Written by Emily

Meet the people you haven’t met yet – A Q&A with new team members

21.07.21
Reading Time 8 MINUTES

If you’re one of our clients or you follow us on social media, you’ll already know we have some new faces in designdough. Full transparency — they’ve been here a while and we’ve just been slacking on the blog front. Sorry! But it’s finally time for us to introduce you to our new team members; four amazing people with a very particular set of skills; skills they have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make them a nightmare for people like you… kidding. Couldn’t resist that Taken reference. They’re just amazing ok. On with the blog!

Introducing Ade (full stack developer), Sylv (junior developer), Sam (senior digital designer), and Ryan (middleweight designer).

First things first, talk a bit about your role at designdough.

Ade: I’m the backend web developer at Designdough, but it’s not just back end development I do. I strategise the development process to make development here, not only easier, but solid, so the processes will be here for years to come.

Sylv: I’m designdough’s junior developer. Being fairly new to the industry, I’m still discovering a lot about my role every day. A great thing about being a developer-in-training is that I can expect anything to be thrown at me and I’m excited to learn about it whether it’s related to frontend, backend, new tech or the old ways of coding. It’s these little everyday surprises that are a big part of my role and learning off of what’s thrown at you is the best kind of learning experience — I’m solving real-life problems rather than tasks from coursebooks or tutorials.

Sam: As a senior digital designer at designdough, I am responsible for overseeing all digital projects, creating killer UI/UX experiences and making sure our tight-knit process is followed throughout. This involves working closely with our clients, from initial scoping workshops to creating and presenting website sitemaps, user journeys, wireframes and design concepts, all whilst staying in constant communication with our development team, brand manager and designers to ensure our projects are the best they can possibly be.

Ryan: I’m designdough’s middleweight designer — a role I find totally energetic and diverse. I work on all kinds of projects tackling all aspects of design which is really nice at this level. When I’m not in front of the screen, I’m busy bouncing ideas off the rest of the team. It’s priceless that we champion that as part of our team culture.

“Prior to web/software, I was a chef.”

What led you to this career?

Ade: Prior to web/software, I was a chef. Unfortunately, that came to an end following a car accident — I went back after my recovery but lost all my passion for it. It left me thinking, well, what’s next? I already had a passion for computer maintenance, so I started a company repairing computers all whilst putting myself through college, then university. As my knowledge grew I wanted to become more technical, which led me to web development and server management. Years later, here I am.

Sylv: Before getting into web development, I used to work in the hospitality industry. My first job when I was sixteen was a waiting job, so hospitality became the environment where I knew what I was doing — I felt comfortable in it and I was good at it. But one day I hit a point where all I could think about was finding a way to do something new; something fresh to be passionate about. When I was younger I always used to have my own blogs or websites, so web development was always something I was drawn to. When the first lockdown began, I focused all of my free time on learning the essentials of web development. When the role of junior developer came up at designdough, I went for it.

Sam: Since college, I’ve always been interested in media, design and technology, and the combination of all three. I knew that the future was going to be dominated by technology so I was always keen to keep up with the latest advancements. This led me to studying a Digital Media degree at Falmouth university where I focused my studies heavily around graphic design and interactive media; combining the two to create visual interactive experiences. Naturally, this led to where I am today, creating interactive digital experiences for a variety of amazing clients!

Ryan: I’m not exactly sure. I’ve been a creative person as far back as I can remember. Having done art and design at A-level and touching on graphics there, I think that’s where I discovered my liking for it. Being more technical and digitally focused, I took an interest in design, from there I grew a passion for branding and digital art. I went on to study Graphic Communication at University of South Wales, and the rest is history.

What are the most interesting parts of your job?

Ade: I would have to say building things from scratch that aid business performance; pulling in various API’s to build something unique to us.

Sylv: It’s when a new signed-off design lands ‘on your desk’ and you get to play with it. Any website can be built in a hundred different ways, so it’s super interesting to research how to build something new, how other developers would approach it, or what is the most modern way to tackle a coding problem. Building a website from a design is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together and it’s definitely my favourite part of this job.

Sam: In today’s digital landscape, everyone must adapt their model. So thinking methodically and logically to figure out the best solution for clients is very interesting to me.

Ryan: If I could say all of it, I would. Something that stands out to me is the development stages of design; workshopping and idea generation. Of course every designer likes the final stages, but for me it’s throwing a tonne of ideas out onto an artboard to get the ball rolling.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Ade: Making sure the other developers can do their job easier.

