Meet Firuz Kurbonzodski:
An Art Director from Kazakhstan specializing
in Branding & Packaging Design Systems.

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?

  1. My hometown is Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where I spent most of my life. 
  2. The second city where I have been living for more than 4 years now is Almaty, Kazakhstan.

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

ffrangula2
Beauty_12

Packaging for Sophie Junya

bbranding-senno

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:

  1. @mushkinakatya Katya is my creative partner, we often have calls on zoom and we work together. She is good at Package design, she also has 5 Pentawards. Sometimes we argue constructively, this helps to achieve a good result. She helps me with my author's project, I plan to submit this work to Pentawards.
  2. @lizaartyuhovich Liza is a textile designer, she studied weaving in London. I met her when I saw that she is a fashion designer and has her own clothing brand. Her brand inspired me a lot and I suggested creating branding. I did a successful branding for Senno brand and I am proud of this case. She works in my team as a copywriter and comes up with good naming. We also developed several business projects with her.
  3. @bulgakov.cg & @_klebann_ Nikita and Anastasia are my creative partners, we often work together! They're very good at 3D design, which I'm not that good at, so we complement each other well.

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.

kurbonzodski doc

 

Packaging for Myna

mmyna
bbranding_maison-thiargane

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.

honey

Frangula Honey

Here-is-Where-Magic-Happens

Here is Where Magic Happens

 

llogo-senno

Senno clothing brand logo

ffrangula1

Packaging for Frangula Distillate

Beauty_07

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…

03

9am-9.30am:
Breakfast time. I usually drink only tea or coffee.

01

10-11 a.m.:
I get to the office, do Art Directions - answering emails, working on instagram, talking on the phone, going to meetings, etc.

07

12:00-1:00: Lunch time! I usually eat outside!

06

15:00: Selection of labels for a future project.

Any advice for ambitious creatives starting out?

  1. Without a portfolio you are like a company without a logo, create your dream portfolio. It doesn't matter if the projects are unrealistic. It's important to show what you can achieve by putting your heart and soul into your work, and clients will come to you.
  2. Show only the work you want to work on, if there is something you don't like, just don't show it. This is some kind of magic, customers feel when you did the work with heart.

  3. Keep learning and developing your observation, work to get better, but at the same time pay more attention to what you are good at; much better to learn quickly and get your hands on, there is a concept of steal as an artist, copy the best designers who inspire you, after all Picasso copied other artists for a long time, after all he is the founder of cubism.

  4. Don't constantly think about design. Free your mind and pay attention to the details of life, the deity hides in the details.

  5. Use your knowledge practically, for knowledge without practice is a lifeless body.

Anything you want to promote or plug?
You can take a look at my work on Behance or my Website
And also follow the Firuz on Instagram: @kurbonzodski

 

firuz_packaging

 

"…One day I deleted my work and thought about quitting design. Later I realized that apart from design, I do not know how to do anything in this life! I almost started again from zero…"