Geektime’s 2013 Select Startup Designers of the Year
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on Reddit
Share on Email

Geektime is singling out startup professionals in Israel’s high-tech scene for some standout recognition. These are the Designers we’ve selected for reasons depicted herein

‘Top’, ‘the best’, ‘#1’; these are all terms used in a given kind of post to try and single out a group of professionals as being at the forefront of their respective fields. But the truth is, who’s to say what constitutes being the ‘best’? It’s nearly impossible to find a set of criteria that cuts across differing products, niche markets, experience gaps and a host of other mitigating factors that go into labeling someone as the #1 in their field in a way that is both fair and definitive. And yet, all this shouldn’t deny some very impressive people a certain degree of well deserved recognition. Geektime has singled out groups of ten Israeli startup professionals in several categories, each for their own special reason, and asked them a range of revealing questions, the best answers of which were turned into the posts you will see published here on Geektime. Below are Geektime’s 2013 Israeli Startup Designer Professionals of the year, selected for the reason’s depicted herein, and in no particular order:

miriam-mosshlomi-zigratziv-mljonathaneinat-tsarfiti

avrahamronnitay-milleroded-bgקרשמ-זקישהן

miriam-mosMiriam Moshinsky

Title: Co-Founder & Design Rockstar at Hooligans creative agency

Years in the Field: 11

What project / product are you most proud of?

Hooligans. I and my two partners – Max Shcherbakov and Sahar Lewenstein – founded the agency. After years of working together in other advertising agencies we decided to go for our dream and start our own agency where we could create together the kind of new digital advertising that people would love to consume. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride ever since.

Within three years, we put together a winning team of hooligans serving customers the likes of Cellcom, NetVision, Joel Geva, Albert, Smart and many more. Hooligans is challenges me each and every morning as a designer and as an art director. I’m also very proud that the Hooligans’ brand has become increasingly synonymous with the industry.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

To design a crazy fashion game where I could design clothes and shoes all day, every day.

If working in the design field would not be an option, what would you like to be doing?

I don’t know if I could do anything other than drawing and design. I don’t even know if I can make an omelet. Fortunately, I love what I do and I don’t want to be doing anything else. Oh, I used to want to be an animator, and then I out grew it.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

I really like Maayan Froind, art director and the owner of the brand & design agency Froindster. Her stuff looks really good.

The artist you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

‘There are a lot of artists, designers, writers and musicians that I very much respect and that have influenced my work. I find it hard to choose one, but if I have to then Caesar Ray – The British artist who uses three-dimensional software. The worlds he creates just hypnotize me with strange and mysterious beauty. I really admire artists who have a unique style that’s unlike anyone else’s – and his is exactly like that.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field? Patience. It takes time to become a good designer. Also, learn a lot. Constantly try to learn new things. Many times people ask me where they can find advanced Photoshop courses but there’s a lot more to learn than just photoshop. There are full tutorials online where you can learn almost anything, you just have to really want it and put in the hours on your computer while everyone else is playing paddle ball on the beach.

Hooligans Campaign by Yoel Geva

D1

shlomi-zigratShlomi Zigart

Title: UX Consultant & Designer for web and mobile. UX lecturer for the 4’th year of Visual Communications Design Department at HIT ( Holon Academic Institute of Technology).

Years in the Field: 15.

What project / product are you most proud of?

All my designs are my children. The Teva Pharmaceuticals website, Shufersal Online, Alcatel Lucent Cloudband, the wensite for the City of Tel Aviv, Phoenix, Strauss, Allot communications, GramsePharmaceuticals and many more.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

Challenges are constantly changing, dreams too. Currently I’m interested in second screen. Integration of watching TV and using a smartphone / tablet.

Leaving your work aside, what product / company do you admire for its / their design and execution?

FI – Fantasy Interactive, R / GA, Big Spaceship.

The artist you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Professor Yaacov Kaufman. Artist, product designer, philosopher of design. He was my lecturer at Bezalel. I learned from him how to channel his talent for thought, action, concept.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

It’s important to have a passion for your profession. That’s the key to everything. Passion drives the desire to learn all the time, catch up all the time, to investigate and search for the next new thing.

