I'm Alex, a Senior UI/UX Designer working across mobile, web, experiential & AR/VR experiences. Ori...
What Alex's working on
What Alex's working on
Reposted by Alex Bellingham
Celebrating Pride Month 2021
Published an article
Featured a Community Member
Featured Q&A Interview with Alex Bellingham, Senior UX/UI Designer & Freelancer
We are really excited to launch our fourth article for Polyworld Magazine, and our fourth celebrating our LGBT+ Community Members for #Pride Month 2021! 🏳️🌈💜💚💛💙
Alex’s Bio! Alex is a senior UX/UI designer who has worked across mobile, web, experiential, & AR/VR experiences. Alex is based in London, UK, and has worked with brands including PlayStation, RedBull, Burberry, and Cisco. Alex’s badges include INFJ-T, Vegan, Graphic Design, Freelancer, and Game Enthusiast! 🕹💻
Q: What was your childhood dream job?
A: When I was a kid I was always drawing & colouring so when ‘grown ups’ used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always said an artist or…wait for it…a burglar. Yep you read that right. Although my career is closer to an artist these days, I like to think that somewhere, in some alternate universe, there’s a world famous, notorious thief running around. Q: Is there a story behind your Penguinchilli username? :-)
A: There is but it’s admittedly not a very exciting one, in fact it’s probably the most basic way of coming up with a username. Flashback to 20 years ago, 11/12 year old Alex in History class trying to come up with a cool, unique name for his MSN messenger…I love penguins & my mum makes the most amazing chilli…so using the classic animal+food combo, penguinchilli was born. It’s my alias for pretty much everything, and I think there’s something about the name that I can’t let go of; I sense there’s a greater purpose to it but I just haven’t tapped into it yet. Q: What’s the one thing people don’t know about you professionally that you think they should?
A: That is such a tricky question. At the risk of sounding super lame, I try my utmost not to compromise my integrity. I’m really driven by morals and my heart in a lot of what I do, especially professionally, which can make it tricky in some professional circumstances to move forward if I don’t believe it’s the most ethical approach. Of course, as designers we don’t have the luxury of just not doing it, so I’ve learnt to make the best of these situations by creating a killer design, even if the core purpose doesn’t fully align with my own views. Q: What project are you working on right now that you’re most excited about?
A: It’s not something I’m working on currently but it’s something I’ve recently wrapped up & these are four websites for an indie games developer - two redesigns & two new designs. Why is that exciting? Well this indie developer (shout out to White Paper Games) reached out to me almost 10 years or so ago for a logo design for their first game & company. Over the years they’ve come back to me with logo designs for various initiatives, but 2021/2022 marks the release (to be confirmed) of their third game. They asked me to once again design their logo, do some UI on the game itself & design the website, along with redesigning the site for their previous games AND a fresh new design for their company website. For me, this is hugely sentimental because they are now - like me - at a point where they know who they are and they’ve learned from their professional mistakes / choices. They are a part of my growth, and I’m a part of there’s, so to meet at this point where we’re bringing everything up to such a high calibre is really, really wholesome, especially when you look back at how far we’ve all come. Q: What path led you to becoming a UX/UI Designer?
A: Since I was little I’ve always loved drawing, colouring, painting and just generally being a creative kid. As I went through school & college I specialised in graphic design with the hope of getting onto a games design course. I had heard stories about people going from college to university & dropping out quickly, so to make sure I was fully prepared, I opted to do an additional two years of study on a foundational games design course. Only two people applied, though, so the course didn’t go ahead and I was placed on the graphic design course which I loved. When I graduated I moved onto University finally doing games design…but it turns out I was really, REALLY bad at designing them and should have just stuck to playing them. In my final year, though, I discovered UI design which merged all the things I loved about design - the psychology and the visuals. This is really where it began. My final year projects were all UI design related; creating a varied amount of designs and styles based on completely fictional games - it even included a stereoscopic 3D one. This caught the attention of Sony PlayStations R&D team who were working on the unannounced PlayStation VR and I was propositioned to explore the UI for the new medium of VR which ultimately became the topic of my Masters Degree. In the subsequent years, my amazing team and I established a wealth of best practices for Sony’s internal teams to use to create their awesome VR experiences. VR is a really interesting medium as you’re not only making a load of assumptions about human behaviour, but the type of behaviour can be so reactionary & primal. You’re working with a new axis of depth, so if you put something close to someone’s face they’re going to feel some kinda way! As cool as VR is, I still had a yearning to create the apps & websites that I was using every day and I couldn’t help but identify where and how I could make them better. That’s where I realised I wanted to step away from VR and pursue design in the digital world elsewhere and I ended up moving to London for a job as a designer working within web, mobile & experiential platforms. So that has ultimately led me to where I am now; riding the freelance wave with some awesome names under my belt. Q: What’s one thing you wish you knew earlier in your career?
