Work In Progress

March, 2017. We were still living in the United States. It was a time of great anxiety for us. Just a couple weeks earlier I had been laid off from my previous job in California, Donald Trump had become the president, and we were suddenly living in this foreign country without valid Visas and no plans for the future whatsoever.

At the same time, in the middle of everything, I had this crazy idea to start up my own design studio when we’re back in Europe.

There we were, about to have a baby, not able to fly back to Europe anymore and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. The company I used to work for got sold and our previous Visas couldn’t be transferred, which basically got us here. Just a week before all this started, I remember discussing with my wife how I could see us growing old in this country.

For a moment it felt like a bad dream in which we were fugitives living on enemy soil. In some ways, that dream felt real and vivid to us. I mean, it sounds frankly awkward when saying it out loud now, but back then so many things happened at once. I wasn’t even sure if it was legal for us to stay in the country after our Visas expired, so I tried to keep my mouth shut as well as I could. If anyone asked; It was good. It was all going so good.

Later on, things started slowly unraveling as our second child, Inga, was born in Redwood City, California. During the next few weeks—and ultimately months—we managed to get all the necessary paperwork done to get the whole family back to Europe safely. We applied for new Visas, got the birth certificates for the baby, social security number for her, US passport, and so on. It felt relieving. We were free to leave the country that once felt like a home to us.

At the same time, in the middle of everything, I had this crazy idea to start up my own design studio when we’re back in Europe. I had no savings, no clients, no real plans, nothing—heck, we didn’t even have a home anymore—just this quirky feeling inside of me and a few suitcases full of clothes.

But even then, I felt like I just had to do it. I didn’t want to go work for someone else. I wanted my freedom, and my wife kept on encouraging me to do it.

As strange as it might sound, one of the forces that kept pushing me forward was how much dirt happened to us in such a short period of time. After all that, I kind of felt like nothing’s gonna stop us anymore.

We’re gonna push forward with this feeling.
Everything’s gonna work out.

And it did.

This brings us back to the present day. We’re in Helsinki now. We still don’t have a permanent home, but at least we’ve found one and can start planning the move next month. My design studio is also up and running and I’ve found a bunch of great clients to work with. The next 5 months are more or less booked and I can’t wait to tell you about the projects I’m going to be working on.

I’m still accepting smaller consulting gigs for the fall and longer engagements from November forward, so if you’re interested, see the studio website and drop me a line via the contact form or email: me@viljamis.com.

I’m most interested in helping startups and larger organizations to design, build and manage their Design Systems. During the past two years, I’ve been mainly working on large enterprise level systems and data visualization heavy projects with a few of the biggest Fortune 500 companies in San Francisco, CA.

In addition, I’m also interested in longer term, Style Guide driven design projects for the web. Instead of mocking up all the different variations of a product as static images in a tool like Sketch, I prefer to prototype these in the browser instead and go back and forth between design tools and code. You can read more about my process from the studio’s website.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, get in touch and we’ll work it from there.

✌️

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