Campaign by Zigart: App concept, Starbucks

D2

ziv-mlZiv Meltzer

Title: Co-Founder and Product Manager, UX at Hello Doctor.

Year in the field: 17.

What project / product are you most proud of?

Wow, there were quite a few. I was lucky enough to work with the most talented people in the country as a freelancer so apart from Hello Doctor (which is certainly the product I’m most proud of) I also got to work with amazing people on amazing products at The Gifts Project that eventually become eBay’s Innovation Center, and I made a lot of friends at Everything.me, and much more.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

Without a doubt, Hello Doctor. The startup I founded is a service management app for mobile that allows users to access their medical records in a clear and intuitive manner at any given moment. Beyond the difficulties of being a founder, we had to battle forces but outside and from within the company, shedding blood, sweat and tears, to keep it simple, readable and aesthetically pleasing. I keep planning and designing new features and it’s always a challenge to keep the product simple and easy to use. This is my biggest achievement so far. This is a company I founded, with all that that entails. I have amazing partners and an exceptionally talented staff. As for the question of ‘How did you overcome the difficulties?’, it’s without a doubt due to my esteemed partners. Nothing would have gotten done without them.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

Hmmmm. This is an interesting question. I had not thought of it before, but if I were offered to work on a fixed time project for Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest – of course including financing airfare and expenses 🙂 – I would go for it without a second’s thought. It would be fun to work on products that I myself use. Especially if they’re big global operations, that would definitely interest me.

If working in the design field would not be an option, what would you like to be doing?

The banal answer is I can’t imagine doing anything else. But there was a time early in my career, when I worked at Mantis as a programmer. On the day I deleted a huge Database (I apologize, Ophir!) That several people worked on it for a long time, I realized it was time to open my eyes and concentrate on what I really like. So I probably would have continued as a programmer, like sitting in front of the screen at four in the morning and banging away at the keyboard, half conscious, living out my life in a mild coma.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

Oh, wow. Difficult. There are so many, it’s no joke. I was really fortunate to have worked with the most talented people, smart and kind people in Israel. But if I have to choose only one, it will undoubtedly be the one and only Matan Bar, Co-Founder of The Gifts Project and now Project Manager at the eBay Innovation Center. He understands me better than anyone and just let me play with Photoshop.

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

I know it’s not fair, but obviously it would be Miki Mottes. Beyond the humor that tears me up even after years of reading his work, his rapid transition to Facebook shows he’s doing different things, diverse, constantly learning new techniques, and still puts out the same funny quality work.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

That’s easy. Follow the really good designers and learn from them as much as possible. Start by understanding exactly what direction you want to do (Design, Development, Web. Apps), try everything and know what excites you and what doesn’t. And perhaps the most important tip I can give – when you feel you need to, take on a business consultant or coach. I worked with Keren Shan. She was talented and wonderful, she could see in seconds things that took me months to figure out. What designer I wanted to be and where I wanted to be in 5 years.

Configuration of the Hello Doctor app for iPad

D3

jonathanJonathan Saragossi

Title: CEO IM CREATOR

Years in the field: 16

What project / product are you most proud of?

I am very proud at IM CREATOR, mostly because it’s mine. I also know where I want the product to go how I want to get it there. The degree of freedom I have with it is huge. Any.Do won the most extensive international recognition for its design – which was great fun, and WIX was a huge commercial success. I’m proud of all of them for different reasons.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

Every one was hard. In retrospect, what seemed clear and simple was usually a very long and drawn out process of trying, variations, failing, and coming up with solutions. Any.Do, as far as graphic language went, was difficult with endless sketches. WIX was a long process until we got around to putting out our first product. You have to look at it as an adventure and not settle for something that doesn’t feel right. You have to keep looking, take occasional breaks. It may sound a bit strange, but you have to try and avoid being affected by each environment. Don’t start compromising between two ideas that are not good enough, but to try and continue to find the best solution. When you find what you’re looking for you will feel it strongly.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

Thankfully I’m doing it right now. I can still expand but I hope this will produce real change. I dreamt of this from a young age. Only recenlty have I been able to bring my dream company to fruition.

