Ilja Tulit: Choreographer, photographer and keeper of Holm’s visual identity

Published 13.10.2022

Graphic designer Ilja Tulit is partway through his second year with the Holm team. He loves the place, and the sense of team spirit and cooperation among his colleagues. “Sometimes it feels like I’m not at work at all, but among family,” he says. “Time flies when you’re doing what you love surrounded by people you really like.”

A picture paints a thousand words

Ilja’s remit is wide-ranging and always presents him with creative challenges. “The law places stringent restrictions on the advertising of financial services, so in my work it’s super-important that images convey messages you can’t use words for,” he explains. “I’m also responsible for developing and maintaining Holm’s visual identity, and for making sure the company’s recognisable and distinct and that it appeals to people.”

Ilja is also tasked with being the crossover point between ideas, wishes and people and devising the best solutions based on that synergy.

“I work with a lot of different people in my job, and all of them have their own ideas and vision of how things should be,” he says. “In those sorts of situations, I have to come up with something that ticks everyone’s boxes. Sometimes I cherry-pick bits from what they’ve suggested and add my own ideas to them; other times it’s all on me. And occasionally you have to deliver precisely what’s been asked for, because there’s a specific need for it or a specific reason they’re asking for it. In my experience, the best solutions are the ones you find when you mix things up and test a bunch of different approaches. That journey you make enriches you, or at least it does me and my colleagues. It helps you coalesce as a team and understand one another without the need for so many words.”

Ilja says he is never happier at work than when the best possible solution has been found to a challenging task – one that serves the company’s interests. “I remember devising a new visual language for one particular product segment,” he recalls. “The whole thing is seared into my brain! What I came up with wasn’t what anyone was expecting, so the approval process took much longer than normal. But they did greenlight it in the end, and it’s still in use. People are constantly telling me how much they like it for so simply but so finely capturing the nature of the product in visual terms, which is nice. It reminds me that if you’re 100% sure about something, then it’s worth championing it. Every time I hear about sales success in that segment, I know I’ve contributed to it.”

Like the workings of a clock

Ilja views Holm as a well-oiled machine in which every employee, regardless of their role, works every day to ensure that the bank is functioning just as it should be – if not better. “To me, Holm and all the people in it are like the workings of a clock,” he says. “Each person and each department serves a specific purpose, and together they make sure the clock works the way it’s meant to. Every member of staff oils those parts and polishes them and improves on them, which is why everything really does go like clockwork.”

At the same time, Ilja says Holm is unique in that it always manages to find the best products and services. “We’re constantly on the lookout for new things, products and services that will benefit people and the company,” he explains. “We try to shape them in a way that enables people to take good ideas and make something of them. But only good ones – responsible lending’s very important to us.”

Motivated by the people and space around you

As for the Holm office, Ilja has nothing but praise. “It’s amazing!” he smiles. “Brilliant location, million-dollar views, all the latest equipment, health benefits and other perks, company events, the lot.”

More importantly, he says, there is a real sense of synergy and team spirit in the bank, where everyone enjoys spending time together. “I really do love working here,” he adds. “There are so many reasons. First, my colleagues – I work in the Marketing Department, and we all just seem to be so in synch, whether we’re brainstorming ideas, holding meetings, trying to come up with solutions to challenges or simply having fun together. The time we spend in each other’s company is what I value most. We have this lunchtime tradition where we go to as many different places to eat near the office as we can to try their specials and then circle back and look out for new things on the menu. We really enjoy that.”

Ilja says he is also motivated by the company’s growth. “Seeing how Holm’s coming on makes me proud,” he says. “It’s like the bank is evolving organically, offering all sorts of products and services, since you need things that have been around on the market for ages as well as new stuff. I like that we’re always simplifying our processes and making them more logical, too. Your time isn’t wasted, working here. There’s good time-planning, plans are talked through and roles and tasks are divided up.”

Moments captured in images

Making sense of the world through visuals is something Ilja also enjoys doing in his free time: he is passionate about photography and videography. “There’s something magical about capturing a moment in a photo or video and having it with you forever after,” he says. “It means they’re never forgotten. Looking at it often brings to mind the way you were feeling at the time, the thoughts that were running through your head at that very moment.”

To make sure he has both a healthy mind and a healthy body, Ilja likes to take care of himself. “I ride my bike a lot, which is how I mostly get around the city,” he says. “And not just in the city either. I really do think bicycles are the future. People are opting for healthy lifestyles more and more, and bikes are ideal for that. I was into competitive dance when I was younger, and that movement’s just part of who I am now. I graduated from Tallinn University with a degree in choreography. What I studied, and all the practice I did, made me realise that our bodies are an instrument you have to take proper care of. Dance, to me, is therapy for both the mind and the body.”

Whenever he feels stressed, Ilja takes a break from his creative work and unwinds with a good book or something on Netflix. “Sometimes you need to take a moment to just be,” he says.

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