Another invite to the Fantasy Football office saw us bump into one of the designers at Oulala, Max. He was kind enough to talk us through what is involved in being a graphic designer in the Fantasy Football world, sharing advice for anyone hoping to become a graphic designer themselves and his love of the sun…
FFS: Hey Max, welcome to FantasyFootballStrategist…
Max: Hey FFS, thanks for inviting me.
FFS: First of all we’d like to know a little about Max, can you tell us a few things about yourself?
Max: Of course. I’m 29 and I lived in Germany most of my life, where I studied Media System Design. I’ve always had a connection to the Mediterranean and sunny places though, so 2 years ago I decided to give up those grey clouds in Germany and to come and live in Malta. More sun, more sea. I like the life here.
FFS: We can’t blame you! So you’re a Fantasy Football Graphic Designer, the man behind the creativity and visualization behind the website. Can you tell us how you got to where you are today?
Max: After having graduated from my studies a few years ago, I first worked in a big institute that specializes on visualizing data. We were experimenting with different ways of displaying the many qualities of data (quantities, relations, importance, date, etc…). I like creating layouts that are appealing but have to be pragmatic at the same time. Working at Oulala now isn’t all too different: we have loads of data, but need it to look simple and fun.
FFS: Could you describe what a typical day involves?
Max: Arriving at work and agreeing with my office friends on either using the AC or opening the window. Then I’d check my mails if there is any urgent presentation or infographic that has to be done for that day and if not, there are always modifications on the website to work on.
FFS: What is it about your job that you enjoy the most? And what tasks do you dislike doing?
Max: Well, apart from having nice colleagues and being able to have a quick swim in the sea in the summer lunch breaks… I like that the changes we work on are normally being implemented very fast. So if I did a layout for a new function, I often see it working on our test website within the same week if not even the same day. So that is nice. And what I dislike … hmm, opening a document and getting error messages that the links are missing?
FFS: Can you tell us about a few projects that you’ve worked on?
Max: Even though it was a long and in parts tedious journey, I still think the project I enjoyed most working on was creating the badge section that you see after having logged in. It gives you some rewarding feedback for smaller achievements like having made 4 assists by your team and makes the game interesting even if you don’t rank the top 3. The design part included creating a page layout that works for people with no badges just as for the better players that achieved many, and then of course creating similar styled trophies that look fun and represent each of the 8 badges.
FFS: What challenges did you face? How did you overcome potential problems?
Max: Challenges like so often were IT related. The whole layout has to be responsive, meaning it has to work on different screen sizes in the future. There were also a few maintenance issues that are a bit boring to talk about. Overcoming those problems was simply knowing and accepting those restrictions and creating a layout that respects them.
FFS: What qualities do you think somebody needs to be a successful Graphic Designer?
Max: If you are a Graphic Designer for web projects, I think that balancing style and usability is important. So knowing the basic design principles and understanding different styles is one part, but you should always be able to step back and look at your layout through the eyes of a slightly disoriented and impatient customer, to see if in the end your layout emphasizes the right things and gives orientation.
FFS: And finally, is there any advice that you have for any budding Graphic Designers that would like to explore a career in the field?
Max: The answer that applies to almost everything would be that curiosity and passion are important. Which is true! Apart from that I’d mention that not only accepting good design as your tutor but also looking closely at cheesy, stereotypical and boring advertisement and understanding on a deeper level what makes it so unappealing can also give you important insights.
FFS: Cheers Max, we see that you’re itching to get out for a swim so we won’t keep you any longer!