If working in the design field would not be an option, what would you like to be doing?

Probably an architect. There’s something amazing to me about that profession. It’s UX but scaled up in a huge way. It’s a prestigious field that offers an expanding future for a maturing professional.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

I love the work by Yugop. The Japanese multimedia artist and designer who more or less predicted what we experience today as far as interactivity.

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Recently I really got into Alberto Pinto. All his work is very simple but emotional and heated. I love his use of color surfaces. Something in his work allows me to understand how to take FLAT DESIGN to a better place and in a more human way.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

Be extreme, take risks. Love you or hate you, whatever you do don’t compromise and stay in the comfortable, warm and inviting middle. Whether you’re doing something you like or you think you should do it differently, go for it with everything you’ve got. On the other hand, be polite and fair, level headed and professional. Go places; Tokyo, Berlin, New York – take inspiration from other disciplines; industrial design, art, architecture. This will allow you to reinvent yourself and the products you’re working on.

Screenshot from Im Creator, Saragussi’s Venture that offers website building without any prior design experience

D4

einat-tsarfitiEinat Tsarfati

Title: Freelance Illustrator, working with publishers, newspapers, Studios Years in the field: 2

What project / product are you most proud of?

The blog Thingsthatannoyme and a new children’s book I did that’s coming out soon.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

Designing icons for the application Good Weather that required a tricky combination of clarity (what’s the actual weather like) and innovation (There are plenty of other gorgeous weather apps), and they also had to be flexible enough to become part of the game. Every new children’s book is also a difficult and complicated project for me. I need to know the characters and their world well enough to illustrate, and then I have to say goodbye.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

I really love illustrating furniture and plants, so it seems to me that the project of my dreams would be creating an illustrated catelog of furniture and plants from hundreds of different places around the world.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

Since he’s also a part of the world of illustration I’m going to go with Tomi Ungerer 🙂

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Tobias Gutmann, inventor of the face-o-mat, a project that has everything; it’s exciting, funny, stylish makes a statement about our life today.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

Be willing to work hard and not to be intimidated by projects that are not in your comfort zone. Also, always allocate time for doing something you really enjoy because that’s when the really great things are made.

Series by Tsarfati, “Things that annoy me”

D5

avrahamAvraham Cornfeld

Title: Typographer at אאא

Years in the field: 15.

What project / product are you most proud of?

Pont Bell is my latest baby and I’m very proud of it. I’m usually most proud of the latest thing I did.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

The development of Pont Synopsis lasted more than 3 years. The design process consisted of many sections of work, pauses for review, and then designing, polishing and testing. Then we’d stop again, review, and back to the drawing board with a different perspective and new insights. If I had to estimate it in hours we’re talking over two thousand hours of straight up work.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

I plan to travel soon to an isolated place for a few months of escape from the daily grind and to just focus on designing fonts. Like a writer who travels to write.

If working in the design field would not be an option, what would you like to be doing?

I’d be happy to be a musician or a farmer. Or a mime.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

The industry is full of great typographers, but Yanek Yontef is my number one typographer. The most original and daring in my opinion.

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Tamar Hirschfeld, one of the most striking and colorful artists I’ve ever met. Her work delves into the depths of the individual and collective identity using different mediums. Disclosure: We’re also dating.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

Do not despair if your first or second font is unsuccessful. If you like to design characters it’s important to understand that many letter designs will fail. Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times to build the light bulb before he came up with the product he was looking for.

Font Synopsis

D6

ronnRon Nadel

Title: Infographic Designer, Yediot Aharonot.

Years in the field: 14.

What project / product are you most proud of?

