GRINtroducing: Tina Touli

We catch up with the amazing Tina Touli on combining the physical and digital world, what keeps her inspired and see what she makes of the Birmingham Design Scene.

After a short (covid related) break from our GRINtroducings, we’re back quizzing people in the creative industry that inspire us to see what makes them tick. This time, we’ve got London based designer Tina Touli who runs her own studio Tina Touli Design and teaches at Central Saint Martins in London.

1) Hello Tina! For those that don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Tina Touli, a creative director, graphic communication designer, maker, speaker and educator. I currently run my own London based multidisciplinary studio and teach at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

I work in a great variety of design fields, including print and digital design, with different clients, such as Adobe, Dell, HP, Ciroc Vodka, Fiorucci, Tate, Converse, Kappa and Movement Festival. I had the honour to be selected by Print Magazine as one of the 15 best young designers in the world, aged under 30 (2017). My work has been featured in Communication Arts magazine, Computer Arts magazine, Digital Arts magazine and Creative Review blog among others and design publications such as “Design{h}ers” by Viction:ary.

I have been invited to present my work in various events and conferences all over the world, as for example at the FITC Amsterdam, the Adobe Live Stream and the Bump Festival.


2) What does an average day look like at the ‘Tina Touli Design’ studio?

My day consists of around 8 cups of tea and jumping back and forth between 2–3 different projects. I really enjoy working on various projects at the same time, so when I am stuck, tired or not in a mood to work further on one project, I can jump on another one. I often work late hours since I find them really creative. When there are no more emails, messages, etc and everyone else is asleep, it is the perfect time to concentrate and get as efficient as possible. Loud music playing at the studio the whole day is a must for me. Exercising for a break is also really important, just to clear my mind before going back to work.

3) One thing we love seeing from your work, is how you aren’t afraid to step away from the computer and create something physically, combining the physical and digital world of design. Tell us a bit about your process and why you think this is important in your work.

My work is known for blending the physical and the digital world through various mediums and techniques. I am inclined to believe that by exploring the possibilities of working between the physical and digital worlds we can discover unexplored areas of design and come up with unique solutions. Sometimes the strongest designs come from a simple concept and by trying things out. By interacting with the “objects” from the digital and the physical world, leaving them to lead the way, even if things evolve differently from the initial thoughts. The digital world offers us all these exciting tools and potentials for designing. But sometimes it feels that this digital entity lacks a tactile materiality. On the other hand, the physical world can do so many amazing things, but it is the digital one that makes everything possible.

What motivates me and keeps me going is the excitement of something new. Learning and creating something different from the last time, something that comes unexpected, excites me the most. And there is no way to fail. Every good or bad decision you will make, “wrong” or “right” experimentation you will create, will help you to move forward. As one of my favourite quotes from John C. Maxwell says “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”


4) What piece of work has been the one you are most proud of?

One of my favourite projects is the “What about water” campaign. It has been created during the Graphic Design Adobe Live Stream in San Francisco with Kristine Arth as my host. The live stream was 3 days, from the 20th till the 22nd of March, 2 hours per day. Since the 22nd of March is the “World Water Day”, I decided to create a collection of 5 posters and a video for this special day. Often, water awareness campaigns are “asking” the viewer to change their behaviour, highlighting the importance of freshwater. In contrast, the message of the campaign was “What about water? Watever, who cares!” which is calling the viewer to question their way of thinking towards the importance of fresh water. A technique where oil-based and water-based liquids were “mixed” to create interesting shapes and distortions has been used to bring the water element to the project in a more unique and interesting way. It was a really exciting project since I got the opportunity to explore a new technique along with more than 29k viewers who joined the stream to watch live the campaign creation and share their thoughts and ideas.

5) How do you find inspiration for new projects?

Nowadays more and more creatives tend to follow the same processes, starting and finishing their projects on their computer, ignoring all the inspiration from our immediate surroundings. Anything around us that can stimulate any of our senses can be inspirational and an “object” for investigation. A hole on a t-shirt, a wrong print, the foil paper that we wrap our food in, even the notebook that we sketch as an object itself! I am tending to seek inspiration from the physical world, since I am inclined to believe that the more unexpected the recourse of inspiration is going to be, the more likely it is to create original work.


6) You’ve worked with some amazing clients such as Adobe, L’oreal and Converse. Is there still a dream client out there that you’d like to work for and why?

Having a diverse set of creative skills enables me to work on a great variety of design fields, including print and digital design, and with a client list that includes bigger companies and organisations such as Adobe, Dell, Converse, HP as well as smaller ones, as for example the Mazzoleni Gallery and the Athens Digital Arts Festival. And I do enjoy working for “smaller” clients as much as I do for “bigger” ones. For me there is no dream project or dream client. My goal is always the same, turn every single project to the “best” project I ever created.

7) We were first introduced to you at BDF with your fantastic talk ‘Blending the physical and digital world’. Was this your first introduction to the Birmingham design scene? What do you make of the design scene in Birmingham and how does that compare to others in the UK?

I had the great opportunity to be part of the BDF and the honour to meet all the lovely creatives from Birmingham design scene. As I already expressed multiple times, the vibe of the festival and the community is incredible! Such a friendly and open community allowing you to quickly integrate within, open interesting conversations, get creative, laugh and most importantly have fun. It is hard to compare it with other scenes in the UK since every single Festival or design scene is unique on its own way. 🙂


8) We’ve seen your talks at BDF and the BCU Type Talks, you’re a prolific speaker. What keeps you interested in these events?

I am always interested in sharing my processes and my learnings in order to hopefully open conversations, inspire and motivate others to discover unexplored possibilities of blending the two worlds that we are living in, come up with unique solutions and find their own ways of being productive. For me every event is a new opportunity to exchange knowledge and learnings and help each other to push our creativity even further.

“All you need is to love, appreciate and get satisfaction from every little thing that you create.”

9) If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in the industry, what would it be?

Even if you don’t know how to make it happen, get started with what you’ve got, and you will figure it out on your way. All you need is to love, appreciate and get satisfaction from every little thing that you create.


10) Plan B – If you weren’t working in Graphic Design, what job could you see yourself in?

I always loved communicating through any form of art. Since I was little I was keen on dancing, drawing, playing music, and others. I attended a music school, which kept me involved with all disciplines of art from architectural drawing to acting. Only few months before graduating I decided to study graphic design. So I could easily imagine myself following a different carrier, but for sure it would be a creative one.

To find out more about Tina Touli, visit:

Instagram: @tinatouli
Behance: Tina Touli