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DesignLab by CIKE x Milk

About

DesignLab was a six-month program consisting of a series of workshops for graphic designers led by the artistic director of the established studio Milk. The aim was to provide young designers from all over Slovakia with a unique opportunity to gain rich experience in complex visual communication and thus enrich their portfolio, gain competitive advantage, and new contacts.

Structure

Thanks to DesignLab, we got to know eleven young talented designers who got a unique chance to learn from a person with more than 20 years of experience. During the six full-day workshops, the participants, led by a mentor, went through several topics which are key to quality visual communication at a professional level. Several of them were supplemented by the knowledge of invited experts from the field. For instance, Lucia Pašková, then the director of the successful company CURADEN Slovakia, joined us for one of the workshops.

  • Who is a designer, and what should he/she master?

A general workshop aimed at explaining the basics of design. It was a theoretical introduction to what design is and who a designer is, what skills he should master, what visual communication is, and its overlaps and goals.

  • Basic business knowledge

During this workshop, the participants focused on setting goals and processes, project management, planning, crisis, and financial management. How to price and correctly evaluate work and client service? How to build a relationship with the client and communicate with him? How to communicate internally and how to set up a company structure?

  • Target audience and basic principles of communication and marketing

How to correctly identify the target audience, their needs and reach them? During this workshop, participants focused on setting priorities, identifying the volume of work and the basis of marketing.

  • Building a brand

How to communicate business goals through design? How is a brand created, and what makes it strong? They went over basic principles and methods of creating a brand.

  • Creative process

How to effectively set up a creative process from assignment to result, creative approaches and problem-solving, how to work and create in a team, how to involve the client in the creative process?

  • Sales and self-promo

How to sell yourself and your work and how to get and keep a client? How to present your work and create presentations?

The program culminated in participation in a two-day international conference dedicated to design in Bratislava.

Mentor

Martin "Žltý" Jenča

The lead mentor was Martin Jenča or "Žltý," who is the founder, main graphic designer, and art director of the studio Milk. As a co-organizer and curator of the By Design Conference, he brings stars of the international design scene to Slovakia. Among other things, he is the editor-in-chief of the  Backstage Talks. Last but not least, he is a co-founder of the Folk agency, which concentrates on promoting good ideas, products, and services. Milk also stands behind visual identities of brands such as Pohoda Festival, RTVSInvisible Hotel, or Viktor Frešo Book.

Outcome

Thanks to this program, selected firms had an exceptional opportunity to use a strong creative team to solve their challenges. For example, GlobalLogic joined the program, and participants, led by the mentor, helped define their target audience and proposed changes in their branding.

The idea of ​​DesignLab was to increase the quality of local designers and promote cultural and creative industries in Slovakia. Our task was to act as a facilitator and enable change, connecting disciplines and sectors with a simple vision – to move the city of Košice forward. Take a look at the graphic designs that the designers prepared at the end of the program.

Past years

Silvia Vargová

She works as a freelancer and specializes in book design – especially children’s books – and visual identity and prints. At DesignLab, she wants to acquire new knowledge, which she could then apply in practice. She likes the idea of having an expert who has years of experience and who does not guard his know-how, but on the contrary, shares it with others to consult her work with. Read more about her work in this article.

Anna Hájková

Product designer Aňa likes her work best when she sees successful results, and she appreciates when her clients give her creative freedom. She is a co-founder of Citrón, an artistic pact in Košice, which helps young illustrators, graphic designers, and graphic designers present their work. She signed up for DesignLab to further develop her work. Read more about her work in this article.

Samuel Kušnír

After working with advertising agencies, he established his own design studio in Poprad, which focuses on print communication. He applied for DesignLab because he felt the need for more professional guidance. He is very pleased with the mentoring he is receiving because he has learned how to sort out his own business. Read more about his work in this article.

Katarína Jančovičová

Katka became a designer because she enjoyed solving problems, analyzing, and helping with achieving a good result. She joined DesignLab to improve herself as a designer and as a businesswoman for whom efficient planning and communication with clients and suppliers is important. Read more about her work in this article.

Kristína Šebejová

Kristína alternated between several types of design during her studies, from general to graphic, to typography and typesetting. She managed to transform her hobby in writing into a unique newspaper Ta Take Town about Prešov, which she has been successfully publishing for many years now. She applied for DesignLab because, to differentiate herself from the competition, it is necessary to improve and learn new things constantly. Read more about her work in this article.

Silvia Podoláková

In the past, she devoted herself to project and strategic management training. She discovered a passion for design due to the need to create a website for one of her clients at the time. In addition to gaining new knowledge from the design process during DesginLab, she wants to turn short-term goals into long-term ones. Read more about her work in this article.

Štefánia Sekanová

Štefánia studied product designer and has a real passion for graphic design. She is currently working on her own business, where she connects these two areas and forms them into products and toys for babies and illustrated paper products. Štefi says that she applied for DesignLab because she saw a chance to move closer to her goal. So far, she has learned to ask the client better questions which helps her identify his/her needs better. Read more about her work in this article.

Matej Klíč

Drawing has always been his hobby. He later started working as a freelancer in graphic design and illustration. Thanks to DesignLab, he got to know a new dimension of design, which for him as a freelancer is an invaluable experience. Read more about his work in this article.

Katarína Rybnická

Although she has been working as a designer for a long time, she decided to start her own design studio only recently. Katka focuses on branding, campaigns, book design, and illustration. In addition, she facilitates workshops in serigraphy together with the Šopa Gallery. She says that during DesignLab, she learned that everyone faces similar challenges, so it’s good to address them collectively. Another pleasant bonus is that the participants create a very nice atmosphere during the workshops. Read more about her work in this article.

Roman Juhás

Together with Martin Kossuth, a high school friend, Roman founded his own design studio in Košice. Its focus is on practical and usable things such as print, digital, marketing strategies, and comprehensive brand-building projects. During DesignLab, Roman was most impressed by the mentor Martin “Žltý” Jenča and his studio Milk, which has a similar specialization to his but has a lot more experience. Read more about his work in this article.

Dominika Čupková

She is mainly interested in creating visual identity and illustrations, but she also enjoys typography and is attracted to book design. She joined DesignLab because she considers workshops with professionals to be the best way to get real experience in the field. Acquired know-how will also help her realize her biggest work dream – to create her own design studio. Read more about her work in this article.

In case you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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