Artwork Director Ilya Sizov on Working for Large Manufacturers and Startups

Ilya Sizov is a multidisciplinary designer and artwork director from New York. At present, he collaborates with the startups Smartcat (the language translation and localization supply platform) and TheXPlace (the group and market for gaming professionals).

Earlier than that, Ilya spent about 5 years working for digital businesses Purple Keds and Buddies on tasks for Unilever, Panasonic, Vary Rover, and so forth. Later, he led design within the transportation startup Fasten which competed with Uber and Lyft in Boston and Austin.

Ilya can be identified for some noteworthy aspect tasks such because the app for inventive thinkers Pixride or the audiovisual artwork challenge Northiness.

What have been your first steps in your design profession?

I began designing actually early, on the age of 13 or 14, by creating random footage in Corel Picture Paint. So far as I recall I used to be 14 after I obtained my first design gig: One of many purchasers my mother designed interiors for was opening a neighborhood shopping center and wanted a brand. I created one thing like a red-blue spiral with textual content sitting subsequent to it and obtained my first cost for design (it was $50 or one thing like that).

Right now, I needed to determine what to review after college. Sadly, there have been no good locations to review design in Moscow, Russia, the place I grew up within the early 2000s. And, actually, I didn’t significantly think about design as a job again then (truly, I don’t know why). So I ended up getting a grasp’s diploma in political science. I used to be fortunate sufficient to lose religion on this occupation throughout my training: Getting a few political-related jobs helped me clearly notice that I hated political science. I did end my diploma, however proper after commencement, I went to review graphic design on the British Increased College of Arts and Design.

That was fairly a transfer for me however I by no means regretted it. It was a post-graduate program that lasted a 12 months and a half. After ending it I landed my first actual design job in a small, rising design studio.

How did your profession go from there? How did you find yourself working with world-famous manufacturers?

I spent two years in a small design studio which was primarily centered on the film business. With a spirit of experimentation and problem, it was quite a lot of enjoyable working there. However I at all times wished to work in one of many main studios or businesses. After constructing a good portfolio and making vital progress in my abilities, I felt I used to be prepared for the following chapter in my journey.

With some assist from my fellow front-end developer, I created a web site the place I collected the entire work I used to be pleased with and despatched quite a few emails to essentially the most well-known studios in Moscow. In a collection of interviews, I obtained a proposal from Purple Keds, some of the dominant and charismatic businesses in Moscow on the time.

So, my strategy to collaborating with huge manufacturers was via working in a extremely formidable office. The very first challenge I had was the company web site for Honda; with many tasks for different huge manufacturers following after. We labored with Unilever, Panasonic, and Vary Rover, simply to call just a few. There may be actually a specificity in working with main firms like that. On the one hand, there are lots of limitations just like the tone of voice necessities, id pointers, authorized restrictions, and so forth. However on the similar time, such manufacturers have an enormous viewers and what you do with them can have a huge impact.

 Ilya Sizov portrait

What are the primary challenges in this sort of work?

It is best to be capable to work with purchasers’ suggestions which isn’t at all times well-structured and constructive. You ought to be motivated to teach the managers on that aspect and clarify your choices. One thing that will look apparent to you may be questionable to others and try to be able to discover a strategy to clarify it within the easiest and handiest manner.

How do you get purchasers and what have been the most effective collaborations you’ve had?

I work extra with businesses somewhat than finish purchasers however for each varieties, the identical strategy applies. Networking and increase your fame will convey you increasingly more purchasers. Phrase of mouth works very well. Although some folks may be reluctant to provide out their valuable assets, folks will ultimately learn about you.

As for my favourite purchasers, they fall into one in all two varieties: tasks by which I’ve a lot inventive freedom, or these with a extremely significant mission. For instance, I’ve had some nice tasks with Panasonic — the consumer that was courageous sufficient to welcome some actually loopy concepts for promotional web sites for his or her dwelling home equipment; and WildTatto — a significant marketing campaign I designed for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) to highlight endangered species on the verge of extinction.

What design challenges do you face at your present firm?

I’m at present main advertising and marketing design in Smartcat — a Saas platform within the content material localization business. Now we have a reasonably small group of designers and one of many foremost challenges is optimizing the method and selecting the priorities in the appropriate manner. I have to design the appropriate toolset to verify all of the communication channels have the required design belongings. This requires quite a lot of work on automation and systematization. We strongly depend on some nifty options in our design system and on varied units of templates and workflows. This offers pace, consistency, and high quality — issues which might be usually exhausting to attain concurrently.

How do you keep a superb relationship together with your purchasers and make them stick with you longer?

That is truly easy: Be accountable and responsive. Staying organized and assembly deadlines ought to be part of everybody’s work ethic, however surprisingly, designers usually neglect the facet of self-discipline. You won’t be the best designer on the planet however so long as you present what’s required on the time that’s required — you can be in demand and purchasers will love you.

And being responsive doesn’t imply that you must reply instantly 24/7 (when it occurs, this can be a signal of an unhealthy course of). It signifies that you must hearken to the purchasers fastidiously. You ought to be inquisitive about what they want and they’ll see that you simply hearken to them.