If we get to the design essentials, we'll have to re-discover typography and all the talented creatives standing behind, as any artwork need a powerful final swash of the perfectly picked typeface. And we — their passionate admirers — starve for strong personalities who bring life, passion and spirit to every letter pronounced and written.
Today we're happy to introduce Pavel Korzhenko, the head of Vintage Voyage Design Co. — and you must already be familiar with his fascinating typographic works both on Pixelbuddha and in the top of Creative Market. Now it's high time to get slightly closer to his world, that's incredibly rich and captivating.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and where do you come from?
Hey guys! My name is Pavel, I am 30 years old and I'm from a region in Russia, where the thermometer scale is sometimes not enough to show how freezing cold it is outdoors, but I moved to Perm where I met my future wife and where my son Daniil was born — he is almost 11 already. Now we live in the Czech Republic — and where will move next? Well, the time will show ;)
How have you discovered and entered design? Why have you picked typography as your key specialisation?
I honestly can't point out the moment where I discovered the passion for design. Could it be the time where I was graffiting the walls sitting in my bed as a tot? Could it? Well, if you spend your whole life from its early days trying to make the world around more attractive, so how can you become a creative in a single step? I was totally in designing even at school, decorating my notebooks along with the desks I used to sit at and the outfit I used to wear.
But if you're purely about digital graphic design, it all happened when I was 16 and got my first computer with Photoshop installed on it. I just clicked everywhere to see what every icon was for — and then my future wife gave me some basic lessons (she worked in a print shop and had some experience I was starving for). And there the real design came closer.
But, frankly, I don't really like this word — designer. If someone asks me about my business, I will hardly ever tell I'm a designer, 'cause I often have to deal with so-called designers with whom — really sorry to tell that — I don't wanna have anything in common. So I call myself a developer. A developer of digital graphic products — this sounds firm and pretty convincing.
Octanis Font Family availalbe on Pixelbuddha Plus
As for the typography, it has come accidentally to my life, you know. I'd just completed one project and was about to start something new — and while browsing some inspiring resources from my personal list I came to an idea that I did actually love watching the way a nicely crafted and picked typeface completed the graphics, emphasizing its strongest points, not the other way round. And once this tandem was powerful and overwhelming, it was worth the laurels.
Then I discovered Gary Hustwit's Helvetica, which radically changed my vision and comprehension of typography. And then the essential process followed it: I just studied, developed my skills, searched and got inspiration to put all my fire into the process. Branson wrote once, «Screw it, let's do it!» — and it was right the case.
What is the best part of being a creative developer for you?
The best part of one's living it doing what they truly love. Despite everything. So my best part of being a creative is about that.
Coincidently, the key human misfortune is doing what they hate doing. Probably they don't have enough courage and determination or something to admit it. But if the one keeps torturing themselves like that, it's a tragedy indeed. Whether it's a chef or a janitor or teacher — they must love what they do. If not — erase it from your life. You know what I mean?
So it IS crucial to do what YOU passionately adore. And once you're in, no fails and difficulties can break your spirit— basically, you have the goal, the motivation and the desire to make you stronger with every obstacle taken.
What makes you feel inspired and artistically invincible? Do you happen to have creative blocks while working? If yes, how do you fight them?
Long story short, I just love all sorts of old-fashioned stuff. Really. I find the music of the past more fascinating and native. Old movies seem more complex and overwhelming than the new ones. Long-ago-written books are much more fascinating. Vintage cars have more personality and character than the ones from the modern showrooms. That's all about my mindset, actually — and being surrounded with the vintage stuff is 100% inspiring.
Inspiration is never a process that starts at 11.00 A.M. and finishes at 12.30 P.M., and all you have to do is to be prompt enough to grab it. No. You just live your normal life, listening and watching the world around, discovering something — and powerful ideas get set. So, in a sentence, vintage is not a sort of fashion or a thought directory. It's a way of living.
Sure, sometimes I feel blocked and can't figure out a project to start — it's awfully annoying, I'd say. I find myself racking brains. What if I do this or that or maybe I should stay where I am alread? But finally I make myself breath out, relax, and the idea comes itself. So the lesson is kinda evident: keep doing what you generally do, and you'll be able to overcome the creative vacuum.
How is your workday organized and what does your creative process look like? Is there anything that you, a typeface master and creative, cannot do without?
As a rule, there're few regular workdays and days off, as my job allows combining them. For instance, after spending 3 hours or so in front of the screen, I can play the guitar a bit, have some rest, do some drumming, cook something delicious or have some exercise — whatever that can clear my head so that I got back fresh and renewed to the project!
This way my workday can start at 8-9 A.M. and finish at 2-3 A.M. Sometimes, however, I can work nonstop from early morning till somewhere after midnight — it's mostly about me at the final stage of the project when I desire nothing but to bring it to a definite end. Fortunately, I have a dog, who forces me to make a break these days, go outside to the real world and have an hour-long walk.
Okay, and as every creative, I CAN'T do without fine coffee. A day started without coffee is a day lived in vain. And music, too! Like if a typeface I'm working has something from Europe in the early 20th century, I'd pick French accordion or gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt — it makes the workflow more perceptible, you know. Sometimes I give a go to some books instead of music — Remarque is the best choice, bringing me to that very epoch to feel the images and the ambiance of it.
If you had to pick your top artwork, what would it be and why?
Well, you know, being about to complete a project, I tell myself, «Damn it, the result is terrific!» And after a while, though, I notice evident shortcomings here and there, and the attitude towards it may change. Actually, that's right what I think of my latest project — Telegraph, a classic and yet expressive typeface.
Telegraph, a classic and yet expressive typeface.
As for my older works, I do love The Bartender Collection, which includes 14 typefaces and provides the one with absolute artistic freedom, and its multipurposeness and neatness are incredible. Initially, I was planning to have 3 or 4 fonts included but finished by getting hooked on the process and bringing 14 instead. It was like, «Well done. And what if try to make it sans serif? Okay, looks good, will keep it!» Something like that :)
What would you advise the young creatives, who're just dreaming about conquering Creatve Market?
Honestly? I don't know. All I know is about doing what you love. The formula is super simple, but it helps and guides a creative. Anywhere. Anytime. If it's your principle, your guideline, you'll make the rocks roll! Just don't lose your hope and perseverance, and there will be your way to take.
What we're absolutely happy about is that we can not only share Pavel's outstanding typefaces on our blog but mainly share his words of wisdom — and there will never be too much of them. As many creatives and dreamers, as many life lessons, they give by just picking and following their way.
And as a final word, we warmly wish you to pick yours and to stay devoted to it until the end and let any your choice be love-guided. That's the moral we will always support and bring to you — wherever and whatever we are.