Tina Touli is a creative director, graphic communication designer, maker, speaker, and educator. She currently runs her own London based award-winning multidisciplinary studio and teaches at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
— The Logo Creative™ (@thelogocreative) April 17, 2019
She works in a great variety of design fields, including print and digital design, with different clients, such as Adobe, Dell, Tate, Converse, University of the Arts London, Kappa, Athens Digital Arts Festival and Movement Festival.
She had the honor to be selected by Print Magazine as one of the 15 best young designers in the world, aged under 30 (2017). Her work has been featured in Adobe Create Magazine and Creative Review blog among others, and design publications such as “Playful Graphics” by Sandu Publishing. She has been invited to present her work in various events and conferences all over the world, as for example at the Adobe Live Stream (CA, FR, ES, UK) and the Connect London design conference.
The Logo Creative – Hi Tina it’s great that you’re taking part in the designer interview, I’m loving your work and looking forward to featuring you.
Tina Touli – Hi Andrew, Thank you very much for contacting me with this exciting opportunity! I already came across your website a while ago (I think found it through Instagram) and had a read through some of the interviews, which I really enjoyed. 🙂 I would be more than happy to participate.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Tina Touli – I always loved communicating and expressing myself through any form of art. Since I was little I was keen on dancing, drawing, playing music, and others. A friend of my parents had a piano and whenever we were visiting I was always trying to play some kind of a melody. After I implored my parents for a while, they signed me up for piano lessons. That lead me to study on a Music secondary and high school. It was not only about music but also about art, acting classes, drawing classes, etc. Soon, I realised I enjoyed playing the piano and the violin just for me and for expressing myself. However, it was not really my dream to become a musician. I was more thinking of becoming a mathematician, a physicist or an architect, till a friend told me about design, a field that would allow me to combine everything that I was passionate about — audio, motion, visuals, etc. I got into the BA Graphic Design course at TEI of Athens and really soon I fall in love with design and creativity.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Tina Touli – Around 8 cups of tea and jumping back and forth between 2-3 different projects. I really enjoy working on various projects at the same time. When I am stuck, tired or not in a mood to work further on one project, I jump on another one. This variation is what motivates and excites me the most! Exercising for a break is a must for me, just to clear my mind before going back to work.
The Logo Creative – Are you a morning person or night owl and is there a reason why?
Tina Touli – Definitely a night owl! I used to be one of those people who would wake up at 13:00 in the afternoon and go to sleep at 6:00 in the morning. I just find it really hard to wake up early no matter what time I will go to bed. I also enjoy the most working late at the night since I can concentrate the best. There is nothing to check on social media, no emails, no messages. Perfect time to concentrate and put 100% of myself on what I am working on.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Tina Touli – That is a really interesting question, since it made me go back at some very old files and look for the answer. I think it was a logo for my uncles’ bistro in Germany, “Musik bistro bei Costa”. I was really excited working on it since it was a project related to music, which I was still involved in. I created a typographical logo where the “M” letter was shaped using musical notes.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logo you have designed?
Tina Touli – Usually my favourite projects are the most recent ones or the ones that I had the most fun creating them. So, I would pick the Marley±Bone logo, a logo for a fashion brand who emphasizes on the idea of connections.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logos of all time?
Tina Touli – I like a lot the simplicity and recognizability of the Apple logo, the “secret” message on the negative space of the FedEx logo and the strong and eye-catching “The Public Theater” logo.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Tina Touli – I usually start by researching the brand as well as the sector that the brand belongs to while keeping notes of any key words/messages and any key images/visuals. The next step includes a quick brainstorming and sketching some initial concepts, which I digitally develop straight after. I am inclined to believe that typography plays a really important role on a logo, as on every design application, so the next step will most likely be to look through various typefaces and explore the possibilities of the typography, the forms of the letters as well as the negative space between them. The last step will be to bring together all the elements of the logo, symbols, typography, shapes, colours in order to create some proposals.
The Logo Creative – What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your creative thinking?
Tina Touli – I admire the brands that understand the importance and the power of good design. Brands that support creativity and understand the value of investing on it. Brands with high quality design applications worth exploring and get inspired from.
The Logo Creative – What do you consider your most successful design project, and why?
Tina Touli – One of my favourite and probably most successful projects is the “What about water” campaign. It has been created during the Graphic Design Adobe Live Stream in San Francisco with Kristine Arth as my host and “assistant”.
The live stream was 3 days, from the 20th till the 22nd of March, 2 hours per day. Since the 22nd of March is the “World Water Day”, I decided to create a collection of 5 posters and a video for this special day. Often, water awareness campaigns are “asking” the viewer to change his/her behaviour, highlighting the importance of freshwater. In contrast, the message of the campaign was “What about water? Whatever, who cares!” which is calling the viewer to question his/her way of thinking towards the importance of fresh water.
