Daria originally earned a degree in Economics, but today, her heart is devoted to Dieter Rams, aesthetic of Brutalism, and the ability to divide the elephant into parts in case it is challenging to overcome it as a single piece. In her spare time, Daria plays a game called “What? Where? When?”
How long have you been in design?
I’ve been working in design for six years now. Trained as an economist, I tried to work in related areas, including audit, production, and finance. Then I decided to look for a more creative job. I was excited about it but didn’t know where to start. I was looking for a job in marketing, which was familiar to me because I had at least some idea about it. However, by chance, I came across a startup that was looking for a designer. It so happened that I was hired there as an apprentice so they could see how did, and so things moved on. I was learning on the job.
How did you decide on these changes?
Easily. At that moment, I couldn’t even imagine how I would cope with the design. How can I begin a new profession without relevant experience and necessary skills? I didn’t believe my candidacy was worth considering. If I were in charge at the company, I wouldn’t consider my application in that situation. (Laughing) But that was how it went.
What difficulties did you experience when fully changing the sphere you work in?
That feeling that is probably still with me: “I am a newbie, I know nothing, I can do nothing that others can.” I didn’t feel that way from the very beginning — those feelings started to follow me a little later. At first, there were so many new things to learn and everything was so interesting that I didn’t have time to worry about inferiority. I desperately wanted to absorb knowledge and put it into practice. I wouldn’t say it was that difficult at first. I was so excited and inspired by what I was doing and wanted to do more and more.
Sure, I made mistakes. Sure, it was not pleasant at all. But when I got feedback that everything was not good and had to do it again from scratch, I reacted like “Okay, so now I will do it better.”
You are illustrating. How long ago did you start?
In childhood. But these are not professional illustrations. I didn’t learn it. Most of the time, I just copied what I liked. I still hesitate because there are so many styles and trends that I like and want to try. And copying as a method has not fully disappeared. But now I want to experiment and it seems like I don’t copy as much as I did before, which makes me feel more confident. Probably, the classes devoted to illustrating in Projector (honestly, the only drawing courses I participated in) helped me. Those three months of training gave me a good boost and, most importantly, the freedom not to be afraid to try.
Do you think the number of girls in your environment is increasing?
Yes, and this is especially true for female developers. Not so long ago, there were very few of them. I remember it well during the studentship. There was a university of radio electronics nearby, and programmers studied there. Ten years ago, there were very few girls.
When I saw the offices of the large companies a couple of years later with female developers in teams, it was an uncommon thing. Today, their number has significantly increased.
What would you advise the girl who doubts whether the IT-community will accept her?
Leave aside the idea that any stereotypes related to gender, age, or something else can stop you.
I find the community of tech people is more open and progressive compared to other industries. There are mostly young, highly-motivated people who are passionate about their work. They are probably less socialized in some cases, but they come to work to do what they love and create new cool projects and are not interested in wasting their time gossiping.
Sure, people are all different and there may be a person with different beliefs in any community. But these are rather individual features. Basically, the teams aim to create comfortable working conditions for everyone. People are usually wary about this environment until they get into it. So, don’t be afraid.
Who inspires you in your work?
Mostly, representatives of the old school, such as Dieter Rams, Bauhaus, and others who laid the foundations in the 20th century. As for the contemporaries, it is difficult to say. I am usually inspired by new trends like the aesthetic of brutalism, which is now at its peak. Generally, I follow the trends and find something interesting in every new wave. I dive deep in that and always want to try things of current interest.
How do you relax?
Playing “What? Where? When?” It’s awesome. I knew about those intellectual games, but couldn’t put together a team. Everyone, just like I did first, refused explaining that they never played that game. For some reason, people find it to be an elite club. But then, I was encouraged to play with people who, just like me, didn’t have a team. I’ve been playing for about two years, once or twice a week. It’s like adrenaline you can’t live without.
Name three methods to unload the mind
The first one is physical activity. Running and training help. Another one is doing routine things like washing dishes or cleaning the house which are especially helpful when you procrastinate. The third method is doing the same routine things but now in your professional activities. For example, you get quite a huge task and have no idea what to start with in the illustration or design. Let’s imagine the task is a solid piece, so you need to tear off small parts you understand the most one by one until you get to the last, hardest part of the task.
To cite an example, I work with a series of complex interfaces and understand that it will definitely have a pencil icon. I start to work from there, my brain starts slowly working as well, and at some point, I understand what else I can do within the illustration or design.
It is effective to divide the elephant into pieces and complete each piece separately. It works.