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Interview with Anastasia Smyslova

Home > Designer Interviews > Anastasia Smyslova

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Anastasia Smyslova (AS) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Anastasia Smyslova by clicking here.

Interview with Anastasia Smyslova at Thursday 29th of March 2018

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
AS: After graduating from the University with a degree in graphic design, I worked first as a packaging designer for a confectionery manufacturer and then as a print and graphic designer for a printing company. I developed interest in business during these years and subsequently gained a master’s degree in management. Post-graduation, I worked as a marketing manager for various companies, building my career to the level of marketing director. Having gained extensive experience in both marketing and design, I decided to focus on my true passion – branding. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of branding. Well designed and thought through brands make consumer experiences more exciting and help navigating in the myriad of choices. I was fortunate to witness this power at work in many national and cultural contexts. My past and current clients are spread all over the world and represent wide range of industries. For example, my portfolio includes packaging design for an Italian brand of cosmetics, developing personal brand for a client in Amsterdam, and designing brand and packaging for premium vodka in Russia.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AS: At A.BRNDING studio we provide the holistic brand experience to our clients that base on their values, clarifies their communications and enhances profits. Our studio specializes in Brand Development, Identity, Packaging, Graphic Design, Illustration and Art Direction. Our Design Aesthetic is Elegance and Sophistication. Our Goals in Brand Identity are to Benefit your company and help you to make a Profit.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AS: "Design" is a way to live in a beautiful and comfortable environment.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AS: Brand identity & packaging

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AS: The project of developing a premium vodka brand Kasatka is definitely my favourite. It was my second alcohol brand project from scratch, but for the first time I felt I was able to fully realise my talent. My ideas of weaving in inspiration from the depth of national culture and bringing in my love of embroidery as an art form resonated really well with the clients’ expectations. In addition, minimalist approach to design was ideally suited to the premium character of the brand.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AS: The first project was personal brand for a talented philosopher and photographer with the Russian origins. I was able to transfer my experience of working with product brands to working with an individual and get exceptional results. The challenge was to distance my client from the competitor with the identical name and to help her gain recognition and popularity amongst English speaking clients. This is why we had to start with a completely different name, and finding the right name for an adult is much more difficult than for a child, I must tell you. I had to draw upon my knowledge of human psychology and my life experiences, to excel in both listening to the client and in being heard.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AS: My philosophy of life - to be creative in every moment of my life.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AS: This is the easy question and my answer is simple – total happiness. As a human being and as a designer I strive to make the world a better place. When I progress through the design process, I often feel like I am touching the divine. There is definitely a magic feeling associated with creating something important and meaningful out of just some ideas.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AS: I believe all brilliant brands are brilliant because they mean something to their audience. This is why I focus on creating meaningful brands. To uncover and build this special meaning, the foundation of future strong brand loyalty, I always start design process with thorough research and analysis. The key values that the client wants a brand to communicate to consumers, how likely these values are to strike a chord with the target audience, any competitors already on the market and likely crossover with the values they communicate – all of this and much more has to be understood and taken into account before what we usually understand as design even begins. The second challenge that needs resolving on the journey towards brand’s success is how to communicate core values of the brand to the audience. This is where visual identity and removing all, however minor, obstacles to delivering the message across come to the fore. Three words could characterise my design aesthetic: minimalism, elegance and sophistication. I always begin new project with hand drawn sketches on a piece of paper as this allows maximum freedom for my creativity. The fewer barriers there are for new ideas, for the excitement and urgency that come with embarking on the new adventure, the better is the result.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
AS: I live in Russia. I think my country has a rich culture heritage. Russian art is an integral part of world art and it is an endless source of inspiration. For example Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, such as Bauhaus and the De Stijl. Its influence was pervasive: architecture, graphic and industrial design, theatre, film, dance, fashion and it remains a source of inspiration for many artists and designers around the world are still. Of course my way of work is based on the artistic tradition of my country. I have some works that were created by the influence of the Russian art. Design of award-winning packaging vodka “KASATKA” was inspired by the ancient Russian cross-stitch embroideries.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AS: I always start design process with thorough research and analysis. The key values that the client wants a brand to communicate to consumers, how likely these values are to strike a chord with the target audience, any competitors already on the market and likely crossover with the values they communicate – all of this and much more has to be understood and taken into account before what we usually understand as design even begins. The second challenge that needs resolving on the journey towards brand’s success is how to communicate core values of the brand to the audience. This is where visual identity and removing all, however minor, obstacles to delivering the message across come to the fore. Three words could characterise my design aesthetic: minimalism, elegance and sophistication. I always begin new project with hand drawn sketches on a piece of paper as this allows maximum freedom for my creativity. The fewer barriers there are for new ideas, for the excitement and urgency that come with embarking on the new adventure, the better is the result.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AS: I begin my day with a compulsory cup of coffee. I make my favourite aromatic drink, get cosy in front of my panoramic window facing a distant horizon line and greet every day as the best day of my life, full of hopes for new and exciting challenges it will bring. I know many people start a day with a jog or another kind of vigorous exercise, but I need to feel relaxed as I am catching up with my emails, social media news and various podcasts I am subscribed to. I usually just scan through, but stop and read if I come across interesting reviews of the design trends or just stumble upon something inspirational. I need this quiet time to get in the zone.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AS: My main advice would be to observe, to analyse, to draw, then go back to observing, analysing and drawing. Good design cannot exist without good observation and thorough analysis. Keep searching for your own direction, as this is what gives us happiness in work. I like this quote, attributed to Confucius: “Choose the work you love and you won’t be working a day in your life”.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AS: The design follows expectations.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AS: I like to create brand identity. This complicated goal is needed to apply a huge range of my skills as a designer and as a marketer.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AS: I develop my designs by myself.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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