Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Asja Dupanović
Kaja Bonča is a media production engineer who works in Maribor’s Rdeča oranža (Red Orange) agency as a web designer. Her paintbrush is graphic design, web and print are her canvas. An artist and a poet in her soul, she tries to live and sell her creativity and talent through new media. She believes that each of us can change the world. You just need to start where you have the most prospects for success – with yourself.
MM: What attracted you to become a designer in an advertising agency? Research shows that young people today avoid working in advertising. They find it aggressive and misleading.
Kaja Bonča: I am a communicative, creative and motivated designer with a sense of trend, aesthetics and minimalism. New challenges are a welcomed opportunity for me to seek out-of-the-box solutions. I think that my constant orientation towards new challenges has led me to the desire to try my creativity in advertising seas. A certain dose of aggressiveness, which working in advertising brings to my everyday life, seems OK, because marketing and sales – or the belief that all of us in the business sell something (first and foremost ourselves) – is something to be given a personal stamp whilst we are still relatively young, shall we really wish to be successful. One of the many positive consequences working in an advertising agency has brought me, is the awareness of my own value, the value of my knowledge and the work I’ve been doing successfully for five years now. I chose this career path primarily out of the desire – besides the space for creativity it gives me – to feel that dose of healthy aggressiveness, which will later enable me to reach my long-term goals. That’s why I think that the work in an advertising agency itself doesn’t pose such a big problem for young people, but rather the products we are made to advertise. When you find a product you trully believe in, and which you stand by 100%, as well as a well-coordinated, trustworthy team which complements you, then work in an advertising agency becomes a dream job.
MM: What kind of design are you most passionate about?
Kaja Bonča: I mainly deal with design and production of print materials and websites. There is one constant that I would like to point out specifically for the nature of my business – the design trends are constantly changing due to the evolving technology. Of course, I try to follow the trends in the best way, but I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t try to include a part of me in my designs and not just the trends – my own style, or some kind of a design signature. I chose graphic design as my paintbrush, and web and print are my canvas. My bet is always on flat design, simple and clean graphics and refined simplicity. Less is more.
MM: You express your creativity and talent through new media. Do you ever pick up a real paintbrush, just to feed the soul?
Kaja Bonča: Of course, but not paintbrush per se. In my spare time, my best friend is a pencil. After a day spent in front of a computer, nothing relaxes me better than writing poetry, short stories and drawing. I’m an artist and a poet in my soul, trying to live my creativity and talent through modern media. Creativity is a (too) big part of me to simply put it aside in my spare time, and that’s why it became a red thread both in my job and in most of my hobbies.
MM: Who is your role model among the notable designers in Slovenia, the region or the world, and is there actually someone you particularly admire, and from whom you’ve learned a lot?
Kaja Bonča: There are people I’ve been following for ages, amazed by their boundless talent, sense, knowledge… and, above all, the confidence they express simply because they are who they are. This is what makes them successful. One of these people is definitely Michael Bierut, the man who won more than a hundred design awards and certainly one of the most brilliant and most famous names in the design profession.
I was personally touched by his book (monography) titled HOW TO, in which, with just the right dose of humour and sarcasm (at least for my taste), he points out one of the things I try to believe in since I started dealing with this type of work – design(ers) can change (are changing) the world!
People I meet every day influence my work more than the ones I admire from a distance. Michael Bierut is perhaps my idol, but the man I have to thank for most of my rapid progress in the last two years is certainly my colleague Črt Grahor. He is a mentor who shows by example that we learn our whole lives, and he’s a person who gives you the will and desire to become better every day. With his patience, he has awakened in me the desire to try the role of a mentor myself, when an opportunity for that arises.
MM: The entire world is in great crisis today. People say creative ideas can help solve many problems. What is your opinion on this?
Kaja Bonča: For me personally, creativity is a therapy, a relaxation, a way of thinking. And since I’m a child of fortune, it’s a source of income. So, since creativity is such a large part of my world, as I have already mentioned, I try to believe that design(ers) can change (are changing) the world! Everyone can change it; at least a small piece, if they really want to. We just need to start where we have the most prospect of success – with ourselves.
