Angelina Sheremet, a graphic designer based in Sweden, reminds us of the importance of design and how it all started for her. Read the full discussion below and don't forget to watch a snippet of the live interview on IGTV / Youtube:
Who is Angelina Sheremet? Where are you from and what do you do? Originally, I'm from Russia, but I live in Sweden and I'm simply a graphic designer, but more of an artist I would call it. Okay, so you'd like to venture out into different fields. There's a point in every creative's life where their interests turned into their passions and then it starts to turn into work. So when in life was that time for you? Where did your creativeness come from? Was it family influenced or is it more by yourself? My mom used to sew a lot. I never got into that, but I think I was inspired a lot by the fact that you can be really creative in one certain subject. And for me, it became graphic designing. And actually it's funny because remember when Twitter had like backgrounds and stuff ages ago? I remember people asking me to make backgrounds just randomly. I was like, that's so cool. I can make something look good, but for somebody else. And that was like really a big passion of mine. I guess you could say that's where it came from.
What drew you specifically to graphic design. You studied it, correct? Yeah, I did. Okay. I think I would say that since I had this as a hobby always since I was 12 or something, I always had it on the side. It's kind of funny cause I studied natural science, like physics and chemistry, and I was like there's no way I'm gonna pursue that in anything. So I thought, why not make my hobbies into a career? So that was almost an easy decision when I graduated high school that I was going to continue doing that.
You are famously known in the Lany community to have been behind the 5EVER project, which if people don't know what that is, I'll have you explain it, but what was your exact role in it? I started the entire thing actually from scratch.
Lany 5EVER, correct me if I'm wrong, it was basically a project that you started that was a way for all of the fans or as many fans as possible to get involved in creating a project specifically for the boys. Yeah, that's correct actually. To make a difference, we actually wanted to give the fans a voice by making an EP back to them. What was your reasoning for creating it? I mean, you said you wanted to get fans of voice, but was there like a moment where you were like, you know what, I want to do this and this is why? I saw them in February, this year, in Stockholm thanks to my sister. And I was so blown away, not only by, well their music and fans but because they knew every song. I was literally impressed by how they were so loud. And after listening to them for a month literally every day, I thought I wanted to do something to see them again. So I joked about seeing them in San Francisco and forced my sister to go with me. Then I thought, I could use this trip to make something for them and thank them. And then I thought maybe I could just do something to celebrate their five years. After making research, I saw that somebody had made this kinda book of their journey. And I am not going to repeat myself because I hate doing that. I want original ideas. And in my original idea, I wanted to make one song. But then I thought I might as well actually make an entire EP of that and scratch like the old idea. And that's where it came from. We could go back to their start and have an EP just like they did a few years ago. And then I just started like coming up with more ideas to it, like what kinds of songs we would have and so on. And I usually don't start planning. I start with the design, but this was a really different experience for me. So I had to plan it all first, so I learned a lot from that too. Planning first and then executing the idea.
The next question is about designing it because Lany has a certain aesthetic. They really involve colors and make you feel a certain type of way. When designing it, what was the creative process behind the content that you created? I would say, first of all, I actually love everything they make, how everything looks, and how they hide things in the design often. Paul is genius obviously. I felt like it was really like the stuff I make or have made before. So I felt that I can totally make something that looks like their designs too. I think since all the fans already loved what their style looks like, I knew I wouldn't have to plan the design. I would just do it the way I usually do it and add a twist to it so it looks like Lany. I just want it to look as if it was something they had made but their version but our version. That was the main idea, but more color to it in the logo and everything just to make it stand out a bit more from their typical design.
With art, again in any medium, you can pull a message away from it for like a certain feeling, was there a certain message or feeling that you wanted people to grasp when you designed what you did or when you put out what you created? In the beginning, I used a lot of photography like clouds and the typical aesthetics that Lany already had. I wanted it to feel like something that you can essentially touch because it was still an abstract thing. I wanted people to feel like they would be part of it too, but for example, in the fan book itself where everybody's names are on the list, I wanted people to feel like, 'Oh my God, I've been a part of something really huge'.
You could almost feel their art and their music through that. Also, you said that you are a freelancer or I read that. Do you want to continue with freelance work or do you have a certain company or brand that you would love to work for or create a company yourself? Currently, I have a full-time job as a graphic designer. Making that project (5EVER project), by the way, I didn't sleep much at all during that time. But I work at this group that mainly gives me reports and essentially it's not really making me really creative so I have to do something else on the side. I keep adding stuff to my portfolio to learn something new to challenge myself. That's the important thing. If I'm not challenged, I'm not going to learn and evolve as a graphic designer, so that's why I have smaller or bigger projects all on the side while working. Essentially, I would really want to work with music even if it's album art, with fans specifically or promo material.