A series of prints of buildings in Tel – Aviv iconic – These include Reading, the Peace Tower and the Stage – I’m still working on it today. I’m proud of this project because it helped me define and refine my design style / my illustrations. At the same time I was able to express my love for Tel-Aviv, where I live, and depict the character of the city and the atmosphere here.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

Naturally, as part of the creative process, almost every project I’m working on is difficult and complicated. But one that stands out was my final project at Bezalel – Golem. It was a seven minute long animated film. Beyond the fact that animated film is highly complex to begin with, the particular technique I employed brought along with it numerous technical problems and creative solutions. The amount of information you deal in is enormous, and still most of the time I just spent trying to figure out why the software kept crashing on me.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

If I could, I would take off to live in India for a few months in one place, and devote my time to creating various printing techniques. In recent years, I dealt a lot with print and I discovered that you can learn a lot about design from experiencing some of the manual techniques.

If working in the design field would not be an option, what would you like to be doing?

It’s hard for me to imagine myself doing something completely different. It was always clear to me that I would be doing something in the visual arts. But I think I would be happy trying my hand at architecture or producing music.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

I’m a big fan of Aviel Basil’s work. It’s full of grace, joy and freedom, but also very meticulous and intelligent. The characters from his graphics are clean and sophisticated yet they’re also so cute. You feel like squishing them with hugs. He has an amazing talent, I’m jealous of the people who never stop creating.

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Sanjay Patel is an American designer / illustrator whose work deals mainly with Indian mythology. He gives the gods and the major Hindu epics its own unique interpretation, with a modern western touch – clean lines, graphic compositions, meticulous and colorful typography saturation. I really connected with his work. He manages to create compositions loaded with detail while maintaining a minimalist feel – neat and clean. Especially noticeable is his attention to movement. His works are full of tension and energy.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

I have two main pieces of advice. First: Give yourself time. If you’ve just finished studying, your style is probably still forming so give it a year or two, or three, until you find the most comfortable place from which to create. There is no reason to panic, it will come. The second piece of advice is to experiment with manual techniques. It opens the mind creatively and helps to examine things from a completely fresh perspective. More importantly, it’s really fun to get dirty and break away from your computer a little.

Works by Ron Nadel – Project Tel Aviv – Ron’s Instagram

D7

itay-millerItai Miller

Title: UI Designer at Everything.me.

Years in the field: 2

What project / product are you most proud of?

My final project for my degree was a subject close to my heart. I’m a resident of Israel’s Negev and i designed a website dealing with the social inequalities that can be seen between those living in the center of the country and those on the periphery. Even while working on the project and during its showing, I saw the dissemination of information to a public that was almost entirely unaware of this issue.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

At the Company where I work now, Everything.me, we’re re-examining the relationship between users and their mobile. It’s a fascinating and challenging subject. We’re still working on it and it’s a lot of fun to take part in this challenge.

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Scott Snibbe, the interactive media artist whom I met during my studies and who created the album / App of Björk. This artist (and this area in general) interests me because of his attempt to convey feelings and social messages through technology and interaction.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

At first try to dabble in as many elements of the field as you can and then focus and specialize in one particular area that fits you.

From Miller’s final project: Trans-Israel

D8

oded-bgOded Bengigi

Title: Creative Director at Bengigi Studio.

Years in the field: 10.

What project / product are you most proud of?

My first game, NOOGRA NUTS. The game managed to accrue over 5,000,000 downloads.

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

A 6 minute three-dimensional animated film we made. It sounds like a little but animation is a lot of work. From pre-production to the final product, the process is long and requires a lot of patience, and a lot of the production layers I did by myself. Dealing with something great is always scary but it teaches you a lot along the way. Through the difficulties you find a lot of new interests and learn a lot.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

SIMOGO. they’re a small Swedish game studio who produce Indie games. (similar to our studio)

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Milt Kahl – a classic Disney animator of the old Disney movies that have been strongly etched into my memory.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

First and foremost, persistence! For the art of design it’s very important to invest in it and practice all the time, just like sports. It’s a huge field that’s constantly evolving so it’s important to stay current and never stop learning. Don’t get stuck in a niche, afraid to break out and try new things. Discover and explore the totality of the design field.

