PageCrush has yet another opportunity to involve ourselves with a passionate designer, committed to creating work that truly stands out. We’d like to introduce Genn.org. Gennady V. Osypenko is a passionate graphic and interactive designer with goals that may change our unforseen future of art and design. He is a natural for original work and drives dedication for any given project.
After undergoing heart surgery in the U.S., nothing can keep Genn away from his passion of traveling and computers. From html-coder to creative director and slow computers to fast, no coffee to caffeine hype and Flash magician to the guy that doesn’t need a minute of sleep, Genn has “made do” with what he has and continues to bring fresh content to every medium he owns.
PageCrush is pleased to give you Genn.org
Q. Where are you located?
Q. Are you considered a firm or freelance designer?
Oh, this is complicated one. I work as the creative director in a Ukrainian ad agency called “Laboratory8” (http://laboratory8.com/) and still do some projects as a freelance designer, but for fun. The best way to make me do any project myself in dozen of sleepless nights, is to promote an interesting idea demanding perfect realization. It doesn’t matter if it’s website, interior decoration and navigation, print or identity. I am interested in everything interesting 😉
Q. Does Genn.org collaborate with other designers around the world for certain projects?
I collaborate with my friends who are designers as well as non-designers. I was involved in different C-Arts projects (http://c-arts.ru/) like the book of 33 Tales and later, the calendar. I also help with some dedications or just routine if it’s needed. I can’t remember any right now, except participating on different design portals. I was asked to write design reviews for one of the Japanese design portals, but haven’t got an answer after I agreed. Anyway, look at me and listen to me, I am open to interesting projects! I want to get involved 😉
Q. Can you tell us how you got your start in design and the passion that brought you to what you do best?
In 1998 I realized that everything changed around me. I was writing articles and listening to hip-hop, not rock, and the world was still imperfect.
I was interested in creating applications for Windows and some of the first design projects was “naming”, “logos”, “GUI” and a website for some application developed together with guy from Finland who’s name was “Gandalf” or something like that. Then I made more and more… I started to create more attractive things, bomb graffiti and tagging everything around me. That was a weird time making identity and sites for corporate clients and playing with sprays and markers on the weekends.
Q. It sounds like you are inspired by traveling while you work. What are some of the places that give you the best inspiration for design?
Actually I get inspiration from every atom around me. I can look at leaf, the haircut of my senior designer or the scheme of traffic in my city and get a fresh idea about something. One time I looked at an Excel spreadsheet and made a new quite understandable design of this document for the customer. They were quite impressed. The other time, while developing the flash game for FHM magazine, I was inspecting cars while they turn. The plot of the game was to park your car in the smallest possible amount of time. Though I am a driver myself, I was examining the angle of the wheels rotations and cars moving everywhere I saw them. I made this game while being with my girlfriend in Minsk (she lives there) and she was impressed and little bit annoyed how I was attracted with the idea to make the most realistic model of a moving car.
While being in Prague this winter at the Envision conference Microsoft held, I liked walking around almost the whole night. Accompanied by Daft Punk tracks and some Czech beer inside me, I was wondering around the nightlife city. After that, coming to the room I rented, I made two or three marks about the ideas that came to my head. All of them where quite abstract and surrealistic, but now, refreshing them from my Moleskin, I get lots of inspirational stuff. That sounds great, doesn’t it?
Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?
I hope that my biggest projects aren’t made yet. There are some that I am glad to remember, but they are not biggest. Two I am most proud of are my website (http://genn.org/) and my blog (http://mega.genn.org/) which will have an English version soon… I hope. As I create lots of stuff, starting from websites, identity, through t-shirts and finishing alternative reality games, I can’t highlight one of them and hide others. And I am afraid that writing about all of them would use all of our time. I’ll just say that everything I made (ok, almost everything) is my biggest and favorite. Oh, I almost forgot, I’ll be opening an online t-shirt shop shortly, so I could share my t-shirt and clothes designs 😉
Q. What are the biggest challenges you have to overcome when working on projects for other clients?
The biggest challenge of all times is that every client thinks he/she is a good designer. At least, they’re better then you are. It’s hard for people to realize that paying so much money means someone would work for you to earn this money. It’s always the same — explaining to the client why you did this or that and why it’s better then the one thing he made using his Microsoft Word with Word art plug-in. As a creative director, I often go to clients to present ideas or mock-ups. And it’s not so bad as I expect. If you’re not just a freelance designer, but creative director, who came with the account manager and maybe the creative group head to show the results of work of several designers and copywriters, client listens to you and agree more. So, here’s my advise — you do not just know the truth but to look like you are the truth.
