Episode 38

Talking Design with Adobe’s Maria Yap


Today I’m joined by Maria Yap, the Vice President of Digital Imaging at Adobe who shares with listeners her experience working in design, a career that blends together creativity and technology. Together we talk about digital imaging, AI, diversity in the workplace, and how to craft a dream career and love what you do. 

Maria explains how AI has been growing within the field and how it allows for creators to focus their energies on creativity and communicating their vision

Maria begins today’s conversation by explaining how design work is largely about problem-solving and learning how to plan and visualize the message you want communicated. She also explains how AI has been growing within the field and how it allows for creators to focus their energies on creativity and communicating their vision while the AI takes care of the more mundane tasks of the job. Maria shares insights into her experiences working at Adobe specifically, discussing many of the tools and filters Adobe has developed as well as the company’s approach to helping customers.

Maria shares that some of the best advice she ever received was to ask herself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I try this thing?

In terms of her personal career journey, Maria explains that while education and schooling is a very linear path, a career itself is very nonlinear. Because of this, she encourages listeners to not try to force a linear career path but to instead focus on their passions and what they want to learn and to use these motivations to drive them forward. She shares that some of the best advice she ever received was to ask herself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I try this thing? She then recommends that listeners ask themselves the same question when thinking about their own career choices. 

Maria explains that having empathy for both her team members and her customers has been one of her best tools as a leader and designer. 

In addition to talking about her career as a designer, Maria also discusses the importance of diversity when it comes to building a team in the workplace and how diversity can help lead to some of the most innovative solutions. She shares that when assembling her team, she looks for two key characteristics: growth mindset and having a vision for the role. She also talks about practicing servant-leadership, which is a form of leadership in which the leader acts in a way that best serves the members of her team. She explains that having empathy for both her team members and her customers has been one of her best tools as a leader and designer. 

For more advice from Maria on how to enter the design field as well as more tips concerning mentorship, leadership, and complex problem-solving, be sure to listen in to today’s episode! 

“I think you can learn from everyone if you just kind of have that right mindset of listening and being open to these great influences.” – Maria Yap
OTHER TOP QUOTES FROM THIS EPISODE

“Even though creativity is an innate human activity, there’s many things around creativity that can be sort of automated or that you can help the user with.” 

“Don’t focus on it [your career] being a linear path. Focus on really understanding where your passions are, what you want to learn, and where you want to experiment because all those things are what will guide you into the places that you want to go.” 

To learn more about Maria, you can follow her on social media: 

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