From daydreamer to service designer

5.9.2017FranticReading time 7 min

Our designer Emma has always known that she wants to do something creative or visual. But what would she do if it wasn't an option?

Third time’s a charm – this week our Faces of Frantic series features a third designer in a row, our experienced multi-talent Emma.

Hi Emma, what’s up?

Nothing much, I just came back from a super relaxing summer holiday. Before my holiday I worked really hard on this extremely interesting project, where our job is to develop internal tools and solutions for the working culture of a big corporate client. It has been awesome to be a part of that!

You’re both a UX designer and a service designer. So, what do you actually do?

I’m currently working more on the service design side. This includes keeping track of the client’s challenges and gaining some more business understanding. I keep a close eye on different fields and ponder what customs and practices we could adopt from outside the client’s particular field, and make use of. Above all I am interested in finding new solutions and freshening the conventional ways of doing things.

Of course, my work also includes finding concrete solutions and designing digital services: where a certain button is located, what colour it is, and what it says. On the other hand, I am taking care of the design team of the project and supervising their work, making sure that everything runs smoothly and people are working and communicating as a team.

What was your childhood dream job?

I wanted to be a painter. My dad always teased me about being such a taivaanrannanmaalari (“a painter of the sky”, a daydreamer who paints the sky with their dreams), so for a while I thought that was actually a job. I proudly told everyone that “when I grow up, I want to paint the skies!” I’m sure a lot of people found that amusing and some of my relatives still remind me of this. Oh well, not a lot has changed.

How did you become a designer?

As said, since my childhood I have wanted to do something creative or visual, but what was always the main question. I really didn’t even consider other career paths, because already as a kid I was visually talented and thus the choice seemed really easy. I think it all started when I had a boring summer job after high school and taught myself to code. I studied architecture and graphic design, but simultaneously coded websites to pay the bills. I realized, that I’m most interested in web service concepts and functionality, and as a designer I was able to combine all my interests.

In your opinion, what makes a good designer?

You need to be humble, curious, willing to plunge into foreign fields, and have the ability to look at things from the client’s viewpoint. I think you also need to be quite strict – I have endless admiration for an old co-worker who sometimes came off as somewhat blunt, but who felt strongly that as designers, our responsibility is to actually see whether a brief makes sense or not, rather than just take the client’s money. In this job, the conflict is that a designer needs to be an expert, but simultaneously admit and remember that you can never know it all.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Working with such different types of people – both clients and co-workers – is very interesting. It’s challenging, hilarious, annoying and delightful. And we have Martti and Taneli’s [developers at Frantic] morning shows. And the fact that you always learn something from your colleagues, and you can always take that with you to new places. For example, Minni [previously a Project Manager at Frantic] was so great with customers that I have deliberately begun to act like her sometimes [laughs]. I mean, I’ll think about how she would react to a certain situation and then do what I think she would.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?

It is frustrating if you sometimes have to discard something, even if you feel that it is of importance to the client or the project.

What would your dream project be like?

I think I used to have a list about someday wanting to create a big online store and so forth, but I no longer have it. The most interesting projects are a combination of so many things: what is the client like, does the project team have great ideas, is the project a potential breakthrough in the client’s field. I have experience of having such an awesome team that even the smallest of tasks are great fun. I never think that you have to have a huge project for it to be somehow significant. It just doesn’t work like that.

What is the next thing you would like to improve in, professionally?

Having just returned back to work, I now have this mentality of recreating everything, but mainly I want to focus on user research and testing, which are concrete things to develop. And on the other hand, I really want to be involved in the planning of our design processes in general.

What would you do if you won the lottery and wouldn’t have to work anymore?

I would be a full-time environmental activist, even though dangling from some tree might not be that comfortable. I might also be interested in chilling in Italy for most of the year and only dangle from a tree occasionally. I would buy an allotment garden for my mother and we could renovate it together. In general, I would like to spend more time with my loved ones and maybe get a fluffy hypoallergenic dog.

And if you were forced to switch fields altogether?

I would study social sciences or pedagogics. It would be fun to study at a university, and there are so many different types of jobs I think I would enjoy. I used to teach design classes, and I actually liked teaching quite a lot, so maybe that could be something I could go back to.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I run around (note: I don’t really run). Sometimes I sit on my couch eating chips, get coffee with friends, bake rolls and play with some dogs I occasionally take care of.

Tell us something we might not know about you.

When I was a young trainee I designed the visuals for a short animation that was played during commercial breaks for Big Brother. It is probably the most public project I have ever been a part of. It was assigned to me one Friday afternoon when everyone else had already left the office. Maybe it could have been cool to know beforehand that they were actually going to play it during every single commercial break, but at least I learnt to always pay attention to detail.

Lastly, give a tiny speech on what it takes to work at Frantic in your opinion.

You need to be willing to evolve and learn and expand your own job description. You need to remain curious. And no matter how experienced you are, you have to be open to learn new things.

We are currently in a time of transition, and the next step is unknown. Now is the perfect chance to join and influence us – there is space for everyone to work and breathe.

Thanks a bunch, Emma!

Check out our open positions and join Emma and our other painters of the sky in our quest to conquer the unknown.