Today a Designer Interview With Davar Azarbeygui who is a Branding and advertising executive from Cincinnati, OH, USA with over 20 years of design & advertising experience. He is a graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute with a passion for design and art, he has worked with multinational agencies as well as collaborated with global companies.
— The Logo Creative™ (@thelogocreative) November 14, 2018
Davar has an International background and speaks five different languages fluently, He has an extensive knowledge of global and visual design language and lets his international background inspire his designs.
The Logo Creative – Hi Davar it’s nice to have you be apart of a designer interview.
Davar Azarbeygui – I appreciate the opportunity you are giving me to speak about my experience and my journey as a designer.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Davar Azarbeygui – I will never forget the first time in high school seeing and experiencing the first Mac we had. We had received a dozen PC computers and only one Mac, I was quickly drawn to the friendly graphic user interface and how it let me design my first album cover project for the Live Aid music concert. In college, I dropped out of Architecture school after 2 years, because I really missed the design discipline and creative side of solving problems through design.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Davar Azarbeygui – Up at 5 am to do my TM meditation programme. It really helps me clear my head and start the day on a positive note. I check my inbox and social media updates. I like to update and share beautiful design/branding work through my Instagram feed once a day. Then I organize my day between current clients and potential clients. This way I can always focus on new and upcoming projects. Keeping it fresh and exciting is a big priority for me. I never want design to just be a job, I want it to be an everyday passion.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Davar Azarbeygui – I was working as an art director in New York Pharmaceutical ad firm after Pratt Institute when my creative director approached me and asked me if I would like to design some logos for this new medical device company called On-Q. I was very excited, but it also meant a big responsibility to re-do a brand. I did a lot of research on what exactly the device did and what was its main function was. I was able to design a logo that really showed the benefits of the device as well as the innovative aspects. The client loved it and they decided to make it part of their entire brand launch.
The Logo Creative – What is your favorite Logo you have designed?
Davar Azarbeygui – This will sound a bit strange, but while I was working as the Head of Design in BBDO Middle East, our department was asked to come up with a logo for the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections. It was a very important and sensitive identity and branding to work on, because there were certain colours you could not use, due to their affiliations with their political parties.
After sharing and going through several design iterations, they all got rejected, as the elections drew closer because they wanted something very unique, symbolic, and closely tied to their own national identity. It was also during the same time period as the 2009 U.S. elections, so we had a lot at stake. I finally came up with the concept of integrating the Lebanese National flag colours and symbolic Cedar Tree icons into a thumbprint mark that symbolizes the voting method they used. I remember presenting it to our boss and the heads of election government, and the look on their faces when seeing this identity unveiled. They loved the concept.
Coming up with a symbolic logo design solution in such a complicated political landscape, was a tough project, but once you come up with a unique concept that really captures the essence of what the identity is supposed to represent, you really do not need to explain it to your audience, it speaks for itself. I always say, when a master chef cooks a great tasting dish for you, he doesn’t come and explain what and how he did it; you just taste it and enjoy the meal.
The Logo Creative – What is your favorite Logo of all time?
Davar Azarbeygui – Milton Glaser’s “ I Love NY” 1977 logo is by far one of the most iconic symbols and logos of all time. It not so much about the actual design, but more about the concept behind the logo, about how it transformed and rallied a city that was going through some rough times to symbolize something much bigger. I truly believe every logo design or symbol has to begin with a concept in mind. An idea that cannot only serve to visually represent a product or brand, but really transform and emotionally connect with the people who are going to interact with it.
A close second would be the “FEDEX” logo by Lindon Leader. It just as intelligent as a logotype can get.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Davar Azarbeygui – It’s a similar process to other logo designers out there, but I like to place a big emphasis on doing the proper research, collecting all the data on the business or the client I’m working for. I also like to make a thorough audit of the landscape or the particular category. I hate to come up with design solutions that are similar or already done. I know that in today’s design world, originality is rare, but you can come up with good or even great ideas.
