Bringing back the Ascenders competition for its third edition, we caught up with Eleni Beveratou, one of our judges for Ascenders 2022.
We reached out to the Creative Director at Dalton Maag to provide wisdom and inspiration for the upcoming class of Ascenders.
We sent out a questionnaire out to some of our judges and past Ascenders as a light-hearted Proustian exercise. This interview was lightly edited for clarity.
What was your very first job?
I was doing the digital typesetting in a photocopy shop.
First design job?
I got hired as a Junior Graphic Designer at Red Design Consultants, a Branding Agency in Greece.
Did you go to school for design? If so, where and what was your major/concentration?
I did yes, I did a BA and MA in Communication Design at Vakalo Art & Design College, and an MA in Typeface Design at the University of Reading.
What was your earliest design class?
Unfortunately, it was only in my foundation year that I got to learn about design. There was nothing accessible to me before that.
Name one of your favorite projects from early in your career.
Being part of the Red Design Consultants team who worked on the branding for the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy.
Are you embarrassed by your old work?
Visually yes, but from an experience perspective I am proud of every single one of them. And I know that I gave my 100% in each and every one.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stress less and don’t leave everything to the last minute.
If you could change one thing about your career trajectory, what would you change?
I wish I’d been more able to separate how I’d get affected by constructive negative comments vs non-constructive ones. Work on the constructive ones, try to see if I can turn the non-constructive ones into constructive ones, but if not, toss them away and move on.
What is a barrier to entry facing today’s designers that you might not have?
There is an abundance of talent today, which makes the competition harder.
What is something that today’s young designers have that you wish you had?
All the access to technology that allows for multidisciplinary results.
Are there any up-and-coming young designers you admire?
What top 3 traits are you looking for when looking at young designers’ work?
Innovation, Hard Work, Naiveness.
What are 3 things that you hate seeing in young designers’ work?
It’s not three but only one. It makes me sad to see that the majority of the portfolios now look very similar. Back in the day, our portfolios were less refined and certainly less professional, but each one of us had a unique tone of voice. But unfortunately now, due to the influences of social media, a lot of the end results look the same.
Name one way in which you continue your education.
Attending workshops and conferences.
If you could change careers, what would you do?
I’d most likely be in the humanitarian sector.
What is your favorite job you’ve ever had?
The one I am in now.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
The one at the photocopy place.
What is a job you’ve had that would surprise people?
Unfortunately, I’ve been very predictable there.
Which of your peers do you most admire?
Some of my uni friends and all my talented colleagues.
What do you wish you were better at?
What in your career are you really good at?
Clearing my inbox and getting better at the things I am bad at (that’s how I became a type designer in the first place).
How do you define a successful career?
Be happy with what you do and always care about progressing, whatever progress means to you.
What tools do you need to have a successful career?
Patience and perseverance.
What food must be accessible to you in order to work well?
Good quality dark chocolate. I am very picky about it.
Who do you credit most for your career rise?
My colleagues at Dalton Maag.
Who do you consider your teachers?
Michalis Georgiou, Katerina Papanagiotou, and Vasilis Marmatakis from my uni in Greece, and Gerry Leonidas and Gerard Unger from my time in Reading.
If you could collaborate with anyone (that you haven’t worked with yet) who would it be?
Paula Scher, Liza Enebeis, and my dear friend Rejane Dal Bello.
Any books, films, or albums that have defined or changed the way you think?
My mum’s design books from her uni time.
What hobbies keep your sanity intact?
I volunteer a lot with children.
Do the above inspire your career/practice, or do you compartmentalize to get away from it?
I wouldn’t be a type designer today if I hadn’t made a poster when I was younger for the NGO I was a member of.
How much sleep do you get?
At least eight hours a day.
How necessary do you find “routine”?
Nice to have, but not necessary.
Would you like to retire?
Not yet, I have often thought that if I won the lottery I would still continue to work. Maybe not a daily job but certainly I couldn’t retire.
Anything that worries or frustrates you, looking at the future of design?
Not a worry, nor a frustration, just a thought I had recently is that it’s becoming increasingly hard to create innovative and iconic work.
What excites you about the future of design?
All the aspects that haven’t yet been explored, especially in AR and VR.