Marina Veziko ended up studying graphic design “a bit by accident”, she admits. But once she landed on the medium, she “immediately” fell in love with it and has been doing so ever since. “I felt like that was my ‘thing’.”
While researching the subject, Kyiv-born, Finland-based Marina had some doubts about whether this was the right profession for her. It was more in the way of commercial design and having to “promote consumerism and so on”, which she considered very superficial. However, after graduating, she moved to Helsinki and got a job in a studio. “I realized that it is possible to work with clients who share your values and thus contribute to building lasting brands.” Three and a half years later, Marine decides to venture out on her own, which she does not regret for a moment. Undertaking projects and working with clients on her own back, she has developed an incredible list of work in her portfolio. “Running a business is not for everyone,” she adds, “because it’s very stressful. But I like the independence and freedom it allows.”
Much of Marina’s work these days centers around branding, floating seamlessly across commercial and cultural landscapes. Fusing her passions to create a trademark and style all her own, Marina prefers to embrace briefs that “push boundaries and have societal meaning”. In this sense, it means “ethical, sustainable promoting equality and diversity” – the pillars that are close to her heart and to her practice. So when a client approaches her with a brief, she thinks, “Is this going to be a fun project? Do we seem to be on the same page with the client? I will be able to learn something new and develop my skills? through this project? Will it potentially generate exposure and connections, leading to more work in the future? And, of course, will it be worth it? worth it?”
For Marina, it’s good to have a set of parameters in mind when working in the creative field. In particular to guide you towards the right type of work and to direct your work in the direction you want. If the project ticks only one of the boxes, for example, Marina says it’s “probably not worth” her time.
When he ticks the boxes, Marina initiates the ideation process. She will do “absolutely nothing” to spark his inspiration because, as a self-proclaimed “loner”, she prefers idleness and calm to conceive her ideas, which is “very rare” to have. If she feels stuck, she finds it best to talk about the project with someone else, which usually results in a “revelation” and blows the process up. Then, when working with a client, she will ask as many questions as possible to steer the project on the right track and understand the client and the project at a deep level.
“If the brief seems too vague or contradictory, I will continue to ask additional questions and dig deeper,” she explains. “Eventually, a small crumb of information will appear that can be turned into a visual concept.” This avoids any guesswork or confusion with the brief, meaning Marina will more often than not hit the mark. “I love when all design decisions are rational and justifiable, but combined with a dash of intuition and gut feeling.”
Next comes the research and design phase, involving the careful selection of a typography and photographic mood board. InDesign is her go-to program, which she’ll even use to design the logo — “which drives some people crazy,” she jokes. “I’m in awe of young designers who seem super skilled in all programs, able to do 3D, animation and code. I’m not good at any of these programs, but it’s nice to be able to mandate someone who is an experienced professional in one of them, rather than trying to superficially master all these skills.”
Putting thinking into action, Marina recently designed a project called What’s in the Box for Packhelp. With a lot of creative freedom defined by the brief, Marina found the process “quite difficult at first” when narrowing down ideas from endless possibilities. The result is a minimalist, structured and intelligent identity, which puts typography at the center. “The final packaging design is an endless maze of boxes built from the range of emotions and thoughts that entrepreneurs experience day to day.”
Elsewhere, Marina recently designed an exhibition in Helsinki and launched Few Magazine with Tina Nyman – a bold and colorful publication that sees functional, readable typeface fused with gradient-infused hues, often depicted in primary colors. It’s safe to say that Marina has been busy and this year she plans to do less work to clear her head.
“Currently, I try to turn down all new client projects that come in at least until the fall,” she says. “So now I’m wrapping up some big projects from the last year (launching soon, stay tuned!). I currently have an employee (who’s amazing!), and I’ve been thinking about maybe -be expanding a bit and hiring more so we don’t have to say “no” to new projects as often. But with what’s going on in the world right now, let’s just try to get through this year first! “