Our colleague started drawing and painting when he was just 3 years old, discovering his creative side one step at a time, and never stopped doing that. He considers himself more of an artist than a designer and believes that achieving a ‘less is more’ design is harder than it seems at first glance. This new #WeAreModex interview focuses on a creative mind: Ionut Constantin.

Ionut’s story begins at the age of 3, when he started drawing and painting. He got accepted to an art school in the 5th grade and has always been surrounded by fine art until he graduated from the University. “The thing is that I never wanted to do graphic design. When I graduated from the University of Arts, I got my Bachelor’s Degree in traditional graphic arts (illustration, engravings, pen and ink, watercolour, etc). After that, I started looking for a job in traditional illustration, but I wasn’t very lucky. I realised that with all my knowledge and skills, it wouldn’t be that hard for me to do design, especially graphic design and really be good at it. It was very interesting for me and something really new and exciting. I really like working with clients, especially on the branding part. It is very satisfying for me when I deliver something that makes the client happy and that can help grow his business.”

When he’s not working, Ionut loves to party, go to concerts and travel. “Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, it was very hard to do these things over the past year. I also play basketball and poker in my free time. The thing that I enjoy the most is drawing; I consider it a hobby now because I do it mostly for myself.”

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What makes a good design stand out?

Knowing how passionate he is about this topic, we’ve asked Ionut how can one achieve a good design. “There are a lot of things that can make a good design. There is layout & composition, hierarchy, colours, typography, etc. If you master these fundamentals, it is inevitable that you will make a good design, and of course there is your aesthetic taste that can make a huge difference. If we are talking about UI design, it doesn’t need to stand out, and if it’s good enough it won’t, you will not even notice it. That makes a good UI design. In illustration and graphic design, the most important thing is your personal touch, your own unique style that’s going to make it stand out, and, of course, mastering the fundamentals”, says Ionut.

Creating an appealing, ‘less is more’ design

Is it true that by using the ‘less is more’ approach you can create an appealing design? “It depends on the project, on the requirements, on the market that it’s addressing and on the trends”, believes our colleague. “One thing that I can say is that it’s more difficult to do a simpler design, a ‘less is more’ design, than playing around with a lot of elements and having many ‘fireworks’. It’s very subjective if it’s appealing or not. That’s the thing about design, and why it is so difficult to do it.”

Easiness of use thanks to intuitive design

How important is the design of a website / an app for offering a friendly user interface and easiness of use? “I think it’s the most important thing, that’s where it all begins, from the design. It’s the designer’s job to make the website / app user friendly, and for that you really need to concentrate on the end user, to become the end user. You need to question yourself: ‘Do I really need these colours?’, ‘Do I really need these illustrations?’, ‘Would it be easier for me to understand what I have to do, or to navigate this app without all of these elements?’ or ‘Will I get frustrated if this animation is too long?’.

We were also curious to see which are Ionut’s favorites website, design-wise. “For the tech industry I would definitely say stripe.com. When it comes to the more artistic / creative side, I like synchronized.studio a lot. The last one catches my attention is behance, but maybe because I spend a lot of time on it looking for inspiration.”

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From selling painting and drawings…

How and when did Ionut’s career start? “I remember started ‘selling’ paintings and drawings when I was 8 years old, I would trade them in my classroom for Pokemon / duel masters cards. After graduation, I worked for a few months as a freelancer, mostly in digital illustration, and after that I started working full time at Modex as a graphic designer. I think the most difficult challenge for me was to restrain my artistic side, and focus more on the usability of the design. I overcame that by losing my artistic ego, and acknowledging that all that’s important is the usability of what I’m creating, not if I like it or not from an artistic point of view. Honestly, the projects that I loved the most were my personal projects, with small local businesses.”

… to working at Modex on the creative side

Ionut started working at Modex in September 2018. “I had no previous experience in graphic design or UI/UX design, but I was lucky enough to be accepted in the family. Since then, I worked really hard to improve myself, to learn all the software and to be a better designer. The company and my colleagues were really patient with me since joining Modex, and I am grateful for that.” Ionut goes on and tell us what he enjoys the most in working at Modex and how he sees the working environment here. “The people are great, very understanding and kind. It is the best environment to grow and to improve yourself. Besides that, I’ve also made some good friends since joining Modex.”

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Qualities needed to become a good Design Lead

Which skills must one have in order to be a good Design Lead? “I would say the confidence to make decisions and the bag of skills that you have. I think every Lead Designer should know a little about everything: illustration, graphic design, branding, UI/UX design, motion graphics. In addition, he/she should absolutely master the fundamentals. He should be up to date with all the trends and news in design, the latest software programs, etc. Of course, he/she should always seek to improve by learning new things such as brand strategy and marketing.”

Advice for people who want to start a career in web / product design?

“Just do it!”, says Ionut. “It will be difficult, even if you have an artistic background, but you have to start somewhere if that’s what you really want to do. Be humble and understand that you need to learn a lot and also to fail a lot. Last, but not least, always keep in mind that you need to improve your knowledge and skills. It is a never ending learning process, and that’s amazing – it means that you will never get bored.”