LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Serban Iliescu ("SI") 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?

SI : I've been dreaming to pursue a creative professional life since I was 12 years old and visited Italy with my parents. That was the moment I first discovered the world of art, design and architecture, starting to observe the world in a whole new perspective. From that moment I started developing my creative skills and, during my high school years, besides my 3-year preparatory architecture course, I've attended numerous scientific, design and art contests such as NASA Design Competitions, Design Oriented Biology Olympiads and Photographic Competitions. In these years I've developed my design skills and strengthened my faith that Architecture was the best field of study I can chose for studying at university. In my third year of study at UAUIM Bucharest, after a widely appreciated project that included the branding of a jazz event, I decided to work as a freelancer in design. I started working for two men fashion stores and, after one year, my services started being requested by various companies I have been recommended to by my initial clients. That was the moment when I approached two of my friends that also activated in the creative industry and peached the possibility of opening our own agency. 2015 was the year we launched Enhance and since that moment we successfully worked with over 30 clients and delivered more than 100 creative projects.

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

SI : I became a designer because I've always wanted to bring beauty into the world. I have been appreciating design since I was just a child and I always wanted to be in the position of making people smile and improving their lives throughout my work. I think that my biggest motivation is to see my designs achieve their purpose and be successfully implemented by the companies I work with. The feeling I get when see my designs performing in real life is really special and the appreciation I get from the people I work with drives me to evolve and create new, better designs that can make a difference and inspire people.

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

SI : No one ever forced me to pursue activities that I did not love. I've always found my own path and becoming a designer has been, since I was a child, my dream. When I was 12 years old I visited Italy with my parents and I was presented, for the first time, to the world of art, design and architecture. That moment was very important in my professional development as I started seeing the world in a whole new perspective.

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

SI : Nearly all of my projects involve branding and graphic design. Over the last four years I was contracted for a big number of brand development projects and therefore discovered the area of design that brings me the biggest amount of satisfaction upon completion. I would like to take my branding projects further by also creating the architectural and interior design projects for the brands we represent.

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

SI : I'm not a design legend but I dream of becoming one. Young designers should persevere, be ambitions, aim higher than the sky and dream...a lot. There will be a lot of ups and downs along the way but if you stay focused and concentrate on your goals you will definitely become a great designer and maybe, someday, a legend.

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

SI : A great designer pushes the limits and struggles to deliver memorable content regardless of the project he is involved in. A great designer leaves a personal touch in each and every design and dreams of taking his designs to a certain level where it can as well be considered art. A great designer's work is eternal. Becoming a great designer involves a lot of hard work and perseverance that I am willing to invest all of my resources into deserving that title.

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

SI : There are a lot of factors that make the difference between a good design and an extraordinary one. This evaluation can sometimes be purely subjective, but there are a series of key elements that make a design extraordinary that cannot be overlooked: the attention to detail, the uniqueness and the ability of achieving it's purpose while making people smile.

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

SI : Good design is a very powerful tool that is essential for the success of every project. Regardless of industry design plays an important role in the final outcome of each and every developed product or service and is, most of the time, the most important factor in the customer decision making process. Therefore, good design is a highly valuable asset in which everyone should invest in order to ensure a successful outcome for their projects.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

SI : There are a lot of projects that I would start if I had more time. They are mainly targeted for the community I live in and for the young designers and artists of Romania, for my family and for me. Some of the projects are already planned and on hold until I find the time and funding to properly set them in motion. Talking about some of the most ambitious projects that I have in mind, i can say that one includes rehabilitating an abandoned historical building and creating a creative hub for designers and artists and another one is about launching an international architecture competition with the purpose of developing certain spaces of the cities of Romania. I would also like to properly enhance my current portfolio with high quality presentations and design for my family and bring my contribution to the proper development of their companies.

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

SI : I've always dreamt of designing for a prestigious international fashion designer and I hope that one day that dream will come true.

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

SI : "The details are not the details. They make the design." Based on this quote by famous architect Charles Eames, the attention do detail is my secret ingredient, being, in my opinion, one of the most important design tools that can make the difference between a good design and a great design.

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

SI : Charles Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Jonathan Ive, Gorden Wagener, Massimo Vignelli, Chris Do, Sebastian Padilla, Nigel Bates, Mihai Popescu, and many others.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

SI : I don't have a favorite design. There are a lot of different extraordinary designs that inspire me and drive me to become a better designer. I can somehow narrow my answer to the portfolios of Anagrama, VizLine, TwinsStudio and the amazing works designers all around the world make for Nike.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

SI : Unfortunately I cannot make an objective ranking of my projects but I can definitely list some of my favourite brands created by Enhance: Marina Pufleanu, Cuvierr, Maison d'Or, Cavaliere and Axel Group.

