LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Albert Fedchenko ("AF") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

AF : I got my education in the south of Russia in Krasnodar city. I studied at the Art and Graphic Faculty, my occupation is a teacher of fine arts. At that time in Russia there was no education related to digital design and work at computers. However, all the fundamental sciences studied there now are the most important in my work as a designer. Almost immediately after graduation and despite my age I was invited to teach at the Faculty of Architecture and Design, where directions in Digital had just opened. Due to this, I have been practicing self-education so far almost every week. After all, the field of design is very dynamic in terms of exercises and methods. Moreover, one needs to keep in practice.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

AF : At the beginning of my career, when I have just graduated from university, this sphere in our country was very unfilled. Then I saw the prospect of an interesting and well-paid job. I treated it like craft. But when the Internet broke into our lives, we all saw the work of designers from other countries. It had very strong impact on me, I wanted to attain their highest level. It was at that moment I switched from making money to creating works of art in which I would pursue my ambitions.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

AF : Well, that is quite a story! In my youth I played football and made serious plans for participating in professional sports. But when it came to higher education, I did not really like the curriculum offered by the Institute of Physical Education and Sports. And the case was that I went to the wrong faculty and there was not a word about football. Then I returned to drawing as my hobby, but already at the university level. So I became an artist at first, and then transformed into a designer. But football involuntarily haunts me throughout my life. :) Not so long ago I made break bumpers for the football clubs of the English Premier League. Moreover, I have been helping the school of young football players in my city for a long time.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

AF : Now I have a small studio where we professionally practice a wide enough range of graphic design: brand visualization, corporate identity, printing design, packaging and web design. This makes our work very diverse and comprehensive. After all, if you work only in one direction at some point you get tired of it. And it takes time to restore interest. Therefore, I like not the type, but the theme of design, the type of client's business.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

AF : Of course, an important aspect is the education of a designer. And if it’s not too late, you need to pay special attention to this. You need to take everything that teachers give you and even more. Having reached a professional level, a designer must take advantage of his hard work nature and ability to analyze the good work of designers of the highest level. This way he can accumulate a large number of exercises, methods and styles in his arsenal. He do not need to wait for "fat" orders, but try to realize his highest level in every interesting project.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

AF : Great designer is in constant search. He is not interested in walking along an already beaten trail. He craves experimentation and innovation. He is bound up in his projects. But with all this, he uses knowledge and accumulated experience to achieve not just beautiful packaging, but to make it for the consumer as interesting and convenient as possible. To make it profitable from the customer’s point of view. A compilation of these properties makes the designer's work great.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

AF : Of course, the idea and its concept are evaluated in the first place. Indeed, the first impression plays an important role in the selection of goods by the consumer. In the second place is the level of performance and work on the details. And in the third place, it is the functionality in the consumer environment, how competitive it will be in the market. Of course, this is not so easy to do without knowing the target audience and marketing tasks of the contractor, but this analytics becomes possible with experience.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

AF : Excellent and technically correct design directly affects on customer’s sales. It is very important not only to make a beautiful interesting picture, but also to prepare a file according to all the requirements of a printing house or other production. And experience is therefore essential. For this reason customers are interested in working with professional designers, and are willing to adequately pay for these competencies.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

AF : In fact, not so long ago, I just implemented the project of my dream. What is more, this is a dream of my early childhood. I made a poster for the new James Bond film “James Bond - No time to die.” And it was fantastically interesting and even exciting. In my work I try to approach to each project as to the project of my dream. This very often brings unexpected results. Therefore, everything is still ahead!

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

AF : There is no secret. All professional designers know these ingredients: to love their work, not to measure projects in amounts, to work hard and constantly self-educate.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

AF : I cannot single out any specific names. There are so many great designers that the list of names would be more than my interview. First of all, I memorize their projects. In the modern world, we can daily monitor all new and previous works of a high level.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

AF : I analyze many top-level works of other designers. I mentally set them up in terms of ideas and technical performance. Almost every day I look through 100-200 works, from illustration to packaging.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

AF : I fond of cinema! And I think it would be cool to be an actor, to act in Hollywood films, to play roles with the legends of world cinema. However, this is all fantasy :)

