Senior Interaction Designer at ChaiOne
This month’s ChaiOne Employee Spotlight is on Lali Lobzhanidze, a Senior Interaction Designer at ChaiOne. As a designer, Lali is responsible for creating beautiful, intuitive mobile apps and web experiences. Born in Azerbaijan, Lali comes to ChaiOne after living in Israel for three years.
Here are some of Lali’s thoughts on being a ChaiOne designer:
Can you describe a typical workday?
I usually start my day with coffee and I’ve recently started grinding coffee beans instead of always using the Keurig. After getting some coffee, I sit down at my desk and start working on projects that I was doing the previous day. I also check to see if there are new instructions from the project managers. Like others at ChaiOne, I use Pivotal tracker to track my projects. I also check my email for feedback from clients and managers. At ChaiOne, we have a certain amount of days dedicated to one specific project, but we can get booked to different projects that come in. When something urgent comes up, sometimes you don’t get to finish your current project. You have to be able to jump really quickly into other projects and catch up on projects that have been passed to you. This forces you to quickly learn how to be flexible, but it also gives you an opportunity to learn about different industries ranging from things as different as oil and gas to music. During the day, we usually have meetings with project managers and others involved to discuss the progress of a project and to determine what needs to be done.
Did you always want to be a designer?
I knew that I always wanted to do something artistic. I started drawing at a very young age and was in art school. I even participated in art contests and won some of them. At first, I thought that I wanted to become an artist, but I didn’t think that being an artist was much of a profession because I could always draw and create art in my spare time. In the 11th grade, I studied in an exchange program in Florida where we had college reps visit the school. Some reps from an art college came in and told us about different programs including one on graphic design. I really liked that program so I thought it would be a good profession to pursue. I could apply my drawing skills and creativity to graphic design. So, when I got back home to Azerbaijan, I applied to a university that had graphic design faculty and then I became a designer.
Where do you get your inspirations for your designs?
It’s very different – sometimes when I see some interesting art, I get inspired to use colors and forms from it. Other times, I get inspired from someone else’s work and then I apply something from that. Inspiration can also come from websites, an app, or some kind of brochure or signs that grab my attention. If someone has a new approach to a design, I get inspiration from that. Music is another place I get inspiration from since it has played a major role in my professional and personal life.
What are some important traits that designers should have?
Designers definitely need to have creativity along with flexibility. As a designer, you have to have a strong personality and can’t just copy someone else’s work. You have to be a unique individual and have your own signature style. People should be able to tell that a certain person has designed something. You need to have something that distinguishes you from others.
What artists or type of art do you admire?
I mostly love traditional art especially old Italian art. If I could choose to put up a picture on my wall, I would probably buy something more traditional or classic versus something that is modern. I also admire Salvador Dalí and his interpretation of average things. I went to his museum in St. Petersburg, Florida and it really impressed me. I also really like Vincent van Gogh because of his passion and the colors he uses. He is very expressive and you can really feel his emotions in his pictures.
What things have you learned so far at ChaiOne that you would tell a new employee?
For new employees, the golden rule is to have a good sense of humor. People here are very humorous and like to joke around. Some people may not get it or are too serious so it’s important to be open and outgoing. Learn to talk to people and don’t close yourself to others. Share your experiences with others because everyone at ChaiOne is very talented, experienced, and have a wealth of knowledge. You have to be open to learn from them and then give something back.
What are some of your favorite apps?
My favorite app is Waze. I recently started to drive and I’ve found the app to be really helpful. It tells you about traffic, accidents on the road, etc. and prepares you for what is coming up next on the road. As a designer, I also really like the app’s design because it is clean and clear.
Another app that I like is Lullaby for Babies. I have a son and I use the app to soothe him to sleep. All I have to do is turn the music on and it works well especially after a long day.
I also really like the Songza app because it lets you choose your music depending on your mood, the time of day, and the type of activity you are doing.
Fun Facts About Lali:
She speaks four languages – Russian, Azerbaijani, Hebrew, and English
She got the opportunity to be an exchange student in Florida for one year in the 11th grade. During that time, she attended Florida High School and lived with an American family.
She has accumulated and experienced many different cultures. Her mother is Russian, her father is Georgian, and she was born in Azerbaijan. She has lived in Israel and now she lives in America. She has learned to understand and respect every culture and has the advantage of having different experiences with various nationalities. She feels like she fits in well at the company because ChaiOne is so diverse.
Her biggest hobby right now is her son, Daniel.
She was also a very bright kid, but she was a rebel and caused some trouble when she was younger.
She won Best of Show in an art contest in Florida and her painting actually won an award as one of the ten best paintings in an art contest issued by the Israeli government.
She had never had to drive in her life so when she moved to the U.S., she had to learn. She recently got her driver’s license and was able to pass her driver’s test on the first attempt.