Maria Centola

Maria Centola

Designer in London, UK, she/her


An experienced hybrid designer and illustrator. My skills are varied, I've redesigned the UI for mobile games, built identities for start-ups and prototyped community focused apps.

To give back to my community – I tutor BA Graphic Design and Illustration students at The University of Hertfordshire.



The sales team of luxury watchmaker Richard Mille was in real need of a digital solution to browsing heavy lookbooks when talking to their star-studded customers.

I aided in the creation and prodution of this app with the team while working as a Designer at Sennep.

Side Projects


Individual perspectives on how one project runs from start to finish in the design world. Hear from designers, developers, project managers and many more on their working process through one project.



Attendees of this talk will take away a few tips to successfully show their teams how they work, what they value and gain their trust. I'll be exposing different mindsets and how to tackle challenges in new ways.


'Yes and' is the basic underlying theme of improv. It’s when you take an offer and add to it. It’s about showing up, being in the moment, listening and not being afraid. What improv taught me about design is an understanding that where there were problems before, there are now ‘offers’. If we can frame what is happening in society right now, we can see the opportunities for change that have developed.


How can Figma help teams become closer? Can the tool be used for employee onboarding? Hear from Maria Centola, who started her new job during lockdown and found Figma a useful tool in the arsenal of collaboration in the early days of a new position.



Maria Centola moved to the UK after graduating from IDEA School of Design in 2016. Her 3-month design internship at Sennep in London became a full-time job.


I speak about my process, my goals, my journey and general thoughts around design and illustration.


Coquitlam's Maria Centola will see her completed salmon sculpture in Town Centre Park this summer. The 23-year-old Capilano University graduate was one of 12 artists picked to hand paint the iconic symbol as part of the city's 125th anniversary celebrations.

Work Experience

2020 — Now
Hertfordshire, UK (remote)

Working with students in their first, second and third year. I lectured across many different briefs and areas of design. In the final months I set a digital focussed design brief for the final year students to give them insight into ways of working in the industry.

2021 — 2022
2020 — 2021
London, UK

Was onboarded remotely and was able to quickly embed myself in the team and see how SOON_ works.

Working as a small design team, communication was key – both internally and working closely with the developers on the team. The most valuable part of working in a team with devs, we don’t just ‘hand off’ we communicate about the iterations that didn’t work, about how we built a certain thing – it all helps us stay aligned.

I brought forward my ideas around internal processes to do with design ops, strategy and ideation.

2017 — 2020
London, UK

Moved between a variety of projects including design, illustration, social media and research. This role has allowed me to grow as an individual designer and as a part of the greater team.

2016 — 2016
Remote (Seattle, Washington)

Learned the hard way, what to do and what not to do when designing for a social cause. It taught me the importance of using empathy as a designer and my first remote role (before that was such a big deal!)

2016 — 2016
Vancouver, BC

Getting paid to strengthen my community – what a dream! This role involved me finding new ways to engage with the local community, create new connections and reach out to members of this local theatre to thank and support them.

2015 — 2015
Vancouver, Canada

My first taste of working in a studio. Loved it, feared it a little too.


2016 — 2017
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Took the leap to study abroad for a year—that decision allowed me to see design from a whole new perspective and be taught in a new way. The opportunity of a lifetime.

2011 — 2016
North Vancouver, Canada

For the first two years at Capilano, I studied Fine Art to refine my skills and build a strong portfolio as well as broaden my knowledge and skill set. In 2013 I was accepted into the IDEA program which is a career-based 3-year diploma program offering instruction in both communication design and applied illustration.