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

AF : Well, of course this is my family, wife, daughters, my parents, my brother. All of them will support you not only in the hour of triumph, but also in the moment of difficulty and disappointment.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

AF : It seems to me that this is my personality brought up from childhood. To reach the goal, no matter how difficult it may seem to you. Not to quit things halfway. Constant desire to reach the highest level that was previously unavailable to you. Do not be afraid of the new and obscure.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

AF : The main difficulty for me was and still are the lack of time. Looking through the work of the designer, you are often overflowing with inspiration and ideas for new works. I constantly want to learn new technical skills or try myself in a different style. And all this is trying to blow you up inside. In the long run, the ability to divide the work and optimize it appears, but all this solves temporary problems only in part. Very little time is left for the family. I am grateful that closest people understand me and no matter what everyone supports me.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

AF : Now there are many sites where designers can easily post their work. Some of the sites restrict novice designers. But there are those where young designers can show even their first works. This allows them to hear the objective opinion of specialists, strive to do the work even better, more professionally. And participation in international competitions stimulates to work to the maximum, to be in constant search.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

AF : Each designer is directly related to the visual part of the world. Whether it is landscape design or packaging design. The designer is responsible for how the consumer sees the client’s product or service. Therefore, the more global the distribution market, the more responsibility lies with you.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

AF : I really like complex projects where you need to apply all your knowledge and spend a lot of time on the details. Where a large number of specialists from related fields are involved. These results gives me the most satisfaction. I also like projects with a subject of customer’s activity, which is new for me. After all, you study areas that were unknown to you precisely in these projects. You learn the nature of the product, how it is created, its secrets and consumer.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

AF : Immediately after graduation, I went through a very good school of fast and quality work. All this happened in the editorial staff of the magazine where it was necessary to dynamically create a high-quality design product. It was necessary to interact properly with all parties to the project. Still, I like it when everything goes according to plan and in its own timing. It is very important for me to complete the project in the period that I announced. And my big experience helps me to do this.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

AF : I have a few mottos. My most sympathetic is "Less talking, more doing!" And this motto relates not only to my work as a designer. Here is a purely design one. “The more complex the project, the more interesting the work!”

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

AF : A commercial designer cannot do without the influence of a trend on his work, because he makes a project not only for himself, but also for the consumer (target audience) of his clients' products. However, a great designer can himself generate trends in his field of design. And this is just the most interesting moment of experiments.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

AF : In terms of software, I use a standard set of graphic designer. These are Adobe products. Any design begins with a pencil and sketch on paper. I paid special attention to the equipment because it is very important that the computer needs to be powerful and does not delay you at the production stage. It is important to pay attention to the workplace, because you spend a lot of time there. In addition to ergonomics, aesthetics are also important to me.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

AF : Awards in international competitions are an excellent added incentive for your own development. An objective view at your level and at your work. It is a good tool to promote you among potential customers as a high-class specialist. And the higher the prestige of the award, the more pleasant you are to realize it.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

AF : Purple, Italy, bbc octopus, autumn, my Imac and Martini

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

AF : I like to make presents to my family! One of them is a surprise for my daughters. From time to time, hedgehogs came to them on the bedroom wall (characters I painted and printed on adhesive letter). In the stories, I used their hobby and interests. I stuck the Hedgehogs on when the girls were sleeping or they were not at home. It was very exciting to watch their joyful and cheerful faces when they noticed new ones. Now they have grown up, but still remember these happy moments.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

AF : No, it was not. As a child I could not think about it, although I really liked to draw. Even while studying at the university, looking at the cool packaging or at the movie posters, I did not think that I would end up on the side of creating these products.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

AF : I think the future of human development will be very closely connected with artificial intelligence and robotics. We see that these technologies are already being introduced into all spheres of our life. And we will have to seriously compete with them in terms of generating design and formation of everything that surrounds us. The main thing is to save the ecosystem of the planet, otherwise the robots will not compete with anyone :)

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

AF : I want young designers to use my example to see that an ordinary person born in the center of Siberia can become a specialist of the highest level. Can work on projects with global brands. And for this you only need to have a big desire. All the tools to achieve this are very accessible and lie before our eyes. Go for it!

LEGENDARY DESIGNER


Xarin Series of Labels for the Farm Wines

Xarin Series of Labels for the Farm Wines by Albert Fedchenko

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