Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Olga Takhtarova ("OT") 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?

OT : This story traces back to my childhood. I was fond of drawing and my parents let me have lessons in the art studio. Afterwards I started my education in art school and in 5 years of training I received my first profession "Decorative Designer". My artistic journey continued after high school and resulted in two higher education degrees – Fine Arts and Interior Design. Having received the first diploma, I began working as an interior designer and was getting my second higher education coincidently. With time I became interested in graphic design, completed computer courses, and began to work for various creative design studios. Owing to my design studio, which I founded 5 years ago, I continue working and developing my skills in design.

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

OT : I can’t imagine myself and my life without design. I became a part of it. Nothing interests me more. Since very childhood, I work on my design skills, develop creativity. I have grown professionally, and I am not going to stop in the future. Now I pull up with my design quality, improve my professional skills.

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

OT : Becoming a designer was my well-considered decision. This was not accidental or forced. I received appropriate education, went with self-education, took lessons to improve professional skills, gained experience working in companies, founded my own company and I'm not going to stop.

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

OT : I create a visual identity, packaging, web design, illustrations. Sometimes I work on interior design. My favorites are packaging design and interior design. I wish I devote more time to that.

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

OT : A designer should answer the question of why he or she wants to become a designer. One has to understand that design is a big responsibility. It is important to be a professional and do the job well. One should not forget about the reputation. No time should be wasted for nonsense and for dishonest clients. Do not think you know enough. Focus on the best and improve your visual taste. Believe in yourself.

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

OT : A good designer just works - gets a task and fulfills it in accordance with a client’s brief. A good designer does not accept challenges, does not eager to learn new, and changes the routine. Great designer solves clients’ problems and establishes relations. A great designer does more than agreed, learns from mistakes, and is always out of comfort zone. A great designer is disciplined and knows how to manage time. He or she is learning, absorbing new knowledge constantly. A great designer will not finish the project until it’s perfect.

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

OT : Good design is informative. The design aims to convey a lot of information to a consumer: from attracting attention to a product to answering a wide variety of questions. Good design is distinctive. It helps to sort and differentiate the world around us through design elements. Good design is emotional. It evokes certain feelings in us, connecting us with the objective world and forming a certain opinion about it. Good design should attract attention and trigger emotions.

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

OT : Design is so integrated into the modern world that we cannot imagine our existence without it. Design is present literally everywhere - on the street, in a store, at home, on the Internet. We learn design through pointers, books, magazines, packaging, and labels on clothes. The design carries the message. You can explain something, form certain feelings, and emotionally affect others by investing a specific message in the design.

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

OT : I would create a design for my own cosmetics: corporate identity, packaging, website, promo materials.

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

OT : The interior design of my own house.

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

OT : It’s easy to make a project for people, who are close to you. And what if the client, for example, is a law firm? The subject is completely unfamiliar. But you must be able to interest yourself. Put yourself in clients’ shoes, immerse yourself in their world, find out their problems and pains. Therefore, I try to show empathy in each project - I put myself in the place of another person to understand his or her feelings, ideas, actions.

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

OT : There are so many great inspiring designers and design companies in the world that I cannot single out anyone specifically. I always enjoy their accomplishments and new projects in social networks.

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

OT : I like designs related to packaging. Especially if the packaging is made in Victorian or vintage styles.

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

OT : I like a lot of my designs. From the last completed projects, I can single out the rebranding of air fresheners. Instead of traditional flowers and fruits, gradients were used in the packaging design. This allowed us to make the design bright, fashionable, memorable, and highlight the brand in retail. Each smell has its own gradient, which conveys its character. For example, the smell of lavender visually conveys a gradient with mixed shades of lilac, purple, and blue. The smell of citrus - mixed shades of bright pink, orange, and yellow.

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

OT : Get experience. To become a great designer, you must practice a lot. This is the only way to get experience. Develop a sense of taste. You must discover and analyze all visual art (design, paintings, architecture, photographs). The ability to invent is what gathers both practice and visual experience into a unique whole and that sells the project.

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

OT : I would still connect my life with the profession of art. Perhaps it would be performance art.

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

OT : Design is a way of my life and my thoughts, my self-expression. The design makes order out of chaos, creates mood, affects minds.

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

OT : My family is my most important assistant and support.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

OT : Core education. It became a solid foundation for my future profession. A lot of practice. This helped me gain enough experience and hone my skills. Search for inspiration and a sense of taste development. It helps me to discern what is “beautiful” and what is not.

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

OT : I did not enjoy design enough when working as an employee in design studios. I did not have the opportunity to choose a project, communicate directly with a client, and projects were boring, lack of information leads to numerous corrections from clients.

