Erin Kim

Staff Experience Designer, Stager

A cartoon-style illustration of a young Asian woman with a bob.

Illustration by Michael Cho

Adobe Design is a large team. We work across products, processes, and tools in different cities, countries, time zones, and cultures and celebrate each other whenever we have the opportunity. Our Profiles are a way to introduce the bright and brilliant folks on our team to the external design community. Spend some time getting to know them.

How would you describe what you do to someone you’re sitting next to on a plane?

I would say that I design software for Adobe and, more specifically, that I design how our software should function and how people interact with it. If the person has not heard of Adobe, I’d say we make Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat. I've found this remarkably effective with my friends; 99% of people immediately understood.

Do you have a degree that “matches” the career you’re in now?

My first bachelor’s degree was in architectural engineering, but I decided I wanted to do something creative, so I went back to school and earned a bachelor's degree in art. Even though my degrees aren't related to the study of human computer interaction, I've found them quite relevant. Architecture is essentially designing a user experience but with physical spaces and materials. You can’t user test architecture and once it’s built, you can’t easily iterate and improve based on feedback; for software, iteration comes at a lower cost.

My art degree is helpful because it further developed my creative side and gave me firsthand experience regarding how customers will use our product. I saw digital as the future and UX design looked very appealing to me, which compelled me to switch my career.

When was the last time you felt truly inspired by something? What was it?

Over the past few years, I've had opportunities to host sessions at MAX to teach designers the basics of 3D and how to use Adobe Dimension. Last year, after one of those sessions, a designer messaged me telling me how excited she was to learn about our product and how, within just a few hours, she was able to create beautiful artwork with it. That was truly rewarding. Conversations like that inspire me to continue to make the best products for designers interested in 3D.

Do you remember anything you drew regularly as a child? What was it?

I used to be a huge fan of cartoons. I particularly loved drawing faces and wasn’t much interested in drawing the rest of the body. I think it’s because faces contain emotion, personality, and sometimes even history. Eventually, as I got older, it evolved into an interest in psychology.

What’s your greatest extravagance and why?

My greatest extravagance is setting aside time from work and caring for my daughter so I can play piano. I’ve always loved it because it allows me to express my emotions when I'm not able to find the right words. Especially after I came to the States. English was a second language and I had limited opportunities to speak Korean, so music was my best friend. No matter how busy I am, I always try to carve out time for piano and let my emotions out.