As Paul Rand said “Don’t try to be original-just try to be good”
When I’m asked to design an identity for a client, you really have to understand the nature of the business and try to find insights or logical solutions relevant to the product or service. Sometimes the answer can be in the brief, sometimes it can come from having meaningful conversations with the client and really understand their needs.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion regarding Logo Design pricing do you prefer working on a fixed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Davar Azarbeygui – Once I get the proper scope of work needed and the deliverables requested, I tend to give a fair and fixed price, that really showcases the potential of a logo. I always tell my clients that if I presented to you seven or ten logos on a white sheet, you would not pick any of them. But if I showed you two or three logo options with each one shown in numerous applications, then you are demonstrating the potential and bigger vision of the logo. I call it “Logo Prototyping”. That’s what’s really going to sell the identity to the client. I recently shared this amazing quote that I truly believe in from Paula Scher “ THE DESIGN OF A LOGO IS NEVER REALLY THE HARDEST PART OF THE JOB. IT’S THE PERSUADING OF A MILLION PEOPLE TO USE IT”
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Davar Azarbeygui – That really depends on the scope of a project and the needed applications. I recently finished the brand identity for a bedding start-up company called PONS EVOLUTION. The identity took me 1 week to design, based on the concept of the letter “N” in the bed frame. But the applications, colour palette, typography family took about two more weeks.
The Logo Creative – Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Davar Azarbeygui – It’s has always been a MAC for me, for the simple reason that Steve Jobs, designed the Mac for designers and creative people in mind. He wanted the machine not to interfere with the creative process and make it easier to go from sketch to vector execution, in the most seamless possible way.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently?
Davar Azarbeygui – The standard Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, but I’ve been recently playing around with Adobe Xd (Experience Design), for some App UX designs. Pretty nifty little tool.
The Logo Creative – What is your favorite style of logo design? And why?
Davar Azarbeygui – I’m a big fan of logotypes that use a certain font to express a brand. Typography for me is really the cornerstone of a great identity or logo. They can really help you communicate a feeling or a certain idea. The great Herb Lubalin made a great career out of turning type into amazing and memorable logotypes. For example, the “MOTHER” or “FAMILIES” identity is the perfect example of how you can manipulate a typography to create an iconic logotype out it.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Davar Azarbeygui – Shapes in nature or urban symbols I see around every day inspire me. Sometimes the architecture I see can create visual inspirations.
I also have an extensive collection of design and logo books that I love to peek in and learn from the masters who came before us.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job being a designer?
Davar Azarbeygui – You get to meet really interesting people from all walks of life. Then when you have the opportunity to work with them, you sort of become a fly on their wall for a short time and learn about what they do and how passionate they are about their brand. I think passion is very contagious and can lead to some great collaborations and designs.
The worst is when I see someone lose that passion and start overthinking ideas and picking at problems that do not exist, or showing designs to other people and asking for their opinions. That’s when the trust bond between client and designer is broken.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Davar Azarbeygui – Anyone with great creative and innovative mind, The late Zaha Hadid was a true living legend whose vision was way ahead and beyond our time. In her short time with us, her energy, passion for life and creative work have inspired designers and architects for years to come.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favorite Graphic Designer and why?
Davar Azarbeygui – I was and always will be a big fan of the great David Carson. His influence in graphic design during my earlier years made a huge impact on what I thought about design and how I approached design. When I was living and studying in New York his work with Ray Gun magazine and his book “The End of Print” was really groundbreaking. His influence on typography was extremely important to an entire generation. He really was the first Rock Star Grunge designer, who went against all convention and developed a unique design style that could be recognized instantly. The same way Nirvana shook up the music scene, he did the same thing for design.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favorite design quote?
Davar Azarbeygui – There are so many, I guess the latest one I posted from Brenda Laurel “ A design isn’t finished until somebody is using it”
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Davar Azarbeygui – The freedom to create whatever you want, for whomever you want.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Davar Azarbeygui – It wasn’t an easy decision, I had the support of my wonderful family who really encouraged me and is still standing by side. You learn that you can live with so much less and create with so much more. You tend to get pulled from different sides, but you have the freedom to decide what direction you want to go on your design journey. I’m still excited about learning and growing every day as both a design student and human being.
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Davar Azarbeygui – I wish I had met more people in the design industry earlier in my career. I was so self-involved in my own journey that I forgot to take the time and have deeper conversations with designers I met, including David Carson.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Davar Azarbeygui – Be less selfish and show more empathy
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Davar Azarbeygui – You are overthinking this way too much, simplify, simplify and simplify even more.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Davar Azarbeygui – Do not let the negativity of others get to you. What we do is important. By helping others come up with solutions through design and design thinking, we are contributing a huge deal. Do not let the opinions of others demoralize you if anything it should make you stronger and a better designer. Like Michael Beirut said
“ Everyone can have an opinion on a logo”
learn more about Davar Azarbeygui | Inhouse Design
Also published on Medium.