As part of our ”How I Got My Job” series, we speak to professionals in a variety of different aspirational roles from happiness officers to travel bloggers.
This week we caught up with Adidas senior designer Hussain Almossawi to find out more about his career journey to date and what his day-to-day life is really like.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
A designer or basketball player. When I was a kid I was always tinkering with different design softwares and thinking about big ideas that could hopefully change the world one day.
As I grew up, my passion for exploring and asking questions grew with me. I would spend hours every day learning new skills that would enhance my design and artistic skills. I would pull all-nighters just to follow tutorials online. I was hungry for knowledge back then, and I still am today.
I did my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the University of Illinois and my Masters of Design in Industrial Design at the University of Alberta.
How did you end up at Adidas?
I have always fueled myself with two passions since I was a little kid, sports and design. I still continue to play and follow sports, it just runs in the family. My parents were also always into art and growing up that inspired me to have that creative mindset.
The best way to bring these two passions together was to design for sports. When I was 14-years-old I used to do NBA players basketball fan websites for fun. That got a lot of traction until I started to design official websites, logos and other things for NBA players like Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady and Derick Rose. I even designed a couple of websites for Adidas Basketball back in the day.
During my career, I have worked on sports campaigns with Ogilvy & Mather (advertising agency), Nike, FIFA and EA Sports. Now I am working for the Adidas Brooklyn Creator Farm as a concept designer.
Has it been everything you hoped it would be?
Yes, it has been full of surprises and excitement. The team is very strong and we have been able to create a lot of waves in a short amount of time. I’m excited as we keep rolling out more and more products into the market and changing the industry by constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries.
What qualities does Adidas look for in new hires?
From my experience as a designer (and this does not reflect on the company as a whole), the number one thing to have is a solid portfolio. The portfolio needs to demonstrate strong skills in communication, storytelling, problem-solving and beautiful aesthetics and taste. I think it’s also good to not be afraid to push the boundaries, challenging the norm in a smart and reasonable way is always good.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your job?
It’s true that our biggest focus is footwear but what we do is much bigger than designing shoes. We focus a lot on the performance side by looking at the sports science to gather our insights and working closely with athletes on and off the pitch. Our vision is much bigger than making a beautiful product.
What is a typical day like?
We have a lot of fun, we work hard and play hard. A typical day is usually working on the project we have been assigned and collaborating a lot by sketching, ideating, and brainstorming. We spend time testing out new ideas, connecting to culture, getting insights, building our narrative and pitching ideas. We also have fun by playing games or having the team play sports together.
Is your job 9-5 or always on?
If you love your job then you don’t really look at it as a 9-5 job. As a designer, you are constantly thinking about your projects and new ideas that you could implement.
Who has been your biggest role model?
My parents without a doubt. They have always been that solid rock in my life that I could lean on and my source for inspiration. They have shown me that impossible is nothing and I live and breathe by that, dreaming big and doing big every day.
What’s the biggest career lesson you have learned to date?
There is a lot more to design than just designing a product. It is really important to be a strong storyteller. You also need to understand the manufacturing and cost constraints when you want to turn your vision into a reality.