When does the work of an art director end and do you even have a saying in when the inspiration will hit you? What is better — less or more? Rozalia Kurant, Art Director at Performante, talks about hiding sketches in the drawer, positive outcomes of rollerblading, and reveals what keeps her creative mind going.
The name of your position might sound mysterious to some people. Maybe we should explain it a little bit. What does an art director do?
I believe that proper words that would explain what I am doing on a daily basis might be — create and think. But, getting on a more professional note, I would say that an art director stands on guard of the best possible result of a whole project, mostly in the aspects concerning design and concept.
That must require a lot of creativity from you. Where do you seek inspiration?
Everywhere and nowhere. I take my inspiration from everything that surrounds me. Sometimes insights or ideas come to my mind from situations or things I barely notice in that particular time and I would never expect that they could become helpful some other day. This is an amazing part of the creative industry, each client is different and may surprise a creative team with a brief, that would make you dig deep into your memories and experiences.
Do you have something that helps you get creative? Music? A special desktop setup that sets you up in a mood?
Music totally! I assume that I can not think without music. ;) It is not just helping me to focus, because most of the time while working I do not even notice that something is being played. I treat it like a coherent part of my work environment.
Fun fact is that the creative part never ends. Often ideas come when I do not expect them. For example — when I am after work, my mind is separated from the topic, I am rollerblading through the city — obviously with music in my ears ;) — and suddenly… click! Here we go. The inspiration might come in the most unexpected moments.
How do you come up with your ideas?
This is a process. I usually start by searching for insight, a true thing people can relate to. Then, when we have a concept for a campaign, I check what the particular brand is like, what kind of mood they carry and the audience they want to engage. After that when I have in mind the style of a key visual, I start searching for some inspirations online if I need it.
Supposedly not all ideas are perfect from the very beginning. How often do you “throw away” your own design before you show someone the final version?
I would not count (laugh). It is constant work and to be honest it never ends, only the deadline makes me finish eventually. There is always something to rethink, change, add, or what I personally prefer — take away.
Talking about that, what are the characteristics of a good graphic project?
I always appreciate that type of design, that has a twist, something added, something out of the box. For me, a good project has kind of not obvious part, even a small thing that makes me stop and look at it for a while. We are overflooded by ads and visuals almost everywhere and all the time, on our phones or outdoors. So, if something makes me stop scrolling, look at it or think about all aspects of that particular piece of work — and I do not think about it in a bad way, it is a good design.
Are there things that make you cringe?
Certainly, but I think this is all about one’s taste. What makes me cringe, for someone else will be simply cool. But if I had to point something out, then what comes to my mind in the first place is overloading. For sure you can recall ads or graphics, that when you look at them you have no idea what is important and what is this is all about. Excess can be really cringeworthy.
How about briefing remotely and remote teamwork? How does it work for you right now? Don’t you miss some day to day interaction or maybe calls and Skype are just enough?
I think it works pretty nice — we do new campaigns and pitches all the time. :) Of course, it is easier to catch other people in the office and make a meeting about a project or quick brainstorm, but I would not say there is a huge difference. We still make arrangements for meetings or write to each other. Quick talk like 2 minutes can save 15 minutes of texting. What is an advantage though, is a fact that I can play my music out loud. ;)
Talking about unusual ways of working — you’ve successfully participated in Young Creatives contests. Do you think that initiatives like that are good for young specialists? Working on a daily basis isn’t enough? :)
Personally, I think that each opportunity to challenge yourself brings more knowledge. In a contest like this, you have a small amount of time and there is only a small team working — you and your partner. For sure competition with short deadlines teaches you how to work under pressure, especially when time runs freaking fast. What is more, it gives you space to think out of the box what is often hard to do when you are working with a client and following all the guidelines. But during such a contest participants may create and bring to the table whatever they want and sometimes being braver is better. What can I say, this is fun. :)
Do you have any tips for someone who would like to start a career in graphic design?
Learn, read, watch, and absorb everything around you, because inspirations are absolutely on every step you take.