Interview with Romanian graphic designer Alina Giorgiana Neag
Some time ago, last year in 2016, I had the opportunity to meet a young Romanian woman originary from Banat county (Timişoara) that I liked from the very instant I met her. We met online and we did not have a coffee in a proper café yet, but I am sure it will happen soon though. The person I am talking about is Alina Giorgiana Neag whose constant smile I will never forget.
As I said, I liked her very much and it was very important for me to have an article dedicated to her on our platform:
- she’s Romanian, young, beautiful, smart, dynamic, honest
- she works on her own, which is rather rare and new for young people in Romania nowadays
- she’s a graphic designer and works on branding, a rather new fieldwork in Romania as well
- just as I am, she is very keen and willing to encourage Romanian entrepreneurs to fight for themselves and develop their own prosperous activity.
You already had the opportunity to read her self portrait “I’m Romanian” but now I am inviting you to read the interview below and learn more about her and her activity and maybe even collaborate.
Tell me a bit more about yourself and your background…
I was born in Timişoara, but I had the chance of interacting with nature from a very young age, and I felt compelled to draw nature and people since childhood – trying to capture in my drawings the joy of our games and playgrounds.
Regarding my education, I graduated from “Ion Mincu” Architecture School and after that I started following the classes of a Design University but I quit after a year because the rigid system didn’t suit me well; nonetheless, I had the ambition to learn, so I became an autodidact. At the beginning I was more into drawing and painting instead of graphic design. I really appreciated the direct contact with the paper and the precision of my gesture. I also loved Fashion Design, Painting, Photography, and when I started the Graphic Design classes I was intrigued by the graphics, and they gradually came to conquer my curiosity. When I actually started to learn about graphic design, I remember saying to myself “Where do I start from?!”. I haven`t done it before and I didn`t even know how to open the software. But it was extremely intriguing, appealing and challenging, so I put my ambition into it and slowly I started to discover it and love it more and more… I never regretted quitting the University, where the software and trends were somewhat old fashioned, and my creativity and playfulness felt a bit restrained. After endless hard work and sleepless nights, I developed my unique style: ”dreamy design” (figuratively and literally, because I would wake up from sleep to draw what I was dreaming about 🙂 )
You founded “OneGiraphe“. Where are you based?
OneGiraphe offers design and branding services for over 7 years.
I work from anywhere, all I need is an Internet connection. Peaceful and remote places like a forest, a lake, or the countryside are highly appreciated, as they draw me back to nature and childhood, and is always easier to create from silence. But it is also easy for me to feel at home almost anywhere, and if the work requires it, I can work from the office with good colleagues and other designers or I can travel in Europe for client meetings. I love the fact that I can wake up in a new city, that I can have a café in front of my laptop and work meanwhile… and meet such beautiful, inspiring people who fuel my creativity. When I feel most inspired, the most creative and the most beautiful projects arise… and magic happens.
So far I hold a portfolio of over 200 clients around the world – from New York to Singapore, ranging from local, small family businesses to large successful ones that are mentioned in Vogue, Victoria Secret, Elle, Advertising Audi, Tommy Hilfiger, Discovery Romania.
Who are your customers?
Over the years, I have naturally developed a certain specific style that combines what attracts me the most. My inspiration and creativity are rooted into link to childhood, innocence and nature, to which the woman I am today adds a touch of magic and chic. My creations are at the same time cute, warm and comfortable… and I think they are mainly appropriate for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, shops for children – but not only: sometimes even a big company can have this homey feeling and it can inspiring for me. All my projects have come to fruition based on the inspiration I got from my clients to which I added my ‘cute’ style and attention to detail… a style that represents me completely.
Some examples of Romanian customers?
I actually didn’t work very much for Romanian companies. However, the clients I worked with were extraordinary people, open and with a clear vision – exactly my style.
- Marvelous Store – online store of wooden furniture and toys, made in Romania (*you can read more about this company in our article here)
- Cristine de casă – pastry located in Bucharest
- Dr Ianculescu – radiology and medical imagery – Bucharest
- Iq Bebe – kids store located in Brașov
- Happy1 – playground for children located in Timişoara
- Scutecele – reusable diapers
- PohhShop – handmade toys (*am prezentat şi noi activitatea Magdei într-un articol anterior)
- Crazy Donut – donuts store
- Photographers & photography services: Lightfilm, PixelGsm, Anita Bejenaru.
What does branding mean to you?
Existence. If your branding is visible on the market, you`re on and you exist, if you not… you’re invisible.
Identity. When you have an image that translates your vision you make yourself more easily recognized among your consumers. Identity is what customers picture when they hear your brand name, but also the feeling they get from that. For instance, when you say “Starbucks”, you see green, a distinctive brand, you visualize and smell the flavors of your customized coffee, along with the whole experience of having it in a cozy atmosphere, delivered with warmth by a nice staff member – a royal experience suggested by the crown in the logo, but also a fresh one, suggested by the color green… and I will stop here 🙂
Message. The message you want to convey to people, which has to be clear, and to express clearly what you offer and how that answers in a positive manner to the needs of your client.
Do people invest in branding today in Romania?
Honestly, no. Not enough … or maybe not at all! Those who have traveled or studied about it are beginning to understand the importance of branding and discover that without it they are invisible. But most people don`t realize that branding helps them sharpen their own vision and even clarify it.
Often, people who start from 0 a business are much more attentive to details, to the message they convey, their logo, and marketing compared to those who are already present on the market.
Tell me about your project “My Petite Giraphe”…
My Petite Giraphe appeared as a sub-domain of OneGiraphe, to target and differentiate services. My Petite Giraphe enables me to paint, to create, to run the job. So far, I have opened an online Tshirt store and I often work on various collaborations for greeting cards and wedding invitations with the illustrator Cristina Mureşan. Of course, I would really love to continue developing these projects in the future, there is a whole life ahead of us – what an adventure!
Your aspirations and pans for the future?
I would like to travel more, not necessarily just for business, and build a bigger team of friends so we can co-create. I am totally addicted to graphic design and another passion of mine, blogging (La Dolce Vita Lifestyle – personal blog in Romanian), and I`m very open to meeting new people and mutually help us grow. I would really wish to visit an Ashram in India, for inner and outer peace. I have come to realize that the more my thoughts are peaceful and clear, the more creative I am.
And, of course, I would like working with clients from different cultures; it would definitely enlarge my creativity and would help me discover new and captivating places and people.
The best of luck!