Today, I have the honor to invite Gleb Kuznetsov to talk to us about his design experience and design management techniques.
Your work is as full of futuristic design style as ever. Are these a real case or some of your concept drafts? If it is a real case, what field is generally used.
Most of them are real cases or explorations for real products.
I use a futuristic style for reflecting reactions in Artificial Intelligence and Voice based products, because this is the future: emotional interface.
In some cases, the automotive industry or even healthcare industry needs this feeling of the future to better connect with customers.
Can you show us your Airbus iOS app design process?
We started the Airbus IFLYA380 project with a discovery phase and User Experience prototyping to align the business objectives and product design. We created the prototyping flow before we went into the design stage to save time for the back-end development and to introduce the app architecture to developers before the design was final.
Once we finished the prototyping and got the approved UX, we started the visual design stage. We defined guidelines for the app based on extending the Airbus brand book into product design, always aligning to the business objectives.
The visual design stage started with the deep research of various design directions using mood boards and many other references which helped us to find the perfect visual direction. We were looking to define the main inspiration for our future UI design. After combining together around 1000 images, I simplified our mood boards to only 10 of the most powerful and consistent visual references. Every visual example contains a variety of elements, such as colors, shapes, layouts, and textures. My job is to see the connections to create a unified direction. Be free to check my Pinterest account for examples of moodboards.
When the visual direction is done, we start designing every screen (up to 10 variations for every single screen) until we can find consistency with the direction of the UI design. Once we get final approval for the main screens, we apply the design direction to the rest of the screens.
Once every screen is perfectly designed and we have can truly see the holistic UI design system, we create the interaction scenarios, where we create a big map of all screens, connect them with each other, and imagine transitions and animations in the application before we start working on the actual animations.
Then we move into creating the motion design. At that stage, we need to re-create our visual design once again in After Effects. Some people and teams use different tools not to rebuild all layers, but we focus on the details in micromotion because it is very significant for how the final product feels. We normally spend around 3 days for this step. When design is ready for animation, we starting working on transitions and the micro-motion of each element. Sometimes different interaction tasks require different skills: for example, the splash screen has a 3D aircraft so we need 3D designer skills to make it looks the way we want.
Once everything is done and we have amazing design and motion, we rebuild everything over and over…and over, until we feel that the result is awesome and that we are ready to share it with the client and front-end developers.
Can you show us a video of the software implementation process for any of your dribbble works?
To be honest, I am not doing software implementation. I focus on design, motion and user experience strategy only. Developers who work with me have no limits and can implement absolutely anything, which allows me to go very far with what I can imagine and design.
Here is how the final app looks like:
As a design manager, how do you maintain a balance between management and design, and continue to design so many excellent works efficiently?
It is not easy. I work sometimes 15–20 hours per day to make it happen.
Thankfully, the designers and people who work with me help me to stay in balance and pitch in to get the results I want. I can draw an example with my hands to show them how to do it and they get it quickly. I am a happy manager because I work with my team for the latest 5 years and they always support me and help me to fulfill my vision. Sometimes I dive into work as a designer for weeks … at this time, I only do design. Or the same I can say towards managing — when I only manage processes. It allows me to learn new things all the time.
What is the design flow of the FΛNTΛSY studio? Can you tell us about the division of labor?
Everything depends on what kind of project we have. If it is for a website, it differs from product design story. Marketing materials collected for the website design are also different from the ones we use in product design.
I also would like to give the news for my followers and those who want to work with me, I do not belong to Fantasy anymore. I run separately my own design studio. We’re working on emotional interfaces, automotive HMI and specifically on AI products for the new generation. At Fantasy I was focused on the digital product design and the workflow was crafted with my friend and UX lead, Jeshua.
We arrive at what we’re building and how we’ll measure success by a process of discovery followed by in-depth exploration of ideas and concepts.
Once we agree on the idea and business objectives, we move through UX discovery and Visual exploration stages. Here we explore different UX ideas and visual design directions so that we don’t rush into any one direction too soon. It is important to have time and space to explore and experiment to move beyond what we know — to push design forward.
As the Design Director, I work with all of these ideas and explorations to find the one consistent design direction similar we did with Airbus.
Usually, this is a keynote deck with 100–200 pages of moodboards and images / sketches / words alongside business objectives and visual design decisions. It is important for designers to be able to explain and illustrate “why” we make our decisions.
This way of working allows for our design direction approval process to be more productive and often much easier. We usually get sign-off on the design direction with a lot of trust that we’re moving in the right direction.
As we understand where we are going with the product, we start working on detailed UX prototypes and sketch out many UX ideas on paper or using Sketch software. When the UX is approved, we move further into the design stage.
The product design stage always depends on the crucial objectives of the project and business, along with considering the timeline and development to make sure everyone would get everything in time. Sometimes we start working in After Effects or Cinema 4D without using scenario and Photoshop to save the time and deliver assets as soon as possible. But usually, we have static drawing stage where we design UI based on approved UX and each element for the product design system before we step into interaction/motion design stage. Once we finished design, we start animating everything using After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D.
When motion and interaction is done, we have a video of the working app concept is what we use to get approval. Once we get it approved, we move to the final execution stage where we create design and motion assets for developers, style guide and brand book assets to make sure that design implementation process will go smooth.
As you mentioned before, you are completely self-taught, including design knowledge, software, can you share your self-study method?
I have never been learning from books and have not gotten my knowledge at universities simply because there was no good school for digital product design when I was growing up. My secret is that everything that I do needs to be real and needs to be meaningful. That gives me a responsibility and forces me to learn whatever it takes.
Basically, the learning process has to be passionate — it has to matter so you can go beyond the fear of losing. I lost so many times and I had been weak as a designer for 10 years. It had been hard, it had been painful and stressful but after 10 years of fails and learning, everything I created has become successful. And if someone asks me if I regret that I became a product designer, my answer would be absolutely not.
Think about who are you are. I ask myself this question all the time and the answer is always the one — Product Designer, who transforms ideas into physical and digital products. This is the most amazing job I could ever imagine for myself. I love every second I spend in front of my computer and I feel passionate about every pixel I produce. By the way, never think that you will have to stop learning. Learning is everything and everywhere, if you stop learning, you stop growing and go down very fast.
Last year, Alibaba’s Luban intelligent design robot cumulative design 1 billion posters. Some people call it a design terminator. What do you think of the position of artificial intelligence in the design? What is the future trend of the Interaction Design?
I truly believe that AI will change our life entirely and Product Designers could feel the changes first of all, since designers need to create these changes and this future. Effective customization of our designed experiences is likely to be the first test that AI designs must pass to earn the trust of users. Artificial intelligence can understand many parameters of human perception and unravel many secrets to ourselves. Only by becoming something personal can these products really change our lives. And they will.
The old computer models will fade. The ascendance of AI products and services will flourish when the interfaces themselves begin to fade from our awareness. This is why voice interfaces are poised to become an integral part of human-machine interaction in the future, and why so many of my own creative explorations with AI focus on this interaction.
Welcome to check out my Instagram to find more voice focusing inspirations.
We are very interested in your office environment. Can you show us your workstation and the items that bring you happiness?
To be honest, I work almost from everywhere, and my office environment can be any place where there are silence and wifi. Here is a pic of my desk: