In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.
We’re very proud to feature Emanuel Hărdăuț (crowdSPRING username: emanuelhardaut ) today. Emanuel lives and works in Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania), Romania.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
Servus to everyone, (Servus is an old Transylvanian salute, it comes from the latin “servus tu sum” which means “I am your servant”). My name is Emanuel Hărdăuț, I’m 34, I am a graphic and motion designer, I live in Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania), Romania, with my fiancee, Luciana, which I love very much and I hope we’ll get married soon. I’m proud and honored to be here, on crowdSPRING, with all of you, talented guys.
Because I loved drawing and painting I went to the Arts High School, and graduated the University of Arts and Design, here in my hometown, Cluj-Napoca. It was a nice period, I was drawing portraits and nudes, studying much history of arts, meeting interesting people, playing guitar, having fun after classes, and the most important – learning from each other drawing and graphic design, my coleagues and I. Pretty much like here on cS, where we all can learn one from another, that’s one of the things I like about crowdSPRING.
After graduating the university I had many jobs, I worked as a graphic designer for two publishing houses, and three advertising companies. I was an animator and background designer for a tv animated series. For the past two years I have been a motion graphics designer for a local television. And now I’m back on crowdSPRING, after a two-years break, and I enjoy being freelancer again.
2. How did you become interested in design?
Probably during high school, in ’94, when my graphics teacher was trying to keep us away from the computers. She was teaching us traditional, manual techniques for obtaining textures, hand drawing letters, collage, etc. At that time I really hated her for the anachronic approach, but over the years I realized that that experience helped me understand what design is all about.
That’s when my parents bought me my first computer, a terribly slow 486 PC, and a friend of mine brought me the ms-dos 3ds studio 1 (the first 3ds max) and I was amazed, although every command took like 4-5 minutes to do, and I was kinda staring at a sphere, not knowing exactly what to do next. Back then I discovered PhotoStyler and later, PhotoImpact, which came free with my first scanner, in `96, and it was much faster than Photoshop, so I used it until a few years ago, when it was discontinued.
3. Which of your designs are your favorites and why?
My favourite design is the logo for a contest I didn’t won, Music for Minis. I like because I felt good when I did it, because it’s so colourful, full of life, and maybe because it kinda reminds me of the time when I was about 10 and I was listening vynils disks with Mozart when I was getting home from school.
Another one of my favourite designs is the cover and cd graphics for Teodora Iacob, a Romanian talented folk singer. She trusted me and gave me total freedom and I came with the idea of a ship made out of musical instruments, sailing through waves of musical notes.
My favourite drawing is the the one with Dracula Land. I did this pastel in the second year at the university. There were rumors about the opening of a Dracula thematic fun park here in Transylvania, so our drawing teacher gave us the theme to draw a poster for this park, which wasn’t build anymore.
4. Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your design work?
Many things inspire and influence my work, from browsing on the internet or walking into a shop and analyzing logos, posters, etc., in my mind. My artistic background and education are a big influence, too. Here on crowdSPRING my favorite designers are Tin Bacic (TinBacicDesign), Darina and many others.
5. How do you come up with ideas for concepts after you read a creative brief?
First of all, I try to clear my mind and open up the ears – I read the brief paying attention to all the details. The first thing that I’m trying to establish is if the project suits me or not, can I do it (properly) or not? If I don’t feel it’s for me, I move to the next one. If I like it then I read it again once or twice. I try to understand exactly what the brief/ business/product is about, what it does, how it works. While reading the brief I’m creating a palette of visual elements in my mind. Usually, I do a lot of research to complete the puzzle, to understand the context, the local culture, and the client, what he likes, what he wants. You know the movie “What women want” with Mel Gibson? I’m asking the same question thinking about design and clients. After selecting the graphical elements, colors and fonts, I try 3-4 versions and I always try to add something extra, something that makes me proud of my design. I always try to achieve a reaction similar to what a client said to me: “Holey Crap!!! If I had know what I had wanted, this would have been it! This is AWESOME and exactly the feeling I was going for!”
Of course, this is my dream scenario, it doesn’t always happen like that. Sometimes I go out of my comfort zone, experimenting, trying something new, exploring new directions, getting frustrated because of the low scores I’ve got and returning to the things I do best, but in the end, i learn, I explore and I don’t get bored.
6. What software and tools do you use?
15 years ago, the most popular vector software, in Romania, was CorelDraw, which I learned too. Although I know Illustrator, I work in Corel, because it’s the fastest and coolest program for me. For projects that involve 3d (package design, simulations, animation) I use 3ds max. During the last two years I used After Effects, 3ds max, Photoshop and Anime Studio on a daily basis, while I worked for a new television . In 2005, in Bucharest, I learned Anime Studio (Moho, back then) , and I had the chance to do 180 minutes of 2d animation in 2 years (3 seasons) for an animated cartoon series, Animal Planet Show. The show was broadcasted on a national television (Antena1) in Romania. I also did 40 backgrounds and I directed an episode for the show, and it has been the coolest of all my working experiences, so far.
7. What is your dream design project?
That’s a hard question, I don’t know what to say, I’ve never thought of that. Maybe a complete branding project for a worldwide known company. My dream features are: concise clients, crystal clear brief, creative freedom and good communication and a great subject to work on.
8. How do you promote your work?
I have a website with my portfolio www.emanuelhardaut.com which is still under construction, I apologize. I will try to finalize it soon. Although I have a Facebook account (feel free to add me as a friend if you want), I don’t use it to promote my work, yet.
9. Please describe your typical work day.
Since I quit my job as a motion designer from the television, 4 months ago, I got much more relaxed so, although I wake up at 7:30 every morning, I work only 4-5 hours a day. But there are days when I don’t feel like working and I take a break. Usually, the first thing I do is to read the clients’ feedback while drinking my coffee. Because I’m from Romania, there is a difference of 6-8 hours between my timezone and USA timezones. Many of the feedbacks come during the night, and this is why sometimes I go to bed a little anxious, thinking about the contests.
10. What is the design industry like where you live?
In my city there are many advertising companies, but only 4 or 5 are big and have good quality design, but the local design industry is expanding, there are more and more IT, gaming and mobile companies. Most of them seem to be working fine, although the financial crisis affected some of them really bad, back in 2009.
11. If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?
Definitely painting. “My first love” was painting and I’m planning to make it a full time job one day. I love Renaissance, manierism, Baroque, Expressionism, Art Nouveau, Surrealism and Metaphysical paintings, so, maybe I will mix all these currents together, or maybe I will do something new, I’m not sure yet, but I still feel I have that fire inside about painting.
12. What do you do with your free time?
Sometimes I paint and I draw, especially portraits. I read from time to time, but not as much as I used to, years ago. I also play guitar since I was 14, I’m lefthanded and I play with the strings upside down, It’s a pretty strange sight, some would say. I’m still listening to the grunge music (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc.) I grew up with, and classical music also (Mozart, Prokofiev, etc.). I like playing chess and pool. When the weather is good I play tennis and soccer with my friends, or I’m going out, enjoying nature.
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