Dannah Soriano, Media Design School Alumni, now works at Lightspeed Commerce

Bachelor of Media Design

Dannah Soriano studied the Bachelor of Media Design where she worked on the Good Design Award winning project 'Grow'. ‘Grow’ is a volunteer recruitment campaign that promotes volunteering to people who are passionate, eager to learn, and are willing to give back to the community.


Design used to just be a hobby that I didn’t know could turn into a career in the future. When I moved to New Zealand, my brother sat down with me and asked what I enjoyed doing the most - that’s when I decided to explore digital design.

I chose Media Design School because of its reputation as the #1 digital school in Asia Pacific. And since it’s a relatively small institution, there’s a higher chance of being mentored outside class hours. At MDS I most enjoyed the relationships I’ve built inside the campus. Whether it be my peers or lecturers, it’s such a diverse set of people who made learning more interesting and exciting as they widened and opened up my perspective about certain ideas.

The more that I saw the value in what I did, the more confident I got with my creativity. And don’t get me wrong, I still get that impostor syndrome sometimes. But I found that by continuously doing and making, I slowly identified my key strengths and weaknesses, which helped me decide what to focus on and what to improve on.

For me, time management was the biggest challenge, especially as I was balancing uni with two side jobs! I'm not the best at time management, but throughout the years, I learned that I had to be intentional in prioritising and sticking to them FIRMLY. And learning not to spread myself too thinly is something that I'm still learning now. I think it's also important to try not to work alone and make use of your peers around you as they are one of your most valuable assets. Often Eureka moments come from having conversations. You never know what can come out when people from different backgrounds and perspectives open-mindedly bounce ideas. But of course, you have to make sure to filter opinions and only absorb what’s relevant!

Grow, created by MDS Alumni Dannah Soriano, placed at Good Design Awards

‘Grow’ is a volunteer recruitment campaign that promotes volunteering to people who are passionate, eager to learn, and are willing to give back to the community. This project won at the Good Design Awards, and can often be seen in imagery promoting the school.

The good thing is that the world is never going to run out of problems to be solved; there’s always a way to make something better. So there’s always going to be an opportunity to creatively think of ways to put into practice what I do to grow. My main aspiration is to be of influence to other designers on the huge impact of design when used for good.

As a UX designer, it’s important to talk to the users at every stage of the process - most importantly in the beginning to make sure that I am not designing based on my own assumptions. Ideally I will not build anything until I’ve identified the core problem. Then I conceptualise and ideate by brain dumping- no matter how crazy or feasible an idea is. It’s a matter of creating choices and then making choices. I then choose the two or three ideas and start building it.  At this stage, there will always be a lot of trial and errors based on the feedback that I get –  which is important to move forward. I then reiterate, redesign, test again, until the prototype responds to the users’ needs.

Weaze was a travel app designed by MDS Alumni Dannah Soriano

Weaze was inspired by Dannah's love for travelling and wanting to organise everything in one place

Interests outside of design affects if not all, most of my design decisions. Most of the work in my portfolio is a response to my own frustrations and finding ways to creatively solve them. Weaze was made from my love for travelling and wanting to organise everything in one place, Diagee was a response to my fear of going to the doctors but still wanting to have that human touch for reliability, and We’re Not Really Distant was inspired by my close relationship with my grandma. Taking on projects that interest me helps with long-term motivation.

My capstone project focused on empowering meaningful connections between the elderly community and the young people using stories of courage and grit. With a core focus on commonality and reciprocal connection, the goal was to facilitate a two-way connection between the two generations through an interactive experience. I started my capstone project just when Covid 19 started so it naturally went to the path of responding to the issue of being physically apart.

This project actually helped me find a new purpose behind what I do as a designer, so it was a special one. I realised that interaction design goes way beyond just solving problems, but more so finding new ways to better connect human beings to one another, no matter what form it may take.

I don’t really believe in dream jobs anymore because I don’t expect a job to fulfil my deepest desires. 101% not sure of what the future holds but I am hopeful. I guess what’s important for me is to be grounded while growing and creating work that ultimately helps and inspires others.

We're Not Really Distant is a project created by MDS Alumni Dannah Soriano to help people connect with their grandparents
We're Not Really Distant

This was inspired by Dannah's close relationship with her grandma