One of BenGigi’s works  (from the game Noogra Nuts )

D9

קרשמ-זקישהןEran Zehavi

Title: Designer at Funtomic and lecturer at Shenkar Development and Design.

Years in the field: 7.

What project / product are you most proud of?

My final project at Bezalel in which I wanted to combine the fields of street art and social activism. I started a project that teaches women over 70 some graffiti techniques. There’s a fundamental difference between a child of 16 writing on the wall “I was here ” and a 75 year old woman who does it. It started a bit gimmicky but eventually it gained volume and depth. For example one of them, Rachel, worked with stencils. We made a picture of the love of her life, her husband, who died. Because he was a founder of the city in which they lived, she actually marked or re-occupied the territory. In subsequent years during the memorial service for her husband, instead of visiting the cemetery she would take her family on a tour of all the places she had stenciled. Two years ago she died, her grandson sent me a picture: He hung the obituary on an electric tower and he noticed next to the ad there was a stencil she made of wings. (Video : final project Eran Zehavi )

What was the project / product you found to be the most challenging that you were involved with, and how did you overcome the challenges?

At first I met with a startup of freelance engineers. They developed a product that breaks the ice that builds up on the wings of aircraft. It was a just before they were about to head to a big conference in the U.S. One of the developers had the idea to do a short video that would have different creature characters represent the various companies in the market. The conference is very dry; these are people who read books about structural strength for fun. They wanted to surprise the audience and differentiate themselves. The short timeframe was difficult and the budget was limited. I was to design characters, a storyboard, direction of the animation – all this would take a long time. I dealt with the challenge by taking on those things I could handle myself; character design , storyboard preparation, animation and working with the customer. I took on a partner for some of the animation ( Roy Manor – one of the best animators in the country. He works with Gal Shkedy – Castro, and  a series of commercials titled “Corporate Death” ). The result was costs were saved, times were met and a quality product was produced. The film was a huge success. They continued to use the video for some time afterward and raised quite a bit of money to help them out.

What would be your dream company / project to work for / on?

I don’t think about a certain product like a movie or a game. I would like to work with a small team of people who are super talented and just be creating with them. It’s as fun for me as working on big projects. I also would love to have more time to develop my own personal style and participate in shows like pictoplasma and smaller galleries.

If working in the design field would not be an option, what would you like to be doing?

My wife and I dream about leaving everything and opening up a small guest house / restaurant / cafe.

Who is someone you really appreciate in the industry?

There are plenty. I can spend hours looking at designer works. There are some excellent Iranian illustrators I’ve been following lately. Birdbox is a London animation studio who for years have been releasing video’s with absolutely perfect timing.

The artist do you most admire and whom you draw inspiration from?

Again, a tough choice. I’ll go with Ido Yehimovitz. I came upon his work through the likes of other designers. He has some great illustrations, among them is the series Ze Future! – A futuristic series Tel-Aviv that’s simple and fun to follow and learn.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the design field?

The things you do just for fun are the things that are important to you and that’s the field you should go into. Give them time and then worry about how you will earn any money from it. Aside from that, create as much as you can and share. I saw an interview with a pascal champion and excellent illustrator / animator who said that what you draw but only you can see is not considered drawn.

One of the works of Zahavi

D10

Share on:Share
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on Reddit
Share on Email
Roy Latke

About Roy Latke


Technology geek with a touch of apple, with a bit taken out of it. Living and breathing technology with a measured obsession. Criminologist by training, fighting crime and the establishment simultaneously. Enjoys writing, reading and examining thoroughly everything that can be disassembled; from tech devices to the human mind. Editor at Geektime.

More Goodies From Industry


Socially-focused startups tackle rural Mexico’s energy problems

Endless Lima traffic spawns innovative startups

New concept: Booking meeting rooms at the heart of Tel Aviv by the hour

  • Some1

    How did you leave Any.Do’s UI designer out of this list??
    His design inpired Apple’s iOS7.

    • Anonymous

      We Didn’t he is no.4 on the list 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Awesome list! Badly missing @BillGuard’s Chof Golan.