UX & Graphic Designer, Design Teacher & Researcher
I am a senior user experience designer located in Hong Kong since 2013. I am very passionate about design. So much so, that I am even doing a PhD now!
Here is what I do!
UX & Graphic Design
Trained as a graphic designer, I’ve been taking projects since 2004. In 2013 I made the move towards UX design. Since then, I have been helping SMEs and startups to solve problems by understanding user needs.
I am a PhD Candidate and my PhD topic is about fostering creativity in design education. My main question is “how does a design school teach students how to generate ideas?” I am submitting my thesis this year.
As a hands-on educator, I have been supporting educational faculty by teaching and assisting media courses at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As a design teacher, I get to apply my industry expertise to educate students.
As a designer, my main objective is to understand users. As a consultant, my goal is to understand the business objectives and make sure that the design work delivered matches both objectives.
6 Design Schools
in 2 continents
I went to 6 different design schools, about half of which were exchange studies. You can read more about my education here. In short, I have 2 Masters and now doing a PhD in Design.
I lived in a few different countries before landing here, so far, Finland is my favourite! ❤🇫🇮 Mikko is Mike in Finnish, and gr is the country code for Greece, where I originally come from. Hence, I the cute name of my site mikko.gr!
Over the years,
I worked with:
Startups & SMEs
I have worked with startups and numerous Hong Kong businesses that are founded by western people like myself.
Working with developers is excellent. Developers are problem-solvers just like designers, and there is mutual respect for each other. My experience with them has been so smooth that I have to communicate very little to them, and often with a few emails, everything is clear to all sides. Sometimes I am wondering why can’t anyone be this easy?
Engineers often have a fixed mindset, and they tend to go for the first solution that comes to their mind. Working with them can be challenging, but also very rewarding when the relationship is on good grounds.
Digital Marketers & SEO Experts
SEO experts and digital marketers are a are a little bit of many professions. They are geeky with an engineering point of view, and they also think a lot about user experience (like designers!). At the same time, they work a lot with data and understand user behaviour statistically (like scientists). Working with them has been joyful and very easy for me. Basically, we (sort of) speak almost the same problem-solving language!
I’ve not only worked with teachers, but I am also a teacher myself. I love teaching, especially when students are interested and engaged. Luckily for me, almost every designer I talked consciously decided to study design, which may explain why all my students are very passionate.
I’ve had a fair share of collaborations with Chinese designers, both from the mainland and from Hong Kong. Even though we’re design colleagues and we use the same tools and address the same problems, Chinese designers are -perhaps- more technical and read the brief more thoroughly. They do have a bit of engineering mindset, which I think it runs in their DNA. They are hands-on, efficient and practical people who often work so hard they sometimes forget to even take a break. It can be challenging to get their opinion, as they can be incredibly indirect. Of course, not everyone is the same, I am only talking from my experience. Overall, working with Chinese designers is very positive for me, especially once the roles of the team are clearly defined and well communicated across the board.
Besides what I mentioned above, I have worked with a range of very different customers and companies. For example, I’ve helped a live seafood importer, a group of investment-visa consultants that help Chinese investors migrate and sustainable cleaning product brands. Perhaps other more unique examples can be a women’s hair wax salon and a dragon boat* festival racing company. To me, the type of company doesn’t matter (as long as their operations are not unethical). Working with people who I can communicate with matters a lot more.
*The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday occurring near the summer solstice.
Awards & honors
The awards won
by our project.
Our clients describe us as a product team which creates amazing UI/UX experiences, by crafting top-notch user experience.
5x Developer Award
2x Best Website
3x Website of the Day
2x Best Website
5x Mobile of the Day
Please reach out to me!
I am open to projects and collaborations. I’d also consider full-time opportunities too if you think I am an excellent match for your team. If you only want to say hello, I’d be more than happy to hear from you!