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Interview with Artur Konariev

Home > Designer Interviews > Artur Konariev

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

Interview with Artur Konariev at Tuesday 17th of May 2022
Artur Konariev
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?
AK: Most of the stories that artists and designers tell you are about how they haven't even learned to walk yet, but they've already started drawing, their parents noticed this amazing ability and sent them to a super-specialized art school, and they graduated with top grades. That's not my story. I didn't have a passion for drawing when I was a kid. At school, I asked my sister to draw for me just to pass the subject. It wasn't until university that I got to know Photoshop. I saw what it could do, it interested me and I began to explore it and the art universe around me. So I started learning about graphics, web design, and then UX/UI. I have two educational degrees that help me interact with design - philosophy and cognitive psychology. My first design education is in the Product Interface Design Course and after that, I studied UX and Human-Centered Design. The idea “to change life for the better” is the part of design thinking and my approach. I'm a perfectionist by nature. Therefore, I feel passionate about each of my projects. I’m a senior Product designer specializing in design thinking, user-friendly interface, and creative direction. I continue working and developing my skills in design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AK: We combine innovative, professional design, and the creation of emotional connections for a superior online experience. Our approach is based on solving complex business tasks with the help of a high-quality, inspiring and exclusive design with extremely high ROI. We are a full-cycle product agency delivering a beautiful design with a passion for startups & leading brands. We are a team of dedicated professionals creating the eye-catching and functional designs of a website, mobile, and desktop applications, and brand identity strategies. We combine expertise in UX, UI design, and web/mobile development to help you conceive, build, launch and steer digital products. Our team works with clients to help them build applications that are intuitive, scalable, and friendly. We design websites and apps based on design discovery, prototyping, and design development.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AK: For me, design is about communicating feelings through visual sensations and unique experiences. The design provides an opportunity to create distinction, in visual communication, service, or product design by adding your personal touch. A good design should always be able to fulfill the needs of the users and clients. As a rule, we all agree that form follows function. In other words, design is about finding the most satisfying way to solve a problem or provide a response to a need. It is an art form that combines functionality and aesthetics.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AK: In the past few years, I have become passionate about the design of the user interface. It is a challenging task to design a functional interface that is designed to meet the needs of a specific user, as I often have a hard time seeing things from the other person's perspective. But I also love working on UX projects, as it allows me to create a great product that is always satisfied by the end-users. I mainly work on digital projects, where I try to create solutions that connect people.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AK: It is not always easy to choose a project or a collaboration. However, I am satisfied with the results of many of these projects. Edvoy was a turning point in my career, as it was the first multidisciplinary project that I worked on completely. Initially, the journey was hard, but it allowed me to meet some of the most interesting people in the industry. It also gave me the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative digital and analog technologies.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AK: It was a web design project for a beauty salon: an exciting project but just a hell of a client. I had no experience in communicating with clients, and I thought that "The client is always right." However, this is not entirely true. Therefore, he put me through the wringer; there were a lot of corrections and concepts. As a result, I created my design concept, not according to the brief and vision of the client. Guess what - it was approved by the client right away with minor corrections. It was my little victory, but still, it was not the most pleasant experience. After that, I had thoughts to end up designing, but I decided that one client is not an indicator. After this, I pulled up my technical and communication skills a bit and continued to work with the design.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AK: I prefer using Google Material Design, Human Interface by Apple, and the Design Thinking approach. I leave enough time for creativity, but firstly, the design must be functional. I usually follow these frameworks in my work. They are especially effective when developing mobile and desktop applications. It’s essential to do things that may be easily implemented later, and that will work well, the sequence and rules are crucial for the developers. I can provide that, and it does all the chemistry between us.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AK: It is hard to say, but I believe that once the customer trusts you enough, you can reach the creative peak. After giving you a track, you can then experiment with different solutions to the more canonical ones.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AK: I believe in the strength of collaboration and I combine empathizing, defining, ideating, and strategy with designing and testing.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AK: Honestly, it's something I've never thought about. I don't think I can identify a single one, it's more a whirlwind of emotions that can vary from project to project. There is a concept in Psychology called "Flow" that refers to the state of being in the zone, which is the state where one is fully engaged in an activity. This is because, in this state, one is absorbing everything that one does, and this process results in a complete transformation of one's sense of time, which helps me do my job.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AK: Sometimes, it can be hard to be completely satisfied with the results of a project. However, at other times, it is also a good feeling to know that you have delivered a product that the customer needs. The goal of every project is to reach its goal, and once it does, magic happens.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AK: A successful design is something that can be attributed to the appreciation of the end-users. I believe that my opinion and that of the customer must be technical and critical, but then the user's appreciation will always have the last word.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AK: I think, first impression matters, but I would advise focusing on usability. It is a make-or-break issue. For me, good design is functional design. I always use "it works" and "it doesn't work" as an objective judgment meter. I would never describe a design as ugly or beautiful, as these are not the ideal points of view.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AK: I design solutions to cater to the individuals' needs. Well-designed products improve how people accomplish tasks and as a result, the operation of society as a whole. A good designer can also be a powerful tool for organizations that are committed to addressing various environmental and social issues. In our small way, I try to make sure that our clients are aware of the importance of being socially and environmentally responsible. This is because, like everyone else, the designer is expected to behave responsibly. We can convey complicated things in a language that is easy to understand, and also, through trial and error, improve existing principles and things. For example, a designer can create a universal type of bottle that, during production, will use 50% less plastic but remain convenient and functional.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AK: Obviously, over the past century, the design field has evolved and expanded. I guess this tendency will get even a faster pace in the future. To my mind, in the near future design will get more paramount. It will address even more complex problems. Design is not only a beautiful cover; the design is a problem-solving tool. Technologies like AR / VR / MR / XR will change major industries like medicine, architecture, transportation, space, and the automotive industry. An excellent example of Elon Musk with his ideas. Do not also forget about Biodesign: unity with nature is now more relevant than ever.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AK: Recently, I have not devoted much time to exhibitions and publications, but I hope this year to fix everything. My designs have already won a few awards at the A’Design Award & Competition and other award exhibitions, and I will not stop there. Follow the news, and soon you will be able to learn more about new exhibitions and publications first.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AK: My main source of inspiration is the people, as well as the endless variety of stimuli that can be found around me. I also spend a lot of time on sites like Dribbble and Behance, where other designers share their work. This helps me to look at my work more objectively. But it should be clarified that the designer is not an artist. We do not need muse or external factors to create. Designers use principles, guidelines, laws of physics, and codes. Until the moment of “Creative,” there are as many as five stages of UX processes that create the basis of the product, and only one stage is the creation of the visual part of the design.

