Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio’s world-class products. Each post will take a peek behind the scenes to spotlight a member of our team. Come get to know us a little better and learn more about what makes Illumio’s culture so unique.
This month, meet Basel Baroudi, Illumio’s senior designer, who’s based in California. Hear about what he does at Illumio and his advice for other designers.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
I’m a senior designer on the creative team. My work involves visual storytelling, branding, and identity creation for our marketing campaigns, social media graphics, and other company assets.
Growing up in San Jose, I was surrounded by computer engineers and I’d always wanted to be a fine artist. I had gotten a computer at an early age, but it wasn’t until I met a graphic designer that I realized I could bridge the gap between technology and art. I downloaded my first graphic design program in high school, and from there, I never stopped. It became my passion, and I ultimately got my degree in graphic design.
What made you interested in working at Illumio?
From the start, I knew Illumio had disruptive technology in cybersecurity, and I saw it as an opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone, which had been creating retail packaging for consumer electronics. I wanted to challenge myself and feel like I was doing something positive, something more than putting products on a shelf. It feels good to be part of a company where I know our work is having a positive impact on people.
What does a day in the life of Basel look like? What are you working on that excites you?
Well, no two days are ever the same. I always have Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign running, and I’m usually writing emails or in meetings in order to stay connected with my team.
As for what excites me most - I like ideation. I love taking an idea and trying to transform it into a visual narrative. I enjoy taking a complicated subject matter and making it simple, concise, and accessible.
How do you stay illuminated during the workday? How do you stay connected with your team while we’re working remotely?
I stay aligned with my team by chatting throughout the day and making sure to connect personally by talking about things outside of work. And, of course, sending a good GIF on Slack always helps!
What’s your favorite hobby?
I have a ton of hobbies that keep me busy. Music has always been a huge passion of mine, and I spend a lot of time learning about electronic gear, synthesizers, and sound design. I’m fascinated by generative design, which is an emerging field in design. I’m also interested in cymatics, which is hard to explain, but occurs when sound vibrations produce intricate shapes and patterns. It’s like magic!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?
First off, I have learned just how crippling a cyber-attack can be to an organization, and the sheer number of vulnerabilities that exist. These attackers can just knock out entire industries! Learning about the technology and the security industry has been eye-opening.
At a meeting recently, someone mentioned that hackers only have to get it right once, which means we all have to be perfect every single time. I take a lot of pride in that fact and feel a sense of accomplishment by working here. And Illumio has always been transparent about the inevitability of breaches – we don’t say that a breach will never happen, we make sure our customers are okay when they do – and I appreciate that honesty and sincerity.
What career advice do you have for your younger self?
For a young designer, I’d say to find something that you’re passionate about and keep working towards it. Don’t chase a position for financial reasons: if you’re passionate about what you do, the money will follow. You’ll always be a student, and you should pride yourself on always learning. It’s important to reach out to folks of different ages, backgrounds, and professions for their perspectives and insight. You’ll be surprised where you can plug in what you learn from them.
I think it’s also important to know the software inside and out. Learning how to work fast has really helped me in my career. I recently heard a quote that went something like, “I spent the last 30 years learning to do this in 30 minutes.” It’s so true! Once you’re comfortable with the software, expressing yourself becomes effortless.
What are you passionate outside of your career?
I love to learn –– about all kinds of topics. I watch a lot of instructional YouTube videos and documentaries. I’m also passionate about social justice and equality. I was raised to believe that everyone deserves a fair opportunity to shine and pursue their own passions. Having two sisters as lawyers – one working in immigration and the other working in juvenile justice, helped to instill those beliefs in me as well.
Which Illumio core value resonates most with you and why?
Bring your best. Bringing your best is a personal choice that you make. It requires effort to be positive, and that’s reflected in your work and life. People will pick up on that kind of kinetic energy and resonate with it. I think it also means to be adaptive, to be kind, and to be understanding – especially when you’re dealing with obstacles that you may not be prepared for.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
Illumio’s an amazing company, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I have the pleasure of working with the most dedicated individuals in the industry. Folks at Illumio want to do their best, and they’re committed to making the world a safer place. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand, even if it means stepping outside their formal titles or roles. And the leadership really leads by example. They’ve been so considerate about COVID, and you can tell they really care. They’re one of the reasons that I want to bring my best to work every day.