For the month of May, we chose to feature one of our talented Book 10 judges, Alex Tass. With more than ten years of successful graphic design experience, and with more than eight in logo and identity branding, Tass has earned the title of “design guru”
Tell us about yourself: who you are and how you’ve come to be.
Hello, I’m Alex and I’m a graphic designer specializing in logo and identity design. Most of my life I have lived and have had the chance to travel all over Europe. I think this somehow influenced my visual style. I am a self-taught designer. It took me two years just to learn some of the basics. I felt as though it was a very slow learning process, and for many reasons even today 12 years later, from my very first interaction with graphic design and after 10 years of doing this as a profession, I still consider myself in the learning process. Electronic music played and perhaps still plays a major role within my life and evolution. I had developed an interest in graphic design, web design to be more specific, because of my passion for this music, by trying to help a DJ friend, in creating a website for him. Two years later after helping my friend, I had the chance to create posters and flyers for parties and events, and at some point or another, I discovered a love for logo design, by creating logos for clubs, DJs, and festivals. For more than eight years, I continued to design artworks for this music industry, but somewhere along the road, I got more involved, more curious and more passionate about logo design. And so just a few years later from my starting point, I had decided to focus on logos, using all my graphic design skills that I had developed from clubbing related graphics, to developing identities and branding projects.
What makes you stand out from other designers? What about your design aesthetic makes you different and unique?
I find it difficult to say what makes my work stand out from others. Usually when my friends, other designers and clients describe my style, they say that they can recognize my work when seeing it in context. For me, as strange as it may sound, I cannot see the same things they describe. I like to work geometrically, following basic rules like symmetry, balance and alignments, and I try to pay special attention to small details, things that I think may not be perceived within the final result. I believe that small details make all the difference. I also like colorful visuals, as you will see within my portfolio, where I have many colorful, bright and vivid logos.
What do you find to be “the good, the bad, and the ugly” when it comes to design? What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the job?
As mentioned, I involve a lot of geometry and logic in my logos. I find this to be a good thing, and I respect seeing it in other designers’ creations. Of course there are many amazing logos based on calligraphy or on more organic and fluid approaches, rather than logical/geometrical. I would consider all of these as “the good.” “The bad” and “the ugly” somehow go hand-in-hand, where I would include logos with many elements that fail to form a whole. For example, strange color combinations or strange mixtures of different styles of elements. To answer the second half of your question, my favorite part of the job is the pride that I feel when I know that I have created something new, something that is unique. My least favorite part of the job is when I fail to understand the client’s intentions or decisions, when I feel as though something is going in a great direction, but the client has a different vision. p>
Can you tell us about the moment you knew a career in design was right for you?
I was fascinated by this domain from the moment I first encountered it, perhaps even before I knew the right name for it. I desired to be able to do this for a living, but I never dreamed that I’d have a career in design. I just noticed time passing by, projects gathering into my portfolio, so it somehow just happened without me knowing that this was a part of the path.
What was the hardest, but at the same time the most rewarding job you can remember? What work or works are you most proud of?
I recently had the chance and honor to work on a few projects for Google, and I must confess that I am really proud of the process and result. It was very challenging and interesting to work with Material Design, Google’s own visual identity language and guidelines. It felt like we were learning a new vision, a new direction, which I think contributed a lot to the satisfaction that I had felt, regarding the final results. The hardest and most rewarding? Well, I'd have to say the eight years I had worked for clients in the clubbing industry. It was hard because I had a huge level of work that needed to be done and it wasn’t always the easiest collaboration. It was rewarding because it was closely connected to my passion for electronic music. It was in a way like living the dream, being part of the scene and of the phenomenon. But there are many projects that I am proud of, and it is very difficult for me to just pick one or a few. At a personal level, I am very fond of and attached to my personal logo, to my bat.
How do you do to get out of “designer’s block?”
I explore, explore and explore some more. As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
What and who, (designers or otherwise), inspires you the most?
I was and still am completely fascinated by the works of M. C. Escher (Maurits Cornelis Escher). I first discovered his creations when I was in high school, and I still have moments where I like to just admire and get lost in his works. There are many contemporary designers, agencies, and studio artists that inspire me. I try to stay up to date with everything that they create and post online. Deividas Bielskis is one of my closest friends that I have met while working in the design industry. Bielskis and Dalius Stuoka, another designer that I can call a friend, are my two main sources of inspiration, besides my colleagues and former design partners. On a different level, everything around me inspires me. Traveling, movies, reading, and various experiences all inspire me and my design aesthetic. Music plays a big role as well, if not the biggest, since it usually involves itself in one way or another.
What/Who would be a dream project/client for you?
LEGO, because I am a big fan and collector. There are many industries for which I haven’t worked yet, but would love to work for, for example the aviation or automotive industry. At the moment, I would say that any client related to my hobbies is a dream client/project, but life is full of surprises and it usually shows you something you never imagined or guessed, so I know that those clients and projects are out there, but I just haven’t encountered them yet.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the world of design? What advice would you give to someone who has been in this biz for years?
For someone who is just starting out, I would say to experiment as much as you can. To read and understand any available resources, be it digital or printed (books, blogs, and tutorials), and to try as many ideas as possible. To stay connected and interact with the design community. I believe that all these things together can lead to a very successful and constant evolution within one’s personal development as a designer. For someone who has been in this biz for years? Well with that I wouldn’t know what to say, as it depends on so many things.
Lastly, can you tell us anything about the logos you’ve judged for LogoLounge Book 10? Without giving away too much of course Did you enjoy the process? And will this be our best book yet?
For me, this was the first time being involved in this process, and it was a very new and interesting experience. I have seen a lot of amazing creations that I am sure will make Book 10 a very inspiring lecture. With such a special promotion, with more entries than usual and with an extended jury, yes, I bet this will be the best book yet!
To see the collection of logos that Alex Tass has uploaded to the Lounge, simply click here. To view the rest of his incredible work, you can visit his website here. Stay tuned this May, as we bring another designer superstar to the LogoLounge “Center Stage.”