02.03.2022 | We the Makers — Interview Series
Firuz Kurbonzodski is an extremly talented Tajik Designer and Art Director currently working independently in Almaty. His design style is pure and minimalistic with great attention to detail.
What led you into your current career path?
In Middle school, I thought about what profession to choose. My older brother gave me the advice to study IT, I thought for a year and then I took his advice, I entered a private school where programmers were trained for one large corporation in my hometown of Dushanbe. We studied Visual Basic, C ++, also HTML web design, CSS, I developed some lightweight programs, but the trouble was, my programs worked, but there was no design and interface in them. Then for the first time in visual basic, I drew buttons and made a design, I immediately liked it, like love at first sight. I went to the director of the school and told him that I didn’t want to be a programmer and that I would study design myself. The director saw my desire to study design, agreed to leave me at school.
Even at that time, my brother gave me a Pentium 3 computer, then we installed adobe photoshop with him and I began to study the program by clicking, just memorizing each tool for what it is responsible for.
My first few years were focused on Design and Web Design. Also, I did good at Adobe Flash and worked for various companies, including a design studio called "Asar". So I worked like this for 4-5 years to understand which direction in design to choose, I did everything from business cards and posters to even websites.
One day I deleted my works and thought about quitting design. Later I realized that apart from design, I do not how to do anything in this life! I almost started again from zero.
How do you keep in touch with the creative world and community and what does the creative scene look like in your city?
Dushanbe is a city that has not been destroyed by global culture yet. It is very beautiful, sunny, winter is like spring, beautiful Tajik mountains are very close, it inspires me with its unique beauty.
Because of the civil war which was not a long time before the creative life there is quite poor. Whatever it is, I love my hometown very much.
I moved to Almaty because this city is a metropolis, life here is in full swing compared to Dushanbe. I wanted to put myself in another city, I just packed a suitcase on my 25’s birthday and moved spontaneously. I knew that I would succeed! Here I made friends and met a lot of interesting people from different creative fields. Here are many talented artists, musicians, fashion designers, the film industry is in its development, but again, graphic design is not much different from Dushanbe. I prefer to be a part of a worldwide community of graphic designers.
Packaging for Frangula Distillate
Packaging for Sophie Junya
Branding for Senno
What creative(s) do you admire for their work? Have you collaborated or thought of collaborating with other like-minds?
I collaborate a lot and have collaborated with other creative people. Half a year ago, I gathered around me a community of cool designers and art directors from Moscow and Minsk. I also have my own creative team of freelancers; I would like to open my own branding studio someday.
My colleagues and like-minded people:
What’s your favorite hack to get work done?
Well, first of all, I really like to work. Usually, before I start working on the computer, I just turn on the music of my favorite rappers, Playboi Carti, Kodak Black, Jay Rock, Skepta especially Uk Grime & Uk Drill Music, it is aggressive, stylish and I recharge and get to work. When I work, I am not distracted by anything, I immerse myself completely and can work without coffee breaks.
For me, it is necessary to see and draw the project in my head. If I see the final product and the result, the style of the project in my head, then the work goes quickly. 80% percent it works for me. And if I don’t see the project in my head, then I clear my mind, leave the house, take a walk, then come in, set priorities, and focus.
What are your 5 favorite work tools/apps and how do use them?
Adobe Suite - Illustrator is my favorite tool, I like it better than Photoshop or Indesign.
Apple iMac - This is where I do most of my work. I have worked on both PCs and iMacs, and I like the iMac's interface, image quality, and color accuracy better.
Spotify - Designing without music is impossible, it can be boring. Music only makes the situation better.
Behance is a good tool for inspiration and information about what's going on in the creative world. what trends are out there, what's being used too often, helpful guides for free.
Telegram - is a good app for communicating with partners and customers.
Packaging for Myna
Branding for Maison Thiargane
What creative or non-creative challenges do you face at work?
It's hard when I have an author's project and I am a client!
It is difficult to find mutual understanding with customers who do not trust, but fortunately, in most cases, I am approached by people who say, do it beautifully, as you can. Especially customers who apply from foreign countries.
I believe in the law of the universe, I think about the projects that I want to receive and implement, I direct my thoughts and 90% into space and the right people write to me.
What projects are you most proud of and excited about? Are there any side-projects you work or worked on?
I am proud of almost all the projects in my portfolio, these projects meant a lot to me at the time of their implementation, I gave myself to the cause with great dedication.
Senno — I did the branding pretty quickly because I was very inspired. I immediately knew what I was going to do and how I wanted to implement the project. Now I even became a partner in the project. I am fully responsible for the identity and advertising, I managed to develop a new user-friendly website, and it is already up and running.
Ruby Rise — This is my author's project, I have been developing it for 4 years now, while it is secret, this project means a lot to me.
Kurbonzodski Wear — is a project for the soul. I have long wanted to try my hand at designing clothes and objects. An unconventional experiment for me, exploring stories through print, clothing, objects and conversations.
Here is Where Magic Happens
Senno clothing brand logo
Packaging for Frangula Distillate
Packaging for Sophie Junya
What’s your morning or evening routine and habit after work?
My lifestyle is quite calm; I wake up only when the alarm rings, then I have breakfast and sit down to work;
I like to take a walk in the fresh air after work.
What does a typical day look like?
So my typical day looks something like this…
Breakfast time. I usually drink only tea or coffee.
I get to the office, do Art Directions - answering emails, working on instagram, talking on the phone, going to meetings, etc.
12:00-1:00: Lunch time! I usually eat outside!
15:00: Selection of labels for a future project.
Any advice for ambitious creatives starting out?