Interview with Yekaterina Ratner, Creative Director of Cloud Construct, United States

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Yekaterina Ratner

Kate is the Creative Director of Cloud Construct, where her passion for digital design grows with each technological innovation.

Interview with the 2020 VEGA Digital Awards Winner - Yekaterina Ratner

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

Hi, I'm Kate. As a Creative Director at Cloud Construct, I’ve been leading the design practice since its inception in 2010. In that time, I’ve helped to build brands, products, and services that deliver positive outcomes for Cloud’s clients and their audiences.

Some of our noteworthy clients include: Bentley/Synchro, BrightSphere, DepositLink, Carney Sandoe, GabrielsVault, Hebrew SeniorLife, iHAF, PBA, QS Investors, Safety Insurance, ScootRoute, RA Capital, and Triton Digital.

In addition, as a part of Cloud’s initiative to give back to the community, our team has helped, pro bono, many organizations including Epicenter Community, Power of Sport and Mended Little Hearts Boston.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a digital designer/artist?

I’ve been passionate about visual arts from early childhood. Design became a natural extension of this passion. Originally, I started my professional career in designing for print and that led me to the digital world where I focus on both design and user experience for websites and apps. In addition to digital products, I also help emerging startups to develop their logos and brand identities. Working at Cloud gives me an opportunity for my work to reach thousands of users every day, which I find incredibly rewarding. My favorite part of the digital design field is its fast pace of innovation. As new technologies emerge, they always present new design opportunities, which I love.

3What’s your favorite kind of digital design and why?

I love designing for mobile experiences, especially touchscreen kiosks and dashboards. I like the challenge of displaying complex data in intuitive and user-centric way.

4To you, what makes a “good” design?

To me, usability is the ultimate proof of “good” design. The challenge is to deliver the right cues to users and intuitively guide them to their goals, all while communicating brand values in an aesthetically pleasing way.

5Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

My style is minimalistic, clean, and well-structured. That’s another reason why I love designing dashboards and data-centric apps. I strive for minimal use of colors and typography to avoid designs hindering usability.

6Tell us about your design process.

I’m a strong believer that collaboration is the best way to create exceptional experiences. That’s why I involve my team as early as possible.

7Where do you draw inspiration from?

I continue being inspired by the pioneers of the design world, including Massimo Vignelli, Paul Rand, Sol Bass, Neville Brody, as well as many other leading 20th century designers. I also draw inspiration from contemporary designers, by browsing awards sites, dribble portfolios, and attending design events and presentations.

8What current trends in digital design (or really anything digital related) are you most excited about?

User experience design is more important today than ever: from driving a car by using a touchscreen, making a life-saving decision by viewing medical data, and so on, all require almost a neurosurgical precision in creating the right user experience.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 Vega Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Thank you! It’s an honor for the whole Cloud Construct UXD team to receive this recognition. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talented group of individuals.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 Vega Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Our team was very happy when Kevin and Anne from GabrielesVault chose Cloud Construct to craft the user experience and bring their ideas to life. It was a pleasure to work on a mission-driven project aimed at bringing families and friends together and connecting people without the typical pressure of existing social media platforms. This project helps to connect generations and preserve family history, and we were honored to be a part of it.

11What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge was keeping the right balance of design that can appeal to audiences of all ages and making the flow easy to understand for any user.

12How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Winning this award inspires us to continue investing into the community and we hope it helps to spread the word about our capabilities and how we can help future clients.

13What are your top three (3) favorite things about the digital industry?

It’s never boring! I always have a lot to learn, a lot to be inspired by, and I get to be surrounded by other creative and talented individuals. I also like that the digital industry strives to be inclusive and accessible to all people.

14Where do you see the evolution of digital industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I’m excited about the capabilities that virtual reality can bring for creating organic and intuitive immersive experiences.

15If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Vega Award submitter, what advice would you give them?

To quote Vignelli - “Design is a field that encompasses the entire outside world around us”.

It’s important to think not only about the work itself but also your impact on the world and people who live in it.

16What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the digital industry?

A foundation of every good design—no matter how innovative it may be—are the fundamental design principles of layout, typography, and colors. It’s important to study and understand these principles to improve and innovate. I’m also a strong believer in going to art and design exhibits to draw inspiration from other greats.

17Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My incredibly talented family, Cloud’s UXD team, and my designer friends that I’ve been lucky to know and work with in Moscow and Boston.

18What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Remember to listen to your users' feedback and look at your work through their eyes. People can’t always articulate precisely what bothers them, but they have intuition on where you can use the improvement.

19Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Try to enjoy all art forms. After all, the most talented people of their generation created them!

Winning Entries

GabrielsVault Mobile App | 2020

GabrielsVault | VEGA Digital Awards

The mission of GabrielsVault is to make it easy for friends and family to be able to communicate heartfelt messages at just the right time by...
(read more at VEGA Digital Awards)

Cloud Construct

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