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

SI : In my opinion passion, ambition, open mindedness, auto-criticism, and constant research are the essential tools and characteristics every designer with high goals should posses. From the moment I've started working in this domain I started viewing the world in detail and learn from every interesting thing I observe. Every designer with high aspirations should constantly explore new personal design styles, search for high quality projects and learn from them and from the designers who created them.

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

SI : I honestly don't know. I would have either pursued my field of study (Architecture) or Entrepreneurship.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

SI : Design is the fusion between aesthetics and functionality. One cannot work without another in each and every type of design. Design is about people and about improving their lives, both physically and emotionally.

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

SI : My girlfriend, Patricia, is the one that constantly motivates me and drives me to becoming a great designer and professional. Without her I would probably not be where I am at the moment. Ionut, my associate, and Delia his girlfriend are also some of my key supporters and key player in both my professional development and the development of our agency. Last but not least, our families supported us all along the way and constantly inspired us to become the people that we are today and for that we will always be grateful.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

SI : There were a series of fortunate events and moments that professionally developed me into becoming a good designer but I think that some of the most important ones were the moments I my designs were criticized or refused. All of my clients were extremely exigent and had very high expectations from me regarding the quality of the designs I was contracted to deliver. Those moments, my clients expectations, constant practice, my passion and my drive of becoming a great designer were the key ingredients that made me reach the level I am today.

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

SI : My biggest obstacles were the development of my personal style, the quest of finding my optimal design work flow, and the complete understanding of the technologies and manufacturing methods that can be used for bringing my designs to life.

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

SI : Every design presentation should be carefully developed and and adapted to to the audience and to the context it is presented in. In my opinion, each project deserves a customized presentation in concordance with the particularities of the brand in cause. Every designer should be prepared to present his work in every situation and the quality of the presentation is essential.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

SI : I am currently working on numerous branding projects and there are also a few on the waiting list. In the next few months I will complete and launch the projects I am currently working on and I am sure that their outcome will be higher in matters of quality than anything I've designed until this moment.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

SI : I think that every designer out there has the same ultimate goal: to improve lives and make the world a better place.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

SI : They always expect a high level of creativity, top quality designs, professionalism and and a certain level of culture. And these expectations constantly drive me to becoming a better version of myself, both personally and professionally.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

SI : Design helps improving society on so many levels. Basically everything in our world was and will be designed at some point by someone. And that design can contribute do the development of society, from simply adding beauty to it, to creating breakthroughs that can change the lives, cultures, the health of the environment and even influence the outcome of humanity.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

SI : I am currently working on expanding my agency and taking it to the next level. All the premises are favorable and I hope that in the next close to medium time frame my development project will start paying off. At the same time we are working on numerous brand development projects and I am really looking forward to delivering the final result as they will definitely represent my best work so far.

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

SI : All of my projects brought me satisfaction because I did not stop improving the designs until both me and my clients were satisfied with the final result. The highest level of satisfaction is achieved when you see your designs successfully implemented and observe that how they add value to peoples lives and properly help companies grow.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

SI : I would like to see an increase in design educational programs properly prepared to help develop young designers and transform them into successful professionals. I would like great design to be fittingly promoted and an increase in the number of design themed events all around the world. I would like to see more design competitions like A'Design Award. I would like to see a more coagulated design community leaned on improving the current society and ultimately the world.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

SI : I am really optimist regarding the future of design as the level of awareness regarding the importance of design in general is on an ascending path. Technology evolves at a high rate and new design solutions arise and help creative professionals express their ideas and concepts with more ease as ever before. I think that the near future will reserve us some major breakthroughs and, therefore, some extraordinary designs.

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

SI : It depends on the complexity of the project. It can take from a few days to one year or more.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

SI : An initial thorough research is imperative to the success of each and every project, regardless of the project's type or complexity.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

SI : "The details are not the details. They make the design." - Charles Eames. This quote transformed into my motto a couple of years ago and also follows in various aspects of my personal life.

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

SI : The answer is in the question. Great design sets the trends and then these trends set the design. Therefore, simplifying the previous statement, design sets the trends and trends set the designs.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

SI : Technology is essential in my design processes. It is basically one of my most important associates. It helps me in the process of designing, in the process of manufacturing my designs and sometimes technology is also included in my actual designs. Digitalization has been a huge step for the world of design in general and we all live in a world driven by the benefits and technology.

