Interview with Ruben Tarzyan, UI and Web Freelance Designer

It is common knowledge that hundreds of Armenian web freelance designers offer their services on such websites as freelance.com, odesk.com, etc.. Freelancing has its advantages and disadvantages, especially when it comes to the design part. It is difficult to create the design when you have never seen or personally meet your customer. iTechnology.am talked to Ruben Tarzyan, UI developer/web designer regarding freelancing. Besides, Ruben provides great tools and websites both for beginners and professional designers. Read the article below and see how it can help you.

iTechnology.am: Ruben, we found you on a freelance website and know little about you. Please tell us more about yourself, your education, experience, etc.

Ruben Tarzyan: I graduated from RAU, department of IT in Economics. So web design is not my 62634_4442474790552_206718564_nprofession. But I was self taught and now I consider myself as a UI developer and web designer. Nobody taught me this, and I did not graduate from a design school. I just had internet connection and I had some video classes to learn web design.

iTechnology.am: But how did it attract you? Why did you decide to choose another path different from the profession that university was giving you?

Ruben Tarzyan:  Everybody knows students always need money. And it is always difficult for a student to work full time and to earn enough. So a friend told me about a website where I can earn without working full time and fixed hours. I registered and…I found it worked! So it has been already 6 years that I bid for projects and work on them through freelance websites. But it is not my main job. I work as  a UI developer at an IT company.

iTechnology.am: So in your main workplace anyway you are not far from web design?

Ruben Tarzyan: Yes, and I think it is just stupid to try to be good in completely different areas. One need to stay focused and do one thing.

iTechnology.am: So let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantges of such websites such as freelance.com, odesk,com, etc.. What is good and what is bad about them?

Ruben Tarzyan: I think that one should NOT concentrate on freelance.com, because it is not interesting itself. For efficient results one should have a working community, colleagues, collective, etc.. But this is great for students, they can earn money easily and they don’t need to go to work and spend hours and hours at the office.

iTechnology.am: Do you have any marketing strategy to market your ideas and to appear among the best? Because when we searched Armenian designers on a freelance website, you were one of the first people appeared there. How do you manage this?

Ruben Tarzyan: The first marketing step for a good designer is a good portfolio. It is the basic thing for people to evaluate you. Even if you don’t have a degree or did not graduate from a design school, your portfolio can help get a good offer, as it tells everything about your skills and abilities. Second, the designer, and any specialist, should have a well composed resume. A designer should not have a common resume on the MS Word document. It should be something very original. It should tell you are  a designer at the very first sight. You should have your own website where you can put your projects online, so that you can showcase and represent what yo have to whomever you want.
I think buying add banners on the Internet is just wasting time and money, it does not help for sure.

iTechnology.am: What is your advice for beginner designers? 

Ruben Tarzyan: First of all I will advise beginners not to think about money. One needs to do whatever is offered to try his/her skills and then see what is working or not an concentrate on one of what is. A beginner should do something first of all for pleasure, should participate in different contests, competitions. For example if we there are hundreds of logo contests: this is great way to try yourself in logo designing. I will advise beginners to make use of video classes on web design that are spread all over the Internet, both free and paid ones. I myself learned through video classes. Here are some useful links for lessons and articles, news for web designers and IT specialists:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/

http://thenextweb.com/

iTechnology.am: Are there any useful tools online that can help to make progress?

There are also very useful designer communities, where one can ask questions, find answers, post portfolios, learn about design contests, participate in forum discussions, etc.. I myself follow different kinds of communities, such as awwwards.combehance.netdribbble.com, etc…
For example in awwwards.com world class designers choose the best site of the day, then for the week, month, etc.. I will advise the Armenian designers to be more active in such communities, as they let me showcase my work, see what world class tendencies are and meet thousands of designers online. Here are tools for designers regarding color palette:

https://kuler.adobe.com/

Other useful tools for web designers:

https://kuler.adobe.com/

http://960.gs/
http://www.google.com/fonts/

http://www.awwwards.com/15-great-chrome-extensions-for-web-designers-and-developers.html

And good web design samples of world designers, 10 web design inspirations :

http://www.phive.org/
http://satorisan.com/
http://www.juniorakademie.cz/
http://canvas.is/
http://lostworldsfairs.com/
http://www.yebocreative.com/

iTechnology.am: What is your main tool as a web designer?

Ruben Tarzyan: My main tool is Photoshop and of course the Internet. To become a good designer one should read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies, should be very close to art. Nobody will teach you to be creative.
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iTechnology.am:  So let’s talk a little bit on UI design specifically. What does a good UI look like?

Ruben Tarzyan: There are some common rules that everybody knows and are used to. For example, if we take mobile phone UI, the green button is always “answer”/”call” and the red one is “reject”. So if you will do “innovation” and put red button for answering, it will not work. A good UI should first of all be comfortable. Companies spend thousands and thousands dollars to have a comfortable and a simple UI.
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iTechnology.am: As we are now holding a logo contest, let’s talk on logos. What is a good logo for you?

Ruben Tarzyan: Of course it depends on what company we talk about. If it is an IT company, it should be clean, serious, without many colours. Everything depends on what sphere we are talking about. If it is a children’s shop, it can be colorful, for example can contain cartoons. Everything depends on the theme. Generally companies now are more declined to have user friendly UI and simple logos, mostly rounded.

iTechnology.am: Thanks, Ruben, this was really an interesting talk, and in our opinion a useful one for our young readers. Anything else to add?

Ruben Tarzyan: Thanks, it was great, I would just add some creative thinking examples for designers:

http://www.cristiangirotto.com/39828/907549/portfolio/lenfant-exterieur
http://peopletoo.ru/2010/zeh-bodrov/index.html
http://www.behance.net/gallery/Take-control-over-your-hair/8464783
http://www.behance.net/gallery/Pepe-Sierra-Montecristo/5108007
http://www.behance.net/gallery/My-Dilmah-(Revamp)/8489717

And for the final note I would advise always remember the golden ratio while creating any design:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio