KB-12 Faces

The Art Director of The Clicks in Omsk — Alina Govtva
During her first year of work for the agency, Alina and her team managed to build a strong design department in Omsk, which serves Russian and international brands. In the interview, she spoke about her professional growth - from an artist to an art director, working for The Clicks and launching an internship program for young designers.
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.
THE TRADITIONS. The picture of an Omsk sunset.
Our team has its cozy traditions. For example, the whole team gathers for Friday lunches, where we exchange our work impressions. By the way, every day I try to set aside 20 minutes and take the design team out for a walk. We go to Lenin street - the main central street of the city, drink coffee at Skuratov, chat and stretch our legs.

I also have a tradition — to send pictures of an Omsk sunset to the common KB-12 chat. I want everyone to admire it with us. The sunsets are really beautiful in Omsk, and the Clicks office is located so that in the morning we admire a beautiful sunrise, and in the evening — a fiery sunset. I feel great thinking that this tradition was picked up by guys from different offices of KB-12.

What are you in charge of now?

The Clicks has several teams — the agency's CEO, Yegor Podvorny, spoke in detail about them in an interview. I work as part of the SMM team. I am responsible for the release of all visual content. Now there are 4 designers in SMM, and my mission is to become a cool supervisor for them. I help the guys grow in their field and do not let them get stuck in the routine.

Tell us about your projects — what are they focused on?

These are projects in SMM and performance marketing. We run about 10-12 brands on social media. It's cool that in Omsk we work with major Russian and international brands. We do not just design. The team works systematically and produces a whole story for each post. The work process is very structured, and everyone understands what he or she is responsible for.

I like to understand who we are doing the work for, who is our target audience: buzzer, boomer or millennial. Projects for buzzers interest me the most. In every post, we try to get into the target audience, surprise and interest it. To do this, you must always be up to speed on. As I like to say: if earlier it took a month to create a key visual, for example, now time has sped up a lot - a new trend can burn out in 1 day, so we always try to be relevant.
With The Clicks team at DESIGN CHILL
In what way has the company changed during the year you worked?

The Clicks has been operating in Omsk for just over a year. So I got into the team at a time when everything was underway. The SMM team had just been formed then. It was not clear what would come of it. And today it is absolutely clear who is doing this or that task and where we are going. It gives me a buzz.

We have built a work system so that everyone is comfortable with completing tasks. We have a 3-hour difference with the team of accounts. We try not to twitch each other after / before the working day - delayed messages in Telegram help. Plus, we use Trello to write down all the tasks.

I consider this experience to be successful. By the way, the team performed well in distance work during lockdown. We did not freeze, since the process had already been developed.

You mentioned the internship program - can you tell us more about it? What kind of employees are you looking for in the design department?

Simple as that. We are looking for designers every day. We realized that we want to see inspired people in our team, those who love their work and are eager to develop. We are ready to help with the training program. We want to make everyone thrilled to do our projects. Therefore, we decided to create an internship program for designers who have basic soft skills and a desire to work with us, but have no experience yet. If you want to work with cool projects – you need to study and get into our team.

We are looking for professional designers, responsible guys who are confident in themselves, with strong skills, spacious minds and a sense of taste.

What advice can you give to young designers?

First, you should be curious — always learn something new, and not only in design. Broad-based knowledge trains the ability to think creatively.

Secondly, you must definitely get basic professional knowledge. For example, take courses in composition, photo retouching, typography. A higher degree also seems useful to me. With basic knowledge, curiosity and creativity you will look at the world in a completely different way.

Third, try to constantly keep track of your desires, follow your ambitions. Everyone needs to gain experience to realize where to move. Young designers usually do everything and anything for the first year. You should not be afraid of this, you need to gain experience, and after a year you can already choose a direction - strive for a conscious understanding of yourself and your inner goals. This is a very important point, because if you don't know what you want, it will manifest itself at your work in the form of procrastination, breaking deadlines and occupational burnout.

How would you describe KB-12 in three words?

A lot, drive and inspiration. All this is the energy gathered by professionals, those you want to continue working and hanging out together.