#AskZajno: Questions for a Motion Designer
#AskZajno is a place for you to ask us the most burning questions of the day. Our latest question came from Ruben Ooms:
Dear Mr. Pavlinski,
I’m a first-year interaction design student at a university in Genk, Belgium. I have an assignment where I have to interview an Interaction or UX designer and ask them four basic questions.
Ruben’s questions and my replies are below…
Ruben: What are the three best designs in your portfolio, and why are they the best?
Me: OK! The first is my shot at a logo animation for Behance, which was one of my contributions to an animated logo collection Zajno created for that platform. Here, the challenge is to bring motion to an existing design in a way that keeps its personality intact while also bringing it to life in a way that isn’t possible with a stationary image. It’s a fine balance to strike, but if I say so myself, I think I kind of aced it here — and the work was very well-received.
The second is also a logo animation, this time for Intel. With this project the goal was to blend the iconic visual identity of the brand with a specific new hardware product — a Fitbit. I made use of the very recognizable visual characteristics of the Intel logo to begin delivering the brand identity even as, in the first moments, you see only a very stripped-down representation of a running figure.
Choosing the third was tricky but in the end, I went for a whole website that we created for an app called Chance. What was special here for me was that instead of my animations being assets for the site, they were actually where it all began — our developers took animation I had produced and coded a site that looked as similar to it as possible.
Ruben: How did you start your career as a designer?
Me: Just like you, I went to school — in my case a design academy, where I studied graphic design. So you can say that I had my sights set on design from pretty early on. But it wasn’t until after I graduated that I fell head over heels in love with specifically motion design — and like any time you fall in love like that, it came pretty much out of the blue. I know that in some ways, if you’re looking to make a cold, rational career decision, this might not be so helpful — but in my case, I really did just find something that inspired me and keep doing it.
By the time I arrived at Zajno I of course already had my skillset in place — but the great thing was that I could also still experiment and find my creative self. There was plenty of space for trial and error, and this was really how I learned how to make good motion, interactive and interaction design — which I’m happy to say is now what I spend my days doing.
Ruben: What’s the biggest influence in your work?
Me: To be honest, I don’t have one clear answer to this question. There’re lots of different things that inspire me, from Disney cartoons to successful motion designers who started at the bottom and got to where they are now by working hard and being passionate about what they do. Sometimes I draw inspiration from specific projects by other designers — so for example, before creating the Behance logo animation I got inspired by Adam Grabovski’s Google logo animation and Nikita Melnikov’s Logitech logo animation.
Then there are wonderful, inspiring books such as The Animator’s Survival Kitby Richard Williams and Disney Animation: The Illusion of Lifeby Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. And it goes without saying that every day I browse through Dribbble, FWA, Awwwards and other design hotspots, and soak up all the inspiration they have to offer.
Ruben: What is interaction design and what is it not?
Me: Well, it would be easy to write a whole essay on this topic! And, I’m sure that if you look around the Internet, you can find a thriving debate going on, with a very diverse range of opinions.
But actually, I can also sum up the core of my feelings in a few words. In my own practice, interaction design is the art of combining and finding a balance between beauty and usability, smoothness and naturalness. Another way to put it would be finding the sweet spot where animation compliments the good looks and great user experience of our products, helps our users navigate them more happily and easily.
One thing that interaction design should never be is something that exists just to look flashy or to take the limelight for its own sake. This is a very cooperative discipline. It has to be an integral part of the product.
We’re ready for our next question, so if you’ve had your hand up all this time, tweet using #AskZajno, or email us with that as the subject, also telling us who you are, where you are, and what you do. (Heads up — we’ll share that information if we publish your question, unless you say not to.)