Q. How do you battle the thought that everyone seems to think they’re a web designer now a days?
It’s perfect they think, but it’s awful they aren’t. Training people and giving master classes about design and web design, I always repeat that the design is not just about colorful illustrated covers, but it’s the channel of communication with people. Web sites are the most powerful communication tube we have nowadays: quite attractive, quite interactive and damn adaptive. I can browse the web on my iPhone, iBook, PSP or Mac Pro and all of them show almost the same. PSP may ruin the design a little bit but as long as design is perfect it doesn’t matter. Web designers have to understand the whole process of site creation and work after it is published. He has to know the answer for every tricky “what if user clicks here” question. It’s a pity but most of the web designers are not suitable.
Q. Is this skill and talent something that school aided in your life, or is it straight experience and committed time that drove you to this level?
I started as a software engineer, as I said earlier. But I never separated the soul of the project and its implementation, so maybe my programming skills helped me to become who I am as a designer. Anyway, I didn’t get any academic education as a designer, just the books I read and catalogues I looked through (oh! I adore those Scandinavians 😉 I think that I’ll get some later somewhere in Europe, Japan or the US.
Q. Which of your designs are your favorite and most successful?
First of all it’s http://genn.org/ I opened it yesterday and was impressed like it was something cool made by someone else.
Actually, all works listed on genn.org are my favorites, but here are some picks:
http://genn.org/stuff/2004/ — Recieved dozens of awards
http://genn.org/stuff/walk/ — Was my first site that was awarded 😉
http://antonten.com/ — I still haven’t found time to add it to my portfolio
http://genn.org/ohyeah/tatu/site.jpg — Website for known Russian girl-band t.A.T.u. David Carson influenced me a lot while making this site
http://genn.org/ohyeah/pc2p/gui.png — One of the GUI’s I’ve created
Q. Where do you see the web industry in the future and what do you think may change about it?
Let’s start with statement that “the future” is today. With all that iPhones and new cell phones have to always keep you in touch using web sites and web applications. Now if there was a way to integrate an audio chip into newspaper, so it would yell something every time you turn the page; that would sound fantastic and looks like it won’t take long time to integrate video and wi-fi in the same media. So we’ll get a lot of new fresh media channels to communicate with people while websites as we know them would transform into usable interfaces. Using new media and gadgets to control them people would get organized in more complex and lifelike communities then now. All I want to say is that something unbelievable would happen and I hope we’ll feel how it is to live in cyberpunk movies 😉
Q. Is this something you see yourself doing for a long term career?
I hope that this perfect business of fuzzy logic, plans, colorful prints and civil meaning of virus and guerilla would never die and my brain would still be able to generate perfect ad ideas. It looks like a career, doesn’t it? I’d like to work as an art or creative director in different agencies across the Europe just to share the experience and absorb new thoughts and trends.
Q. Is there any advice you’d like to leave inspired artists and designers with?
Sure there is! Don’t get upset when you have no ideas. Just don’t stop creating. Make the creation of the masterpiece (even if it’s leaflet for a new pizzeria) the process you adore. Oh, I wasn’t paid for this but just do it 😉
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that was not covered above?
Yeah! I’ve just come from the cinema and had a great time watching WALL-E. Everyone, you have to go and see how romantic love can be with a piece of metal and piece of plastic, who save humanity! Pixar just made a great movie 😉
Guys! I am totally exhausted (that influenced the interview a bit) but still happy and smiling. Have a good time everyone and create perfect stuff like you already do. I’d like to look like a sociopath freak who works for big money and hates his work because he knows everything about it (they think that ad-workers look and act like this) but I am not. I like my work and hate people. Oh! Wait! That last sentence was quite sociopath, wasn’t it?
PageCrush would like to say:
Genn, you are an inspiration with lots of future still ahead of you! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this review. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.