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Dribbble Interview: Design Lead Mari Ettlinger on problem‑solving and working remotely

In our latest Timeout video, we chat with design lead Mari Ettlinger. She shares how she’s used Dribbble to hire design talent, why she enjoys working remotely, and how breaks can actually increase productivity.

What does design mean to you?

Design for me is problem-solving. When people ask “Are you a web designer or a print designer or a product designer?” It’s all the same—a designer is a designer like an actor as an actor.

What impact has Dribbble had on you?

I didn’t necessarily even think about it in terms of work even though I have to seek work from it. When I was a UX Director at Marqeta I was looking for a designer and it was very very difficult to find one for what I was looking for. So I went on Dribbble and cross-referenced that to Oakland because I wanted somebody who was local and I figured that was a good influence and to sweeten the pot so someone wouldn’t have to commute to the city. And so that’s how I found my first designer when I was starting that group.

  1. Nymcard--International phone card
  2. Dual platform Native App
  3. Fliqstamp Native App and Website Responsive

Why do you choose to work remotely?

I’ve worked probably 65% of my career remotely. I attribute that to being an art major and if you’re an art major you need to work on your own and there is a zone that you get into. And I found that I am more efficient, more productive more cost-effective when I work remotely. For me to really be thoughtful about the work I need to be able to do research. I need to be able to think. I need to get away from it and go back to it and it’s harder when you are in an office.

Sometimes you need to pull away from the glass so that you can actually get a clearer perspective.

Do you have any advice for working at home?

I think it’s really important to sort of get outside of yourself when you’re a freelancer. For me, I make sure that I set time aside to actually go and garden for like a half hour. Take my dogs out for like another half hour. And I think it’s really important not just to get out of the house but I think it actually frees up your mind to get away and then come back to work with fresh eyes. Sometimes you need to pull away from the glass so that you can actually get a clearer perspective. It’s really, really helpful and productive.

Follow Mari on Dribbble and at

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