I first met "Tass" on Logopond, I quickly came to know his name was Alex and other than the customary "Hey, great Logo!" and "Thanks, very much!", we didn’t correspond much. Long before I came across Alex on Logopond, I had admired and loved the Brand Events Logo. So it was a big deal for me who was just starting out to receive an invite on Behance from the creator of that logo. We exchanged a few niceties on Behance and I decided to interview the very talented duo of Nocturn from Bucharest, Romania. I am very excited to be presenting Alex Tass and Paul Cosmin’s interview to you guys today, because they are the first duo of designers to be interviewed on the blog and they have a brilliant vision and are magicians of color. I have never before seen such immaculate use and execution of colors in design before, it is almost like a rainbow exploding in front of you. Alex and Paul do everything from brand creation to print works to flash to website design and layouts. Their portfolio is spectacular, the Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference 2010 logo, one of its stellar features. These guys are going places and I am glad they took some time out today to answer some fun questions for LBOI.
Welcome to the blog Alex and Paul. Thanks for doing this interview.
1. Tell us a bit about you. About your personal sides and your professional facet.
A: Well I’m 24 and I have been playing with colors for about 5 years now, 3 of them at a bit more professional level. I am very passionate about electronic music and the whole contemporary design movement.
P: 24 and feeling a bit tired. Cybernetics drop-out. Been in the sex industry for 6 years, both offline and online. I used to love design but lost inspiration and switched to other things. I love wine, cooking, cats, turquoise waters, money and electronic music. And I’m still on the pursuit of happiness.
2. How did you meet? How was Nocturn born? What is the story behind that?
A: We met sometime in 2004, when a common friend introduced us for our common taste in an Italian music artist. Nocturn was born in the first quarter of 2009 when we considered gathering our portfolios and placing them together. We had some other previous projects, but I think the birth of Nocturn came as a result of something logical and became a necessity since we had been collaborating in one way or another for a few years. A story? Well I’m a bit of a night bird, during weeks working mostly at night, weekends clubbing when possible, so the name came as a fact, describing me and sometimes our schedule. (Nocturn is the Romanian word for nocturnal).
3. What do each of you contribute to the team? Tell us a bit about your working relationship.
A: Haha, I am the grumpy part of the team. When we work together I can’t stop from stressing Paul with tiny little details, which I consider extremely important. So I am the annoying guy of the team. Besides that, I am more into design (graphic and identity) and Paul does (calmly) mostly the web/programming part, so I guess we complete each other (both as character and services).
4. Alex, what aspect of creativity and design excites you the most? Why did you gravitate towards brand creation?
A: I think the freedom of expression attracts me the most; having so many tools in my hands to communicate so many similar or different messages is very exciting. I think brand creation stands in the center of commercial design, everything that is done after an identity is built, is based on that, and I like starting with the elementary identity needed for any kind of project.
5. Yours have been some truly fantastic logos I have seen that utilize color for effect. Most logo designers shirk away from vibrant and too many colors. How do you design logos with colors? What is your thought process behind it and how do you come up with such amazing palettes?
A: Well i take that as a compliment, I have to thank you. I think it is an instinctive choice in many of my projects, in others I go on logical (even clichéd) choices, depends very much on the project. I consider too that a logo should look good and unique even in one color, or in black and white, but that’s not a reason for not having a very colored result.
6. Alex, what is your modus operandi for designing something creative, it can be a logo, a flyer, a poster or a piece of illustration. Share with us your process from start to finish.
A: There are many different steps depending of the type of the project. For a poster I start by digging into some info about the artist, listening to his songs, checking out his latest gigs. That gives me a bit of the background of the event. For a logo there’s a different, and much more complex process (a poster lives until the event and maybe in the artist’s fan’s memories after, but, a logo must stand up for years, maybe even a lifetime), starting with placing it on the market, searching for its competitors, sketching up ideas and finally mixing all the results with the client brief.
7. Paul, when faced with a web development project, what are the key issues you like to address in the designing of the system?
P: First thing I do is try to discourage the client from going on with the project, so I can skip work. Kidding But I make a habit of presenting the client with all the risks and problems he might face in his new business. Of course, if it’s new. And they often happen to radically change their plans based on my suggestions. I’ve been around for 10 years in this industry, since the internet penetration rate in Romania was 1% in 1999 right until now when it’s over 60%. I’ve seen it grow and I can say it hasn’t reached maturity yet, nor have the clients. So, the first part of the process can be called “Educating the client”. The rest is routine.
8. Can you share a funny client story? [you can omit names for privacy reasons if you wish]
A: Well, having some clubs in our portfolio, we happen to have some arguments during the week based on differences in opinions about the graphics we do for various events. But weekends are usually peaceful with good drinks and good music. Quite a fun thing to do. The funny part is that it has happened that on some Mondays some of us actually forget that we’ve partied and drunk and can’t remember what happened during the weekends and ask each other why we never met up?
9. What inspires you? What is the single most important thing you have learnt in this business?
A: Inspiration? For me is everyday life and music. There isn’t one important thing, it’s difficult to choose one. Patience, maybe. I had some, I lost some, but I think it’s still something I am trying to learn to have and live with.
10. What kind of project is the most fun for you? Why?
A: In my case, doing posters. The research is always fun as it includes lots of music, especially electronic. I’d like at some point of my life to start doing posters for the movie industry, and I think the research will be fun in there too.
11. Can you give us a sneak peek at some future and upcoming works/projects?
A: At this moment I’m very excited that very soon I’ll start doing some experimental pieces. I look forward to that as there have been some years since I’ve had no time or patience for these kind of non-commercial projects. Besides that in the long term I’d like to start cooking, to take some serious classes on French or Nordic cuisine and become a chef. Food is a passion that Paul and me, we share alike.
12. Name 5 websites that you couldn’t live without.
A: Nocturn, haha, well I guess there will be Google, hmmm Google again , Behance and Logopond. I think my life would go on even if these websites would stop existing, but I think it would be a bit more empty, or a bit more difficult to find interesting, useful things.
P: Living without websites is what I always wanted.:) Besides, I would love to do farming one day. And a vineyard I think.
13. Quick 5 [answer in a single or few words, the first thing that comes to mind]
– Social Media – time consumer
– Yellow – "In the summertime when the weather is high…" (Mungo Jerry)
– Ketchup – hot dogs?
– Apple – trendy, stable, glooosy
– Ferrari – wruuuuuuuuum with class
– Social media – buzz
– Yellow – sun, sand, summer
– Ketchup – Aserejé, jadejedejebetudejebe
– Apple – a [green] apple
– Ferarri - largest breasts in the world
Thanks once again Alex and Paul. We wish you the very best in all your future projects and endeavors.
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