Andrew Baygulov, Creative Director at Creativedash
Where do you work and what is your current title?
I’m the Creative Director at Creativedash. We’re focused on creating emotional connections between users and products.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.
I wasn’t sure what my plan for the future was when I was in high school. With the pressure of doing something with my life I decided to go to drafting school because it sounded very interesting to me at the time. I worked in that field for about 5 years but was always drawn to something more creative. Just for fun, I often did business cards for my coworkers and also tried getting into 3D animation. My coworkers have always told me that I was in a wrong field and they were right.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
To be honest, I didn’t even know that jobs like graphic design existed when I was in high school. I had no idea you can make a living knowing Photoshop until I met a guy who told me that he designed a website for his neighbor over the weekend and made enough money to buy himself a new TV. A lightbulb turned on in my head and I realized that I could make a living out of it.
As for my drafting job, that came to the end when the housing crash happened in 2008. It was impossible to find a job in that field so I had a lot of time on my hands. That same year one of my friends asked me if I could design and build him a website for his business. I knew nothing about building websites but because i had such a big interest in design, I agreed to do it without knowing a single line of code. It definitely wasn’t the prettiest site on the planet but I was very proud of it because I designed and coded it using mostly YouTube tutorials.
What was your first design job? Any interesting stories about how you broke into the field?
I moved to Oregon in 2010 with little bit of money in my savings. I was so broke that my girlfriend had to pay my rent. This made me eager to find a job there as soon as possible. Prior to moving I did a couple freelance projects — just enough to put together my resume. One of the jobs I applied for was Oregonlive and it was very important one for me as you can imagine. I was pretty nervous, knowing that I had very little experience. But after about 4 days of interviews, calls and presentations I finally got it. It was a big relief and it was a great start to my career.
Are there any memorable war stories, client interactions or close calls that have taught you something important about how things work?
I was always shy to get on the call with a client, so I avoided it by using email, which was a big mistake because its so much easier to understand what a client is looking for when you meet that person face to face. So many miscommunication problems can be resolved just by meeting the person. Furthermore, it also helps build a relationship with them which can last as a long term relationship.
What’s a common mistake you often see entry level designers make? What are some tips to avoid or overcome it?
I think a lot of entry-level designers think its easy to open Photoshop and just put a website together. There is a lot more to UI then just pretty images. Most of them realize it pretty quickly when whey post something on Dribble and get 5 likes for their posts. It’s important to have a goal and stay focused. It took me 5 years and a lot of sleepless nights and weekends of hard work to achieve my goals.
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?
There is nothing better than hard work. It takes time and patience but it always gets noticed. So if you love what you do, work hard, post your work and design it like you’re doing it for yourself then opportunities will come.
What do you think is the future of your industry?
Well, we can only guess. Web is changing almost on the daily basis. No one knew mobile was going to be so huge and now we can’t live without our phones. Overall, I think it will bring us a lot of useful tools and innovations.