Kindred Tales | Tess and Otis | Digital Designer
We chatted to Tess about her work and how Otis’s free spirit has added fun and playfulness to her working routine.
Tell us a bit about your work?
My work is designing digital experiences with a bit of branding thrown in for good measure. For the last 12 years I’ve worked in-house leading design teams for END., Farfetch & Arcadia and last year I decided to fly solo, so I’m my own boss now.
What inspires your work?
Following the latest digital trends helps me to stay ahead of the crowd & design for the future, not the present. I could spend a whole week researching the smallest thing. Classic graphic design, layouts, typography, fashion, interiors, architecture… basically just give me a library of coffee table books and I’m gone for days.
What’s your first memory of dogs being in your life?
Penny, the Weimaraner that lived on the same road as me. When I was VERY young, I used to leave the house on my own to call on Penny. We always had cats growing up, and they fully got pestered too, but I’ve always been a dog person at heart. My best friend had two daschunds called Pippa & Poppy (how do I still remember these names!?) which were loads of fun too.
Our first family dog was a Flat Coated Retriever called Phoebe. She was such a character and so greedy. Always stealing socks & teatowels to get treats.
Tell us about your Otis and how he came into your life?
We got Otis last year, he’s a German Shorthaired Pointer cross & just turned 6 months. He very quickly grew a fluffy white beard and now looks about 6 years. I’ve been desperate to get my own dog for years, but with having a full-time office job it just wasn’t practical, so I looked after friend’s dogs whenever I could instead. But we moved to a detached house last year with a garden and now I’m freelancing, it was just the perfect time.
He’s a complete handful but so funny and affectionate, he always wants to be together. If we’re 1 minute late to the sofa in an evening he cries. 20:01 = game over. He scoffs everything he can off the floor and is learning to not hop like a kangaroo every time he sees another pup to play with.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
It’s a steep learning curve! He get’s jealous of laptops & video calls so we’re working on that. But he’s getting loads better at just taking himself off for a nap. He usually finds the sunniest spot on the rug or sofa and just bathes for hours. Hopefully it’ll be a summer full of snoozing for him! We do playtime at lunchtime, a bit of tug or chase in the garden.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out with the dog?
We love to practice off lead in the big parks of East London. We’re really close to Epping Forest which is obviously just perfect for dogs to have a run around as long as we can keep him away from the ducks & geese! I just love meeting all the other dogs as well. Such a cool variety of mixes and rescue stories around here. During the week we have a trot around the local village, doing some doggy parkour & sniff work on the way.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk?
He’s so good at walking on the pavements now and I do credit the clicker for that. He knows there are treats to be had when the clicker is there. We’ve also got a 20 meter long line for him when he’s exploring in the forest, which seemed a bit extreme but he’s so fast, we actually need it sometimes. And always chicken or sausage for recall. He’s so greedy it works every time.
You can follow Tess and Otis's adventures together on instagram here and check out Tess's work here