To whom it concerns, I am addressing you today with some very insightful words of advice from a previous intern at Art. Lebedev Studio. One should pay comprehensive attention and not question the words of wisdom.
Being accepted to come and work at Art Lebedev Studio fell something short of an honour. I felt nothing but excitement before arriving, not only was it my first design related job, but it was an opportunity to dive into an unknown world and to work for Russia’s largest design studio.
The welcoming was warm and enthusiastic. Although the language barrier was difficult, I felt very comfortable in my new surroundings, especially when finally meeting Timur Burbayev (the very insightful and hilarious Product Design Art Director) and instantly became involved with client projects. Shortly followed by my own individual projects.
At the start of my internship, I would proudly present my wide collection of designs to Timur on several different pieces of paper. I was quick to realize that this didn’t help with the design “filtering”, because it lead to numerous questions on why I decided on particular designs and my reasoning/understanding behind them. This would only elongate the project as I hadn’t properly understood for myself the necessary design elements.
Therefore I was taught to approach him like the client. Having fewer & stronger designs, accompanied by alternate design directions and additional annotations, like manufacturing methods and material choices. This would help bring understanding to the design ideology and promote my confidence to sell the idea.
I have learned that this preparation generally leads to faster and better design solutions/outcomes and prevents me from swaying to far from the original brief.
I also made early mistakes by working full days on only one project. To avoid this I was encouraged to schedule my work into blocks. When working on a project it is better to work solidly (let’s say for 2 hours) whether it be researching, sketching, prototyping etc rather than flicking through Facebook, going for tea/cigarette breaks, choosing your favorite YouTube videos and ending up spending 5 hours on the same piece of work.
These are personal experiences, and yes, mistakes, I made and have learnt greatly from them. The knowledge people have in the studio is incredibly insightful (and sometimes strange). But their willingness to help you is undeniable.
Outside of the studio, Moscow will have loads to offer but to really know the low down on what’s happening check out the English magazine “Element”. It gives a detailed weekly overview of what’s happening in and around Moscow. Because standard web searches like “things to do i Moscow” usually repeats itself ALL the time. Like “visit the Kremlin”, “take a photo of St. Basil’s Cathedral”, “push over a Babushka”. (don’t do that) People in the studio also have very interesting hobbies that don’t seem obvious so ask them. For example Lelic is an awesome ice hockey player and Timur is a pro kite flyer.
Try and learn a little bit of Russian. I came out here with virtually no understanding of the language. It doesn’t help and Russians will usually give you no time of day. So start off with essentials like “Can you speak English” or “I don’t speak Russian”. Russian grammar is usually very basic so having a sentence with a few words can get you pretty far. Moscow has loads to offer. It is a truly amazing city and if you take up these tips, I’m sure it will only improve your stay!
Anyway I hope this advice is helpful. All of it has been through my own experience and I have really loved my time out here, so take advantage of Lebedev’s internship and embrace the Muscovite lifestyle!
All the best