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

OT : The designer must present the work. A well-prepared and conducted presentation sells the project, answers all the client’s questions, and explains design.

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

OT : Now I am working on a new umbrella brand for chocolates. Design logo and packaging.

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

OT : The only goal that a designer should pursue is to do the job efficiently. Every single day.

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

OT : They expect me to solve their problems.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

OT : I guess that design cannot really solve global problems by itself. Nevertheless, it can change the perception of these problems and influence solutions.

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

OT : Now I am working on several projects. Some of them are almost completed, and some have already been printed and will appear in retail stores soon.

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

OT : An effective result for complex projects that lasted for months. Invested heavily and with much energy in them.

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

OT : Most likely nothing. There are trends that have already become classics, they do not lose their relevance with years.

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

OT : I think modern design tends to technology, simplification, convenience, and functionality.

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

OT : The term of a design project depends on its complexity as well as on the quality of interaction with a client. Some projects can last just a couple of months, others half of a year or more.

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

OT : The effective design begins with the collection of information and critical reflection on a project. Who am I creating this for? How will they use my design? What resources does a client have at disposal? Has anyone else tried to do this?

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

OT : If you do something, do it well.

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

OT : There should be an equal mark between these values. One day someone's design started a certain trend, which was echoed. So are the trends - they dictate the look of modern design.

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

OT : Modern technologies simplify the work on the design, make it more comfortable. In the past, it was necessary to have a sheet of paper, a pencil, a ruler, and a knowledge of trigonometry to draw a perspective. Now it’s enough to install the appropriate program that will do everything for you.

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

OT : My graphic tools are Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop Adobe InDesign. I am confident in them.

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

OT : Colors play a specific role in a design project. Designers have a system for color use. They do not mix colors in adventure but selects them from the palette collections and consider them an important part of the project from beginning to end. The material, its texture is a reference to the environment. The material can be perceived by touch or visually. The design includes both virtual materials and real ones. The environment (including landscape and climate) largely determines the design. Scandinavian design is an example of this concept. It promotes the desire for environmental friendliness and naturalness, simplicity, and functionality.

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

OT : If I’ll be able to make such a design for them.

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

OT : I’ll certainly collect a good idea. And then I’ll analyze why this idea was good for them and when it can work for me for getting a good result.

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

OT : I believe in partnership. But only when the partner is self-sufficient and can do his or her part without my hints and alterations.

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

OT : My family has a great influence on my design - they are my best critics and devotees at the same time.

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

OT : Design Of The Times. Lakshmi Bhaskaran, Graphic Design. Ellen Lupton, FontBook. Erik Spiekermann and many other books.

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

OT : I constantly improve my skills, move the bar upwards, learn new things, work on mistakes in order to be a great designer. I try to keep updated on news in architecture, fashion, design, illustration, photography. I analyze, absorb, and put much into practice. I always “play fair”, follow a certain algorithm in design development - this helps to determine the task, form, and implement the idea, achieve good results.

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

OT : I wish I could meet those outstanding personalities who’ve revolutionized design: Ron Arad, Peter Behrens, Philippe Starck, Andy Warhol, and others.

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

OT : It is a great honor and joy for me to receive such a prestigious award in the field of design. It inspires me to make my design even better and reach new heights.

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

OT : I love late spring when everything is in full bloom and there is no summer heat still. I prefer thick dark green, blue, turquoise shades. I feel comfortable at home, where I can spend time with my family or reading a book.

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

OT : Recently, my client and I were selecting colors for the project. In the original layout, the main corporate color never changed, but each time the client printed out the image with his color printer, the printer produced different shades of the corporate color. The client had a whole collection of all kinds of shades that were not real corporate color, and he was very insistent on making the color for printings and the original corporate color identical. It was quite difficult to explain to him that there should be no focus on the office printer and that setting up the printer is not definitely in my power.

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

OT : I am passionate about my work, so it is not difficult for me to focus on projects. I always plan my working day in advance, check the deadline, determine priority, answer phone calls and emails, get inspired by other designers’ works, and, of course, listen to good music.

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

OT : I don’t think that I realized my becoming a designer in childhood. I just did what I liked. One day I felt the desire to improve my skills and knowledge and still do it in an organized and comprehensive manner.

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

OT : Perhaps humanity will discover and inhabit several planets, and artificial intelligence will become usual in everyday life.

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

OT : I have big plans for my future. I would like to make my personal brand stronger in order to give my clients more of a great design on comfortable terms for cooperation.



Winetime Seafood Packaging

Winetime Seafood Packaging by Olga Takhtarova

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