As you can probably imagine, at Wix, we spend a decent amount of time browsing through spectacular websites – and we enjoy every second of it. From drop-dead gorgeous photography portfolios to unique business sites and digital illustrations, we’re fortunate enough to have so many gifted users from all different types of industries. But what really gets us excited is when we come across a site, or art portfolio example that has the triple threat; a flawless design, a great business and some stunning artworkfcreate! Recently, we had the pleasure to stumble upon such a website by Denny Kurien.
Denny is a one-stop shop for everything creative. Not only does he have 17 years of artistic experience but his talents range from branding and mass advertising to digital and social media, developing mobile apps and User Experience (UX) design, to video production and animation. So what does such a creative person/freelance artist do in their free time? He creates viral comics. With Comic Book Day upon us, we thought there’s no better time to showcase his talent and ask Denny a couple of questions.
Wix: Hi Denny. Glad to meet you and welcome to the Wix Blog. Can you please introduce yourself and what you do?
Denny: Hello World! My name is Denny Kurien, and I’m a Creative Director from Toronto. I have an art-direction, graphic design, and animation background. Illustration (or doodling) was something that I learned on the job while working in the advertising agency world. We would have “tissue sessions” .. and as an Art-Director, it was my job to doodle campaign concepts on a piece of paper (whether that be for a print ad layout or storyboarding a TV commercial). We would then present these doodled concepts in their unfinished form to the client for their sign-off, before bringing it into the computer and going full-scale on production.
I now run my own branding and creative consultancy (Creative-Director.ca). My doodles look a lot more like chicken-scratches these days, but I still provide the big-vision thinking and employ art-directors and designers to execute it. As a Creative-Director, you gotta be able to see the big picture, right down to the minute details.
Wix: What is your design process? What inspires you?
Denny: For me, everything starts on a piece of paper. Whether it’s designing a logo, or putting together the UX workflow for a mobile app or website. I love brainstorming on paper – putting it up on a wall, throwing ideas around and collaborating with others. Designing is a collaborative process – it’s not something that can be done solo.
What inspires me .. hmm .. well being a father of a six-year-old boy, has really upped my creative design game. Children are more creative, just because they don’t edit themselves – they benefit from not knowing what is not possible. For them everything is feasible. And that’s something that we adults tend to forget. Highly creative people are less self-controlled, so keep asking yourself, “What if?” and “Why not!”, and constantly keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
“Being a father of a six year old boy, has really upped my creative design game. Children are more creative […] For them everything is feasible.”
Wix: You’re a designer, how did you come up with the concept of Hero Doodles?
Denny: Haha ... The Hero Doodles project was something that I had done a few months back when I was stuck in rut and had hit a creative wall. I was experiencing extreme burn-out. The early mornings, late nights, and no vacations finally caught up with me - and so I needed some time to relax, refocus, and bring the spark back into my design business.
The Hero Doodles project allowed me to get in touch with my inner-child, and I was able to force myself to look at things from a different perspective. Each doodle incorporates an everyday mundane object like a pencil sharpener, a coin, a piece of broccoli, and the doodle transforms the objects into something completely new and different. This is something I did every other day, for a whole month and posted on Instagram. It was something that helped me reinvigorate my creative energy. As a creative director, you gotta constantly challenge yourself to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. And that is something that I had forgotten, and why I had gotten into this business in the first place.
“It [doodling] was something that helped me reinvigorate my creative energy.”
Wix: Do you have any other cool projects coming up?
Denny: Yes, I’m currently working with my wife, who’s an Interior Designer, and a friend in the US. We are working on setting up a design practice where we would combine branding and interior design, to offer it as a full package for various businesses - like fast-food, retail outlets, and various start-ups. I’m also very big on UX design and getting more involved in that.
I had created an early learning kids app called “CountDracu1,” it was mostly for my son, who loved playing on the iPad. I came up with the concept and storyline, illustrated and animated the characters, did the voice-overs, as well as programmed the app. It revolves around a young vampire from Toronto (Count Dracu Jr.), and his gang of multi-cultural friends. When it comes to User Experience design, you learn a lot by doing, and figuring out where all the pain-points are, and tweaking it to make it better. You always have to look at it from a consumer’s point of view, which in my case was that of a toddlers / preschoolers. I think the app is still selling in the App Store for $0.99.
Wix: Okay, we have to ask – why did you choose Wix as a platform?
Denny: I like the simplicity that the Wix platform provides. Their UX is very intuitive and fits well for people who are more visually oriented like me. I like the Instagram Feed tool that I can incorporate onto my website (I use Instagram a lot to market my business). Wix also makes it really easy to make your website mobile-friendly- and that’s something that is really important to my business and my clients. Everyone surfs the web on their phones.
Wix: Thanks a lot for your time and kindness Denny. The final word is yours. A dazzling thought to share? A quote to savor? A love declaration? A designer manifesto? You have carte blanche!
Denny: For designers and creative-types out there who are experiencing burn-out and fatigue, give yourself some space – go out and smell the roses. No one gets creative by sitting in front of a computer. It’s the things you see, and smell, touch, and taste that feeds your inner creativity. Give yourself a little design project outside of work, like I did with Hero Doodles. Focus on goals that excite you and push you out of your comfort zone.
“It’s the things you see, and smell, touch, and taste that feeds your inner creativity.”
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