Cromatic Geek of The Week: Julie Tech // Branding | UX & UI DESIGN

Hey there! If you’re here, you know the drill. This is our official blog where we promote our projects, talk openly and, like that girl group from the 90s, spice up your life.
This section of our blog will be dedicated to promoting our team, in any way they want to. We’re going to question them about themselves, their life, their hobbies and obviously provide some juicy details too.
It’s gonna be a weekly thing, so stay tuned if you want to get to know us a little better.

Have you met Julie? The colorful Senior Designer, with a sharp wit, a taste for self-deprecating humor, an obsession for memes, that’s been shitposting her way to success. Fine, without the shitposting because she’s a hard-working unicorn that never actually sleeps, or eats or does anything normal humans do. Because how would you have time to be this awesome and work this much otherwise?

CS: So, we get the Julie part of your nickname, but what about the Tech? Is it because of the fact that you’re basically a geek?
JT: Oh man, not to seem too self-involved but I love that I’ve been asked this question frequently. Not many people know this but when I was very young, (yes I was young too, at some point) about 9 years old, my parents owned an Internet cafe where I used to spend all my days and nights playing all the games available at that time, with boys much, much older than me (I know it sounds very unhealthy but it’s one of my happiest childhood memories).

So at school, I tended to bond more with boys because I felt like I related more to them and gave them many CDs with games to play. I guess someone called me tech girl as a joke at some point and it got stuck in my head so when I went ahead and made my Yahoo ID, I chose to call myself Tech Julie instead of AnythingElse Julie. So that’s that.

CS: We’ve heard through the grapevine that you paint. Have you ever considered turning that into a full-time job, or is Design your one and only love?
JT: There’s a lot to say about that and I’m not gonna bore you with it right now. I do have a high school degree in illustration and a college degree in painting and I was very passionate about them both for most of my life but I think there comes a time in your life when you have to own up to your decisions. I honestly have been so incredibly busy with working as a designer that lately I haven’t found the time or the pleasure in doing any painting work. Every time I tried it just filled me with incredible performance anxiety.

 

I feel like it’s been so much time since I’ve painted that I’d have to do something truly incredible to make up for the years I’ve lost. I am in love with Design too but I can’t say that retreating in a cute house somewhere in the woods and painting my life away and earning money from it doesn’t, in fact, seem like the ideal life choice I could make. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, it just doesn’t seem like a realistic option. I love where I am right now even though I’m a workaholic and I’d rather let life happen, if it does guide me in a scenario similar to that, then ok.

CS: Describe your personality using a font. Please, not Roboto or Montserrat!
JT: Probably Phase because it seems basic but it’s complicated af, hard to use and even ugly at times but when you actually get around to know it you will discover the many hidden qualities it has and how well it fits your needs.

CS: What’s your worst habit?
JT: I have a few of those but I guess the worst one is my constant self-sabotage precisely when things seem to go my way.

CS: Tell us about your creative process. We know you love out-of-the-box, daring designs. And we also know, that you love to research, and you write everything down in your perfect handwriting. So, is it more to that? If so, what else is there?
JT:
YES, I’m a total nerd when it comes to researching stuff and I will ramble on about it for a bit!!!
I can easily spend whole days just reading up about things that I think are relevant to the project. I go into this trance where I frenetically write and sketch everything down in my notebook, just getting out all the ideas and paths that I feel aren’t good enough but that also needs to be acknowledged. Don’t underestimate the importance of actually writing things down traditionally and not on your computer. Forming letters by hand creates a connection with the movement of the hand to the visual response of seeing the letter on the page which helps you gain clarity and understand your own research a whole better. Nevertheless, it will actually feel like it’s your OWN, giving you the confidence you need to pitch your project.
Researching also means just sitting down in silence and just thinking intensely, wrecking your brain until you find the ideal solution for your brand. This is why sometimes I prefer to do the concept work at home, not at the office. As much as I love everyone there, I’m very easily distracted. I got some of my ideas in the shower, to be honest, it’s one of the few places where I feel at peace and nothing distracts me.
It’s also important to browse through Dribbble, Behance, Pinterest, whichever’s your cup of tea, just to mentally get a feel or confirm that your concept works with the style you choose.
After, and only after I’m 100% confident about my concept, I actually fire up Adobe Illustrator and start doing the actual design work, knowing exactly what to do and having a clear image of what the final result is going to look like.

One of the key aspects I’ve learned as a designer, both brand but especially UX/UI is that form must follow function – we must focus on the core, the story, the functionality of the design rather than on the eye-candy quality of it.

At the beginning of my career, I was satisfied with creating beautiful and seamless Design, but right now I feel like a truly complete designer thinks more and designs less. A product with a strong foundation can almost work independently but will become truly complete with a well thought out, smart design.

CS: Your brand book for bunnyshell was almost a booklet. It was actually written beautifully and in proper English. It was even fun. Have you ever considered writing too?
JT: Haha thank you, not many people know that I actually enjoy writing stuff but I keep that limited to my work, I never actually considered writing things as a hobby. I do enjoy surprising people with a nicely written birthday card, though. I just remembered that when I was little I used to enter school writing contests and thought I would become this great writer. Well, I guess life had other plans with me.

CS: What’s your story? How did you end up here, at Cromatic Studios?
JT:
I’m actually from Constanta and I’ve worked there until 2015 when I decided to finally move to Bucharest where I scored a job at a startup. After that didn’t work out, I decided to go a full year working exclusively as a freelancer, needless to say, that was incredibly hard but I learned a lot from the whole experience.
Until one day I decided I needed the job security so my good friend Furtuna recommended me to this wonderful place I now call Cromatic Studios. I did go in for an amazing interview with them and they seemed like the perfect place for me, from all standpoints. I was honestly in love with them after that. The problem was that immediately after this interview, I also received a very good job offer from IBM as well and as much as I hated working in a corporation I persuaded myself to give it a try.

