Ontmoet: Erik

Sommigen worden gedreven door een drang tot vernieuwing, anderen willen vooral hun creativiteit de ruimte geven. Maar allemaal delen we de ambitie om iets te maken waar we trots op kunnen zijn. In een poging ons voor te stellen, laten we onze mensen aan het woord over hun leven en werk, hun drijfveren en dromen. Vandaag aan de beurt: product designer Erik, nu nog in het Engels.

23 juli 2020
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Please introduce yourself

"Hej! My name is Erik Börjesson and with such a name, it won’t come as a surprise that I’m from Sweden. But being born in Austria, raised in Switzerland and then in Belgium, frankly I don't feel all that Swedish."

"At Unc Inc, I work as a Product Designer, meaning I’m responsible for making sure our digital products are both user friendly and aesthetically appealing. When I’m not pushing pixels at the office, I’m probably either playing or watching sports, cooking or exploring the four corners of Amsterdam on my bike."

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How did you end up in Amsterdam?

"I used to live in Brussels with my family. When I graduated, I spent a lot of time considering where to study. Should I finally move back to Sweden after having lived abroad for most of my life? Or should I continue to explore yet another country?"

"I guess I wasn’t done exploring as I ended up choosing to study in Rotterdam. It seemed like the perfect balance of "not too far away from my family” but still far enough for it to feel like an adventure. I ended up really appreciating Dutch culture and how international everything felt."

"I did however move back to Sweden for a little while to do my master's in Stockholm. But when I started applying all over the globe, I ended up in Amsterdam for an internship. I think maybe deep down I wanted to reconnect with the Netherlands : )"

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Having lived in so many countries, what do you appreciate about Dutch culture? And what might we learn from others?

"I’m really grateful for the diversity that exists in the Netherlands. And by that, I don't mean just ethnic or demographic diversity, but also the way people look and behave."

"But even though there are so many different people, it seems there’s also a strong sense of community here. The combination of the two, being diverse but connected, to me is something I really appreciate."

"At the same time, though, it can be quite hard to become part community. Maybe because there are so many expats here, that come for a couple of years and then move on again, that local ‘Amsterdammers’ are reluctant to invest in friendships with foreigners."

"To break out of my ‘expat bubble’, I’ve really committed to learning Dutch. I think speaking the language signals that I see myself as part of this community, instead of just being a visitor, hopefully giving me that orange tinge."

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What brought you into the field of design?

"I always had my eyes on ‘creative’ jobs and looking for ways to combine several interests. My first dream job was to become a sports photographer, sitting right down the sidelines of a football stadium’s pitch with a huge camera."

"Later, in my teens, I started learning to create music on my laptop and dreamt of working in audio production. It was in fact that, while looking up music production tutorials on YouTube, I stumbled upon an introduction course to Photoshop. From that moment on I was hooked and wanted to become a designer."

"Today I still very much enjoy the variety and combination of hard and soft skills that I get to practice every day."

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What’s that like, working as a product designer at Unc Inc?

"Compared to my previous job as a digital designer, I found this role to have many more and diverse responsibilities. Anything from figuring out business goals, user flows, art direction and micro animations are recurring tasks."

"It’s very varied and that’s what I really like about my role at Unc Inc. My favorite part of any project is usually in the beginning, when I get to explore different directions, and creativity is flowing."

"Usually that starts with ‘visual sparring’ with our creative director to set a tone and mood. From there on it's all about finding different ways to execute that set feeling or idea."

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Describe your team at Unc Inc, what do you guys excel at?

"I feel it was a great move for Unc Inc to reorganize into to ‘set’ teams. Working together for a year now, I think our team has become really dynamic. Across our individual disciplines we solve problems together, becoming more and more autonomous."

"Very often I find myself sitting next to Quenten or Taliesyn (two of our developers) exploring solutions or tweaking an animation to get it just right. I think our work for Espero is a good example of how that way of working is paying off."

"I also really appreciate how every now and then we take the time to zoom out and re-think our process. It always feels very meaningful and positive to do a retro at the end of a sprint: on a Friday with a cold beer. Discussing what went well, and what we could do better next time."

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What do you still want to learn?

"I really love playing around with new software tools to explore it’s possibilities, see what new doors they might open. Currently I'm getting into 3D-modelling with Blender. It’s so completely different from the type of design I normally do at Unc Inc!"

"A challenge is the persistence and patience that goes into actual learning, rather than just playing around. I think it’s the variety that I seek, rather than mastery. Either way I think it’s really good for inspiration and creativity to see how the same thing can be done radically different."

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Purpose this, purpose that, a lot of the talk in marketing is about being mission-driven. Have you found yours yet?

"Ever since I started my career, I always wanted my work to improve people's lives, to serve a bigger goal. It’s quite amazing how the design process can understand, emphasize and ultimately solve problems at any level. If I could solve some of those, maybe put a smile on someone's face every now and then, then I feel fulfilled."

"I dream about sitting in a tram or something, noticing the person next to me using one of ‘my’ products, and seeing how they actually enjoy something I worked hard on."

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What’s something you think people should read, listen to, watch or do and why is it worth their while?

"I'm a true podcast junkie so I immediately turn to that medium. If you are somewhat interested in Hip-Hop and R&B, I would highly recommend the podcast Dissect. It’s a fantastic examination of acclaimed albums, where the host ‘dissects’ and breaks down albums song by song."

"Particularly the first season about Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” is amazing. It made me appreciate the music even more, and gave a lot of depth and meaning to the lyrics and ideas he's trying to get across."

Who’s next?

"I choose Nico! We don't work together much, being in different teams and all. But I think he has a lot of interesting stories to tell. I’m especially interested in some of his biggest lessons during his extensive travels in Asia."