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

SI : In terms of software I exclusively use Adobe developed design software which I consider to be the most complete design suite a professional can wish for. The performance of the equipment is an essential factor for delivering high quality projects. Therefore I work on a high performance workstation and regarding of the project I use a Wacom professional pen tablet and Canon photographic equipment. I strongly advise designers to invest into high performance equipment as it can make a big difference in the quality and associated time of every project.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

SI : Each and every ones of these aspects are essential to a great design. Choosing the right colors materials and ambient for your design can make the difference between failure and success. But then again - it's all about the details.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

SI : "How better could this design get?"

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

SI : The first question that comes into my mind when I see a great design: "Why didn't I think of this until now?". Then I search for the portfolio of the designer who caught my attention, explore try to understand all of his design particularities.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

SI : In my opinion, co-design is essential for the successful outcome of a complex project. A big number of services and processes can be implied in the development of one single project and, a lonely wolf will not be able, usually, to deliver high quality in all the aspects of design involved in such a project. Fortunately I've found my ideal design partner and, together, we started our own agency four years ago.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

SI : All of my close ones and all of my clients have modeled me into the designer I am at the moment. Ones design style is a cumulation of fortunate interpersonal interactions and fortunate moments.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

SI : As a child I was fascinated of the world of Jules Verne. As I discovered that it's all adventure and fiction I understood that our mind can take us to the unknown and help us create extraordinary things. So I think that the books of Jules Verne had the most impact upon my creative development.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

SI : I've developed my skills by working and working and working again. Practice is bliss. I also constantly follow the works and interviews of various world renowned designers and in this way I constantly find motivation to evolve and become better and better.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

SI : This is a hard one. Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, Turner, Nikola Tesla, Constantin Brancusi, Antoni Gaudi, Charles Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Houbert de Ghivenchi, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and, I don't know... The Queen. This is just a small list of names of celebrities, I could think about at first glance, I would love to meet and talk, regardless of time and space.

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

SI : I'm not famous at all. [:))] This is my first design award and I wish that this will be the new chapter of a long fulfilling design career sprinkled with the honor of receiving many other awards of this caliber.

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

SI : I can provide a quick answer for the first four positions: Emerald Green, Italy, Spring, Design. But when talking about brands things become a little bit different. There are a lot of brands that I deeply appreciate but I am afraid that I would need an entire book to discuss this topic.

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

SI : The funniest and most awkward moment I've experienced as a designer happened recently as we were moving our office to a new location. We recently found a new home for our agency, in Cotroceni, one of the most beautiful areas of Bucharest in an extraordinary beginning of the 19'th century building. The space was in need of major restoration and renovation processes and me and my colleagues actively participated in all the activities of bringing our new office to life. In the meantime a client of ours sent one of his representatives to provide a sample of an ongoing piece of design included in a project we were participating in. When the representative arrived at our new office that was undergoing severe reconditioning processes, he refused to leave the samples as he thought we were construction workers trying to mock him. Our client later called and was really amused about the whole situation and, intrigued, personally came to discover the ongoing project.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

SI : I can say I had a great day as a designer when I've managed to create something remarkable, as little as it can be, or when I accomplish tasks that make me feel closer to achieving the goals I have in place for the projects I am working on. The days when my clients and close ones appreciate my work. And, of course, the days that I am nominated or win various prestigious design competitions. [:))]

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

SI : Retrospectively I think it was pretty obvious that I will pursue a creative career. I've been playing with creative toys all of my childhood, settled upon architecture since 5'th grade and attended numerous creative competitions along my teenage years. I won't rush into saying that it was obvious that I would become a great designer, but rather that I will pursue a creative career.

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

SI : I can just hope that the world and society we live in will start observing it's mistakes and begin finding solutions to develop in a better, healthier way. I hope that mankind would evolve into better understanding the mysteries of life and of the universe. I hope that the new AI technologies prove to be human-friendly. And I hope that all of the science fiction movies covering future damaged societies remain science fiction. But all of my hopes can be only achieved throughout great design. So I definitely think that designers could ultimately change the world if they

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

SI : Everyone is invited to discover more about us using the following contact details: Phone: +40 (724) 74 33 39 - E-Mail: office@enhance-studios.com - Address: Str. Dr. Victor Poloni, Nr. 22, Sector 5, Bucuresti, Romania

