Lana Simanenkova

Lana Simanenkova — Animade

Animator and motion designer from Estonia. Currently a Senior Creative at Animade, a characterful studio based in London, UK. A lover of crafting quality storytelling, using vibrant colours, puns and humour in her work.

What led you into design?

I wasn't really into drawing or animation when I was growing up, I think only around high school I started to draw more. I was bullied throughout school so I had a lot of time to myself to practice drawing.

I couldn't afford proper drawing classes so I helped out a mum of a friend who was a life drawing teacher with some upholstering projects and she paid me in drawing lessons. She was an interior designer as her full-time job so I got to help out and hang out in her house and studio, full or art books and design mags I borrowed. Being in that environment really showed me there is a viable career path in art and I might enjoy it.

What does a typical day look like?

I wake up around 7, leave the house to hitch a busy train to Old Street, where Animade HQ is. I get there a bit before 9 to say hello to other early comers and make myself a coffee.

The workday itself usually starts with meetings to catch up on the project that's currently being worked at, catch up to speed with the schedule and any client changes. Talk through next steps with the creative director and the team. After that just a lot of screen time in Adobe software of choice until lunch. More screen time after that and maybe another meeting.

After wrapping up the day at the studio I go home, make a big dinner and maybe play a video game or if I'm really lazy just watch Vimeo or youtube. Some days I stay a bit later in the studio and draw a character design or plan a short animated gif.

What’s your setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I try to keep my hand on the pulse of what is going on in the animation industry and new talent that emerges from it. There are some amazing blogs and magazines out now that were not there about 5 years ago. It's amazing to see the high fidelity but also fun experiments in design and animation that's a bit more out there.

Motionographer

Wine After Coffee

It's Nice That

Computer Arts Magazine

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I like when animation can fit into our daily lives in some way. Buck recently did a great job making a stickers app with some lush designs and animation. The Junction from Red Bull Music Academy is a great showcase when artists are given relative freedom to produce the best work that they can and it shines through.

Motion Awards

Red Bull Music Academy - The Junction

SlapStick App

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

What design challenges do you face at your company?

I think adapting a style that a client has an idea of in their head for a project but at the same time giving it an Animade flare can be challenging.

I'm still learning how to talk to the client about what steps were taken to arrive at a certain style frame and why it would fit their business messaging and feel. Doing a 9-6 full time for almost 5 years can be mentally challenging sometimes as I don't have the flexibility of a freelance person and that can really wear down on you.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Stay humble, grasp every opportunity to learn something new, never stop developing in that sense, with design and animation especially learning never truly stops.

Learn to take feedback, even when it seems harsh. Learn to gauge people's reactions when you show them a of work in progress, this can be hard but gets better and easier the more you do it and might take your work to the next level.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Check me out rambling on a podcast if you want to know a bit more about the motion life.

Motion Hatch is an awesome community for motion designers young and old and helps to tackle all sorts of questions freelancers might have, like contracts and creative feedback as well.

Share this interview

Related Interviews

Yesenia Perez-Cruz — Vox Media

Designer, speaker, and writer based out of Philadelphia, PA. Passionate about increasing inclusivity in tech, designing responsibly, and leading with empathy.

Janko Jovanovic — Contentful

Officially a Senior Service Designer based in Berlin. Unofficially a design pluralist who explores speculative design, systems thinking, phenomenology and other interesting fields. Loves meditation, coffee, tea, and healthy lifestyle.

Tom Bates — Duffel

São Paulo-based designer, developer, muppet, and co-founder at Duffel. He’s obsessed with building tools, designing in code, and consuming his weight in pasteis de nata.

Denis Lomov — Red Collar

Creative Director at Red Collar, one of the most awarded agencies in Russia. His team creates impressive sites that conquer the minds and hearts.