Vitali Zahharov works as a senior designer in one of the most innovative company located in Silicon Valley. He has worked with major clients such as Royal Caribbean, Toshiba, JLL, Huawei, Oracle, TaxAct, PureStorage and many others. Vitaly helped many companies to earn in total more than one million dollars.
We did a short interview with him and talked about how to be a successful designer, what needs to be done for it and how to cope with stress at work.
Portfolio – www.vitali.work
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a few words about you?
My name is Vitali Zahharov. I was born and raised in Estonia. Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe. It is often called the Silicon Valley of Europe because of the abundance of startups in such a small area. I started designing in 2010, editing photos for friends and acquaintances.
Gradually I started to deal with more complex things such as posters, banners, websites, and so reached the applications and interfaces. I had to work with Toshiba Asia, Royal Caribbean, TaxAct, Legrand, JLL and Universal. Nowadays I work as a senior designer for one of the top innovative companies – Y Media Labs.
How do you help companies? What does your job consist of?
In our company, everyone has its own specific tasks, so, everyone knows exactly what he should do and why. In this regard, I really like to work in a team where everyone has particular roles. In this mode, a team of specialists produces a quality product faster than when you work on a project alone and any, even small mistakes, will affect your nerves. As for me and my work: I am responsible only for the visual part, whether it is the interface, icon, or application – it does not matter at all. My main task is to form a look that would suit customers.
Tell us more about any major project in which you participated.
I took part in many interesting and large projects. We received projects of different values, ranging from $70.000 to $500.000. In fact, there is no difference what the cost of the project, only the result is important. I try to do my best in every project.
I can tell you about the project for the American cruise company ‘Royal Caribbean’, for which we did the design of the application from scratch. The goal was to make a handy app that people of all ages could use. The application was created for the purpose, for example, to quickly find a store on a cruise ship, or more convenient to book a table in a restaurant. At first glance, it seems that the problem is very trivial, but we approached it from a completely different angle.
What did you do?
We decided to make a reliable and indispensable assistant in the cruise, which would show the weather, wind changes, travel map and next stops. We immediately set a goal that we have to make a top product.
Did you succeed?
Absolutely! The app has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Webby award as «the best app of the year».
What was your merit?
I was responsible for the visual style and all sorts of visual solutions that were demonstrated in the app. It was a laborious process and the project constantly required all my dedication, maybe I even got a grey hair after this job. There was so much work, that I did only my part for about five or six months. The whole team continued to work on the project when I left it due to my personal circumstances.
Tell me how you cope with stress with such an arduous work?
I agree, it is not easy. We always try to hold team events so that people can take a break from work and relax a bit. It really helps to distract from our hard work. Do not forget about small breaks for lunch or a snack while working as it is not recommended to sit at the front of a computer continuously. It is especially difficult when delivering a project the slightest mistake can lead to failure and disappoint the client in our professionalism.
Was it in your experience too?
Fortunately, not with my projects. I try to do everything perfectly.
You also mentioned Universal, Oracle, Huawei. These are quite well-known world brands, how demanding are they all?
Yes, they are all very demanding on the final product like any other major brand. Consumers also have great demands on the quality of the brand, so it is a vicious circle. In fact, no complaints from customers have not yet come and I hope will not. Probably, this is an indicator that we are doing everything right.
There was, for example, a case when I worked as an art director in Singapore, and we were doing a completely new website for Legrand. Legrand is a well-known brand in Europe and in the world. We were very proud that he became our long-term partner. The thing is, he was going through every page and checked every indentation, saw if the element was positioned correctly. Everything had to be exactly as it was done by the designers. That is, he cared how the result would look like. Sometimes it is certainly too much, but we cannot give any prohibitions to the client.
Do you have a favorite project?
I like everything I have done. It is an app for RoyalCaribbean, a website for Naumi boutique-hotels (www.naumihotels.com) located in Singapore, a platform for musicians and their mentors for Universal Music Group. The last one was vitally important for me. Luckily, we coped with the team perfectly. There was also a terrific project for the billionaire and his company – C3.ai (www.c3.ai). We made amazing products for Oracle and SunMicrosystems, but unfortunately, I cannot talk about it because of the NDA signing.
Tell me, what is your success and how did you come to it?
Perhaps there is no secret. You just need to find something that would really bring you pleasure. It is probably the most important secret I have. I met many people who always complained that they had nowhere to grow, and they were always dissatisfied with their profession and work. I believe that there is always a place to strive and you can find ways for self-development. I hope that there are still a lot of interesting projects ahead. Now I am not ready to stop.
How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy good movies, sports and even simple walks in the fresh air can cheer me up for the whole day. In addition, I love to travel and discover new countries and their culture. I cannot stay at home for very long, I need to be constantly on the scene, attend interesting events when I am not busy with work. In such abstract moments, you realize how much it helps to establish a working rhythm and gives more energy for further actions.