Who are you :
I’m Vahan UI/UX Web and Graphic designer. I started my career in 2008. But in fact, I started designing much earlier. As a child, I enjoyed making postcards for my mom and friends, handmade posters and even I made my own version of Armenian banknotes (thanks to God I didn’t become counterfeiter).
Computer appeared in my life when I was probably 14. I was not a great fan of gaming, so I was having fun playing with Corel Draw and Macromedia Flash. I even remember my first design project done on the computer: it was a chess game. I and my schoolmate believed that we can make any game, so we tried - I was designing the game and he tried to make it work. Of course, we failed, but it was some great initial experience from where I felt that design was all about me.
I started working in web design studios and freelancing even before my art academy days.
Your current job :
Now I work as a design team lead in CodeFights. We have offices in several cities. I work in the Yerevan office.
A word to define what kind of worker you are :
For me, the good designer is different from a mediocre one by his/her ability and will to become better from project to project. Every time when I open the new file in a graphic editor or taking a paper to sketch for a new project I say to myself: this is gonna be the best piece of work I’ve ever done. That’s why I like to watch the old projects of top designers on Behance Network or Dribbble. Sometimes seeing from where that person grew to where he is now is very inspiring.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
When I was a student we liked to argue what tools and apps are the best for design. I think it depends on what exactly you are designing. For interfaces I use Sketch app, for raster graphics and photo editing of course Photoshop, for print design it’s Illustrator, for some animations it’s After Effects. Sometimes I design typefaces and I use Glyphs app for that. Also, I’m making wireframes on Balsamic Mockups and use InVision app and Origami for prototyping.
What does your office space look like?
Our office is a nice small space in the center of Yerevan. We have 2 rooms and something like a guest room with sofa and ottomans. Usually, we have some movie days at the office, when we stay after work and watch movies and cartoons.
What kind of music do you listen when you are working?
I like to listen to my favorite rock groups while working. Early in the morning with the first cup of coffee, I’m listening to the fast and energetic songs by The Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin or even Wagner to turn me on. Then I switch to more calm songs in the afternoon. Anyway, when work needs much concentration I work without music.
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?
For me, the best way to organize the working day is starting from the most difficult tasks and then switching to easier ones.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Procrastination is a big problem for any worker. But I improve my productivity by dividing the tasks into smaller ones. When you finish the first part of task you switch to another. That really helps to concentrate on the process. Also if work is automatic and I want to watch some youtube video I’m using Safari Browser’s Picture in Picture mode, that helps me to satisfy my need in watching something without losing the working time on it.
You're better than your colleagues to :
I can’t say that I’m better than my colleagues but if the question is what ability I have which many of my colleagues do not have I can say: the will to try something new. Most of the designers are finding their own way to make things look and work well and that’s it they stuck between that 4 walls and do the same things from project to project. I treat myself to the category of designers who like to try new things. That could be a different style or usage of elements I didn’t use before etc.
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
When I was a beginner I wanted to create some extra great designs but of course wasn’t able to do that and it really made me sad. My professor gave me the best advice for that: he said that all of us started without making any outstanding things, your time is gonna come if you work hard from project to project trying to make yourself better and better. And that is the advice I myself give to any young designer as well.
What is your best tip for saving time?
The best way for the time saving is to work promptly without being distracted. If you do so you’ll find out that you can find time for anything.
What is your routine start and end of the day?
My routine day starts from physical exercises, then I take shower, have some breakfast and walk 15 minutes to the metro station to get to my busy office.
Before sleeping I spend 30 minutes reading books.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
When I travel I can’t go without my iPad or Kindle. I’m not a great fan of sleeping in the plain, so watching offline movies or reading is a great waste of time for me.