A technique where oil-based and water-based liquids were “mixed” to create interesting shapes and distortions has been used to bring the water element to the project in a more unique and interesting way. It was a really exciting project since I got the opportunity to explore a new technique and more than 29k viewers joined the stream to watch live the campaign creation and share their thoughts and ideas.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Tina Touli – It really depends on various aspects such as the deadline, the client’s design awareness and communication. I might take a week or two or perhaps a month or even longer. For me it is more about making sure the logo will perfectly suit the client’s and brand’s needs rather than how long it will take to create it.
The Logo Creative – What are you recommended design books to read?
Tina Touli – One of my favourite books is the “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.” by Paul Arden.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently and is there any you would recommend to designers?
Tina Touli – I am mainly using the Adobe Creative Suite as most of the designers do. But I do often work with various materials and tools from the physical world, such as colours, papers, lenses, and acetates.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Tina Touli – The logos that I like the most are the ones that they have a strong concept and clear communication. In terms of style, the logos that make use of the negative space excite me a lot, because of that second layer of revilement, the “hidden” surprising element/message.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Tina Touli – Nowadays more and more creatives tend to follow the same processes, starting and finishing their projects on their computer, ignoring all the inspiration from our immediate surroundings. Anything around us that can stimulate any of our senses can be inspirational and an “object” for investigation. A hole on a t-shirt, a wrong print, the foil paper that we wrap our food in, even the notebook that we sketch as an object itself! I am tending more and more to try and seek inspiration from the physical world. I am inclined to believe that the more unexpected the recourse of inspiration is going to be, the more likely it is to create original work.
The Logo Creative – When you’re not designing do you have a favorite free time activity you like to do?
Tina Touli – Since I am a workaholic person, my work is kind of my hobby at the same time and it takes most of the time of my day. But I do like exercising and running. It really helps me “reset” my mind and think clearly again, especially after long working hours. I do also love dancing, cycling, playing board games, watching movies and of course going out with my friends.
The Logo Creative – What was the biggest challenge you ever faced on a project?
Tina Touli – To manage to turn every single project that I am working on to the best one that I ever created.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job as a designer?
Tina Touli – I would say the best part is spending every day doing something that you are passionate about, something that you would do if money, etc didn’t matter. The worst part is that you can never look at a restaurant menu content before you check the design!
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Tina Touli – My friends, both designers and non-designers, and my family have always been the biggest influence and inspiration for me. The people that I am connected with are those who defined who I am, both as a designer and as a person, and how has my work been developed.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite graphic designer and why?
Tina Touli – I have always been persistent in following my dreams and my passion for design, so any designer who does the same is an inspiration to me. I absolutely admire designers who follow and accomplish their dreams, not only in work but in their everyday lives too.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote or quote in general, and do you have a mantra or saying you live by? (This can be included)
Tina Touli – “Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.”, by Jon Bon Jovi. The best work comes when you enjoy doing it. You just have to love what you are doing.
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Tina Touli – It is all about communication, a visual journey into messages, ideas and concerns.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Tina Touli – On my first job I managed to work there for 10 months. On the second one for around 7 months. On the last job I handed in my notice just a week after the end of my probation period. And don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed working on those studios, I had some awesome colleagues (that I still enjoy hanging out with alot!) and I did like the projects that I was working on! It was just the routine that it was killing me. Following the same schedule every day. In order to escape this routine and learn new skills and explore new fields, I was working on my freelance client’s projects in the evenings, challenging myself and my design skills. That lead me really soon to spend my days off working on my freelance and self-initiated projects instead of having any actual holidays. There was no free time at all, so I decided to quit my job and start my own business. I did not really have a clear plan, I just knew that I wanted to try my own thing and get out of this routine. I had very few freelance projects with really low budgets, and I a slightly higher budget project which would keep me alive for 2 months by eating perhaps pasta every day and drinking soda on my night out. That was promising enough for me to get started!
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Tina Touli – “Sometimes you win sometimes you learn.” (John C. Maxwell) Every good or bad decision I made helped me, in the end, to move forward and develop.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Tina Touli – Even if you don’t know how to make it happen, get started with what you’ve got, and you will figure it out in your own way.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Tina Touli – “Ufffff! This one is so bad I would probably start from scratch. It’s terrible. What is it, Tina? Honestly, wtf?” by Simoneone, a good friend and great illustrator.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Tina Touli – Provide and ask for honest feedback, not a convenient one. Be ready to accept it even if it hurts. It is better to get hurt for a moment or a few hours or few days rather than following the “wrong” path for months or perhaps years.
learn more about Tina Touli | tinatouli.com |