Back then in the 60s and 70s, the promo art that they would do for concerts was amazing. It was when graphic design was so special and people were able to create so much without copying from anybody else. In your bio on Instagram, you mentioned how you're physically in Europe, but mentally in California and then you said that you were from Russia/Sweden. Did Europe have a big influence on your work or did you find inspirations elsewhere such as New York, California, etc. in the US or different countries? I'm not really inspired by a country but more like a place or a city. The reason why I have California in my bio is that I really grew up watching every music award show held in Los Angeles, like the VMAs, Grammy's. It's been such a huge part of my growing up. So that's why I put it in the bio. But I have this thing, I love listening to an artist in their natural habitat. For example, I've seen the 1975 in London or Manchester because that's where they're from. So I really wanted to see Lany in Los Angeles. And I think it's a really special feeling to get to do that and to hear an artist sing about the environment and be in it at the same time. Being at that place in that moment is an inspiration that I get inspired by later too after living it if that makes sense.
Seeing it in person adds so much emotion to it. So going along with that, do you have a specific medium or like certain artists that you go to for inspiration? I wouldn't say I have a specific but I often get inspired by really bad design like, "Oh my God, I could do this so much better". Often really professional companies would release stuff and I was like, what the hell is this? Why is it not better? I would do it better myself and it's fun to take a design and redo it into something completely, first of all, better and to be able to make my vision. Except for being inspired by bad design, music is also one of the things or an artist like Lany or somebody else. But I love making something better. It's probably often really good from the start, but a lot of times it makes me feel better than I can just like upgrade something of great design or make it better.
You're challenging yourself to create something that is different, you know? And, and better is, I get that and I feel like with how graphic design is today, there are so many easy ways to click a button and have something just be so created for you. What makes the design good? Like when you look at a design, what makes you kind of do a double-take? In general, there are two kinds of graphic design. One that is really basic and serves a purpose. You can read the sign and whatever, but I love the type of design where something is hidden like you have to think twice. It's not only graphic design for your eyes, but also for the brain. I love when something's really hidden somewhere or you just realize, Oh my gosh, I didn't see this for from the start. When people really think through it with colors and pictures of everything together and create this really interesting puzzle. I feel like a graphic designer does 50% of the job and then the person looking at it has to do the rest. Otherwise, it has to be interactive in some way.
I love how you said that it has to be interactive because that's very interesting. It makes you feel good. Why do you design? Like why do you do what you do? You know when people look for a purpose in life and sometimes they just don't know what they want to do? I feel like I really discovered my purpose and it's the design or being an artist. I feel like it's my obligation to make (art). If I'm capable of doing it, I really should and if I want to. If you have the possibility, knowledge, or experience to do something, you should do that to both improve the company that needs it. But also to grow as a person yourself. To not only work for you but also work for others at the same time.
You have worked for a few companies and done a few designs for them. Has there been a favorite project that you've done or have worked on or a certain one that has really helped shape your career? My portfolio is really really poorly chosen because there's so much stuff I want to add to it but none of the companies that are in there have made a huge impression on me. Personally, I think I would say that my breakthrough as a designer for myself would be the Lany 5EVER project actually because I am really proud of how I managed to plan everything in such a short deadline and to create something out of that. I think a lot of times it doesn't have to be a company or a client. I love working for myself too and that makes me grow more as a designer.
I feel like a lot of people who are creatives and artists when they go to get full-time jobs, more than half the time they're restricted and they can't be fully creative or at least express their creative ideas. If there were no boundaries on a design you could create, what would you do and would you work for a certain company or a cause? I would probably start my own company with my closest friends because I think that's when you create the best things. When you work with people who know what you want and get along. In general, I don't think there are any boundaries in design except the client has the boundaries. So I would create my own company and I would probably only accept some clients. People would have to apply for one design and not the other way around. I would really restrict the number of companies I'd be working with.
I like that. In our company, we're very involved in music. So what are you currently listening to? Well obviously, Lany. This year alone I have discovered so many new artists. I absolutely love the Ivy. They're really cool. Last week, I think I discovered the Hearse, another band. They're really cool. And then I've been really rediscovering like older music from like Frank ocean, John Mayer or Khalid. He's really awesome. I'm kind of a lazy listener. I often rely on Spotify to find stuff for me that's like a little list of stuff of who listening to. What is next for you? Do you have any projects that you're working on or projects you're working on yourself that you can disclose? I have a few stuff I want to do. I know it's more fan-related. I love when fans work with fans and I want to do more of that. I've had other fan bases ask if we can do something else in that particular fan base. And I love that the fans really want to go through that. And I think I really wouldn't want to work more, um, with fans.
Photography by Angelina Sheremet.
Interview by Madison Everett.