A: If you aren’t happy with the type of work that you’re doing, leave. I’m going to use my time at Sony PlayStation as an example; there was a lot of R&D, so my work never really saw the light of day, but I continued to do it with the hopes that it would lead me to the type of work I wanted to do. I can’t express how grateful I am for my time there as I worked with some amazing people - and for my first professional role to be Sony PlayStation is a huge achievement - BUT I think I stayed longer than I should have. That said, everything happens for a reason; I probably wouldn’t be here, right now, writing this if it hadn’t happened like that. It’s just part of my story. Q: What does the ideal future of work look like for you when it comes to diversity and inclusion?
A: I think this applies not just to the future of work but the general future of inclusion and diversity; I think we need to do our absolute best to ensure a culture of patience & understanding. I try to go into any environment with the mantra that it’s okay not to know - acknowledging your own shortcomings shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, you can only work towards growing that gap in knowledge. The world is changing, progress is being made both in and outside of the workplace, and it’s great because people from all backgrounds are realising there is - and should be - a place for everyone no matter your race, sexuality, gender (if applicable) etc. With that said, there are going to be questions particularly surrounding trans / non-binary topics as these are fairly new concepts for people - especially those who aren’t in that community - to grasp. I don’t believe there is any “one size fits all” solution because everyone is different and everyone has their preferences, so being open to asking questions - and equally being open to being asked questions - should be how we approach inclusivity. The challenge is how we create and build that safe environment to allow people to be their authentic selves. There’s definitely a wider conversation here, but ultimately the more inclusive and diverse people are, the more stories and experiences we are able to share which leads to a greater level of understanding. Be ‘stupid’, ask questions (respectfully) & learn to travel with an open mind. Q: Favorite thing about Polywork so far?
A: I think the thing that I like most about Polywork is just being able to show a human side of my professional profile. I’m always fascinated by where people have been and how they’ve gotten to where they are and Polywork provides the platform to do that however you like. Acknowledging your achievements as well as your failures is welcomed and is really all about the individual. I’m not bombarded with distractions which ultimately allows me to share my story, whichever way I like. Side note: Are we going to be able to change our little AI person? I’m low key crushing on Titan - the yellow hench AI - who seems to also dislike leg day just as much as I do.
Q: What kinds of polywork are you most excited about doing in the future?
A: I’m actually really excited about connecting with other people for new opportunities - work or personal related - and being part of a solid network of awesome people. I think badges also really help connect us on a personal level displaying shared interests, hobbies & all things quirky. I can’t wait to see what’s in the pipeline and *shameless plug warning* if you ever want a designer; look me up! Thanks! Thanks for reading folks, you can follow what Alex’s up to on Polywork here and on Twitter here!
Built a website using Webflow
Finally designed & built my portfolio using Sketch & Webflow!
This was my first proper venture into Webflow so this was a huge achievement; lots of early mornings & late nights but it was a lot of fun!
I think for many designers a portfolio is just a place where work lives; but if you can invest the time you should try to design it yourself. Make it part of your personality, your brand and treat it like a project in itself that showcases your skills.
Check it out here!
Left a role at Koffeecup
Ended my journey as Senior UX / UI Designer at Koffeecup!
Started a new role at self-employed/freelance
Excited to join self-employed/freelance as Senior UX / UI Designer! 🎉
Left Koffeecup as Senior UX / UI Designer - Bon Voyage!
After almost three years working at Koffeecup, I made the decision to leave. I had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects with some awesome clients.
There's a lot I learnt at my time there & I grew so much as a designer but sometimes cultural and managerial shifts can be detrimental to individuals on the team. Recognising that these changes weren't for good - at least for me - it gave me the motivation to move on.
As they say, onwards and upwards!
Procell Virtual World interactive experience: a world housing the Procell portfolio
I designed the UI for the Procell Virtual World web app; an interactive scalable experience intended to be shown at an online trade show where users can traverse a number of CGI environments to showcase the Procell portfolio of performance batteries.
Check out the project here: