the Cinnamon design team had to suggest. And they still have! After what Cinnamon did for them, they decided to keep working with us for the projects to come. And we are looking forward to that as well!!"

And on the other hand, if we ask Mihovil, our experienced UX researcher, the same topic, he will give you a slightly more detailed but very high-quality answer.

“If I need to name a single interesting and unusual project that I worked on while at Cinnamon I choose Corrily. Following the initial scope, I spent some time making wireframes of the dashboard for their product idea but very soon their team realized that there are some business flaws in it and had to switch to an entirely new product idea over the night. So just like that, one morning I was introduced to a new and fresh idea, and we needed to act fast to meet their presentation deadlines. Immediately we started organizing interview sessions with a bunch of interesting people worldwide who could share their experience for us to understand the context and design a useful product-service platform.

But guess what, after just a week it happened again, the team realized that they won’t be able to show the required results in time and decided to make another jump to a totally different idea, and execute it in a super short time frame that was left until the presentation day. Long story short the third product met the deadline and showed amazing results in the following few months. Today Corrily is growing rapidly and doesn’t stop to amaze with the success. I’m super happy that I was able to be involved in their story starting from such an early stage, to have worked in such a dynamic setup, with a team of extremely clever and creative people, and that all the struggle that they went through was worth it! Super excited to see how Corrily will grow and evolve in the upcoming time.”

That is all that Mihovil has to say about this topic. And here we will take a break, and let you go through these answers again, and meet our team while visiting them on LinkedIn (link on their names). We hope that we have transferred to you at least a part of the energy of our Design Team, and brought you closer to our way of working, thinking, but also to the relaxed atmosphere that is always present. We are looking forward to what the rest of the design team is preparing for us, what answers they will give you, and what topics they will inform you more about. Stay tuned!

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