Culture

Meet the Team: Ellen McLean

April 12, 2022
6 minute read
Lucy Drennan
Tell us a bit about your educational background and previous roles before joining Phlo.

Before joining Phlo in 2020, I had worked in a few design roles since graduating in Graphic Design from DJCAD in my hometown of Dundee. After I graduated, I was desperate to move and live somewhere new so I took on as many internships as I could in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Luckily, I then landed my first role as a graphic designer at The Loft where I worked on a huge range of projects, from designing a collection of whiskies now for sale all over the world, to small branding and print projects for local businesses.

After moving on from my first job, I found myself working with a few very varied companies doing exhibition design for museums and events, large scale printing and signage for businesses across Edinburgh, and my own freelance work on top of that. However, during the pandemic my work dried up and I was on the hunt for a new role, and that’s when I found Phlo!

What attracted you to work for Phlo?

My immediate impressions of Phlo was that of a warm and welcoming environment, and one that was very passionate about what they were hoping to achieve. This was after my first phone call with Nadeem, our CEO, as he explained his vision of the company. Phlo seemed very ambitious and driven, focusing on caring about their customers and providing a service that could provide a huge benefit to people’s lives. Joining Phlo felt like my design work could actually have an impact on real people by introducing them to the service, which is an opportunity not a lot of designers get to have, which is pretty special.

What does your role entail, and what does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day as a designer at Phlo would definitely be kickstarted by a cup of coffee from my new coffee machine (a probably too expensive but worthwhile investment!). I’ll check my emails and messages and get ready for the morning call with my marketing team, which is always a good pick-me-up at the start of the day as they are great and a good laugh.

We make a plan of action for the day, and then we all break off to our individual tasks. I’ll normally have some small projects such as designing and writing up blogs like this one, as well as larger tasks such as working on new campaigns we are launching. At the moment I have been doing the majority of the illustration work for Phlo which I really enjoy! It’s so rewarding to see your work out there in the wild.

What makes Phlo different and why should people join us?

Phlo really puts its patients first, and has a strong emphasis on building trust with patients and improving their everyday lives by taking the stress out of picking up their medications. These people may be elderly, may struggle making the journey to the pharmacy, may be caring for someone that they collect medication on their behalf etc. And Phlo can really take some of that hassle away for them.

It’s rare that you get to work in a company that makes a positive difference to real people, especially in the graphic design field, and so I see that as a huge draw to working here. Not to mention, the team at Phlo are some of the kindest and most genuine I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve felt incredibly supported and encouraged here. My confidence as a designer has increased immensely in my time here, as the team here have been fantastic.

As a designer, what is one of the projects you have worked on creatively that makes you proud?

I would say that seeing my illustrations being used in the react native app has definitely been something I’ve been proud of working at Phlo. To see the styles slowly develop into a little family of characters and images has been incredibly motivating, and to know that these are shaping the look and feel of the brand as a whole has been a definite highlight. There was once a time I could only draw on paper and found digital illustration a challenge, so to see my personal development in this area makes me proud of my progress.

Another recent proud moment was designing some of the exhibition banners for our stand at the Level Up Recruitment Fair. It was nice to work on something a bit different and have it be a bit of a challenge printing large scale. It was lovely to see it printed and in its place at the event to potentially encourage new employees here at Phlo, and be able to do something to make Phlo stand out in the crowd!

What are the key skills required to perform your role successfully?

I would say that there are many aspects of working in a design role, but being passionate about what you do is always key, as without that you will not want to keep building on what you know, learn new skills and improve your work. You have to love the process and have great attention to detail, as sometimes the smallest changes can elevate a design hugely.

Having a good knowledge of the Adobe suite is necessary, but there are always new things to learn as you go and other programmes and skills that I have picked up throughout my time here. As long as you are open to continually learning and taking feedback from others your work will always improve with time.

Can you talk us through another project you were involved with and the steps to completion?

After one of our weekly ad reviews we do as a team, I noticed that there was a spike in sign ups to Phlo in the small hours of the morning, around 3-5am, which seemed like a very interesting demographic to focus on for a new campaign. We thought that these patients may be up late worrying, have a lot on their mind, or may just be struggling with their sleep in general.

In response to this, I created a range of targeted ads to be displayed on Google, specifically at those hours, that might catch the eye of people who could benefit from our service. This would then take them to a bespoke landing page of our site that told them a bit more about Phlo.

This campaign performed well, and we have since then adapted this to also target late night shift workers, and parents struggling to sleep who are up late with newborns. It’s been great to see this idea branch off into so many different areas.

Ellen, her fiance Callum and their friends on Broughty Ferry Beach

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My fiance Callum and I just bought our first flat and moved in just before Christmas last year, so we are in the slow process of doing that up, installing a new kitchen etc. It’s so exciting to see our new place come together, slowly but surely! We also have a little devil ginger cat called Freddie who makes frequent appearances on my work Zoom meetings to bite my feet...but he is a sweetheart the rest of the time. Otherwise I love keeping up with my illustration work in my sketchbook, going to the gym with my PT group, seeing my friends and running which I do most lunchtimes around the park.

If you’d like to join the Phlo team and help us shape the future of Pharmacy, check out our careers page.

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