Integrating the avant-garde into modern corporate design

Meet Digital Designer, Ella Frost. Having gained a Fine Arts degree at Glasgow School of Art, she is now bringing her artistic talents to the digiio creative team.

Hi Ella. Thanks for speaking with us. Can you tell us a little bit about your role at digiio? I’m a Junior Digital Designer at digiio, so I create illustrations, animations, graphics, infographics and all things visual.

What does that mean day to day?

I work a lot with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. My skills include OFTs and web design; I started working with digital media at university. My latest love is PowerPoint – although that makes me sound like a total nerd!

You mentioned that you worked with digital media at university, is that unusual for a Fine Arts degree?

In the first two years, I was working on making phythings, like big oil paintings on canvas. My work was very monochromatic, aiming to draw the viewer in to immerse themselves in emotive visual settings. In my final year, I started exploring how to develop those visual landscapes by looking into interactive digital environments and that’s when I started working with digital tools and web design. During my final year, we were in lockdown so I spent some time in South Wales, where I’m from. On the side of my studies, I spent the working as a freelance website designer which helped me better understand the possibilities of design.

That’s impressive! What sort of websites did you work on?

The first job I worked on was for a local lavender farm which has ranges of homeware, pet and gift products, called Chilcott. It snowballed from there, really, with recommendations leading to new work. I finished six websites, including one for a charity, one for holiday cottages and one for the student-led Glasgow School of Art graduate showcase at the end of the year.

It was quite a big step to move from Glasgow to London, what inspired you to make that move? I was in Glasgow when I applied for the job. But I knew I wanted to move to London. I just wanted to be outside my comfort zone for a bit – after COVID-19 and being at home for so long. I just looked for companies that I felt inspired by and that needed a junior digital designer. I started part-time at first, which was good. I got to learn the standard that everyone is expecting. Especially as I’d just graduated, expectations are different and it was good to have some time to process that.

Are you enjoying living in London?

I’m really looking forward to discovering more of it! It’s so nice coming in today and seeing where digiio is based and being in the environment, I feel very excited.

Which design heroes would you say inspire your work?

I love Thomas Heatherwick’s designs in the context of architecture. I love that really out there, rethinking the wheel sort of thing. And I am a big fan of the work of the artist-designer Olafur Eliasson. His work challenges how we interact with spaces and ideas. He’s shown at Tate Modern a few times and he just has really unique ideas. It’s one of the things that got me thinking about the possibilities of websites. I’d love to bring some of those ideas into my work here at digiio!

How do you feel about working at digiio?

Everyone at digiio is so keen to help me personally grow and what I can do and what I bring to the table. That willingness to really challenge, learn and grow is really inspiring to me.

How are you applying what you learnt during your degree to the work you deliver at digiio?

Within the context of a very creative degree, you are working on small projects all of the time. Your work gets critiqued and you respond to feedback and then you send it off. That creative process is very similar here at digiio. There seems to be a lot of similarities in the way of working – that feeling of being challenged and wanting to progress and learn. In the context of website design, I think it’s about responding to a brief. I’m a very organised person; having a meticulous eye for detail which is really important within the context of websites so that they look really fluid.

Being organised isn’t a trait one would often associate with an artist!

I know! My tutors would even tell me to be more unorganised – but it’s just the way my brain is and works.

Do you think that’s your superpower, being organised?

Being organised is definitely one of my strengths, but I think my superpower is creating thought-provoking visual concepts. I think because I come from an art background but I have done a lot of design work, I have a different way of seeing a project unfolding and how I interpret it to show a different angle. I’m used to thinking outside the box.

What do you think makes digiio different?

digiio is really different in the type of work that we want to create for our clients, we want to inspire and bring fresh concepts to the table. The people here are very forward-thinking. We’re very open to new concepts and developments which I love!