Hi Froso! So fab to have you onboard for this... Let’s start easy, shall we? For those Gluggers who’ve never heard of you, who are you and what do you do? Hi, my name is Froso Ellina, I’m from Greece and I came with my partner in London almost 3 years ago. I’m currently working as Product Designer at Red Badger, I’m collaborating with development and product teams and try to come up with solutions across all platforms for the best user experience. As a member of an agile, cross-functional team at Red Badger, I make the things better and help clients apply the best ways of working. I’ve always been an advocate of the human-centered design process and passionate about visual design.
That's amazing. How did you end up in London and doing what you’re doing now, then? In 2003, I studied Graphic Arts and Design at Technological Educational Institute of Athens. At the time, I hadn’t decided in which area of design I wanted to focus but studying helped me understand design principles and gain a general knowledge about visual design and aesthetic. When I finished my studies, I was excited to work in advertising and I did my internship in Leo Burnett Athens in 2007. After working in digital advertising for 5 years as a Digital Art Director, I decided that I wanted to do a career change and focus on Product design. This decision gave me the opportunity to work into details and cause positive impact on people’s lives. Since then, I have been working as a Product Designer in software companies, agencies and in-house design teams, for global clients focusing on visual design as well as the user experience.
What an amazing and seemingly natural progression you've made. As a kid, did you always dream of working in the creative industry, or what’s the back log here? When I was a kid as I used to say I wanted to become teacher or painter (even though I didn’t know exactly what it meant). I always had a dream of working in creative industry and designing… but I didn’t know what I wanted to design. When I was in High School, I was thinking architectural design because I was tempted to design building and interior places and this was the reason why I started design lessons. Now, I can understand that the nature of architectural design it’s not totally different from product design.
Totally agree with you, almost all creative disciplines have something in common. So, alongside your transition in the industry, have you had any mentors along the way of your career so far? There are different people I have learnt loads from, but only one that I consider as a mentor. In my early stages of my career as a Junior Art director, I was working closely with my Senior Art Director who helped me understand not only how to use my enthusiasm to come up with creative ideas but also how to execute them successfully.
Ah, gotcha! So, if you were to give your younger self an advice on what to go for, or think about when you’re just about to step into the industry, what would that be? I would advice my younger self to go the extra mile in the early stages of my career because this is what will define you as a designer in the future. It’s also important to spend time researching and be picky about your first job and find good people you can learn from. This means that you might have to spend extra personal time for doing that but it is really worth it.
That's a great advice for sure. Apart from working… What do you get up to in life? Got any exciting side hustles or passions to tell us about? I’m really interested in my wellbeing and I try to exercise as much as I can. There is also an ancient greek quote “Healthy body, healthy mind” — so every week I’m going to pilates and zumba classes as well as doing some gym training. I also prefer spending my free time with friends and family creating moments with them.
Fab... Say you’re running low on inspiration one day, what do you do (or where do you go) to get this back on track again? An important source of inspiration for me apart from browsing on the web is travelling. This doesn’t mean that I have to travel very far. Sometimes just getting out of the office and going for a short walk, it can help me to refresh my mind. I’m not the kind of person that I can stay inside a lot of hours.
Haha, I'm the same and can totally relate to that. And speaking of travelling — if you were given the opportunity to move anywhere without having to apply for any visas what-so-ever (and we’d sort the packing for you) — where would you go?Even if I love London, I would choose a warmer place like Los Angeles. I went to Los Angeles last year for a design conference and I found it pretty interesting and closer to my culture. I loved the weather there and the fact that I could drive and go to the beach in around 40 minutes.
Ah, LA would be so fab! Ok, so last but not least! Please give a link shout-out to 5 pieces of inspiring/epic/awesome work that you’ve stumbled upon recently…
Cheers Froso, so lovely to have you feature here!
This articles is part of our Glug Profiles series – a series of interviews aiming to highlight journeys and insights from creatives, makers, doers and cool cats from all walks of life in the creative industry, and the world. Get in touch with Malin if you'd like to take part: firstname.lastname@example.org