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“That would be my superpower”

12th April 2021

Stassia TaxScouts designer

You may think of the mechanics of TaxScouts as all numbers and deadlines. But there’s a lot more to it when it comes to the creative side of things. We’re kicking off our first spotlight of 2021 with one of our busiest team members, Stassia – our designer. Busiest how, you ask? Stassia designs for every team in the business, across both the UK and Spain. That’s social media, the website, press, digital ads, partnerships, presentations, and more! 

And as part of the creative team, we sat down with her to get a glimpse behind the curtain. We got deep about design, talked about the benefits of living and working abroad, and then things got a bit existential… 

Do you ever become a designer?

When I was studying in school, I didn’t know that I wanted to be a designer. But all the qualities of what I wanted to do were there. I went to drawing school, and then I went to art school and studied media graphics. It was more in the industry of visual communication than pure graphic design, so I was studying things like different ways to approach a brief and tackling problem solving. I also always tried to study classical graphic design on the side so that I had the whole picture of what I was learning. In a nutshell, I wanted experience not only in theory but in practice too. 

Early on, I started to look for more opportunities. First I worked in a printing house when I was 21 or 22. I then had the opportunity to go to exchange programmes for internships: I did one in Budapest, one in Lisbon. I met a lot of people, experienced work in smaller studios and bigger agencies. And when I came back, I already had some clients that I could work with so I was able to do a bit of freelancing. Eventually, after many internships, I found a job and worked here in Estonia. 

So that’s how I became a designer!

…although I guess there’s no point when you “become” a designer. Or maybe there is? For me it was very stretched. You always self-doubt because you grow, and even today there are still so many things to explore. So am I that? A designer? Yes, I am, because I know how to navigate the space and I know the rules – so I also know how to bend them and create something unexpected. 

There’s something about design

In design, you always have a problem and you always need to solve it. And there are a million ways or directions you can go to do that. It’s very versatile and there is never the right answer. 

I love concept making: where you have to imagine what if this, what if that? As I’m learning from being in a marketing team, you measure everything in engagement from our customers. That is a direct result of your work. But you can always ask, what if we did this another way, you know? What would be different? 

I know how to navigate the space and I know the rules – so I also know how to bend them and create something unexpected. 

Near, far, wherever there’s work

Back when I did my internship in Budapest, I found the city surprising. It’s very eclectic. Very modern, but with old school hints. It has this really nice vibe of imperfection. When you go somewhere like Vienna, for example, the city seems so sleek and perfect. But in Budapest, for me, it’s the true nature of creativity that I appreciate. 

After this and after working at home in Estonia, I wanted to experience more. Less in terms of designing in another place, but more in terms of living abroad somewhere. So I found a job in Germany – Hamburg – and worked there for almost four years. 

It was a great experience, and a phase in my life where I wanted to travel to places and live there for a while. For me, you get a better grasp of the environment, and see real life. Maybe now I’m different in my mindset, but at the time, I wanted more than just a flish flash of impressions targeted at tourists. I wanted to see real people behind the curtain. I knew I wouldn’t stay in Germany forever, but the experience was wonderful. 

Let’s get on to TaxScouts

Oh, it’s lovely. Of course. 

I think it’s all about people that are driven madly by the idea of making the world better. For me, it’s very inspiring. It’s people and problem solving and an optimistic spirit – and we’re actually solving the problem! To the bottom of my mind, I appreciate that. 

When you go somewhere like Vienna, the city seems so sleek and perfect. But in Budapest, for me, it’s the true nature of creativity that I appreciate. 

If I compare TaxScouts to my previous experience – which was fantastic also – the speed is very different. I was working for a brand design consultancy so we had a lot of different clients whose problems we would solve, but from the perspective of strategy and brand. Now, I’m on the side of the client so it’s a new rhythm. It’s very fast, I guess because we’re still relatively small. We’re only 20+ people but we do a lot of things: making concepts, exploring how they’ll work. And then BAM, we’re off! It’s very cool. I want to learn as much as possible and see the impact of my work. That way, I can see myself evolving constantly. I don’t ever want to be stuck. I want to always be inspired, you know? For me, this is super-important.

I actually had zero idea about taxes and about how they worked before TaxScouts though. No, really. Of course, I’m from Estonia so there’s a difference in taxes here vs. in the UK, but I still only had a superficial idea of how it worked!

Is there life outside design?

There is an ongoing project that I’m working on, although it’s still to do with design! My friend owns a record label and we’re working on vinyl releases of experimental electronic music that you can collect as a series. It’s been very interesting, especially talking to/collaborating with musicians. They belong to a completely different universe.

Life ambitions – how existential

If I could do anything in life, what would it be? Oh my god, ha! I just thought about saving people from hunger. 

So in my previous job, we did a lot of trend watching. We’d look at key patterns of human behaviour across different industries and that would help us to build better visual communication that is relevant not only for today, but also for a near future. So if I had a superpower, I would love to anticipate these trends, so I could be a better problem solver. To be able to sense what’s coming is kind of like an almighty force: feeling the vibe.

That would be fantastic.

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