Olga Mishyna graduated from the EHU bachelor’s program in media and visual design in 2009. She started working right away as a graphic designer. For the past four years, she has lived in Amsterdam and currently works for the graphic design firm Van Eck Ontwerpers.
– Please tell us about your career path. What did you do after finishing your studies at EHU?
– After I finished EHU, I returned to my home city, Brest, and there I started working in a publishing house. It was a small company, and I didn’t stay there for a long time because I moved to Minsk after a few months to work in an advertising agency. At that time, my friend from university was working at that agency, and we continued to work there together. After a few years in Minsk, I started feeling bored and decided that it was the right time to try something new. I took a risk and moved to Amsterdam without having found a job. I looked for a job for about a month, and my search yielded success. I signed a contract, and I still work in the same place, though I’ve since been promoted.
– What role did EHU play in your choice of future career?
– Actually, I had chosen my occupation before entering EHU. When I was studying in senior classes, I went to the lyceum of Brest on philological department, because I wanted to become a journalist. We ran a local student newspaper, and that was the moment when I understood that I like the process of designing the paper more than writing it. So I decided to become a graphic designer, and, at that time, EHU was the best option in Belarus for where I could go study. EHU gave me confidence in my thoughts and hopes as well as the necessary knowledge for my future occupation.
– As I understood from your story, you didn’t have any experience drawing before coming to EHU.
– No, I didn’t go to a high school that focused on art. A couple of months before my exams, I started learning to draw with a pencil in order to understand at least what forms of hatching exist and how to hold a pencil in my hand.
– You currently work and live in Amsterdam. How often do you think about Lithuania, and what emotions are associated with your time as a student?
– Student years are the most cheerful years, of course. Though living “in freedom” (laughing) is also very pleasant. My years at the university were a very nice time, and EHU made it extremely interesting. For example, I traveled to the US with the Work and Travel program, and I also lived in Greece on the Erasmus program. Even everything that happened to me within EHU was exciting, so I will always recall my student years with warmth in my heart.
– What skills are necessary in order to become a successful graphic designer, and did you get any of them at EHU?
– First of all, at EHU I got a very good education in design. At times I compare myself to my friends and colleagues who studied in other European universities, and I can say that the main difference is that here you get lots of theory. While studying, I thought that this theory is useless; I wanted more practice. However, when I started working, I understood that this theory is crucial. You can always learn how to do; moreover, technologies are constantly changing, so you can’t learn how to do something once and forever. However, a good knowledge base and understanding of your industry, occupation, and mission are very important.
– What do you like about your work most?
– I can manipulate consciousness (laughing). To be serious, I like making beautiful, comfortable things that help people. If it is branding, people must be able to understand it. I like to communicate with a client, look for, and find the solutions that will be suitable for this particular person or company.
– What professional achievement is the most valuable for you at the moment?
– Last year we did a yearbook for the Dutch Union of Advertisers. This book was created for the 25th anniversary of the union. We made it so special and unusual that it ended up in the archive of the Library of the Royal Museum.
– What plans do you have for the future? Are you going to continue working in this sphere?
– Yes, I am going to continue. Maybe in the future I will find a new workplace if I get bored of this. I also have a wish to get a master’s degree. However, it all takes a lot of time, and I am fond of everything that is happening right now. My main plan for the future is to grow as a professional and to develop myself.
– In the end, it would be great to hear a farewell from you to the current EHU students or some advice on how to achieve success after finishing studies.
– Work, work and—one more time—work. It is important to understand what success is for you. I don’t know how it is in other study programs, but I can say surely for designers: be aware that the level of competition outside the university is very high, and you will have to work a lot and contribute a lot to self-development. Your efforts will be rewarded. Create a portfolio, use any internship possibility, and believe in yourself.