Natalia Belousova: "Design is work without borders"

Natalia Belousova: "Design is work without borders"

The graphic designer Natalya Belousova tells what combination a mixture of children's hobby for handmade and a mathematician's diploma can result in, where to expect inspiration from, how to do magic at home.

When did you realize that you like being a designer and why you like it?

I can’t just say that there was such a day when I woke up and realized that it was time to design. Rather, I unconsciously and slowly went to this goal since childhood.

It was about from my first to my fourth grade of study, when I literally lived at the Skillful Hands circle. It was in front of my house, so my vacation schedule looked like this: I wake up, have breakfast and tinker until they kick me out. I still love making something with my hands.

In high school, I attended art school for a while. I am ashamed to admit, it was mostly not for drawing, but to have an interesting time. It was because the artist school has a very cool environment. What only to say about the stories of Yuri Vasilyevich Zatera alone? But when we went through the collage, I literally stuck. Here there is something from which it is impossible to tear yourself away. I glued in class, at home, and even when the topic had already been passed.

Why do I like it? Because design is a work without boundaries.Because there is always an opportunity to use fantasy. Of course, good reviews are always welcome. And when they say “You were recommended to us”, I just melt with joy.

How does a designer see the world as opposed to a non-designer?

The question suggests the answer that designers are just fairy elves who are not like other people. In fact, representatives of all professions pass reality through their experience. This is because something that you encounter in your main activity is constantly present in your head. For example, an electrician cannot help but notice the flaws in the wiring. Since I work with images, I have my own supply of observation: pictures, compositions, grids, letters ... while looking at what is happening around you, you impose your existing experience on what is. For example, an awkward signboard, an unsuccessful advertisement, a ticket, a certificate, a sign ..., you scroll in your head to change it to correct the appearance. It is impossible to get rid of this feeling. I would like to ask the question: “Why is this so? It could be better". You find yourself in a cool café or restaurant, and they have an ugly menu. As a result, instead of choosing dishes, I consider the layout. We can probably say that the designer sees the world with the adjustments he or she would have made.

How it all began?

It started with two unexpected turns. At school, it seemed to me that there was nothing better than Law Academy. But at the end of the 11th grade, I found myself at the Physics and Mathematics faculty. I am still glad that Maths happened to me.

The second turn happened when after the first year of University I really wanted to work, I asked to work for a local advertising newspaper as a designer. Since I had neither experience nor knowledge, I was asked to learn the programs in which they work until Monday (and that was Friday). I learned it, of course, and they enrolled me. Everything was very scary right away and it seemed that it would not work. At that time, there were no educational projects in Berdiansk, but the Internet helped a lot. I downloaded the books, watched the analyzes, everything I found was absorbed by me with interest.

Where else did you work before reaching today's level?

After graduating from the university, I switched to a newspaper which covered the latest news, it was a very interesting experience. At that time, Internet news was not yet in the first place and paper sources of information were quite popular. I worked with things that people would only learn about next day, the inner side of news processes is terribly interesting. Over time, I decided that I wanted to be closer to the graphic arts, and moved from a newspaper to an advertising agency.

My portfolio and reputation were gradually built up. There were more additional orders. Together with them, the experience of negotiating and presenting projects grew. It turned out that I completely repurposed as a graphic designer, focusing on identity design, packaging / labeling, and printed materials.

Having gained enough experience, I decided to continue moving on my own. I worked directly with organizations and design studios both in Ukraine and abroad.

What is the geography of your collaboration?

The longest collaboration has developed with Good! Good! Brands (, Poland), (Dnipro, Ukraine), (Ukraine). At the same time, I received an invitation to be published in the international collection of corporate styles “Do Not Disturb”. Since there are no borders in the presence of the Internet, I worked with customers from Norway, Canada, England, the countries of the Arab world, the USA.

Where does inspiration come from?

Anything inspires. And as expected, there is no universal way when you deliberately try to get inspired by looking at ready-made cases, some compositions, photographs, and suddenly, when the idea comes to your mind itself. And one day, thanks to the banal joke “I go nuts, dear editorial staff”, – six-year-old Olya writes to us…” a corporate identity for one project was born, and the hit was the first time, without edits, the customer was pleased with this decision. Sometimes ideas come from words, from films, from books.

You never know how your existing experience will connect with the current situation, in what unusual form it will pour out. The more images you absorb, the more interesting the combinations come out at the finish.

How does the work begin?

Any work begins with a conversation with the customer. We are discussing the problem, I am trying to find out what is, what is needed, how the person imagines the final result. This is necessary in order to understand what to do. The result, the speed of work, and the hit depends very much on the correctly described task. The next stage is outlines, sketches, concepts.

What is your advice for an aspiring designer?

It doesn't hurt to keep your eyes open. Don't be afraid to do, there is always ctrl + z. Training is, of course, welcome in any form. Moreover, now there are very cool courses, after which there is a queue of employers for students. A good option is to get a job, albeit the fifth assistant of an assistant, but in a cool team. In battle, all this goes much faster, much more efficiently, much more interesting.

What is more interesting for you to work with?

I really like to work with packaging, because the result can most often be touched, looked at. I really like to see the fruit of my labor standing somewhere on the shelf.

And I also like to show people who are not related to the profession, friends, acquaintances, how you can improve the appearance of their product. Now Instagram is very popular in all areas of activity, many people need to draw up their stories, posts, prices, reviews. Since a person is not a professional in matters of working with texts, most often it turns out not very well. I like to suggest how with minimal effort you can comb all this and bring it to a more professional look.

Why did you start organizing workshops for designers?

First of all, for myself. At that time, nothing of the kind was carried out in our city. I decided that it would be nice to be the organizer of master classes in design, calligraphy, type design, logo design; I invited speakers, I was fully involved in the preparation process. It was interesting for me to gather a company of the same enthusiastic people who could share the pleasure of learning with me.

In addition to seminars, for several years I have been the organizer of Behance Portfolio Review design views from the Behance community. I recently received an offer to teach an online course for non-designers. So that people can cover their household needs without deep immersion in the profession. Nothing systematizes your own knowledge as the need to tell other people about it. And, of course, the result is very inspiring when people who did not know how to do something before and were sure that they were not uncreative, achieve results. I was very pleased to receive feedback from the participants; it is always a pleasure for me to inspire someone.

Professional profile of designer Natalia Belousova:

What are you doing now?

I’m still working with various organizations. I'm taking an animation course. I make packaging. I really want to finish my font at last. Now I am thinking about starting the second stream of the online course. It is interesting that in connection with the crisis, vigorous activity did not stop, but on the contrary it took on new facets and became even more in demand.