Featured UI Designer

Alma Neeman

April 2019

Freelance UI Designer Alma Neeman shares some hilarious stories from her childhood, talks us through some challenging jobs & projects she's had throughout the years, and tells us about what it's like living and working in Copenhagen compared to Tel Aviv.

Any hilarious stories about you as a kid being creative?

Sooooo many of those! In general, I wish we all, as creatives, would be as half creative-minded as we were as kids — so free from judgment and free in the heart. As a kid, growing up in Haifa, at the north of Israel, I was a stage monster — singing, dancing, terribly stealing everyone's attention (I’m an Aries, so you know…) and kind of “too much to handle”, but at the same time, my favorite hilarious story has to do with the fact that I was, also, a very emotional girl. When Israeli peace warrior Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995 I dedicate my and my brother’s shared room to perpetuate Rabin and his peace legacy. I lit a candle every morning, wrote poetry (what?!) and invited other kids to participate and make drawings for his memory. Kind of a lot of drama for a 8 years old.

What's the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

After graduating from Bezalel Academy of arts and design in Visual Communication in 2015, I immediately entered the Tel-Aviv design industry. First I worked in an influential branding house (Firma ) and later on in “Wix.com”. I truly believe that the knowledge you gain in your first year of working in the industry is as important as your full academic education! In this first year, I realized that artistic ideas are lovely but sometimes, you just have to deliver a strong straight forward visual message — and it might be less glamorous than you imagined. For example, designing toilet paper packages was, how to say, challenging. But yes, I also strongly believe that this experience helps you grow to be a much more effective, sharp and down to earth designer. What we really wish to do in our profession as designers is to generate and propose sharp and meaningful solutions, and even the worst projects have a lot to teach.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

I feel super excited and fulfilled these days. I work part-time in a local startup in Copenhagen that creates an amazing and well-curated picture book library for kids, with the most beautiful and world winning books existing. The company is definitely on the rise and the product (i.e. the app) is in its development mid-stage. We are hoping to launch it in July 2019 🙌. I feel very comfortable working next to illustrators, animators, developers and other fabulous talents in a fun and creative atmosphere. I got on board only a few months ago and started working energetically on re-branding, web and app design, and social media. I missed a lot working in a team while I worked as a freelancer in the last half year. I find designing an app for kids very challenging and mind-broadening. While designing for 3-6 years old kids you have to communicate ideas differently and research a lot. You also might have to put aside some of your favorite design tools — for example, T Y P O G R A P H Y ( 3 years old kids don’t read), UX and UI has to be more intuitive and playful, color guidelines are super essential. Also, funny small things like the kids’ finger size become a serious design issue.

The rest of my work week I work as a freelance designer. I'm very proud to collaborate with some important clients. At the moment I am working on several beautiful projects with a historical Israeli fashion label ‫״‬Comme il Fuet ‫״‬ ; with the incredible artist, photographer and video director Mayan Toledano; and with the great designer duo Zohar Koren and Idan Am-Shalem a.k.a Field day studio, and more exciting stuff I can't really talk about at the moment :)

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I truly believe that the knowledge you gain in your first year of working in the industry is as important as your full academic education.

"

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Sometime during my last year in Bezalel, one of my final project mentors saw me struggling with a certain technic I honestly hated and she told me “Alma, It’s your final project, it’s your time to shine. Don't struggle with anything you hate, move on to something you are passionate about!”. Well, that inspired me a lot, but it also has some exceptions: yes, I do want to design using my strongest most favorite technics, but of course one should face some design dilemmas and find a way to solve those. Two years ago I jumped into the deep water of digital design and I totally fell in love with RGB, motion design and interactive gestures. But it did raise some challenges adapting from the print world to the digital one. I came from the branding-print world with huge tech anxiety and proved myself that tutorials and Google are our best friends. So in conclusion, I might say that the advice I would like to send forward is “trust your creativity and intuition, and don't be scared of new techniques and tools”.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

In my last three years of professional experience, I have learned that we, as graphic designers, have an important role in this ever-changing world. We have a public, social and political role by conveying messages in the most effective way. Our profession is both practical and artistic, essential. I feel that the visual communication world is heading toward investigating and experimenting more on how form and design make a change in our environment. It is clear to me that the area of “design” is expanding: design thinking, service design, strategic design, new software, and programming skills are trending in and I'm very attracted by that. I am constantly wishing to enrich myself with tools and knowledge, by exploring the most interesting meeting points of design and other critical areas of our world, where I can learn new methods and the force of design in different physical spaces.

If people wanted to know more about design in your city, what are the top blogs, organisations or events they can read up on?

As someone who lives in Copenhagen for over a year now, I cannot express how much I’m influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetics both in my design thinking and in lifestyle. The city is designed “to the bone” and carries an enormous tradition of “design for living”. You can read about some of my favorite spots it the city in this cute Wix’s “HIGH ON DESIGN” blog article, featuring some photos that I took around town and cute tips for visitors.

Website: alma-neeman.com

Instagram: @neeman.alma

Behance: /almaneeman

*Featured projects include: Nespola (creative director portfolio — working in Wix) — Choreographer Ofir Yudilevich — Beeeeeep socks shop (creative direction — working in Wix) — Detail from Jerusalem design week (site with Zohar Koren & Idan am Shalem & Eli Magaziner) — Comme il faut — Fragile final project — Piboco branding in process — Makisu restaurant (web design and illustrations — working in Wix) Roni — Newsletter Big Copy — Wix 2019 "high on design" trend series

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