Posted 04 October 2023
Interview by Frankie Faccion
Mention Mohammed Ubaidah

Motion designer Mohammed Ubaidah on finding meaning and opportunity in rejection

As a 2020 graduate, Mohammed Ubaidah’s earliest experiences of the industry involved a whole lot of rejection emails. Among them was a response to his application for a junior role with Stink Studios, which is when things took a brighter turn, as the company suggested he apply to their internship. He went on to land the position and impressed them so much that he eventually became a full-time employee, and he was promoted within a year. Since then, he’s been working with social media agency Born Social, where his career has continued to flourish. Here, he reflects on his tricky beginnings, shares his admirable take on rejection, and tells us his learnings on growing workplace confidence as a newbie.

Mohammed Ubaidah

Mohammed Ubaidah

Job Title

Motion Designer, Born Social



Selected Clients

Google, Meta, Instagram, Revolut, Spotify, Hyperscience, Peloton, Ford

Previous Employment

Motion Designer, Stink Studios, March 2021–December 2022

Place of Study

BA Motion Graphics, Ravensbourne University, 2017–2020


Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you did at Born Social?
As a motion designer at Born Social, my role is to bring social assets for the Ford account to life in an engaging way. I work alongside two incredibly talented motion designers, and together we craft motion pieces that elevate Ford's social media presence. It's a collaborative effort that involves working closely with senior designers, social media managers and account managers.

What I love most about my work is the creative journey we take on as a team. We dive into multiple moodboards, storyboards and other references to explore different ideas and possibilities. This collaborative process allows us to deliver motion design pieces that truly showcase Ford's brand identity.

Through well made animations, compelling visual storytelling and engaging aesthetics, we aim to create pieces that capture the audience's attention and leave a lasting impression. It's an exciting and dynamic process that allows us to tap into our creativity and create the best pieces of work.

The Born Social website

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
The main inspiration behind my work comes from a curiosity to understand why things look good and how they can come alive through motion.

I grew up in an environment where the focus was more on academic [work] than creative. People would often tell me that studying maths or science would lead to a more successful future. Deep down, I knew that being creative was where I found the most enjoyment, and I couldn't let that go.

For me, it's about finding happiness and fulfilment in what I do. I've come to realise that design is not just a hobby but my purpose. It's something that brings me a lot of joy and that goes far beyond just paying bills.

I want to challenge the stereotype that creativity is less important. I want to show people that pursuing your passions can lead to a meaningful and successful career. I want to use the power of design to make a positive impact, to inspire others, and to bring joy to both people who make and look at design.

My work is driven by a deep desire to create something meaningful and impactful, to touch people's lives through my designs. I want to evoke emotion, spark imagination and leave a lasting impression. Design is not just about aesthetics; it's about storytelling, connection, and making a difference.

“I grew up in an environment where the focus was more academic... Deep down I knew that being creative was where I found the most enjoyment, and I couldn't let that go.”

‘Ant Jelly’ and ‘Butterfly Jelly’ by Mohammed

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
I think it's important for motion designers to continue learning and focus on self-improvement. While formal training gives a good foundation, my passion for design and curiosity to explore new techniques is what drives me forward.

I've gained experience through a mix of education and practical work. My background in studying motion design has given me a solid understanding of design principles, composition, and creating visually appealing animations. I've focused on bettering myself in software like Adobe After Effects, Illustrator and Photshop, which are widely used in the industry. I've dedicated a lot of time to learning and practising with these tools, and to this day I'm still discovering new tricks and techniques to improve my workflow.

I think being a great motion designer is not just about technical knowledge. Communication and organisational skills are super-important in this field, too. I've learned the importance of clear and effective communication, especially when working with a team. Being open to constructive criticism but also being able to give detailed feedback is also important. I also believe in being honest about limitations and managing expectations. It's important to have open and transparent discussions with clients and colleagues, ensuring everyone shares the same vision.

Plus, in terms of creating assets for projects, I think it's important to properly name and organise files, as this makes a big difference in efficiently working with others. It's sometimes tough to keep on top of naming comps and files, I'm sure most of us have fallen into the trap of naming our final pieces of work Final, Final 02, Final_final. Sometimes it's good to go over and neaten things out.

