I found graphic design through a non-traditional path. Unlike many people who are drawn to design by aesthetics or skills, I was attracted the challenge of solving and finding solutions for problems which this industry faces - I guess today we call it UX.
As a child, I remember myself playing with plasticine, planning and building complicated interchanges and roads while trying to find the best and most useful experience for my imaginary drivers, or playing strategy computer games trying to find the optimal course. Looking back, I can say that it gave me many skills as a designer and as a manager that I have today. I always thought I want to plan and create physical objects for people to use. Naturally, I gravitated towards industrial design, but after a short introduction, I quickly discovered that graphic design came more naturally to me.
I graduated with a degree from HIT (Holon Institute of Technology) in Israel. It was a super intensive 4 years of studying. I remember not understanding why some of the teachers were referring to what they see and not to what they couldn’t see. They failed to relate the subject of how to approach a challenge and to the essence of the decision that leads to a result. One day I spoke to a friend who just finished his degree and he told me to look out for a cool program called “After effects” on YouTube and to watch some of their tutorials. So that’s exactly what I did. I taught myself at home and started working at a broadcast channel as a designer/animator during the summer vacation of my second year at university, then, later on, worked as a freelance designer for tv shows.
During my final year of university, I had begun to make a living from design. It is very important to understand how to learn things and how to be active in your career. 20 years ago, designers had to take courses, buy books, go to the library to learn, inspire or research. Today we have the internet so it’s all in the palm of our hands. You just need to dedicate time to it. To have a degree is no longer enough – success is up to the students and how passionate and ambitious they are. The most important and impactful part of studying is practice. The journey of improvement and learning is a long and timely process. It takes years so be patient and doesn’t expect immediate results.
After graduating, I immediately started to work at one of the best post and broadcast design studios in Israel – Promotheus. I learned a lot there. I don’t think I was a good designer back then, but I learned a lot from the experience, especially from my colleagues and my first art director, Ifat Raz. After that, I joined Clutch Creative House as a design manager, and really thrived from the freedom and supportive environment around me. It’s really important to work at places which will let you grow. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, being with other designers or working in a design team under an art director that will force you out of your comfort zone will help to leverage your progress far more than working alone at home or being a single designer in a company with no perspective on what you do. You have to open your professional bubble.
2 years ago I founded my own studio called Studio&more and we’re currently 8 people on the team and always looking to know new people - it’s the most demanding but most satisfying workplace, the hardest but the most fun - I wanted to create myself the ultimate studio that I would want to work in.
Throughout my career I gained experience in many fields - website design, animation, motion graphics, character design, illustration, 3d, branding and more - I understood I can’t focus on one thing I loved and wanted all of them.
Working with many clients, led me to the understanding that there is usually no constant and wholistic graphic language - a total figure that is responsible from a to z to all graphic aspects of a certain client. So, I formed a vision to the studio having the non-rational business decision to spread our services instead of focusing them - I followed my professional beliefs.
So, in order to fulfil this vision, we approached mainly new initiatives and startup companies so we can work from scratch and create a professional design for their early stages up to the final product. This way they are leveraged and coherent in their path with much more chances to succeed and we grow together. The appreciation amongst our clients is high and today we work with all kinds of clients from private entrepreneurs to big companies such as Mobileye.
We specialize in all graphic fields - from designing complex systems to mobile apps, presentations, websites, illustrations, movies, animations, events.
It's really interesting that each project deals with a new subject and the variety is large, it does demand fast understanding and abilities to adapt to the different contents.
At the same year I set up the studio, Liri Argov (a designer friend of mine) and I established another initiative to bring the wonderful & famous OFFF design festival to Israel - which as well as the studio, combines all disciplines and unites them in an inspiring, fun and impactful experience. Together with Liri, we formed the event which was a huge success and now we are heading for the 2nd edition on October 14-15 which will be the biggest professional event in Israel.
We take interns all year round - I think it’s really important to encourage internships and allow students to gain experience during their studies. There is no substitute for practising. I think we have a problem in Israel regarding the supply of designers, especially good ones. I believe a stronger connection between education and the industry will create more compatible designers. My approach to internships is to think long term - the same way I think about every individual on my team. The studio has a lot to offer to a designer and at the same time, this partnership has a lot to give back to the studio. That’s why internships are so worthwhile. We are always looking for interesting people, including students. What really interests me is a person’s mind - someone smart with the ability to think and solve problems and also rational, motivated and ambitious. You can learn all the rest on the go.
A great portfolio contains an overall understanding of a project, a clear delivery of a message, typography and high awareness to aesthetics. The last time we were hiring, I received more than 200 applications. It takes only a few seconds to scan a portfolio and determine whether it’s going to be a good fit. The quality of the projects in the portfolio is more important than quantity. There is no need to go overboard. Think about where you want to go in your career and curate your portfolio according to that direction. If you don’t have experience that fits that direction, create and design your own work. I have learnt that bad projects in a portfolio can negatively influence the overall perception of a portfolio more than good projects - so choose your projects carefully.
In the summer of 2011, a huge social protest took place in Israel. At the start of these protests, I felt that not enough people knew about it and it should be getting more exposure so I found myself designing posters for both print and post on Facebook. I gathered sentences and elements from the demonstrations into a cohesive graphic language which quickly became associated with these protests, even today. It didn’t take long for more designers to join the effort to handle the increasing needs of the protests around the country, and that is when I met Liri.
A few years after meeting, we began to discuss the status of graphic design in our country. This eventually led us to the exciting initiation and fruition of the OFFF TLV Festival. We took our active-graphic-political collaboration a step forward into our professional ecosystem, in order to influence, grow and promote the local design community under one umbrella of inspiration and creativity. It was an incredible experience to bring the OFFF Festiva from Barcelona to Israel for the first time. For the first festival, our studio also created the branding and developed the graphic language which was an interesting, deep and fun project - the concept was “Inspiration and Reflection”, which we expressed in various ways while keeping it all unified.
This year the festival has doubled in size and is going to be the largest professional graphic design event in Israel.