Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Backbone Branding ("BB") 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?

BB : I have graduated with a degree in product design from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts. Before that I already had an interest in visual arts and especially photography which I had developed throughout the years.

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

BB : There is something magical and special in creating. In building a concept from scratch and seeing it getting realized in front of your bare eyes. It is wonderful what one’s imagination can produce. Also I believe in the influence and the power of design. I believe good design can make life easier, better and even change our reality by improving it. I became a designer because it was my passion even since I remember. Since I was a child, I used to draw toys and then create them with materials I found laying around me. It’s all I ever wanted to do.

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

BB : It was my own choice. And the only thing I ever imagined myself doing.

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

BB : Everything related to branding, packaging design and product design. I believe and it was proven to me throughout the results I had within the years that good branding and design are key elements in determining the success or failure of brands. As for designing, I am fascinated by the functionality and the intelligence of design in Nature, I make sure that my designs are always respectful of Nature, and efficient and practical. Less Design more Nature.

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

BB : Perseverance. Patience and always hard work, learning new things and keeping up with the latest trends and happening not only in design but also in the world.

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

BB : Of course talent is key. But also a great designer is one that never stops working on themselves, seeking ways to better their skills and learn something new at every opportunity.

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

BB : Really good design should be able to create an emotional link. In branding and Packaging design, one of the main reasons that a consumer chooses your product, is because you succeeded in grabbing their attention and you were able to create an impact and send him a message that spoke to him on a deeper level.

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

BB : Over the years, results, numbers and statistics with brands that we have worked with have shown us that good branding is a key, major and crucial element in the success of a brand. For example I can state one of our newest projects which was the rebranding of a very well known dairy product line in Armenia (Ani Dairy). Lately, the brand has been struggling and has seen its sales numbers decrease noticeably. After we have created a rebranding, by changing the whole image of the brand, and even the name and logo, the sales have skyrocketed and the brand is once again a leading position in the field.

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

BB : The secret ingredient for success, is to design not only to seek a beautiful result, but to also believe that your work should have a transformative impact, an effect that would change things to the better. This is the high purpose for design and understanding this is key.

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

BB : Always work hard, and improve yourself, and never stop learning. There is not one single thing that I did. It’s an ongoing process to always work on bettering myself.

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

BB : Nothing far from the visual arts field. I have always had an interest in photography which I had developed throughout the years. So, I would say a photographer.

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

BB : Design is a tool to make life better, less complicated and more pleasant. Design is also a companion for you in your daily life. If it’s done in a good way it would improve your reality.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

BB : My passion for this field and my willingness to always evolve and persevere.

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

BB : This is such a competitive field, so challenges are there and there are many. And even after the Pentawards have selected us as the agency of the year in 2019, and we came at #14 in the list of top 20 all-time winners by the Pentawards, I can confirm that the challenges have not disappeared, as a matter of fact that have even become greater. Because once you reach such important achievements, you have to even work harder to stay on top of the game and keep your reputation intact and up to these international and high end standards.

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

BB : Although I can’t exactly reveal our coming projects, I can say that one of them would be a campaign that involves sustainability and finding waves to help save the planet and find solutions for its longevity.

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

BB : As an Armenian designer, my goal is to show that Aremenia can excel in design and the potential of talents we have here. As a matter of fact, last year in London, for the Pentawards, it was such a proud achievement to have not only our agency’s but our country's name stated as we received the title of Agency of the year, especially among such international and leading names in the field of design.

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

BB : To always come up with great design solutions for challenges and problems they are facing.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

BB : Design is such an efficient and effective way of communication. The message it sends is instantaneous and straightforward, and it has a crucial role especially during those times, where visuals are more important than ever. So if you are creating a good and positive design you will be sending a powerful message that will reach people in their daily lives and transform them.

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

BB : It depends on the requirements of the project, and the scope of work needed. Each case is unique. Usually it takes a few to several months.

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

BB : We first start by a deep and meticulous research about the theme. Our team is super attentive to learn about the subject in question and see any news relating to it. Of course before this, we would be communicating with the clients on a deep level, in order to understand their vision for the project and his goals and aspirations. Because first and foremost we believe that our work relations should be based on good partnerships with our clients.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

BB : Imagination for Transformation. To always use creativity to chase news ideas, go after new challenges, face them and overcome them to create efficient solutions and transform our daily reality.

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

BB : Both influence each other, after all design is always evolving and changing with the times and what’s new. However, design has also a strong hand in changing realities and our day to day lives. So I can say that trends and design complete and complement each other.

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

BB : Nowadays technology is important, and key, and simplifies the task of a designer thanks to all the new softwares and innovations happening. Therefore, it is always crucial to be updated and use it when the need arises.

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

BB : Design is a bunch of things that complete each other. First and foremost it’s about having a composition that is harmonious to the eye. The right colors are essential in expressing your concept, your message. Of course in Packaging design choosing the right material is crucial, and it is not an easy task. We at Backbone Branding, do many tests and trials on different materials in order to find the one that is suitable for the work in question. After all these elements complete each other, and if one of them is not the right choice for the project, then the project wouldn’t be successful. This is why a thorough study and in depth experiments are key.

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

BB : Our designs are always based on a strong concept and long hours of study and research, we love it when people are interested and ask questions, when they find the message of our work, or want to further understand the story behind it.

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

BB : It is always a great and fulfilling feeling to see a great, successful design. As a designer myself, I immediately think about the process behind the work, the techniques used and the try to decipher how it was done and thought about. The critical thinking designer in me awakes, and I start asking questions to myself about how I would have approached the work if I was doing it myself, and all the common and different ways I would have found a solution to the challenge.

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

BB : I believe in teamwork and I believe that good design is done by a group, where each person has a thing to add and plays their role in completing the project. At Backbone Branding, during the course of the years I understood the importance of my team and the value they bring to the work. Therefore, I do believe in co-design if a project asks for it, the only crucial point is to find the right person to be designing with.

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

BB : We are influenced by everything that is around us even when we do not notice it. It’s not only people, but also sounds, situations, places or even happenings. Anything and everything can play a role in affecting our subconscious in a certain way, and I believe that our designs are a way for this influence to be expressed and let out.

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

BB : By practicing, learning, always reading and keeping an open mind to anything. I believe that a good designer is one who is constantly evolving and absorbing what’s around them.

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

BB : I wouldn’t say I am personally famous. All the awards, recognition and distinctions we have received, we received because of our works, because of what we have produced and continue on producing. And all of this happened not due to the efforts of an individual, but the hard work and talent of a team. At Backbone we always emphasize on the value of teamwork, because we know that everyone of us has a key and essential role to play. Pentawards gave us the title of Agency of the Year 2019 and I am very well aware that we have achieved this success thanks to the fact that I have such a talented team, which therefore makes a strong Agency.

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

BB : Motivation is key in all the work we do. And as a founder and creative director, I believe that my role is not only to motivate myself, but also to get my team always feel their best and ready to face any design challenges and work difficulties they come across. What fuels my drive is the ambition to always find the new idea, chasing the concept that will surpass everything previously achieved and bring something new to the table in terms of design, innovation and creativity.

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

BB : As a child, I used to spend hours drawing, creating illustrations of toys and planning their structural form, and then try to create them with any material I could find around me. As long as I remember design has been my true passion and calling.



Yan Natural Juice Packaging

Yan Natural Juice Packaging by Backbone Branding

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