Mohammed’s work on Netflix show ‘Nioh’
‘Nioh’ on Netflix
A process shot for the work

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
One of my favourite projects from the past year was working on the Hyperscience rebrand at Stink. Although I've collaborated with clients like Meta, Google and Spotify, this particular project holds a special place in my heart.

The thing that was truly exceptional was the relationship we built with the clients. They were incredibly warm, approachable and receptive to our ideas. It was a positive and collaborative atmosphere where we could freely share our thoughts and suggestions, and that made all the difference.

From a creative standpoint, Hyperscience gave me the perfect opportunity to dive deeper into the art of motion design. I worked closely with the illustrator and to bring his illustrations to life with captivating animations. It was a great experience to have the freedom to explore various animation techniques and to enhance and complement the illustrations.

Animations from the Hyperscience rebrand by Stink Studios

In terms of personal projects, my favourite is the Ramadan project. This is because I was asked to present to the company about what this special months means to myself and Muslims around the world.

I took it upon myself to create not just these three specific pieces but illustration and animation in abstract form to showcase the different aspects of Ramadan, highlighting three important times during the day and night: Sunrise is when Muslims stop eating and drinking for the day and focus especially on doing acts of worship and charity. Sunset is when Muslims can finally eat after, usually broken with a glass of water and a date. Finally, moonrise is to signify the importance of prayer during the night time hours.

The colours represent the timing, however I also decided to use the outlines of windows that are used in Islamic architecture such as mosques. This it to further highlight the importance of spiritual connection to the religion

Sunrise, sunset and moonrise animations for Mohammed’s personal project surrounding Ramadan

How I got here

How did you land your first jobs?
Graduating in 2020 it was definitely a challenge for me. The pandemic had a huge impact on the job market, and it was really tough to find opportunities, as studios were transitioning to remote work and many people were losing their jobs, not to mention a lack of graduation or degree show. Despite this, I remained determined.

I reached out to numerous people, went through multiple rounds of interviews, and eventually got an internship at Stink Studios. I initially applied for a junior position and was rejected; but I didn't let that get to me, and I embraced the opportunity to learn and grow.

At first, understanding the industry was a bit tough. It took some time to understand the dynamics and workflows. However, as my internship progressed, I began to find my footing and gain a better understanding of how things worked. After five months, my internship came to an end, and I was happy to be offered a junior position.

“I am thankful for the challenges I've gone through; it’s made me more determined to succeed in the industry.”

Over the course of two years, I continued to develop my skills and knowledge as a motion designer. Looking back on my time at Stink, I realise now how much I’ve grown and learned. It was a time of significant personal and professional growth for me.

After leaving Stink I decided to explore new opportunities. I went through numerous interviews and faced many rejection emails on the way. However, not giving up paid off, and I eventually got the job at Born Social.

My journey has been filled with ups and downs, but each experience has helped me and contributed to my growth. I am thankful for the challenges I've gone through, as it’s made me more determined to succeed in the industry.

Work for Google, created while at Stink Studios

How did the job at Born Social come about?
I got the job at Born Social through a combination of reaching out to the team and the recruitment process. I applied when I saw a job posting on LinkedIn.

The initial step was a phone interview, where we spoke about my experience and qualifications. Then I had to create a 10-second animation for a brand of my choice. This allowed me to show my skills and passion for motion design.

Once I'd handed in the animation, I went through two more rounds of interviews. Each interview provided an opportunity to connect with the team and further highlight my enthusiasm for the role. The multiple rounds of interviews allowed me to understand the team's passion and dedication, which motivated me to go the extra mile and show my commitment to being part of their team.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
One of the biggest challenges I've faced is dealing with rejection and imposter syndrome. It's a common struggle that many designers face. I often found myself questioning whether I was good enough. This fear only grew deeper with each rejection, making me doubtful about the choices I made, such as leaving a previous place of employment.

To help overcome this challenge, I tried something different. Instead of comparing myself to the success of others, I started comparing myself to me. I realised that measuring my own growth and development against an older version of myself was more meaningful and encouraging.

This change in mindset really allowed me to see the progression I had made and gave me reason to be kinder to myself. I think it’s important to know that everyone's journey is unique, and comparing ourselves to others can often be the reason we question our own growth and happiness.

