Tina Touli’s unique blend of physical and digital craft

Originally from Athens, Touli has developed a refreshingly hands on approach to digital design, which has attracted clients including Tate and Adobe. She tells CR why more digital designers should get out from behind their computers and experiment IRL

People often argue that craft in digital is dead – or at least increasingly subject to the creative homogenisation known as the blanding effect. But if digital is making brands bland, as suggested by Inamoto & Co’s Rei Inamoto in a recent piece for CR, then Tina Touli is undoubtedly one of the exceptions to this rule.

Originally from Greece, Touli moved to London in 2013 to do an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. She did the rounds at a number of studios including Pearlfisher for a couple of years, before deciding to go it alone and set up her eponymous studio in 2017.

Two years on, Touli heads up a team of two (along with a host of other freelancers) and creates everything from brand identites to animations for clients including Adobe, Converse, Tate, Mulberry and University of the Arts London – all while at the tender age of 28.

On the question of how to avoid the blanding effect many digital designers are guilty of succumbing to in their work, Touli’s solution is surprising simple: don’t ignore the IRL world. “There are not that many digital designers who are using physical things as their inspiration, they are doing it all on a computer,” she explains. “Or are there is the other end of things where creatives are doing everything by hand … but you don’t really see that mixture of physical and digital together.”