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Interview with Olga Takhtarova

Home > Designer Interviews > Olga Takhtarova

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

Interview with Olga Takhtarova at Sunday 3rd of May 2020
Olga Takhtarova
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?
OT: My love story for design traces back to my early childhood. I made drawings, sculpted, created something from the paper on a non-stop basis. That was the reason for my parents’ decision to start my education in an art studio for kids. Afterward, along with studying in elementary school, I entered Arts School. It took me 5 years to master my first profession - "Decorative Designer”. My artistic journey continued after high school and resulted in two higher education degrees – Fine Arts and Interior Design. My career in Design started in 2006. I worked as an Interior Designer and Graphic Designer in creative and design companies. Today I continue my way in my own studio.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
OT: My own design studio SOT B&D was opened in 2015. The name is the set of the initial letters of Studio Olga Takhtarova Branding & Design. This name was created by my good friend one day and settled down. The studio majors are visual identification, packaging, web design, illustration. More than 200 projects for local and foreign clients from Ukraine, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Poland, UAE, Russia, USA were implemented by SOT B&D within 5 years. SOT B&D is my opportunity for professional growth, a chance to work on interesting, large projects, and get acquainted with smart, purposeful people.

FS: What is "design" for you?
OT: Design is a part of our material world. We live inside the design. Design is in everything we deal with: from toothpicks to architecture. Design is a language, and if you are lucky enough to learn this language, you get the ability to transmit messages, form certain feelings, and affect others emotionally.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
OT: Packaging design is what I enjoy the most. I like the challenges of big projects when you are to blend many details. And the creation of illustrations - makes the project highly unique.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
OT: One of my recent projects gave me a feeling of satisfaction. This is a rebranding for a series of air fresheners. Trivial cliched flowers and fruits images were replaced for the gradient as the main element of design. Each aroma corresponds to its gradient. For example, lavender aroma – is the gradient of purple, blue, and lilac shades. And the citrus aroma is conveyed with the gradient of pink, orange, and yellow shades. Thus, the design for spray series turned out to be fashionable, vibrant, and recognizable.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
OT: My first commercial project was the development of a promotion booklet.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
OT: My favorite graphic tool is Adobe Illustrator.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
OT: An interesting project and comfortable communication with a client are my sources of inspiration

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
OT: What problem should design solve? What is the target audience for the design? What image should the design create? What should a potential customer, a buyer understand?

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
OT: My design process may be described as the state of trance, a complete immersion.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
OT: Satisfaction, joy, pride.

FS: What makes a design successful?
OT: If design evokes emotions

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
OT: Good design is intelligible. Good design is well-thought-out. Good design is sensuous, simple, and discreet.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
OT: Design is a solution to a problem. And a designer is the one who solves a problem.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
OT: Designers bare high moral responsibility. The product created today influences the cultural and mental appearance of a future consumer.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
OT: My previous exhibition was when I was studying at university. For now, I do not have certain plans for this.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
OT: Architects, industrial designers, graphic and web designers create visual culture. We literally create the world around us. I get inspiration from communication with other designers and get inspired by their works. I follow new trends in culture, I look straight and all around. I go into books, fonts, typesetting, study, and analyze how it works.

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?
OT: I would describe my style in design as Eclecticism. I like to combine different style elements in one project. For example, it is interesting to use a photo image and an illustration at the same time. I like the Victorian style for its sophistication and eye for details.

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?
OT: I live in Ukraine. This country has a rich history and ancient traditions. This allows you to create incredibly interesting and unique projects. In my practice, there was a design project for craft beer, where Ukrainian traditions and mythology were interpreted into the modern world. Working on design, I wanted to convey the idea that mythological creatures also keep up to date and perhaps even live among us, that Ukrainian history and mythology are not forgotten, but presented in an updated form. In one of the scenes, modern Vernigora (the giant athlete of East Slavic fairy tales) is in a hurry for a beer on his skateboard. Unfortunately, there are still too many examples in the design when the national idea, history, traditions are reduced to placing national flag or pattern. That I consider negative.

