Interview with Alex Tass

When I first saw the The Caribbean Energy Conference logo I was curios to discover more about the designer behind that awesome logo. In time, looking at the work of Alex Tass I discovered a young, creative and talented designer that came up with new and fresh ideas for his logos. Earlier this month Alex took some time from his busy schedule to talk with us about his work and his life as a logo designer. Enjoy!

Radu Negrean: Hello Alex and thank you for your time. Can you please tell us more about yourself?

Alex Tass:  Hi, and first of all thank you for considering me for this interview. I'm 24 and I currently live in Bucharest, Romania. I'm interested in design for about 5 years now, I'm working for 3, and it's one year now since my digital studio project (which is also my online portfolio) got online.

RN: What is the main difference between working in a design studio as opposed to being a freelancer?

AT:  I thought you might ask that, we (me and my colleague/partner Paul) are still experimenting out our form of existence if i can say this way. We basically work as freelancers but we complement each other services as in a studio in which form we are trying to evolve. Our current form might be named a ''freelance design & creative digital studio" where i guess digital is the heaviest word that describes the present, because we don't have yet a physical office. We are now somehow in-between freelancing and being a creative studio.

RN:  That means you are the one in charge with the logo design part. Am I right?

AT:  Yes. I do the graphic and identity design in our “family” while my partner is the boss over the web “dishes” (both design and programming). :)

RN:  Your logo is also your personal logo as far as I understand. Is there a story behind it?

AT:  Yes it's my personal logo too, we can say that. Well there's a story behind the name; “nocturn” is the Romanian word for “nocturnal”, and i guess that influenced the logo too. I used to work mostly during nights, for the calm and silence of it. About two years ago or so I've also discovered in a trip that i have a thing, a sympathy for bats. So when the time came, when we decided to find a name and work using it, those too elements (the name and the symbol) came very fast. Also a large part of our portfolio is represented by posters and flyers designed for nightclubs. So again the nightlife. Both the logo and the name are influenced by these three factors, or maybe even hobbies: staying up late at night, clubbing and bats. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the forth influence over it: Origami. The bat in our logo is stylized to be more closer to a bat origami shape rather than the regular animal shape.

RN: When did you know you want to design logos?

AT:  It's difficult to say, I don't think I knew that I want to do it. As I mentioned earlier I was attracted by design for some years before starting doing my own things. And my start was very slow and difficult. My first projects were web and print related, logos came quite late, but my fascination for this domain grow slowly in me until it made me think about specializing in logo and identity design. This step didn't yet happen in my life, but it's something that I am thinking pretty serious to do in the next 1-2 years. And for this I try to work as much as possible; work, read, see and try to understand the laws and the creative process behind every beautiful project that I meet.

RN:  Do you have a standard creative process or do you treat each logo in a different way?

AT:  I think I can talk about a process. I have a questionnaire and I am basing my research on the answers received on it. I'm looking for keywords in the answers to help me understand the project. I also sometimes search for the competitors to see their approach. After I gather the information I start doodling (sometimes on paper, sometimes digitally) until I have something that I like and then I try my best to improve that idea into a final result. It also happens to have the idea and to know what to do just hearing the name or the domain, and this helps me skip some steps. But this is very rare.

RN:  What do you do when after starting a project you cannot find any ideas that you like? How do you deal with it?

AT:  Doodling. A lot of doodling until one idea hits me. And if it's still not coming it's time for a break, even if that break means focusing on another project.

RN: So doolding is the key! :) What was your most challenging project?

AT:  Or a break. :)) This question is a bit tricky, because I can name more projects in here. Our logo project for example was difficult, because, you know, it's always difficult to work for yourself. The online version, and the final one was the 10-11th version, but this was not the problem, the problem was that I liked a lot each of the previous versions and all of them were at their time the best one and also the final. The actual version was obtained after a lot of more or less minor edits based on friends feedback and our interpretation of their feedback. But again, this was a difficult project because it was done for us and we were coming with new better ideas almost everyday. I really enjoyed working on the Caribbean Energy Conference 2010, which later became the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference 2010. It was the first large business event and we had more approaches, and I am pretty proud of the final results. And talking about pride another project comes in my mind. The Kudos Beach 6th year anniversary proposal that got rejected. I enjoyed a lot both working on the project and the final result, so I was pretty sad when the beach club owners rejected it considering it too different from their image. Luckily thou I've used it over the summer in their prints and it looked well in them altogether with their old logo.

RN:  This leads us to our next question. I know there are easy going clients and difficult ones. I will not ask you to name any of them but I am curious how do you deal with the difficult clients?

AT:  With difficulty? :) I am a patient guy and I really consider I'm doing my best to get the best results to the clients satisfaction. But then again, my perception might be different then the customer’s one. With a lot of patience, and breaks when left out of ideas, I do my best to finish each and every of my projects that I get involved in.

RN:  In your opinion, which are your best logos and why?

AT:  Another difficult question. I am not sure if I am the one that should say which are the best. When finishing a project I consider the final result (if not the final, then at least one of the proposals) as being the best for that project, but then again it is a perception thing. I've worked on some logos that I am quite proud of and the feedback on them was very low, and in contrast one of the logos that I’ve designed, didn’t get very much attention got a very positive feedback (Brand Events logo). Another example would be my own logo. I have put a lot of heart in it and I consider it represents me very well, but the feedback on it was lower than expected which I cannot say about the logo symbol (the bat from the letter t) which separately from the logo received a very large and positive feedback. So what I am trying to say is that I can't name the best ones, I can only point a few of my favorites: Nocturn, Kudos Beach 6th year anniversary, the Caribbean Energy Conference, the DOL symbol (d letter), Hugo, Bubble, Zvon, Bond records, ArtMark and quite a lot more. :)

RN:  I see you've mentioned The Caribbean Energy Conference - personally I think that is one of your best logos so far. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind the logo?

AT:  There were a few rounds of proposals. The main difference of 2010 conference is that this yeas the conference is based on all types of energy including alternative ones, while in 2009 it was based only on petroleum (and they had in the conference logo a drop of it). So my first thought was to gather 4 elements, symbols or colors for the 4 elements of life (air, water, earth and fire) and use them in different ways. With quite a resigned feedback Iíve considered taking this energy concept forward and begin thinking at using a phoenix as the main symbol. I've drawn one using a stylized symbol of alternative energy (which is something like this ~) but then the client came with the idea of using a stylized hummingbird, a national symbol, as our new logo main element. Between the switch of the phoenix with the hummingbird the conference name was also changed from the Caribbean Energy Conference in Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference. 


RN: What advice would you give for aspiring logo designers?

AT: To experiment as much as they can. To read, understand and try as many ideas as possible.

RN:  If you were to choose a shape and a color to represent you, (other than the bat shape) what would you choose? 

AT: Besides the bat? :) Difficult. If we're talking about basic shapes i might think at a circle, but i guess in my works the triangle is much more present. Deep purple for sure. :) 

To learn more about Alex and Nocturn you can visit: and of course, you can browse his logo gallery here at The Logo Mix.