Michael Cherkashin is an award-winning Graphic Designer and Creative Director at HUG Agency,
His creative work has helped brands such as Telsa, LA Lakers, Universal Studios, Paramount Studios and others. Michael’s collaborations also help innovative startups get their feet off the ground with his exceptional design practice and mindful approach to user experience.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Michael Cherkashin – I got my first computer, at around age 9 or something, it came installed with the 4th version of Photoshop (from the previous owner I guess) so my interest grew from there. At age 15 I started a summer job as a designer at a local print house, then freelance gigs came along and so on…
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Michael Cherkashin – Usually, I experiment with different daily workflows, as for now I start my day with a nice cup of coffee and a healthy snack, do the first part of my projects and other business routines, exercise for about 30 minutes and do the other part. Then I relax, learn something, spend time with family and friends, discover new destinations if I travel, etc. I try to have 4 parts in my day: work, learning, activities, and relaxation.
The Logo Creative – Are you a morning person or night owl and is there a reason why?
Michael Cherkashin – To be honest, I don’t believe there’s any difference, it’s just a matter of discipline. Waking up with the sunrise I think is the most difficult but the most rewarding thing I do when starting a day, not only it keeps me more productive and creative but also gives more time to do what I love.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Michael Cherkashin – When I was about 10 years old, I used to sketch all sorts of graphics in my school books, kind of graffiti-style, my father saw one of them, scanned and gave it to the company that was making stamps, they rearrange some letters to make it look like a company name, I even don’t remember if I gave my permission, but it’s still in use today.
The Logo Creative – What is your favorite logo you have designed?
Michael Cherkashin – The one I designed for Hug Agency, it’s a simple and balanced symbol, sort of top view of a person with crossed arms representing hug and at the same time half of the infinity symbol showing our desire to perfection.
The Logo Creative – What is your favorite logos of all time?
Michael Cherkashin – I would say Nike and Apple, but if not being obvious Audi, Target, Tour de France, The North Face
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Michael Cherkashin – Every logo (as well as any other project) starts with a brief where client educates me about his business, target audience, etc. then I do my research and analyze the data.
Once I have a clear picture of the business and its values, I start drawing ideas in my head, I do this during my daily activities or before going to sleep, sometimes ideas come and I just have to draw the logo, sometimes I have to seat and experiment with fonts and shapes to get ideas coming.
I shared logo design principles that we developed at HUG Agency over the years, so anyone who’s interested can find it in this article: https://hugagency.com/news/2019/03/09/value-based-logo-design.html
The Logo Creative – What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your creative thinking?
Michael Cherkashin – Brands that I use in my everyday life, companies like Adobe and Apple changed the way we work and live our lives, giving us tools to learn, create, travel the world and communicate.
I’m also a big fan of companies that do something important for our future, guys like Space X, Tesla, iikoh, Uber, Human Longevity. Dji and Blackmagic design are also great.
The Logo Creative – What do you consider your most successful design project, and why?
Michael Cherkashin – Don’t think that I can say that one project is more successful than the other, I designed for large companies such as Universal or Lakers, but I can’t consider it more successful than projects for small startups, when I design, do branding or anything I understand that this company is one of the most important things in the client’s life, so I do my best for every project to be successful.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Michael Cherkashin – It really depends, I remember I designed a logo while getting a rental car once, and the client loved it right away. Sometimes it’s taking weeks to complete, and then come revisions and so on and so forth, but on average I would say around 10 days.
The Logo Creative – What are your recommended design books to read?
Michael Cherkashin – I don’t read many design books, to be honest, but for any designer, I would recommend learning other things as well, not related to design, I personally read about business, investment, physics, economics and bunch of other stuff. Tim Ferris has awesome books, Rai Dalio – Principles, Rutger Bregman – Utopia for Realists, Peter Thiel – Zero to One, Michio Kaku – Physics of the Future
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently and is there any you would recommend to designers?
Michael Cherkashin – Obviously Adobe apps, I’m a photoshop guy, I use it as my sketchbook and then recreate everything in illustrator if I need to. As for a recommendation, I would recommend Zeplin for anyone who works with app and web developers, makes life so much easier.
The Logo Creative – What is your favorite style of logo design? And why?
Michael Cherkashin – I’m a fan of clean and clever logos, I call it C+C principle. I like to combine letters with symbols to create a nice unique shape or use negative space. “The quality of the logo is determined from how much information and values you can show in the simplest possible form.”
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Michael Cherkashin – Nature and travels, I think everyone agrees that the most amazing things were done by nature. I also check Behance and Dribbble projects once, in a while, there’re so many talented designers and all sort of creative minds.
The Logo Creative – When you’re not designing do you have a favorite free time activity you like to do?
Michael Cherkashin – Usually, when I’m not designing, I do other projects, like working on the film or a startup, business routine, etc. But talking of activities I would say staying active is my favorite one, and encourage everyone at HUG agency to do so. I like snowboarding, surfing, trekking and hiking, exploring new cities, stuff like that.
The Logo Creative – What was the biggest challenge you ever faced on a project?
Michael Cherkashin – When other people you work with like developers, designers are not able to do the job right and you’re responsible for them. A good team is very important and building one is a great achievement in any business.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job as a designer?
Michael Cherkashin – The best part is that design is a labor of love for most of us, they say find what you love and you’ll never have to work, plus design can be done remotely, it gives a lot of freedom.
The worst part for me is that in most cases you design something for others and they have their own opinion and preferences. It’s sad when good ideas and designs are being rejected because it goes against client personal preferences or simply lack of expertise.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Michael Cherkashin – My father, he was always a great teacher for me, having strong values and principles he’s open-minded to new and innovative ideas. He was up to shared economy, smart cities, and other cool stuff even before Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and those guys, last two are also really inspiring though.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favorite graphic designer and why?
Michael Cherkashin – I don’t have any favorite one, but I constantly check what’s new in graphic design, product design and other fields, I really admire talented creators in all industries.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favorite design quote or quote in general, and do you have a mantra or saying you live by?
Michael Cherkashin – “A good designer creates a good image. A great designer creates a message.”
I tend to think that everything is either debt or investment, it applies to everything, things like health, energy, business, learning, and so on.
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Michael Cherkashin – A message.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Michael Cherkashin – In my case, it was very neutral, didn’t have any huge sacrifices, to be honest. When I started, I didn’t have a lot of money, but dedication, I could go back to a full-time job and make more but freedom and my own ideas were more important, classic story, you know…
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Michael Cherkashin – I would make everything quicker, would invest more time and money.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Michael Cherkashin – Learn more and learn fast. Do what’s important and ignore what’s not.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Michael Cherkashin – I guess as a designer I learned everything the hard way:)
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Michael Cherkashin – Learn the basics, be intelligent, be smart.
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