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?
AK: I never stop exploring myself. Every new task opens up new sources in me. I would say I value simplicity. I strongly believe in the principle that' genus is based on simplicity. Each project is a news story. I can’t use styles from the children's online store for the banking system project. I can say that the approach to working with each project has a style. I must always be able to offer the most suitable solution for the customer. This is the approach that I developed for myself over the years of practice and which I use to make projects successful.

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?
AK: I used to live in Kyiv. Ukraine is my native country, and I feel 100% Ukrainian mentally. I was forced to leave my home country because of the war. The uneducated russians decided to destroy Ukraine, me, my family, my children, and the entire centuries-old culture, but their dreams will never come true. At the moment, I see vast perspectives for design in Ukraine. Now all Ukrainian designers are broadcasting to the world through their work, collecting millions of views, subscribers, and money to help. Our country has a huge historical and cultural background in design. There are a lot of talented young professionals capable of delivering quality products. This fact inspires and motivates me to develop in the field.

FS: How do you work with companies?
AK: Different collaborations. I create beautiful designs with equal passion for startups and leading brands. I help my clients’ businesses to grow and develop through distinctive, meaningful, and enduring design. Whether they run a multinational corporation, a small independent venture, or something in between, if you’d like to collaborate on the design, redesign, or refinement of their visual branding, it’d be great to see if we’re the right fit.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AK: One of the most important things that I can give to companies is to make sure that they are hiring the right professional. This is because, ideally, a good designer will want to work for you in the best possible way. However, these should not limit the work of the individual who will be working for you. The first step in choosing a good designer is to look at his or her portfolio. Aside from the portfolio, the other factors that a client should consider are the working method and the approach that the designer takes.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AK: The process that a designer uses can vary depending on the type of project that they are working on. However, it can be done simply and can be divided into five phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Although it may seem like a linear process, every project should be iterative. This means that I will continue to develop the designs as I gather more information about the end-users. For instance, if I receive feedback during testing, I might need to look into developing new ideas.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AK: One of the most important objects that I carry with me when it comes to design is my Macbook Pro. This is because it is an extension of my mind and body. Being in focus mode is always an asterisk task, especially when you're on the road, in a public place, or just have kids. That's why I use BEATS Studio3 Wireless, they always save me in the most stressful situations. The other things are not professionally related, but they are part of my routine and I enjoy using them. A morning cup of coffee brewed in the V60 gives me energy for the whole day.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AK: Working remotely I have to do a lot of things by myself. My day starts with brewing coffee, taking the child to the kindergarten, then a quick greeting to my colleagues. Then the most exciting part begins. The first thing I do is read the emails and decide how to set the day, then work until lunchtime. After the lunch break, my work begins again. It usually involves writing emails, and calls, meeting with clients and working on projects that must always be ready ahead of schedule. At the end of the day, I usually head to the kindergarten to pick up my children. I divide myself between the gym and love life, and now and then I can even see some friends who are now starting to doubt my existence!

