Another month, another talented designer featured on LogoLounge’s “Center Stage.” For the month of November, we spoke freelance logo and corporate identity designer, Vadim Carazan. Hailing from Romania, Carazan’s skills and design aesthetic have earned him a title as a “force to be reckoned with.” p>
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and your work.
My name is Vadim Carazan. I’m a graphic designer specializing in logo and branding design. In my spare time, I enjoy running, watching TED talks, reading books, cooking and listening to music. I live in Cluj-Napoca, one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, but I was born and raised in a small village in the Republic of Moldova. Growing up my family faced many financial difficulties, and I learned from an early age that only hard work can get you the success that you want. In school I used to be good at math and physics, but I always had a passion for the creative fields like interior design, fashion design and graphic design. I had watched lots of shows on such topics and decided that one day I would study Architecture. But as everyone knows, you change your mind often when you’re very young. That’s at least what happened to me. I changed my mind and decided to attend a petroleum and gas engineering university. At the time, I thought that being an engineer would make me financially happy But it didn’t it make me happy at all, and that’s where my passage to become a designer starts.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer, and what was your journey like?
I started learning graphic design as a freshman at my university, back in 2014. It all started with a simple discussion with a friend of mine, who was a freelance designer at that time. That day, a turn towards the right direction in my life occurred. Our discussion about design inspired me and made me open Adobe Illustrator to check it out. With no prior experience, I did my best to create the first logo I had ever created, for a logo contest on a freelancing platform. One hour later the logo was rejected, but that didn’t stop me. I continued to create other versions until the contest had ended. So I didn’t win my first logo contest, and I didn’t win the second or third contests either. But instead of losing faith, I just kept working and learning about logos and how they should look … About what logos win contests.
After about three months of hard work, I started to win. I had spent hundreds of hours studying Illustrator, design principles and client psychology. To me, the design contests presented great opportunities as a beginner, to improve, to gain experience and to build my portfolio. The competitive nature and attitude from all the contests really helped me grow as a designer and kept me motivated every day.
In that first year of my design career, I worked on the same freelancing platform. But I soon realized that I wanted my work to have more exposure. I wanted to scale it up a bit and I wanted to connect with other designers around the world, so I started using social design platforms like Dribbble and Behance. I found that Dribbble worked best for me, because it was there that I met a lot of designers that inspired me with their amazing work and success. I set a goal to become more like them, and soon realized that I had to invest more time and effort to achieve my goal.
I had to make a tough decision … I dropped out of my university to pursue my dream of being a successful graphic designer. In this decision, I learned that sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve greater things in life. I learned that you should always have “ the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
As a result of my daily hard work and perseverance my portfolio now attracts lots clients, and I have found a lot of support from other designers through social media. In my first year on Dribbble, I became one of the Top 50 Most Liked Designers in 2017, and my work was featured in the 2018 LogoLounge Trends Report.
Today, with only four years of experience in graphic design, I can easily say that my design journey has just begun, and I am truly happy to have design be both my job and passion.
Who/what inspires you the most?
I have a lot of sources that serve as inspiration, but the most powerful and inexhaustible sources of inspiration to me are people. I really get inspired by the success of other human beings and their stories, and that’s why I like interviews and biographies. This isn’t limited to designers and their stories, because there’s a lot of talented and successful individuals in all domains that inspire me, motivate me or change my vision. I have always loved the quote that goes something along the lines of “There will always be more talented people than you. Look up to them and try to catch up.” I really don’t remember who said this, but this quote has always reminded me to look to others for inspiration and motivation.
What works are you most proud of? Could you tell me about the process?
It’s really hard to choose just one because I put my best in each project and I’m really proud of all of them, but I always feel super proud when my work is used on a larger scale. Recently, I designed a logo for the Swedish Floorball Federation, and it’s really nice to see how it’s been used on national scale.
