Starting as a graphic designer in Athens, Greece, Rania Svoronou is an award-winning design leader who studied and worked in London, UK. She is now an IBM Design Principal and an Inventor at IBM Consulting based in New York & Miami.
She is a keynote / TEDx speaker, guest lecturer, and industry mentor at some of the world’s best universities and has been invited to judge and mentor across the globe. Rania aims to help bridge the gap between design and business and empower more women in the world of design & technology.
With numerous recognitions, such as the Business Insider “Top 40 Rising Stars of Madison Ave” list and Greek America’s 40 under 40, recognizing professionals who have excelled both professionally and philanthropically, Rania believes in designing for humanity and not for the sake of technology.
1. What would make your soul sing? What makes you happy?
A breathtaking sunset. Great food & wine. Good company & conversation.
I’ve travelled and lived in many places, but it’s true that simple things can make us happy.
2. A childhood story that announced the creative person you are today
My art schoolteacher at age 11 was the one who told me for the first time that I was talented at drawing. It felt so good to have discovered a natural talent from such a young age that I never looked back. It’s been something that has followed me throughout my entire life.
3. The best context ever for inspiration was:
Visiting Gaudi’s masterpieces in Barcelona. His impeccable creativity and architecture have been engraved in my heart and mind. Particularly La Sagrada Familia has been one of the most impressive places I have ever visited.
4. The project you loved most:
Wine and philosophy. This was a project I completed for my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design when I studied in Newcastle, UK.
The brief was wine and philosophy.
I had the idea of using the illusion of two faces to create wine glasses. Each label had a distinct face of a chosen historic philosopher and a quote of each one related to debate, discussion, argument and opposition, which are the fundamentals of philosophy. The brand of the wine series and the logo I created are linked with the theme. The word ‘PHILOS’ means ‘friend’ in Greek, and the symbol is the Greek letter ‘phi – f. ‘
Finally, a careful choice of typefaces and colours is made to represent the labels. The space in between was done by laser cutting on the official labels, being able to see through the bottle the level of the wine.
5. The project others loved most:
“Written in Sand” – an interactive installation I completed as part of a group project. It was very well received and is still one of the most challenging projects I have been involved with.
Written in Sand is an interactive installation that aims to demonstrate that nothing exists longer than an instant, except the thing we hold in memory. It creates several instances of this memory, archiving it in the form of sand drawing, a postcard, as well as a digital feed, and critically questions the permanency of these media. To generate a debate that challenges the currently accepted immortality of digital archives when pitted against the perceived permanence of physical infrastructures.
London College of Communication / MA Interaction Design ’14 / Final Major Project. In collaboration with Sayanee Halder, Jiaomin Ni & Xiaoyan Wang.
6. The best thing about your nation’s Creativity is:
Our long history, we are rich in history regarding our creativity across the arts.
7. Best statement of your nation’s humour:
Ancient Greek comedy, of course.
8. Advice for international headhunters, related to Creatives from your country:
Don’t underestimate the design boutique agencies you might have never heard of. There are some great Creatives in Greece, and their portfolio and work ethic can be unparalleled.
Best place in the capital of your country:
Athens is a great city with a lot to offer. Personally, I love the Vouliagmeni area, a seaside suburb south of Athens, home to renowned hotels, restaurants and beaches with amazing sunsets.
9. Best Place in your country:
This is a very subjective question, as I do believe we have many wonderful places in Greece. I will choose Spetses, a small cosmopolitan and picturesque island, as I spent all my summers there with my family growing up, and it holds a special place in my heart. I still visit it every summer whenever my schedule permits.
10. The most disturbing cliché about your country, in the media outlets of the world, is:
That we are lazy, or that the Greek crisis was due to that. We are a hardworking nation at its core, but we also know how to enjoy the simple things in life. The way we grow up is to be resourceful and passionate.
11. Your country should be known for:
Our breathtaking fall/winter destinations as well, such as the Meteora, Arachova, Zagorohoria, Delphi and many more wonderful places.
12. Your views on spirituality:
It’s an area I have not explored as much as I would like. Saying this, I am Greek Christian Orthodox, and I have a strong belief that there is something greater than myself.
13. Your views on money:
A necessity. I appreciate quality over quantity. It took me a while to truly understand the concept of “time is money.” Wasted time is worse than wasting money.
14. A book or other inspiration source you recommend for someone to evolve as a creative person today:
“It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” by Paul Arden. I read this book in my early teens, and it really helped shape my work ethic and mentality.
15. A female talent from your country that deserves to be part of this international mapping of creativity and thus promoted at a worldwide level
Christina Martini, whom I do not know personally, is one of the two founders of “Ancient Greek Sandals.”I believe she is worth mentioning as they managed to create a ‘Greek Sandal’ brand sensation globally.