Day-to-day with… Tony Goff-Yu, Freelance Designer

Business Learnings

8th February 2021

Tony Goff-Yu headshot

Tony Goff-Yu is Telescopic’s trusted design partner.

He has been an extended part of our design team for a few years now and helped us deliver amazing work on projects like James Choice and Screen Yorkshire.

As well as his design work, Tony is also a mentor at re:create, a platform where he shares his experience and knowledge with new designers, and he is part of BLKBK, a non-profit community of freelance creatives.

So let’s meet Tony and learn about the work he does on a day-to-day basis.

Hi Tony. Can you start by telling us what you do?

I’m a Freelance Designer with over 17 years’ experience working on sites and apps across UX and UI.

How did you get to where you are now?

I studied multimedia design and digital animation back in 2003, then worked for a few advertising agencies in London for about 9 years.

When the social bubble (as I call it) appeared back in 2012 and most of my design work started to become Facebook pages or Twitter skins, I decided to leave advertising and go freelance and concentrate on my site and app design work.

That was about 8 years ago now so I’m glad to say I was able to successfully stay freelancing.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

The variation for sure. Although I’ve focused my work in certain areas, the challenges between each client and project are fascinating.

One week it can be a fitness app, the next a site for selling livestock. Each one has its own challenges.

UX design sketches on paper

What’s your greatest challenge?

I think getting buy-in is always tricky.

Someone once said that the worst client is someone who either knows too much or too little and I agree with that wholeheartedly. There’s nothing quite like a client critiquing your font sizes in one breath then the next being totally dismissive when you point out that their brand colour isn’t accessible.

What are your favourite tools for getting your job done?

I’ve been using Sketch for the past few years and love it but as more, well all, work has become remote over the past year I’ve transitioned to Figma which has made everything so much easier.

Being able to collaborate directly with clients and get feedback on my designs has been amazing.

That’s interesting. So are you saying that you would take Figma over Sketch?

Yep, totally. It’s ideal for remote collaboration plus it’s free!

How has integrating Figma changed the way you work?

I recently completed a contract at an agency and, as great as the project was, there was so much time wasted in preparing decks to present to the client or trying to find the latest version of an update to upload to the server.

Having everything in Figma has totally changed the way I present and do work.

It’s less of a “Tada! Here’s what we’ve done for the past week” moment when you deliver your work to them then vanish. Everything is far more collaborative, which speeds up projects and gets the client involved which really helps with buy-in.

Have you observed a change in your industry since the impact of the pandemic?

I would say that apart from a shift in ways of working, there has been a certain practicality to the work that I’m now doing.

A lot of the projects I’ve taken on recently have been focused on smoothing out a process, making improvements to a site or an app, and really providing a useful service to a group of users.

For example, the livestock site that I mentioned wanted to ensure farmers were able to easily navigate the site and find what they were looking for. It was launched back in January 2020 and had an increase of over 200% in traffic once it became clear that farmers couldn’t actually go to physical livestock markets anymore due to Covid. This meant that as more users went onto the site, the client was able to identify problems and set about looking for ways to solve them.

Any predictions for changes & trends within your industry in 2021?

Hopefully, working remotely will be something that continues to be explored.

I can see more agencies switching to Figma as more teams are spread around and kept away from the office.

It would also be great to see some education being done with clients that will get them using these new tools. I think it would make everyone’s lives easier and, ultimately, deliver better work.

And finally, what are your hopes for 2021?

Work-wise, I want to try and keep a variation in my projects as I always find it an interesting challenge to work in a sector, or with a client, that I’ve not done work with before.

Personally, I want to remain working remotely as well. With Figma, there is very little need to physically be in an office, and working from home should hopefully enable me to have more clients outside of the UK.

Not to mention have a far better work/life balance. Plus I have a dog now, so he needs a lot of walks 🐶

dog lies next to man working on laptop
Tony’s remote working buddy, Buster
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