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 I liked from the very instant. We met online; 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, originary from Banat county (Timişoara), whose constant smile I will never forget.
As I said, I liked her very much. Thus, it was very important for me to write an article about her on our lively platform:
- Alina Giorgiana Neag is 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”. Now I am inviting you to read the interview below and learn more about her as person, about her activity and maybe even collaborate.
Tell me a bit more about yourself and your background…
Alina Giorgiana Neag: I was born in Timişoara, but I had the chance of interacting with nature from a very young age. I felt compelled to draw nature and people since childhood. From a young age I wanted to capture in my drawings the joy of our games and playgrounds.
Regarding my education, I graduated from “Ion Mincu” Architecture Highschool. After that, I started following the classes of a Design University. But I quit after a year: 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.
When I started studying Graphic Design, I was intrigued by the graphics. They gradually came to conquer my curiosity. 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 started to discover it and love it more and more…
I never regretted quitting the University. 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 have come to develop my unique style: ”dreamy design” (figuratively and literally, because I would wake up from sleep at night to draw what I was dreaming about 🙂 )
You founded “OneGiraphe“. Where is your headquarter?
Alina Giorgiana Neag: 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. 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 work and clients require it, I can do my job from the office, along with other good colleagues and designers. Or I can travel anywhere 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 at the same time… I love to meet beautiful and inspiring people who fuel my creativity. When I feel most inspired, the most creative and the most beautiful projects arise… and magic happens.
Who are your customers?
Alina Giorgiana Neag: So far I hold a portfolio of over 200 clients around the world – from New York to Singapore. They range from local, small family businesses to large successful ones, that are mentioned in Vogue, Victoria Secret, Elle, Advertising Audi, Tommy Hilfiger, Discovery Romania.
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 my link with 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 be inspiring for me. All my projects have come to fruition thanks to 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?
Alina Giorgiana Neag: I actually didn’t work very much for Romanian companies. However, the clients I worked with were extraordinary people, open-minded 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 (*you can read about Magda’s business in one of our previous articles)
- Crazy Donut – donuts store
- Photographers & photography services: Lightfilm, PixelGsm, Anita Bejenaru.
What does branding mean to you?
Existence. If your brand(ing) is visible on the market, you`re ON and you exist. If not, then 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 as the crown in the logo suggests it. But also a fresh one conveyed by the color green… and I will stop here 🙂
Message. The message you want to convey to people has to be straight forward, to express clearly what you offer and how you answer in a positive manner to the needs of your client.
Do people invest in branding today in Romania?
Alina Giorgiana Neag: Honestly, no. Not enough … or maybe not at all! Those who have traveled or studied about it are beginning to understand its importance 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 a business from scratch are much more attentive to details, to the message they convey, their logo and their marketing compared to those who are already present on the market.
Tell me about your project “My Petite Giraphe”…
Alina Giorgiana Neag: 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 plans for the future?
Alina Giorgiana Neag: 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 blogging (La Dolce Vita Lifestyle – personal blog in Romanian) and I`m very open to meeting new people and grow together.
It would be great 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!