Sylv: Fixing broken elements on websites. You know how I said building a website is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together? Break fixes are like trying to find where someone stuck the wrong piece in or where a piece is missing. It’s the most challenging, time-consuming and, honestly, sometimes very frustrating part of web development, but that feeling I get when the task is done and the site is fixed is the highlight of my day at work.

Sam: The most rewarding part of my job is coming up with unique design solutions and seeing the positive impact that it has on clients.

Ryan: It’s by far when another designer walks over and compliments your work. You know you’re onto a winner at this stage. Saying that, any feedback from the team is always rewarding.

“Planning everything out carefully helps me get rid of the stress. Well, planning and chocolate croissants.”

What’s something that you’re REALLY good at at work?

Ade: Hmmm… I think depending who you ask there might be different answers, but for myself, I think it’s strategising and making the development process easier yet long lasting.

Sylv: Not really related to web development, but I’m really good at organising my tasks and my time. I make lists, tick checkboxes, plan my week, follow my deadlines and I think I have a methodical approach to completing my projects. Planning everything out carefully helps me get rid of the stress. Well, planning and chocolate croissants.

Sam: Working in XD and eating fruit.

Ryan: It would have to be idea generation — I’m good at bringing tons of design ideas to the table. My downside is probably choosing which ones to roll out (sad times)! I also like to think I bring positive energy. At least I try!

You’re walking to work on a Monday morning, what song comes on as your soundtrack?

Ade: Concrete Angel by Darren Styles & Chris Unknown.

Sylv: It’s always hectic and I’m always rushing, so I’d imagine it would be something like Parov Stelar, “Catgroove”.

Sam: Hall & Oates, When the Morning Comes.

Ryan: Shine – Joey Bada$$.

On a day held in your honour, what would people have to do?

Ade: Definitely a BBQ and pool day!

Sylv: It would start with a nice cup of coffee in the morning, everyone would have to eat pizza and ice cream for dinner, spend at least an hour reading a good book and in the evening rewatch a cheesy tv show of their choice with a big bowl of salted popcorn.

Sam: Have a wicked time at a festival similar to Glastonbury, listening to live music all day and DJs all night.

Ryan: Have a massive party in the park, be merry and enjoy the day! Also some good food would be involved.

“I enter the restaurant. I am greeted with a nice fruity cocktail, not too strong, just something to ease me in.”

It’s your last meal on earth, what’s on the menu?

Ade: It would be a meat feast! Smoked brisket, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken (on the grill) with salad, and of course, ice cream for afters.

Sylv: A full-on Italian feast. Antipasti or a smoked salmon and ricotta bruschetta to start, some nice olives on the side, a pizza for my main course (with some sort of salami piccante and goat’s cheese) and a vanilla cheesecake for dessert. A double espresso to finish off. I’m hungry now.

Sam: I enter the restaurant. I am greeted with a nice fruity cocktail, not too strong, just something to ease me in. There are lovely nocellara olives on the table, and then in comes some big juicy, chargrilled sticky thai chicken wings. Then onto a delicious fish ramen, with some prawn crackers on the side. To finish, I would have apple crumble with custard. And a mojito to drink please!

Ryan: The ultimate meal would be pizza for main with sushi on the side. Weird, I know, but just two things I love. For dessert it would 100% be a cheesecake.

What was the last thing you read / the last podcast you listened to?

Ade: I don’t really read much, or listen to podcasts, but I do watch how-to videos on YouTube a lot. The latest how-tos I’ve watched are “How to build a Charcoal Retort” – yep, that’s my next project.

Sylv: “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo — it’s a heist story full of thrilling twists and turns about a gang of outcasts with some supernatural powers, embarking on a journey through a fantasy world to complete an impossible mission.

Sam: The last thing I read was James Acaster’s ‘Perfect Sound Whatever’, and the podcast was Off Menu (can’t you tell?!)

Ryan: Last Podcast I listened to was the ‘The Courage & Nadeshot Show’. The last thing I read was ‘TYPE01 – TYPEONE Magazine’.

“Be yourself in everything you do and own it.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Ade: What can be done today can be done tomorrow!

Sylv: Other people don’t care about you even half as much as you think they do, so stop overthinking and second-guessing yourself. Do your thing and keep going – you’re doing great!

Sam: Have fun in everything that you do, and don’t take life too seriously.

Ryan: Be yourself in everything you do and own it.