MM: What should the young leaders learn and adopt from their senior colleagues?
Kaja Bonča: Skills that we “still lack”. The first thing that comes to mind is the following – we even learn how to live. This is a fact that we often hear, but rarely understand. I have the opportunity to work with people for whom such a mentality is a daily guideline. These are successful people who become more and more successful every day. People who are aware that they can learn something from absolutely anyone. They say that over time we become a mix of the five people we spend most time with. That is why I like to surround myself with people who complement me; with people who are, in certain respects, better than me, and I’m constantly working to improve myself with their help.
MM: And what should they definitely discard from that legacy?
Kaja Bonča: Age prejudice. A thing that perhaps confuses me, or bothers me the most, is the derogation and a certain kind of hostility between younger and older colleagues, stemming primarily from the age difference. I believe it is completely unnecessary. We need to be aware that senior colleagues and mentors bring experience and maturity into the equation of a job well done, and we, the young ones, bring new trends, a fresh view and innovative ideas. We are better and stronger together. Of course, if we know how to listen to each other. We can even learn a lot from the failures of our senior associates, our mentors. That is why I would like to point out that for us young people the best and simplest solution is to learn from the mistakes of those older than us – and to believe that we will not repeat them in the future.
MM: What would you advise to your peers – to join you in this industry or to try and find a better job?
Kaja Bonča: We are all very different. The mode of operation and the working environment that suits me doesn’t necessarily have to suit all my peers. Marketing is creating a value which we present through storytelling. A good story is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into a brand. That way, you share your own identity through your product and service. Work in the advertising agency is creativity in design and words, and as such is appropriate for people like myself – creative storytellers. My life moto for the last five years is: “There are no obstacles. You see obstacles only when you lose the focus from the goal.” So, the goal is important. As was said earlier in this interview, work in an advertising agency is considered filled with aggressiveness. And that may be partially true. But it’s also a job which drives me every day to become a better version of myself; it’s a job which has taught me to appreciate myself and my knowledge. It’s a job that, somewhere along the road riddled with new stories and design challenges, has become my dream job.
MM: How do you see the future of advertising?
Kaja Bonča: Technology has brought us some changes. The media even write that we will need to redefine the term advertising. We have started to trust people and stories more than we trust design. It was always said that the word of mouth is the best form of marketing, and that statement is becoming more and more obvious lately.
We seek brands which help us survive, succeed. Brands we can trust. Brands which will make us loved and adored. We seek products and services which enrich us, improve us, and, above all, make our lives easier. That is why the future of advertising is precisely in this – the art of linking brands with people.
More than ever before, advertising in the future will be built on authentic and convincing stories which will be told consistently across all points of contact with consumers
MM: And where do you see yourself in the future?
Kaja Bonča: I believe that true happiness is when you stop looking only at yourself and start searching for ways to give a piece of yourself to the world and other people. That piece can be your talent, your ambition, your crazy idea, innovation, philosophy. A person who doesn’t dare to give advice is a person who doesn’t dare to live. I have several goals and desires for the future, both in business and in private life. I can single out the three main ones. I am determined to do something for myself in the future – to open my own creative agency; something for others – to become a mentor and a tutor for young people with similar interests and goals as I have; and something for the soul – to publish my first poetry collection.
MM: How much free time do you have and how do you enjoy spending it?
Kaja Bonča: The business life of a designer is difficult to squeeze in eight hours a day, although I’m managing to do this, first and foremost because I love my job. Creativity and new ideas usually follow me throughout the day. But there’s no need to worry, I can take care of my quality time, or as I like to call it – total shutdown.
I promised myself that weekends without computers are necessary if I really want to relax. And since I’m excessively organized, I managed to do so. I enjoy spending my free time in good company, in the nature (walks, biking, running), reading good books, writing poetry … and, you won’t believe this, sometimes I even find enough time to actually do nothing.
Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something. (Winnie the Pooh)