Our new Product Designer Ilmari Ahola has done high-profile brand design projects that many designers can only dream of. How did he get there, what has he learnt, and what are his expectations for the future at Qvik?
“I come from a family of designers: an interior designer, a photographer and an industrial designer. But my father, a pioneer in the field of industrial design, did not pressure my career choice at all, as far as I can tell”, Ahola says.
Nevertheless, Ilmari followed his father’s footsteps because the whole world of creating something new, useful, cool and beautiful was really intriguing to him. As an industrial design student at the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University), Ilmari concentrated on the old-school product design of physical consumer goods, such as toothbrushes, luminaires and the like. He started work at a well-known design agency when still a student.
“Working there as a student gave me the chance to get to know amazing professionals, see how they do their job and grow to become a professional designer myself. After my graduation, I continued to work at the same agency because it was truly my dream job.”
Ilmari got to do diverse projects such as product and company visual identities, showrooms and events, as well as service and product concepts. He also got to work on renewing the packages of some of Finland’s most loved brands, such as Fazer Lakritsi and Fazer Marianne, and was part of a team creating the customer visit experience concept for the elevator and escalator company KONE.
“The years at the design agency taught me a lot about being a professional. For me, it means two things: that I have to keep the goal of the project clear in my mind at all times and at the same time make the most of the creative process”, he says.
Make it simple, make it nimble
Ilmari’s way of working is systematic and always follows the same pattern. Whether it’s a concept, UX, UI, package, service or a physical product, his goal is the same: to simplify, find the essence and go from there. “I try to keep the service or product as simple as possible, and make sure to add small, brilliant details to delight the user.”
When designing, Ilmari has a habit of stepping back every once in a while and looking at the big picture: does this service or product make the user’s life easier? Does it answer the customer’s need? Does the visual design capture the heart of the brand? “This keeps me rooted in our goal, and when I know that this core is in place, it’s fun to start adding well thought-out details. And that is what I truly love.”
This October, Ilmari took a leap of faith to learn something new and work in a totally new environment.
“At Qvik, I’m a product designer in a team of ten designers. I’m focusing on UX design, learning how to work with developers (maybe even learn some programming myself!) and getting a better understanding of mobile design and the logic, restrictions and best practices related to it.”
Ilmari got a chance to hop into a project almost immediately after he started at Qvik, and now they’re already finalizing a concept for one of Qvik’s new customers. “It’s been intense and I’ve learnt a lot. That’s what I’m expecting to do in the coming years too. Graphic, UX, concept, service design – I’m ready for the challenge!”
The whole company, and especially our design team, is thrilled to have Ilmari join us. “Ilmari’s graphic design background is truly impressive and we’re looking forward to him sharing his experiences in our design guild and through mentoring more junior colleagues,” says Qvik’s Head of Design, Matias Pietilä.
“In the past years, we’ve been lucky enough to hire really great people from marketing and design agencies. In their previous jobs, they’ve been honing their skills in one environment, but here at Qvik, they’ll be able to expand their skill-sets through our projects, development possibilities and highly professional colleagues to make a larger impact on the business of our customers.”