How did you decide to make design your life's work?
At the age of 13, I instinctively though firmly decided to enter an art school. Back then, prospective students could only be admitted to an art school after the preparatory class. Moreover, I'd already missed all the admission tests deadlines. Yet I was so eager and totally sure that the art school was exactly what I needed, so that I begged to enroll me in the preparatory school for the first six months, and then transfer me straight to the first grade. I believe that was when my design story began.
I like to think that I jumped on the last car, they had no chance to refuse me. In 2010 I graduated from the art school with a clear intention to engage myself with design and art.
Omsk is a small city. There are few places to graduate in design, and even fewer to qualify for free tuition. Back then I did not have any opportunity to move, so I tried very hard to enter the Omsk university and get a government scholarship as I literally had no other options. It was a rather difficult task, so I spent the entire 11th grade with endless tutors in key design areas, constantly engaged in drawing, painting and composition.
Did I make it? Yes! I was offered to enter 2 different universities for free tuition. The first university offered a major of a graphic designer. Away back in Omsk in 2010, it was something incomprehensible. And in another university - a major of photo-video-cinema-creativity. Sure enough, I chose a major that seemed to be more unclear. And the choice in favor of design was obvious to me.
This was how design became my life's work. For 10 years I have been tightly bound to it, and for the last 3.5 years I have been working in the digital sector.
Is it still important for a designer to have a degree?
No, it is rather not. Although the main advantage of a higher degree is the core knowledge. Therefore, I do not regret that I've spent 6 years studying at the university.
How did you get into KB-12, The Clicks agency in Omsk?
To cut a long story short:
After graduation, for a year I was looking for my place in the world - I started with a local digital agency, agreed to work for a modest salary, and in 3 years I grew as high as to the head of the design department.
I reached the position and quit the job as I wanted to try to work for myself. And who is a freelance designer? This is a PM, a sales person, a manager and a bit of a designer. I liked it, but I wanted to dig into design.
During this period, Kristina Kudryavtseva, the production director of The Clicks, contacted me and asked for help in finding designers in Omsk for the agency. I really get along with Christina, she is a good person and real professional, so I immediately agreed to help. At that moment, I had yet to know about the company. Back then no one in Omsk heard about KB-12 or about The Clicks.
For 2 months I was a recruitment consultant, helping to hire designers for the team. During this time, I got to know the agency better, learned about the tasks and decided to try to work for The Clicks myself. I worked part-time at first and at the same time did my freelance projects.
To be honest, I didn't know for sure if I was ready to work for The Clicks or not. But in February 2020, I made up my mind and started to work full-time. The main task for me was not to design projects myself, but to assemble and build a cool team. By the way, we are underway launching an internship program. And recently we held a chamber event for Omsk designers — DESIGN CHILL. And in November we are launching our first (test) design training course.
And so it happened. At first I planned to help find a social media designer, but now I am teaching students to create posts and I love doing it. These are not simple Instagram posts. This is a whole art.
Do you remember your first days at the company?
I did not have a threshold of entry, such a usual workplace adaptation. I already knew some of the guys from the team, but I remember the first impressions. This was not nearly our cool office on Taube Street with beautiful sunsets, but a small office in a huge business center. There were only 10 people and everyone was doing something with a very focused look. "They look interesting, but rather odd" - I thought then.
At The Clicks, almost everything seemed new. At the very beginning, I didn't know how to work with content plans, and I didn't really understand what everyone was talking about. My vocabulary was expanding every hour: SKU, benches, Lead Ads. Now everything seems obvious, but not then... And by the way, the first thing that surprised me was the speed of work. Everything happened very quickly. Speed and skills were boosted with a triple result. For example, I shortly got on with using a tablet stylus. This is much faster than using a mouse if you work with real graphics all the time.
Every day, with the whole SMM team, we do our best to meet the requirements, brands criteria and we always want to make it cool and impress the consumer. I personally am motivated to invent and change the visual environment around me offline and online every day. I do my best to make this "WOW, cool" happen.