I thought that I owed it to myself to experience working for one of my heroes growing up. For a high driven, successful, well-known corporation. So I did that for about 9 months and I decided that it’s not who I am. I realized I have to go back to my core values, to working in a more relaxed environment, on projects that actually matter, with people I get to call my family, for real. So I dramatically quit my corporate job and called Cristian and Daniel up, hoping they’d still have a spot open for me and oh man, they welcomed me with open arms. It’s been 2 years already and we’ve been in love ever since.

CS: Tell us your worst and best day.
JT:
I remember my worst day vividly. It happened a few years ago and on that day I lost my job, my long term relationship, my apartment and I was also very sick and had a hard time getting out of bed to actually resolve all these things. Don’t worry, I pulled through it with flying colors and that day only became a reminder that I can handle everything that gets thrown at me.
The best day is whenever I’m spending quality time with my loved ones, nothing crazy. On the other hand, I also enjoy retreating into isolation and taking care of myself, recharging – I wouldn’t be able to function otherwise.

CS: Describe your music taste using a Pantone color. Then reveal it to us.
JT:

My music taste is very rich and confusing but lately, I’ve been fixating on Synthwave

CS: What’s your best Typography? Also, how do you manage to write so beautifully? It’s utter perfection and we can’t get enough of it.
JT: I believe that my best work is always my most recent one. I love constantly challenging myself and not having a comfy blanket to fall back on. Call it a fear of mediocrity but I definitely never look back. I think it’s very important to not hold onto the past or onto previous achievements and it’s one of the reasons why I never got attached to my old paintings or design projects. I prefer moving forward so this is why I made a whole new typography thing for this very question!

CS: We know you’re an artist at your core. And that comes with the good and the bad. Tell us more about your angel and devil sides.
JT: Haha, damn. I always felt like I’ve been either in Heaven or Hell my entire life. I’ve struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and major depressive episodes for most of my life so you can imagine it’s been very difficult to stay creative at times. Heck, I’ve had creative blocks that lasted for a couple of months. I felt lost, untalented, an impostor, I often considered changing my career path because I felt so overwhelmed. I destroyed myself and my relationships because I didn’t feel like I deserved them.

On the other hand, right after getting out of an episode, I would become manic and feel incredibly inspired, hyperactive and would win over all the clients and all the pitches thrown at me. I would fix all the damage I did as well. You can imagine that I couldn’t live like that, it made me feel insane and unstable. Luckily, after a few years of therapy and a lot of painful self-improving work, I managed to establish some kind of balance and am now able to be more functional. The episodes are a lot shorter and I feel more in control.

I’m very grateful for the few amazing people I have in my life who’ve been supporting me and lifting me up all this time, especially my brother and my boyfriend . And let’s not forget about the continuous support I’ve been receiving from my bosses who are just wonderful people. If you’re struggling with anything like this, don’t be afraid to speak up.

CS:  What’s your favorite project since you’ve been here, at Cromatic Studios. Don’t tell us it’s bunnyshell.
JT: bunnyshell is definitely one of my favorites but there are a few others that deserve to be mentioned like: Magic TV, MobiUp, DigitalWand, and our collaborations with Global Records and Radio Guerrilla were pretty exciting too.

CS: How do you feel about pitches? We know you’re something of an introvert. How do you deal with public speaking? What was your journey like?
JT: Uhhhhh for many years I used to be ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of them. Not even kidding. I always enjoyed doing the work from the shadows and all was good and dandy until I had to actually get up and show my work in front of several, very important people. At some point I almost gave up and thought I should just never try it again, I almost convinced myself to be this introverted designer who lives in her comfort zone and nobody should bother me with silly things such as human contact!
Thank goodness I came to my senses and I started pushing myself and getting out of my comfort zone. Just throwing myself to the wolves basically. It was bumpy at first but I felt empowered because I was slowly getting better and I now had a new goal to achieve. With each presentation, I felt more confident and coherent. Another thing that helped me immensely was all the writing I did for each project, the information sunk in a lot better and I had an easier time presenting it. But anyway, I talked about this in a question above.

CS: Any other cool hobbies? We know you’ve recently started playing the piano. How is that going and are you planning on exploring that musical side more?
JT: Wait, besides compulsively sharing memes on social media??? Nah, seriously tho, the sad part of growing up and dedicating most of my time to my job and my freelance work is that a big part of my hobbies is now gone. I still watch a ridiculous amount of TV shows though, and I rarely start playing some videogame before I feel super guilty for wasting my own time and just stop doing it altogether. I did use to enjoy photography and I worked as a photographer for a few years. Apart from that, I occasionally sketch things or do tiny typography exercises, trying to improve my skills.
Oh, I haven’t started playing the piano, I am barely learning the notes and fundamentals of it – I got it for my 30th birthday from my brother, by the way! (I just had to mention that he’s the best, thanks!) I used to be very passionate about music and especially singing but I got over that really quickly because I was embarrassingly shy for most of my life, I still am a bit, so I could never pursue hobbies that implied me getting out of my shell that much. Who knows though, I’ve done crazier things.

CS: Finally, leave us with your catchphrase.
JT: I don’t think I have one but I do obsessively repeat IT’S OK and this is my fav emoji along with making the actual hand gesture as often as I can (yes in the goddamned selfies too). I’m a pretty positive person after all, amirite? Besides that, people always notice and laugh at the myriad of sounds I make in any given situation. From all the UGHs to the many NIAs. Very vocal person right here.

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