Durban-based graphic designer Alexander Bielovich is a creative dedicated to craft above all else. His design work is all pops of colour and simple, clean lines, balanced with charming hand-drawn illustrations. He loves working at Gorilla Creative Media, where his job could be plainly described as the architecture of awesomeness. We had a little Q&A with the dog- and design-loving craftsman.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. When did you know you wanted to pursue graphic design?
Name’s Alex, surname’s Croatian and I’m a Graphic Designer based in Durban. My background covers a long-standing relationship with art, drawing and building things. From nailing wood together, to Lego to Photoshop. You could say Graphic Design for me was inevitable. Art and IT were my favourite subjects in school. My mom bought me art utensils. My drawings were on the wall. I tried all the fonts in Word. I didn’t need career counselling.
How’s it going so far? Any career highlights or projects you are particularly proud of?
Two thumbs up. I’m currently working with the beautiful/crazy people at Gorilla and had the opportunity to create their look across Twitter, Facebook etc. This involved looking at the company’s culture, award-winning style and way of working – all in one image. I recently completed my very first typeface (no small task) and my postcard series (wordmarks for cities of the world) is something I’m getting a lot of enjoyment out of. I know there’s still a lot to come.
Take us through your process from paper to the screen?
Nowadays absolutely everything begins on paper. I’ve always upheld the value of the ‘hand-made’ so sometimes my work begins and ends on paper – without ‘Cmd-Z’ you soon learn craft and patience. From paper to digital I’ll maintain as much of the original’s charm as possible. Drawing means getting the initial idea down in pencil before drawing over it again and again to refine it better. After scanning I work primarily between Illustrator and Photoshop – Wacom definitely comes in handy.
How would describe your style?
Always evolving. As an artist a signature style is top of mind, but as a designer flexibility is key (I find myself stuck in the middle). A mild case of OCD presents itself in my work with the smooth lines, restricted colour palettes and clean presentation. I definitely subscribe to the ‘less is more’ ideology.
Where do you get inspiration?
Meeting new people is huge for me. Nothing quite like it to expand your bubble and way of thinking. We have some incredible designers locally – who are especially inspirational. I do the usual Behance galleries, heroes of Instagram and RSS feeds but much of my inspiration comes more from experiences and the unconventional, the unnoticed, the silly – often things unrelated to design. The physical album art and packaging in my vinyl collection is something I constantly come back to.
On your website there are some character ideas and children’s illustrations, what is this for? Your images seem to tell their own little story.
On Saturday mornings I was enjoying the cartoons for the animation and effects more than anything else – ‘Cartoonist’ I decided to myself and began scamping bad Madam & Eve copies. Thankfully I had a lot of encouragement from those around me. The more recent characters and illustrations were done as independent practice while I was at college. Illustration was something I really wanted to become more skilled in and play with. I’m a bit of an introverted character so little worlds that I could lose myself in while creating them was very appealing. I’m also a sap for all things cute and fuzzy.
What do you love about your job, and what do you not like so much?
Have to love listening to music whenever the mood hits you, solving design problems, forever learning new short-cut keys and looking at pretty pictures all day. Drawback would be the overexposure to tech – on weekends I have to get out onto the beach with my dogs.
Anything exciting coming up?
Getting more involved in exhibitions and keeping on hustling in the big, scary, beautiful design scene. Contemplating a tattoo but we’ll see about that one.