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

DRIVEN BY PASSION AND THE BY A GREAT DESIRE FOR EXCELLENCE, SERBAN’S FIRST STEP TOWARDS A FULFILLING CAREER STARTED WITH THE DECISION HE MADE IN 2012 WHEN I CHOSE ARCHITECTURE AS HIS PRIMARY FIELD OF STUDY @ THE UNIVERSITY OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM "ION MINCU" OF BUCHAREST. BEING THE PERFECT LINK BETWEEN MY EARLY PASSIONS, SCIENCE AND ARTS, ARCHITECTURE, IN ALL ITS COMPLEXITY, HELPED HIM UNDERSTAND THE MOST IMPORTANT CONDITION OF SUCCESS: BEING OVERLY PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE - PASSION AND DREAMS DRIVE YOU WHEREAS AMBITION AND PERSEVERANCE ARE THE "TOOLS" NECESSARY FOR ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE. HIS EARLY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT STAGE STARTED IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS DRIVEN TO DISCOVER MORE ABOUT CERTAIN SCIENTIFIC SUBJECTS SUCH AS HI-TECHNOLOGY, ASTROPHYSICS AND BIOLOGY. TWO YEARS IN A ROW HE ATTENDED AND WAS AWARDED AT NASA'S SPACE SETTLEMENT DESIGN COMPETITIONS, HIGHLY ELABORATE PROJECTS THAT BOTH ENHANCED HIS KNOWLEDGE UPON VARIOUS SCIENCE BASED FIELDS OF STUDY AND DEVELOPED HIS PROJECT MANAGEMENT, LEADERSHIP, TEAM WORKING AND PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS. HE HAS ALSO BEEN INVOLVED IN VOLUNTEERING PROJECTS THAT HAD THE GOAL OF INTRODUCING HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS TO EVENT PLANNING AND FUND-RAISING BASICS FOR VARIOUS EVENTS AND CAUSES, IN UNDERLINING THE BASICS OF LEARNING AND PEDAGOGICAL TECHNIQUES AND VARIOUS OLYMPIADS AND CONTESTS WITH VARIED SUBJECTS SUCH BIOLOGY, PEACE, PHOTOGRAPHY AND GRAPHIC DESIGN. DURING HIS UNIVERSITY YEARS SERBAN UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF MAXING OUT THE QUANTITY OF INFORMATION HE MUST ABSORB IN ORDER FOR HIM TO BECOME A GREAT PROFESSIONAL. STARTING YEAR TWO OF STUDIES HE HAS STARTED WORKING AS A FREELANCER IN GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR FEW LOCAL COMPANIES. AS THE DEMAND FOR HIS EXPERTISE UNEXPECTEDLY TOOK AN ASCENDANT PACE, AT THE END OF YEAR THREE (2015) HE STARTED HIS OWN AGENCY WITH TWO FRIENDS HE MET DURING HIS UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES "GOD IS IN THE DETAILS." - LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE - THIS IS THE QUOTE THAT DRIVES HIM AND HIS TEAM OF CREATIVES IN THEIR PURSUE OF FINDING AND DELIVERING EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN. SINCE 2015, THE YEAR THEIR AGENCY WAS CREATED, THEIR ONLY CONCERN WAS TO DELIVER HIGH QUALITY PROJECTS FOR THEM TO BE KNOWN NOT ONLY AS AN ORDINARY CREATIVE TEAM, BUT RATHER AN EXTRAORDINARY ONE. THEIR DREAM IS TO SCALE OUR COMPANY AND, MAYBE ONE DAY, CROSS ROMANIA'S BORDERS AND DESIGN ALL AROUND THE WORLD. ALONG THEIR PATH THEY ALSO DREAM OF RAISING THE AWARENESS UPON THE LOCAL DESIGN COMMUNITY AND ITS IMPORTANCE BY LAUNCHING VARIOUS AMBITIOUS ART, DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURAL RESTORATION PROJECTS THAT CAN INFLUENCE THE COMMUNITY THEY LIVE IN IN A GOOD WAY.


Marina Pufleanu  Branding

Marina Pufleanu Branding by Serban Iliescu

Design Legends Logo

© 2020 Design Legends - All Rights Reserved

Design Legends platform highlights valuable insights from the best designers from across the globe; a great resource for all designers to learn, reflect and think about good design and how good design helps create value for the society.

Design Legends website was created by DesignPRWire and A' Design Award to promote truly great designers, outstanding architects and inspirational artists that contribute to the development and advancement of society with their outstanding works.