The idea behind this logo came to me easy and naturally, and if I’m honest, this is usually how my best concepts come. After briefing, I always start the project with lots and lots of research. It helps me better understand the domain of the company, their history and their competitors. For this particular project the research was more complex, because I first had to understand the culture of the country, as it isn’t familiar to me. I had to create a logo that the Swedish people would be proud to use. After researching and creating mood boards, I started sketching and conceptualizing. And when I had a few strong concepts on paper, I started to create them in Illustrator. I have always loved to experiment in Illustrator with different colors, angles, shapes and spacing, until I have a version that feels right to me. Fortunately, the client liked my concept at a first glance and it was approved. Today, the Swedish national floorball team uses my logo on their t-shirts, promotions and other places.
What makes a successful logo or brand? A successful graphic designer?
We know that a good logo should be simple, versatile, memorable and timeless. But I think that a successful logo needs more than that. It should be a perfect balance between graphics and meaning, rational and emotional, science and psychology, technical and human, thinking and feeling. A successful logo should give you certain feelings, and it should tell the story that the company wants to communicate to their clients.
I think that having the belief that one day you’ll be the successful designer you want be, is what makes a successful designer. For sure behind this stands a lot of hard work, late night hours and a lot of coffee, but that work would never exist without enough motivation, and the best motivation to me is believing in yourself. There will be more people that will say that you’re not good enough and that you never will be, that this simply isn’t true Just keep on believing in yourself and never give up.
What would be a dream project or who would be a dream client for you?
I would really like to work with tech startups that bring to the world new technologies which improve our lives and our life experience. So anything that’s related to innovation in technology would be a dream project to me.
How do you handle “designer’s block?”
I’ve found that the best remedy for designer’s block are positive emotions and hard work. If I’m feeling that a block is coming, I’ll try to keep my mind free of bad thoughts and stress, so I just keep working on my projects. I know that it’s hard to control your brain that’s saying that you’re not good enough, everything you create is bad and other negative thoughts like that. So I would suggest what has worked for me I use music, meditation and motivational messages written on my walls to control my mindset. This usually helps me to keep working. It also helps me to always keep a pencil and paper handy, or an opened clear artboard in Illustrator, for whenever inspiration strikes again.
Sometimes when I get stuck, I just take a break to spend some time with my family, cook something delicious, or just go for my daily run.
In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of your profession?
The best part of work is the possibility to learn a lot of things, not only in design but from all domains, because I’m working on a wide variety of clients in different industries. I’m learning about businesses, marketing, psychology, management and others interesting domains through my profession.
The worst part is when you see that your work has been copied and sold by other “designers.” Unfortunately, this has happened frequently to me and I’m sure that there are a lot of cases that I am not even aware of.
What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?
My two biggest personal goals are to create a family and to travel and discover the world. My professional goal is to reach the financial independence that would give me more free time to spend with the family I’ve created, and to explore the world with them.
Do you have any advice for designers out there? Tips and tricks on how to be the best designers they can be?
Share more! Don’t be afraid to share more of your work. Sharing is the best way to receive feedback from other designers, and to continue your growth. There are no tricks on how to be the best designer you can be. Just love what you do and keep working. Never stop learning, even if you think you’ve already become the best designer you can be, because there’s always space for more improvement and we all can do better.
If you’re ever feeling that you’re not good enough, try not to worry … As the title of one of my favorite books by Paul Arden best states, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. Remember this and keep going.
To look at the works and Book 11 submissions uploaded to the Lounge Carazan, click here. You can also view his works, by visiting his website here. Watch out for next month’s featured member article, as we bring another designer “Center Stage.”Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and your work. When did you know you wanted to be a designer, and what was your journey like? Who/what inspires you the most? What works are you most proud of? Could you tell me about the process? What makes a successful logo or brand? A successful graphic designer? What would be a dream project or who would be a dream client for you? How do you handle designer’s block?" In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of your profession? What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future? Do you have any advice for designers out there? Tips and tricks on how to be the best designer you can be? Share more! Don’t be afraid to share more of your work. Sharing is the best way to receive feedback from other designers, and to continue your growth. There are no tricks on how to be the best designer you can be. Just love what you do and keep working. Never stop learning, even if you think you’ve already become the best designer you can be, because there’s always space for more improvement and we all can do better. If you’re ever feeling that you’re not good enough, try not to worry … As the title of one of my favorite books by Paul Arden best states, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. Remember this and keep going.