My parents were always happy to support my creative activities. They were happy as long as I remembered that they were just hobbies and to get back to ‘real work’ afterwards. My parents moved to Hong Kong from Nigeria to provide opportunities for me and my siblings. However, they didn’t have Art and Design in mind as opportunities. They still worked hard to support everything we wanted to try, and I’m forever grateful for that. As a kid, I spent hours learning how to build websites and design posters, no one was paying me for them, but I did it anyway. I was getting into 3D animation because just watching my favourite Pixar movies wasn’t enough – I wanted to make them too. In my mind, those were all just hobbies though. I never realised how much this would impact the way I perceived my career years later.

After graduating in Creative Media on the Dean’s List, and earning an MDes in Interaction Design, I still struggled with calling myself a “Designer”. I found every excuse to avoid it because I didn’t feel ready yet. I was a Researcher; I leaned towards User Research. I was obsessed with being ready to become a Designer. I wasn’t one yet. I was chasing this dreamlike state where I’d be hyper-qualified and just recognised as a Designer. Travelling and working with Designers from all over taught me an important lesson- “if you wait until you’re ready, you never will be”. So I locked myself away for two months, built a personal brand and emerged as what I always was meant to be – a Designer.

Today I’m a consultant in Design and Strategy at a global consultancy, working as a creative while mentoring design and fostering design communities. I hope to inspire everyone to be prepared to jump right into the shoes you were always meant to fill, they may not fit now, but you’ll grow into them!

Mubarak, a Product Designer talks candidly about his journey to becoming a designer and shares some inspiring and empowering tips to encourage people to embrace their talent, whatever it is!