FS: How do you work with companies?
OT: Companies are my main clients. My collaboration with many of them lasts for more than one year. I work as a private entrepreneur under corresponding agreements.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
OT: I offer a good design - portfolio and my experience. Honest, transparent, and legally perfect terms of cooperation. Continuous support and advice throughout the execution and after completion of the project. Compromise and negotiation.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
OT: This includes many components. Design is not just about getting a job and creating a picture. There are many different steps between these actions: Study. Information gathering and understanding. Focusing. Understand the essence of the problem. Idea generation. Idea development to the defined idea. Choice of the idea. Selection the most effective idea from a number of them. Create an initial sample. Prototype. Testing. Receiving customers’ feedback.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
OT: At home, I have things mostly made in Ukraine. I am not sure if they can be called design items.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
OT: My usual day begins with coffee and watching Instagram feeds. Design the public that I subscribed to and their beautiful images inspire my day and I smoothly enter the workflow. I work almost without breaks being totally immersed in the process. I try to work on one project within one day, not mixing projects. I write emails, do phone calls. Having an appointment with a client, I always devote some time to getting ready for such a meeting. I collect information, prepare examples of work. And, of course, I listen to good music.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
OT: Become a sponge. Absorb, analyze, notice, and learn from everything and everywhere. Try to keep updated on news in architecture, fashion, design, illustration, photography, etc. Get a new experience. Chat with people. Be open to new things, leave home, expand professional contacts. "Play fair". To unite experience and knowledge into the organic whole and create a project that customers would buy, you need to follow the "rules" - those three stages of the design process: define the task, form the idea, realize.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
OT: The benefit of being a designer is that it’s a highly demanded profession. The advantage of this profession is the possibility to work on foreign markets and deal with clients around the world. Designers create a certain style for the time frame in which they work. It's nice to be part of something big. There are also downsides. Designers are bounded with a task. Unlike an artist, a designer cannot create art for the sake of art or rely solely on his or her taste. The designer always submits a task and has to be practical.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
OT: The main rule is to show empathy. I believe that empathy plays a decisive role in the work of a designer. In order to come up with a solution for a client, a designer has to experience the situation in full.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
OT: In order to create out-of-box solutions and be a real expert, you need to improve your skills constantly, move the bar upwards, step out of your comfort zone, learn new things, work on mistakes and improve your visual culture. Despite how good a specialist you are, if you do not know how to communicate with people, interact with them, you will not be able to sell your work.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
OT: My graphic tools are Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop Adobe InDesign. I get inspiration from design books. I bookmark images and ideas in the browser, subscribe to the pages of agencies and designers that inspire me, create collections with bright and interesting ideas.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
OT: I believe myself to be extremely self-organized. It’s easy for me. I plan my working day in advance, check the deadline, determine which project should be given the priority. I work 10-12 hours a day, and very often that time flies. Similar to pilots’ flight hours, every designer should have a huge number of practice hours. This, in my opinion, is the only way to gain experience and score success.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
OT: Timing depends on the project itself and its complexity. If you need to develop packaging with a complex technical structure, individual illustrations, and specific printing that may take about six months and more.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
OT: How much does it cost to develop a project?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
OT: My long-established client once ordered a website for a project that I had been working on for a long time. Despite the absence of relevant experience, I made that site design myself. It was a challenge, though the client appreciated the result. Since then, website design has become one of my favorite scopes of work.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
OT: My clients are private entrepreneurs, medium, and big joint-stock companies. In 60% of cases, new clients come by referral of those with whom I had or have projects.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
OT: My favorite part of the project is creating the design itself when all the information is collected, briefs are read, meetings are held, details are clarified.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
OT: I intend to invest more in my personal brand, become more popular.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
OT: I work on projects myself. Thus, I am completely confident in the result and stay on top of it. The only part I trust other professionals is web-programming when I deal with websites.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
OT: Now I am working on a new umbrella brand for high-quality chocolates. I design logos and packaging. It is always interesting and very responsible to stand at the origins of creating a new product.

FS: How can people contact you?
OT: Welcome to my Instagram @olga.soart

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
OT: I’m grateful for your interesting questions that gave me a wonderful possibility to present 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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