On this, I once read a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear, which emphasises the importance of setting goals based on your own progress rather than comparing it to others’. When we focus on personal growth and celebrating the small achievements along the way, success becomes easier and more fulfilling. It's a constant reminder to be kind to yourself and appreciate the journey.

“I often found myself questioning whether I was good enough. This fear only grew deeper with each rejection.”

One of Mohammed’s animations

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Firstly, self-value and confidence: It's important to never devalue your efforts, skills, or knowledge, despite the level of your experience. I also think recognising the value you bring to the team is imperative as this allows you to use your strengths to you and the team's advantage. Confidence is also key, but it's equally worth noting being humble is also important. Remember that even as a junior, you can teach seniors things they may not know. Always have a balance between confidence and humility, and always believe in yourself.

Secondly, curiosity and asking questions: Always ask questions and seek clarification. When you ask questions it shows eagerness to learn and grow. Also, don't be afraid to ask for things that can make your work life easier. Whether it's asking for resources that align with your principles, values, or personal needs. Don't hesitate to speak up, you'll be surprised by how supportive and accommodating people can be when you ask.

One of Mohammed’s animations

Lastly, finding inspiration everywhere: You should look beyond your job role for inspiration. Draw inspiration from a variety of sources, such as modern and classic art, books, nature, or even a funny quote someone said. Everything serves as inspiration to fuel your creativity. Even things that seem mundane or boring can be used as inspiration, challenging you to create work that exceeds what you've seen before or sets a new standard.

Is there anything else you have found helpful to get into your sector?
If you want to get into motion design, there are many helpful resources and courses available. One option is to explore free tutorials on platforms like YouTube, which can provide valuable guidance on learning software.

For in-depth learning, I would say courses from School of Motion, Motion Design School, and Ben Marriott’s Motion Course could be very helpful. These courses can provide training and industry specific knowledge to help you develop your skills in motion design.

Additionally, it's worth exploring jobs boards and platforms dedicated to creative industries, such as LinkedIn and If You Could. These platforms show job listings and opportunities for motion design and allow you to connect with industry professionals.

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
An important lesson I've learned is to prioritise the creative process over chasing money. However, this doesn’t mean you should undervalue skills or your work by accepting low-paying or unpaid opportunities.

To support myself at the start, I had a part-time job on weekends, which helped me save money during periods of unemployment.

I think finding a balance between financial stability and creative fulfilment is vital. You could explore freelance work, take on projects that match your interests, or find flexible part-time jobs to provide additional income, while allowing you to focus on your creative journey.

“When it comes to promoting my work, I've found that LinkedIn has been effective. Also, having a well-designed website is fundamental.”

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
For me, social media hasn't played a big role in my job search. While I do have a design Instagram, I don't post for likes. Instead, I see it as a personal space to share my work.

When it comes to promoting my work, I've found that networking on LinkedIn has been effective for me. Also, having a well-designed website is fundamental to showcase my portfolio and skills.

My advice is to find what works best for you. If you enjoy social media and it aligns with your career goals, go for it. Also networking is important, connecting with people in the industry whether on LinkedIn or other platforms. To get an understanding from the inside.

Gradient work by Mohammed

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
To include all your projects in your portfolio, even if you didn't enjoy working on it or for a particular client. It's important to showcase your skills and abilities across different areas, showcasing your expertise.

Another valuable tip I received was never to downplay your achievements. Your success is not just a result of luck, rather it's evidence of your skills and talent. Embrace your accomplishments and acknowledge the hard work you've put into reaching where you are.

Also another thing Tim Gardiner – the VFX and motion director at Stink - told me , when given a task, not to use words like “I will try”. Instead, be assertive and use words like “I will,” or “leave it with me.” This shows your competence which builds trust and respect from others whilst also reinforcing your own self confidence.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
If you want to get into a similar role, I would say: Build a strong portfolio, showcase your best work that shows your initiative and creative flare. It’s important to gain experience by looking for internships, freelance roles or personal projects to practise and improve your skills. Also learn the tools commonly used in motion design, be it the Adobe Suite, Cinema 4d or even Blender.

I would say to research and find companies that align with your personal values and style of work you want to make. Connect with industry professionals for advice and mentorship. Always seek inspiration from various sources and keep learning. Stay dedicated, be proactive, and keep refining your skills and portfolio.

Interview by Frankie Faccion
Mention Mohammed Ubaidah