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AK: As for young designers, my advice is 'be dedicated to what you do'. Explore, learn different technologies, follow the news, read the blogs by seniors, and read a lot. Now there is a lot of information and literature, audio, and video content. These are sources of insider information in the public domain. Use it if it is available. The best way to test and improve your skills is to work. Do not be lazy, and you will be rewarded. Find an agency of your liking, where you can work in a team, and ask a lot of questions to senior and experienced who have already gotten bumps. It will be an invaluable experience. As to those who decided to hire a young professional I would advise keeping calm, being appreciative and supportive, and not forgetting that we all were young professionals some time ago.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AK: As a true fan of my work, I can see only positive aspects here. Clients come to me with business problems, and with the help of design, I offer them business solutions. Sometimes these are global changes that directly affect/help users, and that's cool. The negative side of being a designer is that we are not artists and cannot just do whatever we want because there are tasks that need to be addressed. Besides, the designer’s job is not only to create, but it’s also sales, management, and marketing, which are quite tiring because you can’t just relax and create.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AK: One of the most important factors that a designer should consider when it comes to developing a project is empathy. This is because, to come up with a solution, a designer must first experience the situation.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AK: This is a controversial question. Creativity is, of course, an important skill, but it is not necessary to be a genius to work as a designer. Now the designer is more of a technical specialty, so cramming or learning and understanding the basic rules and practice will help to become a good designer.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AK: I rely on sites like Dribbble and Behance for inspiration. They allow me to create mood boards and collections that are useful for the creative process. Miro, Figma, Sketch, and InVision are the main tools in my work. Another tool that I use is Jira, which allows me to manage my work even when I am working with multiple agencies and freelancers.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AK: There are many tasks and distractions, especially when you work for yourself or own an agency. During a pandemic, many office workers felt how it's like to be focused when Netflix, a sofa, and a refrigerator, seduce you, or when children think you have a day off. Usually, I plan out each day’s activities and try to stick to the plan. Plus, for me, it is very important to find the right time for the right activity to stay productive all day long. It is also important not only to plan but also to take stock of what has been done. You can determine which tasks you have done and which have not, and why. Thus, you can understand what blocked you and exclude these factors.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AK: It depends on the object's complexity. It may take from several days up to several months, actually. At this time, when the world is changing rapidly and dictating its own rules, I cannot develop some projects for months. Business needs to offer quick solutions that are relevant now. We killed a perfectionist. We took maximum responsibility and decisions on ourselves. For us, the speed of response, relevance, and strength of an idea is more critical than a licked creative.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AK: How much does it cost? Why is it so expensive/long? Many, not all, customers have no understanding of what designers do. Many people think that the designer opens Photoshop, sits at the computer for several minutes, and everything is ready. Design is something everyone can do, but not everyone has time for this. This mistaken vision has existed for a long time. In such cases, I try to explain the process of creating a design, or rather a solution to a business problem. As soon as they learn some details of the process, and how thoughtful and vital it is for the development and launch of a successful project, they cease to be so frivolous about design.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
AK: With each new project, I am becoming a little better than yesterday. I always try to implement new technology in a project and create a new concept. In this way, it gets possible not to stop and develop all the time. One such project was the development of an AR application for LG Uplus along with the EyeCandyLab team from Augmented Reality. Then it was my first touch of Additional Reality not as a user but as a designer. This project gave me deeper knowledge and skills in using new technology in practice. Now I use this experience to make new projects more successful. By adding new functionality, applications become better and more popular as they solve even more tasks.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
AK: One of my favorite clients is LG Uplus. Through my work with agencies and freelancers, I was able to connect with some of the most promising companies in the world such as Helen Marlen Group, EAK Digital, EyeCandyLab, Augmented Reality, Stadium, Interview-Maker, Wheels for Wishes, InstyMeds, Comfort Life, Piastrix, Meela (Juno baby), Shopafor, Edvoy, IECabroad.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AK: I’m always curious about the result. Thus, I enjoy finding new ways of doing things or solving issues.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AK: Every year, I set new goals. However, I also believe that it is important to get lost to reach your goals, exploring and daring are as important as planning. In the future, I hope to continue developing my brand and increase my visibility.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AK: I firmly believe that sharing and constructive comparison can help people expand their horizons and develop new ideas. It can also help them identify areas of their creativity that they may not have considered before. Everything I do immediately affects my teammates. Thus, there is no division between developing myself and developing my team at the moment. We are improving and we are doing our best.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AK: I have been working on an exciting NFT marketplace lately and would love to share its details with you, but I can't do that yet. Stay tuned so you do not miss out.

FS: How can people contact you?
AK: They can contact me through my contact form on the website or by email. Or on Facebook, Instagram, Dribbble, and Behance.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AK: I am grateful for your interesting questions that gave me a wonderful possibility to present myself. If you have exciting ideas that you want to implement or you need to reformat, or improve the business, my team, and I will help you succeed in this and start/restart your products.


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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