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Interview with Valerii Sumilov

Home > Designer Interviews > Valerii Sumilov

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Valerii Sumilov (VS) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Valerii Sumilov by clicking here.

Interview with Valerii Sumilov at Wednesday 29th of May 2013
Valerii Sumilov
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?
VS: As long as I can remember myself – I was drawing all the time. From my earliest days. Me and my color pencils, always together. That’s why I didn’t ask myself whom should I become in my teenage. The answer was always obvious for me. And it was always – an artist. When I was 17, I discovered computer design and realized that there’s an entire world of limitless possibilities. That summer of 1997 I realized that I will become a designer.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
VS: I am the creative director and the founder of the agency. It was established in 2004 by a group of initiative designers who wanted to work independently, without dealing with any directors who don’t have a clue about design in general. We had our own vision of art, design, and visual culture. As time passed each of us has developed his own style, own approach and vision of design. As a result, each has established his own studio, and I became the head of “Etiketka” agency. Right now, I can easily say that the design that we create as a team fully corresponds to our vision of design in general.

FS: What is "design" for you?
VS: For me, design is one of the most interesting methods of transforming the external and structural image of the world around us. Even more, without design its transformation would be impossible. It is present in all the domains of our lives, accompanies us from the moment of our birth to the oldest of age. We are born and we die in design. It is present in everything. Our body is the pinnacle of creation, the pinnacle of design. The human is beautiful and perfect. This is true for both our exterior and interior. Everything is well-organized, intertwined, forming a uniform system with various elements interacting between each other. Our dwelling, its decoration, the technology surrounding us, working place, habitat, the world around us – in everything there’s a design, serving as a means to transform the image of the world as well as to order its structure.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
VS: Of course, my favorite projects are the ones that take my breath away! The ones that have a great idea, concept, task. When the project is based on a good, positive idea, working on such a project is very pleasant and comfortable. Ideas pop up one after another and this brings real satisfaction.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
VS: My favorite design… is the beauty of human body. Fluency and perfection of female forms. This subject is covered by countless paintings, songs and books. You can talk about it for hours and, at the same time, without saying anything particular. Fortunately, this is the kind of beauty that’s all around you every day. An unlimited source of inspiration!

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
VS: My first work for the company was to develop a corporate identity. To create a logo and a system of internal paperwork identification. It was a rather easy task, because shortly before this task I’ve completed my diploma on the subject “Visual image in the system of graphic design. Trademark”. I was well-prepared for such a project and have performed it flawlessly for that time.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
VS: I don’t have a favorite material or technology, as each project requires its own means of visual expression. I prefer to be universal when it comes to reaching the goals. Variability stimulates the development of design and artistic thinking, helps not to get stuck on particular things, helps to develop in different directions.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
VS: I feel a rush of creativity when I reach a lively vein, a lively idea, a wave that helps to push the design to a new level. This happens only in the process of lengthy search for graphic and conceptual expressiveness. Because, the initial phase of any project is spend on hackneyed, trivial solutions. At this point it’s very important not to stop and to go even further. Further than others. And when 9 out of 10 designers will stop in their search – I will go even further. The moment I find something real, valuable, is the moment when I feel the strongest rush of creativity.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
VS: When it comes to design I pay the most attention to the general artistic aesthetics. Even if the project is small, it still has to be aesthetic, harmonic. It has to emanate professionalism, thoughtful approach, delicacy. There’s another aspect that I pay a lot of attention – the details. The way the smallest elements are performed, the accuracy of drawing images, nuances of color correction. When all these little details are carefully implemented and combine within a single project, the resulting design gets a completely new look.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
VS: When I create a design I experience a broad range of emotions. It feels like rafting on a mountain river. Curiosity, confusion and enthusiasm, rise and fall. Search, struggle and survival. Everything ends in catharsis – feels like falling into a calm lake after a violent river. Silence, peace, satisfaction.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
VS: I tend to experience an indescribable feeling when I see the result of my work being embodied in the real world. In moments like these you feel as a creator, since you’ve transformed the very reality surrounding us. Added your vision, done something good, made the world a bit more beautiful.

