Interview with Fred Seale, Lead Designer, Trussle

Author Laura Martin
  • Date September 14, 2017
  • Reading Time 7 minutes

Fred Seale, Trussle

Firstly, could you give me a bit of a background on Trussle and what they do?

Trussle is essentially an online mortgage broker. Our mission is for everyone to love the journey of owning their home and get excited about it - it’s such a big milestone in their lives.

Can you explain your role as Lead Designer?

I started at Trussle about a year ago - I’ve just passed my year anniversary. When I joined, I was tasked with rebranding the company which was a great opportunity and actually the second time doing it. When joining when it was a very small start up, I’ve got the startup bug, I love being able to dedicate myself to a project in a small team with a good sense of everyone pulling together. I was about the 10th employee to join Trussle and was the solo designer for 10 months, we now have a Head of Design that joined 2 months ago.

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In your opinion what is the difference between somebody who is a good designer vs somebody who is a great designer?

I guess, other than the obvious, it’s having someone that has a great eye for detail. I actually find the designers I’m most impressed with are those who understand about business - able to to meet the business' needs along with making things look good.

What would you say is a typical day for you?

I tend to go to the gym in the morning then arrive at Trussle before 9am and leave around 7pm, in terms of the day it’s very diverse there is always a lot to do especially being a small design team; there are only 2 of us now but it was only me for a long time. There is a lot of stuff coming towards you from all different areas, especially as the teams and company are growing so much. In summary there is always something new which I really like the challenge of. I would say I spend 50% of my day designing and the other 50% in meetings, working on the business side of things.

What would you say your biggest challenges are in the next twelve months?

One of them will be building out the design team a bit more, it’s less of a challenge but will be something to look forward to. Ultimately it’s all of the challenges that come with a growing company.

What are your feelings on the PropTech sector at the moment, especially with the rise of competitors such as Habito and Dwell?

It’s an exciting time in this sector and the industry - it’s good for the consumer as they are getting more exposure to these companies and also learning about them. Competition is always healthy, everyone is doing a really good job!

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Where do you go for inspiration and how do you keep up with the latest trends in the industry?

I read quite a lot, I set myself a goal of going through a book a week about a year ago, that’s really changed things, you know the whole philosophy about reading, I’ve started to notice it. 80% of the books I read are design related. There is a publication called Viewpoint, by the studio FranklinTill, they have some really good insights into trends, across art, fashion, design etc. Also, just speaking to to other designers and designer friends is where you really pick up on trends and start to piece things together.

Are there any websites/app out there that you look at and think to yourself, “they’ve nailed it from both a ux and design perspective”?

There are some that come to mind; there is something about Duolingo, it might not be the most slickest/beautiful in terms of design but their UX and product are really delightful to use - it really does feel like a seamless product. Another is Lemonade, I don’t use it, but their product looks awesome, it looks like that’s the way it should be in terms of their UX and the whole experience - I also really like their branding, it’s kind of fun and minimal.

What are the benefits of working as an in house designer? Have you worked agency side?

The first job I did after university was agency side, the benefits of being in an agency are the exposure. The work is always different one minute you could be designing an app then working on branding through to book layout. Being around other designers is also valuable and exciting.

After I left, I went to Babylon Health as their in house designer which was great, this was my first in house role - I was very grateful for the opportunity and also having the responsibility of branding the company and their first app. I always say to people if I was to look at my learning curve on a chart, those first 6 months at Babylon it would have really shot up. When you are in a business and have exposure to C-Levels etc, I learnt a lot about the business side of things.

How do you juggle work/life balance?

I will spend my time before work in the gym along with playing American football twice a week. I can’t forget my girlfriend, who I spend time with outside of the office.

And finally, what piece of advice would you give any young aspiring designers?

This might sound vague, but I think just be brave and believe in yourself. As creatives I do think we get challenged a lot more than other people. At the end of the day it’s your job, someone has employed you to be the designer and be creative, it’s about having the confidence to put your stuff out there, even if it’s just printing your work out and sticking it up; or presenting your ideas in meetings, it is really about just believing in yourself.

In terms of actual design, being consistent is really important!

Lastly I would say for young aspiring designers, finding mentors is important, even if that is just a more senior designer. You learn so much more when learning from other people who have been in the real world a lot longer than you. Ever since Hoon (Head of Design) has joined Trussle, I have learnt so much from him in a short period of time with his wealth of experience.

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About Fred

Fred is Lead Designer at Trussle, where he's responsible for all visual touch-points. Since joining he rebranded the company as well as being responsible for all product design and user experience. Before joining Trussle, Fred was Lead Designer at London based start-up Babylon Health from its inception where he had a similar role and helped to build the brand. As the only designer for over a year he designed everything, including the app and all the marketing material: print, website and videos. He's attracted to missions that have a positive impact on people's' lives and companies that are shaking up industries.

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We’ve helped a wide range of clients optimise and improve the user experience across complex and challenging products including Castle Trust, Private Finance, Vida Homeloans, Kensington Mortgages, New Street Mortgages, Acenden Mortgage Servicing Solutions and more. If you want to know more, we’re always happy to talk about how we could help. Feel free to contact our UX Team (UX@dock9.com) or stop by the Dock9 office for a coffee.