Coffee Chat: An Interview With George Olaru from Pixelgrade

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Today we have another interview from our series “Coffee Chat”. Every month we have an interview with designers from all around the World.

If you know any designers contact with me on Twitter (@JustasMarkus).

Tell us about yourself?

Hey! Long story short: my name is George, and I’m the creative side of PixelGrade — a design studio that creates award-winning WordPress themes. I’m passionate about crafting the details of delightful experiences through type and motion design.
Offscreen, I enjoy traveling by motorcycle with my girlfriend and spending time with my dog, Paco. Sir Paco.

What’s your (design) story?

I started playing in Photoshop as soon as I’ve got access to a computer — that was around 13 years old and I was doing graphics for my favorite football team. As I was always interested in how things work out, soon I was digging into coding my first website, a local PS tutorials blog. Starting from here, the path was pretty obvious. I felt prepared for the challenging freelancing world.

I finished my first project at 15yo through the formerly known RentACoder freelancing website — though it wasn’t exactly finished as I highly overestimated the costs. Anyway, that was the start of a few years of struggles and rewarding projects. The next episode still runs. It’s called PixelGrade — a bold crew of people who love what they do, and how they do it.

When do you know you did an astonishing job as a designer?

We already know that design’s something pretty subjective. Nowadays, the design came again to our front doors, and people see it through a different lens.
I want to think that the purpose of my designs is to help others find its voice as creative persons. When I see that those people are proud using your product and they find it useful, I (and the entire team) know that we did a great job.

How does your work day look like?

I don’t have a fixed schedule, but I do have some routines. I wake up before 7 am and take my dog out for a walk while my girlfriend prepares a tasty breakfast and a big good coffee.

I’m into the office before 9 am and focus on the task list planned one day before. I set up with the crew about new upcoming features and decide where we’re going next, catch up with the clients on email, prototyping a new transition and go over some new designs for one of our products. Since February, we have a special focus on marketing as well, so I kind of entertain this ping-pong.

Off the records: things are pretty different when my dog is too sleepy to go outside, an email should be responded before 8 am or the third coffee is piling up until noon. So, the latter might be closest to a typical day for me.

What are you currently working on?

We’re in the early stage of rethinking our identity at PixelGrade, to better articulate our philosophy so that people can fully connect with our values. In between, we work hard to keep everyone happy on board—our team and our clients as well. Sounds simple, but it takes a lot of courage to stick to this journey.

How you find balance in everything you do during a day?

What is balance? I’m joking. I find it when I can juggle with a wide range of creative endeavors. Drawing a mockup design for a new theme, coding a new interaction or catching up with copywriting for a landing page — playing in different playgrounds is giving me the inspiration to think more creatively.

Where are you currently based and what’s next?

I live in Iași — a beautiful and friendly city in the North-Eastern Romania — with a high growing profile for the tech industry. I’m planning to travel as much as I can, but I’ve got no plans to leave the city for good. It’s a huge part of me.

What are the tools you can’t live without?

With the continual change and evolution of technology, I find it important to not relish your full span to a single tool. Among my favorites, for a while, it was Edge Animate (discontinued), now is Sketch, tomorrow might be a Text Editor, but you can always trust the power of the old pen-and-paper. It’s something magic in it.

What is your latest project?

As iteration is what makes a good design better, after several weeks of work and fun, we succeeded to release PILE – a bold tool that brings the digital portfolio to a new level. Would love if you’d like to play around with our live demo and write me down your thoughts.

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Posted by Jason Bayless