Interview with Miro Kirov, Lead UX Designer, United States

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Miro Kirov

As an independent UX designer, Miro’s passion in website designs allowed him to expand his ideas and solve specific problems for the clients.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards Winner - Miro Kirov

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.

I’m an UX Designer with more than ten years of industry experience, based in Austin, TX. Throughout the years what helped me to develop my creative mindset is being involved in various work environments - being a freelancer, a partner in few startups and a lead at digital agencies.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

Being a second-generation designer, design has always been a passion of mine. To this day I still vividly remember how my father used to demonstrate the way colors blend on a paper through a printing lupe. Growing up as a teenager, I helped in the family-owned agency where print thought me valuable lessons about being precise in my work and the importance of a polished end-user experience.

When designing for a physical product there is little to no place for mistakes. Lots of trials and errors later I found myself fascinated by the intersection between the human mind and the computer, discovered user experience as a discipline and I never looked back.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

In my latest role as Experience Design Lead I am responsible for the acquiring of new clients and bringing new business to the company. I usually do so by helping companies solve specific problems by tackling multiple solutions. Part of my process is engaging in early sales calls and understanding the client’s business and their customer's pain-points, typically followed by an on-site visit to their office for a discovery phase. During these phases I usually facilitate Design Thinking workshops in which I help people unleash their creative potential and generate ideas.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

I understand creativity as using imagination to oneself's self-expression in a visual form of some sort. For me personally creativity is finding unusual solutions to a problem through trying new, unexpected methods. Knowing the rules and breaking them.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

I find the phenomenon of looking at an issue from a different angle fascinating. When you disregard the traditional values, rules and constraints the human brain bring out the way you express yourself, you can achieve creative confidence. To me, creativity is all about unleashing one’s subconscious thoughts without the fear of judgement.

6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

Throughout the years I learned to follow a certain process which has helped me channel my chaotic thoughts into a productive creative solutions. I’m a firm believer that creativity is based on what we already know, it’s just how the human mind works. If we don’t have enough prior knowledge, it’s hard to envision multiple outcomes. That’s why as UX designers we try to understand the users first, get inside their mind and truly put ourselves in their shoes. To form new ideas, I try to portray “a day in the life of” the users I design for. Sometimes I physically visit the places they go to or do parts of their job. That’s what usually get me generating the best ideas.

7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

My most favourite part is when I get to the drawing board and start making the prototypes. This is where ideas come to life. For me it’s usually nerve wracking, chaotic and filled with uncertainty, but it eventually evens out until I find the best solution.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

I try to explore multiple solutions and usually end up with few versions, which I then narrow down to a final one. My artboards are packed with inspiration images all scattered around including types, colors, designs and vivid photographs of nature. I usually add all the elements at once and then start questioning my decisions until I am left with only the necessities.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?

Originally raised in Bulgaria, but living in US for few years now, I have to say yes! Our authentic Bulgarian ornaments and motifs have always inspired me to use simple geometrical forms, straight lines and vivid, contracting colors in my designs.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Although we as creatives are hard-working and are sometimes obsessed with detail and perfectionism, we tend to not invest enough time for self-reflection. That ultimately leads to feeling under-appreciated, so this award means a lot for me as an individual and is a beautiful conclusion to projects I’ve invested great efforts in.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The project, which won a Gold award, Usonia, is a online 3D builder, which also provides thermo analysis of constructions.

It has an enormous potential to change the way architects envision new buildings, in a more economic, environmentally friendly way. The web application takes in factors like weather, construction materials and location to output the most effective suggestions.

I choose this project, because I love the project and the mission it stands behind.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

At one point, the stakeholders I was working with were shooting so high that they we were ideating how might we help architects create 3D models for buildings for potential new human habitat planets, like Mars. Although I’m a supporter of a North Star vision for a project, I think our thinking was a little overboard and it was hard to focus on what’s important for the MVP.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

It has helped me build up my confidence and in return open new career possibilities.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

1. It has a margin for error. I love this! When I first start with print designs, we didn’t have the option to ship a change in the code and “fix” the product. Now it’s so much easier.

2. Working remote. We live in amazing times, where you can be whenever you want and still be connected with the whole world.

3. Making people love their job again. A lot of the SaaS products we design as UX designers are what people use on a daily basis. Seeing the user’s smiles when they see how you’ve fixed their daily struggles is priceless.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?

I think we have unique, beautiful patterns, which have inspired many and been used throughout the creative industry. You can google “Bulgarian folklore patterns” to learn more.

16Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I believe we’ll see a lot more augmented reality projects. I’m also curious to experience how the use of machine learning algorithms might help artists in the future.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

1. Be bold.

2. Experiment.

3. Fake it, until you make it!

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?

Check out Dribbble and Behance for visual design.

If you’re looking into opening your thinking horizons read article about design in Medium.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

Certain mushrooms make me uncomfortable.

In general, I’m creeped out by things which have irregular patterns or clusters of small holes, I think it’s called trypophobia.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My biggest inspirations are the ones closes to me and my heart. It’s my amazing wife, my brother and my mom.

Other than that, I get easily inspired daily by random profession-obsessed crafters on the internet. Watching a master chef, a potter or even a fisherman work on their craft during their whole lifetime, until they get absolutely perfect down to the last detail, makes me passionate about my work.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

This will sound cliché as hell, but believe in yourself and always stay optimistic.

22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

After months of trying to find resources on requirement gathering, I think there isn’t a lot of information about it on the net. I believe It’s an important piece of the puzzle, which a lot of agencies and designers around the world struggle with. So I’ve decided to work on a book about design discovery. You can check updates on my progress on my twitter account at:

Winning Entries

IT Solutions Management | 2020

IT Solutions Management | MUSE Creative Awards

The Boab IT Portal is a brilliant platform custom built by Boab IT to make our customer’s lives easier. It allows you...
(read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Usonia 3D Editor | 2020

Usonia 3D Editor | MUSE Creative Awards

Inspiring better buildings through shared knowledge, collaboration and joined-up thinking Usonia web app provides an innovative in-browser...
(read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Miro Kirov

Miro is an award-winning User Experience (UX) Designer based in Austin, TX, where his background in business and programming helps him in creating innovative solutions for his clients.