Agency — Exclusive interview for AIN.UA
Exclusive interview for AIN.UA
It is widely known that Ukrainian IT-specialists are still in high demand throughout the western countries. Ukrainian IT-specialist is always a highly-qualified professional. But what about graphic design? While it is more or less clear with the applications and web-sites design (convenience tends to be rather important than brightness each year), branding and label creation requires much more efforts and skills. Branding is a kind of top of the line in graphic design. As for instance it is not an easy thing to nest a 20-years history of the company into a small symbolic sign.
When speaking about the Ukrainian branding industry Reynolds and Reyner agency comes first to mind. The name is pretty unusual for Ukraine, but international market orientation is one of the company’s features. Today’s brief-in interview with Alexander Andreyev and Artyom Kulik – founders of the company – discovers some details and refinements of the agency’s work.
The first and quite expected question is where the name is taken from?
The company carries English design gene. We deliver the concept all along the line, starting from business card to the web-site design, thus producing really high-grade projects. We are perfectionists and like perfect things. Reynolds and Reyner are our founders, the two partners who created the company about 70 years ago, like David Ogilvy and Leo Burnett .
Besides to stand out was our high priority. But to tell the truth we have slightly overdone it, as they don’t believe we are from Ukraine now. But we are flattered much in this matter.
Why design is so few in Ukraine? As there are many agencies and the competition is rather strong?
Unlike IT-business there are no clear and particular means of getting high-quality results in design production. The whole process is the combination of creative search and a certain business-pattern of a project planning. Each agency has its own model, but it brings results only after 50-60 truly effective branding-projects are successfully completed. In our case we are close to a 100 mark. We are proud of each from the 100 and are always ready to display any of them.
To my mind there are two problems in Ukrainian design industry. They are managers and designers. The managers who sell the design are mostly incompetent in the essence of the process, and are sure it is possible to create a label within a week. Designers in their turn have weak motivation and may spend 4 days reading blogs, and only on the fifth make a couple of last-minute rush options. This fact leads to the poor result when some can’t do neither want others.
Do you mean there are many executives but none to apply to in fact?
Exactly, and most of the clients’ Marketing Managers would confirm this statement. We have lots of agencies as well as portfolios, but most of the portfolios are done by different people having nothing to do with the agencies. In fact customers often buy a pig in a poke. The main Reynolds and Reyner rule is that all its employees are designers in varying degrees. The whole creative process is performed within the company only, with no freelancers and outsourcers.
Saving criteria for the customer is another critical issue. For instance customers require unique and competitive label design, but as soon as it is about its realization they mention the budget question. They are details that form a high-quality design. Foil stamping instead of a bronze pantone, printing with the pantones instead of a full-colour printing. One shouldn’t write in briefs phrases like ‘everything is possible, just make it cool’ – it will never be so.
What is the cooperation with foreign customers like? Do they differ from Ukrainian and Russian ones?
Of course they do but not all for the better. It is easier to have business with America and Europe (the customers are result-oriented there, as they have deadlines and require final results). What can’t be said about their Eastern colleagues. China and India have made poor impression, trying to get out twice more than initially negotiated at miserable budget. For example in France we cooperated with somewhat laidback customers from Champagne province, while it was pretty fast and easy with the clients from Saudi Arabia. It all much depends on the clients’ experience.
Design production level in Russia is more professional than it is in Ukraine, as both the country and the market are much larger. But Russian design has its own specific style and it is often too evident. Ukrainian design in its turn has no its peculiar style, at least due to lack of decent design schools and certain idols that set the trends. In addition Russia itself tends to feature USSR style and designs, while we are more Europe-oriented not just in political views.
How can you estimate the current design situation in Ukraine? What to expect?
The design market has been decreased since 2008 crisis. It is a long time since Ukraine has seen such hard situation. Thus everyone has frozen still waiting what would be next. As soon as the situation is stabilized a fast increase of Ukrainian projects quantity is expected. We have two large-scale branding projects for Ukraine in process now, but their launching have been postponed to the next year. We need the right reason for the positive dynamics but still missing it.
When speaking about the domestic affairs of the company, it is more than hard to concentrate on the work within instable situation. Creative process requires complete balance and placidity, but it is hardly possible to prevent the team from following the latest news. The idiom ‘In much wisdom is much grief’ is now more than relevant for designers and other creative professionals. The only thing left is to disengage oneself from the present environment.
Please, tell a little about your new interesting projects?
Recently we have won a premium perfume design packaging tender against a well-known French design agency. It is a popular brand. It is also about two years that we have provided branding services for the World Economic Forum. It took place in London last year and was held in Mexico this year. There are lots of projects that we perform for clothes designers from all over the world. It is always fascinating to work with creative partners. We had a couple of realty projects in Canada and USA. There are two of our champagne brands in France. Lately we have launched a design project for Italian restaurant in UAE. Of course you may find our works throughout any Ukrainian supermarket. There is much work to do and it is rather interesting.
There is a great deal of our considerable projects all over the world. One can find our brands in USA, Canada, France, China, Australia, Israel, Norway, Denmark, Spain and even in such isolated country as Saudi Arabia. But about 70% of projects are performed only after the non-disclosure agreement is signed. Often it suppresses open publication of the project in our portfolio. It is typical for western companies as nobody would like to uncover the contacts of their reliable contractors. Some of the project samples displayed on our web-page are only the tip of the iceberg, but as soon as we have a personal meeting, there are lots of things to surprise almost anyone.