What is your background as an artist?
Aboozar: I live in Montreal, Canada. When I was 3 or 4 years old, my dream was to create something that has never existed. That could be music, a painting, a sketch, or a sculpture. I wanted to “break the border” and offer something different than what already existed.
What’s your experience with design?…and who do you love to work with?
Aboozar: I’ve worked as a graphic designer, art director, and creative director for the past 18 years. I enjoy working with start-ups because they look toward the future, find problems, and create solutions. I’m obsessed with the creativity sparked when I work with forward-thinking, “big vision” people.
I'm also inspired by working with people from different cultures and different professional backgrounds.
How has your design education shaped your career?
Aboozar: I started my art education since 1999 when I was only 14. I actually met Shahrouz Varshabi, Founder and CEO of Designity at high school. He was always into business from those ages. I earned my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in painting from Tehran University of Art (the largest art university in Iran). While there, I learned graphic design and visual communication. I also realized that we, as designers, are a part of the larger picture, which is communication industry.
During my studies, I started my career by working for Me’mar Magazine (the most prestigious journal of architecture in Iran). I also audited Professor Reza Abedini’s course at Tehran University, with his permission, for 2-3 years, when I was 16-17.
I think the best part of a university degree is not learning specific skills, but being able to explore different experiences, which helps students stay creative. I believe skills can be learned in a short time, while an innovative mind should be immersed in dynamic experiences.
What is your design specialty?
Aboozar: Generally speaking, creativity and “design thinking” are what matter most.
But I would say my specialty is in “service design,” which is closing the gap between where you are, and where you want to go. It’s about creating a process that allows you to achieve something. Each action we take is designed as a “service,” that gets the end user from point A to B.
Service design starts from asking my client questions such as: What are we doing? Why are we doing it in this way? When are we doing it? Etc.
This helps me understand the journey of the end user. (I always think “the client of my client” is the real person whom I’m ultimately serving in each project.)
Can you give us an example of how you create “the journey for the end user”?
Aboozar: This is actually my favorite part of the design process. For example, I have done an app UX redesign project for a luxury watch rental company. Instead of reviewing the old app, I asked my client to think about a brick-and-mortar luxury rent store.
I asked questions to help reveal the journey of the end user: How does the store attract clients? What problem does this store solve? How many floors does this store have? What is the function of each layer? Is there any security? What information does the company need to guarantee a smooth process for returning watches?
Then I asked them to write a story about their clients' journey! Each person has a story! This helped me understand the full picture of the user experience, so I could redesign the app with users in mind.
The process is similar to creating a storyboard while making a movie. It’s time-consuming, but it guarantees the right path when the movie is filmed. This helps me construct a solution that satisfies both my client and the end users.
How has Designity influenced your career/life as a freelancer?
Aboozar: Working at Designity is a great way to expose myself to different clients and designers. I really enjoy collaborating with people from different backgrounds.
Designity verifies the designers’ professional background and makes sure they all have a good portfolio before they start their first project. Although some of the designers are students, Designity validates their skill-sets and bridges them from academia to practical experience. For me, this helps me work with designers not only with diverse backgrounds, but also with high-quality talents.