FS: What makes a design successful?
VS: A successful design is comprised of many factors. Design has long exceeded the boundaries of the common concept of an object’s beautiful visualization. Design cannot exist on its own. It refers to specific industries, domains of application. Moreover, the design has to take into account a large number of factors, which in turn will strongly influence the end result. For example: when creating package design, the designer has to keep in mind such factors as the psychology of human perception, marketing, means and tools of promotion, the technologies available for production and many others.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
VS: When appreciating a design I do it according to several important criteria: is it aesthetic? For how long do I want to look at it? What emotions does it evoke in me? Aesthetics are in harmony, interaction of parts, moderation in applying different techniques, elements, fonts. Time of perception – if a design doesn’t “hook” me then it won’t keep the consumer near the shelf. Emotionality – interaction between the design and the person looking at it, communication. If it’s equal to zero – the person will feel it as a formality, as if the designer didn’t put even a bit of his soul in his work.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
VS: I think that the designer assumes serious social responsibility by choosing this path. Design is not only arranging font, even if it’s very important and can affect a person’s emotions. Design is transformation the exterior of our world. And the designers are responsible for this to a great extent. The objects of our creativity surround people every day during their whole life. And depending on how aesthetic, ecologic and relevant they are, the state of social disposition can be different. But there’s also one important notion. The designer creates while the producer embodies. He’s in turn contracted by the client. The designer only offers solutions, while the final solution is outside of his competence, residing in the zone of financial solutions.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
VS: The industry of design is developing very fast. It’s obvious. Every half a year, every year the trends, style and directions change. New trends, solutions and concepts appear. Design was, is and will be for as long as there’s humanity. And it will develop together with human society, reaching new heights.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
VS: The main limitless source of inspiration for me is nature. Flora and fauna. Lakes, rivers, seas. Foods, beaches, rocks, trees. Bright sunny sky, quiet warm rain – all this helps to recover, accumulate power, experience inspiration. Another fetish is cooking. As a man I love cooking meat, salads, enjoy a glass of good wine.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
VS: My approach to design can be expressed with the following phrase: everything has to be justified. There has to be a reason for everything. In my designs there’s no place for unjustified solutions, random elements or redundant fonts. So you can call may style of design “justified and accurate aesthetics”.

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?
VS: I live in Chisinau, Moldova. The cultural background of the country doesn’t influence me much, because my roots are traced to Russian Far East, Tatar steppes and Western Ukraine. Both of my parents were born in Dresden and have lived their first years in Germany. Working in Moldova is not easy. We have a small and isolated market. Design itself isn’t developed very well and there are no serious perspectives for it in the near future. The main advantage of Moldova is that it’s a sunny country with beautiful nature. This helps keeping me in a good disposition.

FS: How do you work with companies?
VS: When working with companies I employ the principle of “full immersion” into the client’s business. I explore all the peculiarities and nuances of the client’s domain of activity. There are usually numerous meetings for detailed briefing. After doing that, we create a brief. And after the brief gets approved the creative team starts working on the project.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
VS: In order for the company to hire a good designer, they first have to study his portfolio very closely. Check client feedback. Learn what makes him what he is, how he thinks and whether his view on design and working process matches that of their own.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
VS: My process of creating a design starts with thorough preparations. I try to analyze a large body of information concerning the project’s theme. I research the solutions, which were already fulfilled by other designers in the same domain. I’m not eager to repeat the solutions of other designers, that’s why I carefully choose my own way for developing a project.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
VS: At home I have elegant black figures brought from Thailand. Looking at them, I always feel satisfaction from their elegant lines and forms. I also have 5 empty bottles of “5 elemente” – I just couldn’t throw them away after drinking the wine. They’ve become a part of the interior and they complement it very well. There’s also a vintage wooden table that is over 30 years old. I like looking at it, its view evokes a feeling of serenity.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
VS: It’s hard to describe. Every day is not like the previous one – every day has its tasks, goals and ways of reaching them. When put together they all form an overall picture, a lifestyle. There are days when I want to take a rest and do nothing. But there are also many days that are very fruitful and intense.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
VS: I can give only one advice to all designers – evolve. Enjoy your work. Constant improvement will allow you to reach new heights, outdo yourselves.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
VS: Of course, there are both positive and negative sides to being a designer. The positive aspects include satisfaction from your work, creativity, transformation of reality with the power of thought. There’s always a possibility to evolve, communicate with new clients and their domains of activity. The negative aspects also concern clients. Unfortunately, not all clients realize the importance of design. Creating a design is a partnership, where the designer and the client have to work together. However, in the real world it’s not always so.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
VS: It’s very important for designer to have structural thinking. To develop the ability to analyze. It’s also important to be able to draw, to develop artistic skills. As a result this all allows pushing own design abilities to new levels.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
VS: My main plan for the future is to evolve. As much as I can. To absorb new trends, take part in the global development of design be an active part of this process.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
VS: I have a team of designers, which I lead. I develop the concept and strategic direction of a design. At different moments I include different designers into the project.

FS: How can people contact you?
VS: You can contact me by phone: + 373 79933448. There’s also our site, where you can find all my contacts: www.etiketka.eu


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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