Up close and personal with Constantine Belias: one of DPDK’s leading designers
I may be biased, but we have the most talented team here at DPDK. That’s why we grab every opportunity to highlight the incredible people that make us who we are. This time, we’re spotlighting Constantine, one of our leading designers.
Constantine joined DPDK over a year ago. As a core member of our design team, he’s responsible for all things design-related: from branding and product design to art direction and prototyping, you name it.
I sat down with him to learn more about his journey as a designer, what inspires his awesome design work, and how he managed to rack up over 10,000 followers on Instagram. Read on to learn more!
To start things off, have you always wanted to be a designer?
Yes and no. Back in high school, I knew I wanted to work in the creative field. I’ve always been someone who uses creativity to express myself. Creativity comes so naturally to me. That’s why I decided to go to art school, where I found my way to graphic design.
You’ve been with DPDK for over a year now. What led you to DPDK?
When I moved to the Netherlands, I started looking for digital agencies I wanted to work with, rather than relying on online jobs ads. I wanted to find an agency whose company culture I would fit well in and which shared my aesthetic vision. Turns out, DPDK is that agency for me.
I’m curious, what part of being a designer do you like best?
I enjoy the part where I get to experiment, innovate, and get my hands dirty. I love the process. I believe that to deliver a great product, you must ask thought-provoking questions. You need to be critical about your own perspective. It’s the only way to make sure your design solutions are as genuine and substantive as possible.
On the flip side, what do you find one of the most challenging aspects of your job?
Design is constantly evolving. There are always new design innovations emerging, from trends to technologies. It can be challenging to keep up with new advancements. Plus, it’s tough to determine which trends are relevant when creating solutions.
What I mean by that is that you can’t, or rather shouldn’t, hop on every new trend or technology. You need to decide what to include and what not to. This requires rigorous critical thinking and a thorough understanding of your clients’ needs.
If you had to define your job in one word, what would it be?
FUN! Design is so much fun. Of course, it’s also challenging and procedural, but for me, totally worth it.
I’ve heard that you have a popular Instagram account with over 10,000 followers. That’s impressive, to say the least! In your opinion, what is it that makes your account so popular?
I use my Instagram account as an escape from reality. It’s a visual playground where photography and design maintain an open dialogue. I like to spice things up with a bit of surrealism, and I think that’s what makes my account well liked.
What’s exciting you about the digital industry right now?
Honestly, a lot! We’re lucky to be living in an era where design and new technologies work hand-in-hand. Visual pluralism has become the new norm, which means design processes now involve multiple, diverse voices that are collectively expressing their truth. It’s exciting to see agencies questioning and dismissing practices of the past, and opting to experiment and innovate instead.
I find that a little skepticism can go a long way - not only with regards to design, but also in how you approach projects in general. It opens up so many new possibilities. That’s what excites and inspires me!
Speaking of inspiration, where do you turn to get inspired?
Mostly architecture and music. These fields share many similarities with design, like creating patterns, setting time spaces, expressing thoughts, and opening up dialogues.
Similar to design, architecture and music focus on interaction and extroversion. So apart from digital inspiration, a walk in the city with headphones on can be just as inspiring.
Now the challenging part, how do you turn that inspiration and your ideas into concrete designs?
I believe that design is an answer to a question or in agency terms to a brief. To answer the question correctly, you need to collect “supplies” by observing and evaluating your creative ideas. You also need to gauge what fits where.
If a brand was a song, what would it sound like? If a website was a building, what would it look like? These are some of the questions I ask myself. Then I set out to answer them through design.
What do you enjoy most when you’re not working?
I feel like this is my chance to say something motivational. But in all honesty, I really enjoy doing nothing. I enjoy those rare moments where I can clear my mind and don’t need to prove anything to anyone - not even myself.
COVID-19 has been a huge source of stress for people across the globe. Working from home makes it difficult to stay productive and creative. It also blurs the lines between your personal and professional life. I find it challenging to maintain a balance.
In the words of Blaise Pascal, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Last but not least, what project or accomplishment are you most proud of?
As much as I enjoy designing websites, I’d say I’m most proud of the branding work I do. There’s so much to consider when it comes to a brand’s visual identity - values, vision, heritage, and more. Encapsulating all that into a logo, for example, is hard, but fun work.
Brand identity design is about telling a story, but in a limited number of words. I believe we’ve been successful in telling the stories of many of our clients, like Rosco, Billink, YouChooz, Bunge Loders Croklaan, and more. I’m proud that I contributed to that!