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04 October 2019

View from my desk - Alysha Balog

What is your role at Equator and how long have you been here? I am a senior designer and have been at Equator for 3 years.

What qualities do you need for this role? Creativity first and foremost. And flexibility -  as a designer sometimes you have put on different hats or slip into something your not familiar with, but if you approach those challenges as a chance to learn it can a lot of fun!

What is the first thing you do once you get to your desk? I usually do a re-tidy of my desk. It’s like starting fresh and sets the tone for the start of the day. I catch up on any emails that have come in and toss away any clutter (you really accumulate a lot on those days of heavy sketching).

What is your favorite Chicago hang out? I’m a big advocate of Chicago’s dive bar scene. I hate paying too much for a beer, plus there’s almost always a pool table and a chance the tamale guy will come by! That or hanging out by the lakeshore, especially up north by Hollywood beach.

Who or what inspires a sense of adventure in you? I grew up seeing my dad travel to far off places for work regularly, and that instilled a desire to experience new cultures, countries, and food. My partner motivates me to challenge myself when we explore the great outdoors together - there’s nothing to be learned or gained by staying in your comfort zone! I recently visited Peru where I did all of that; climbed over 15,000 feet in altitude, spoke Spanish (poorly) with natives, and dined with the locals! (1)

Most enjoyable part of your job? Coming in every day and being creative. It sounds cliché, but I know so many creative types that have to look outside of their day jobs to sustain their creative itch, whereas here at Equator it’s what I do every day! And we have such a diverse range of clients and projects that the work always feels fresh, and working on a daily basis with the photo department is a fun opportunity to pick someone else's brain and see how other creatives see our projects differently. It’s a great way to collaborate and problem solve.

Best project you have worked on? I’ve worked on a lot of great stuff… but Jell-O Play is hands-down my favorite. I have always wanted to design toy packaging, and this is the closest I have ever gotten. I loved working on the strategy for this project, and then bringing the concept to life with fun illustrations and vibrant colors!

What can’t you get through the day without? Petting my cat, Mamoru. If I can’t get a few good pets in before I come to work I will be sorely disappointed. (2)

What is your passion in life? I have always wanted to be a designer, so you could say I’m living the dream, but I also love performing. I did theatre throughout high school and college, and still need to scratch that itch from time to time. For a while, I was performing live as a voice actor for podcasts in Chicago. It was a fun way to stretch different creative muscles. I think performing is something every designer should try as it makes you a better presenter by boosting your confidence and helping you think on your feet. I also believe communication is at the soul of both design and theatre, just in different ways. Thinking about your craft in that way can be a fun and challenging exercise and I find that story-telling in theater helps me be better at crafting brand stories and positioning. (3)

Favorite Instagram account and why? I love the Instagram account @juniperfox, ran by a woman who cares for rescued foxed and other exotic animals. She shares beautiful photographs of the cute foxes, and uses her platform to educate her followers on how difficult it is to keep the animals as pets. 

What is your most visited lunch hotspot? I know it’s lame, but I’m a chipotle junkie. Their barbacoa is just so good, and honestly, my favorite restaurants in Chicago aren’t in the loop.

Last photograph you took on your smartphone? It’s a photo of me at a dive bar singing Karaoke... typical! It can only be one of two songs: Peaches by American Presidents, or Zombie by The Cranberries. (4)