‘One On One With’, is a brandberries exclusive content series aimed at promoting and showcasing the thoughts and perspectives of the best brand designers of the Arab world and MENA region.

We’ve exclusively interviewed Habi Girgis, Cofounder and Creative Director of Tandem Branding, for the series. Here’s what he had to say! 

Habi Girgis – Tandem

BB: What is the first thing you have ever designed? 

HG: The first  thing I ever designed was the brand identity for a bar called “The Fat Black Pussy Cat and the Jazzy Dog Cafe”. I did it with my girlfriend Rina back then —now my wife and my partner at Tandem— we were still at university and we were not working with a computer yet, so everything was done by hand using Indian ink and brush on craft paper for the menu and the stationery, and we printed them using basic silk screen technique, it was my first encounter with the printing process. We also did the interior artwork pieces using kitchen utensils and beer cans from all over the world that I collected during my summer trips. It was a fun project that is still very close to my heart. 

BB: Is design a talent or a skill? 

HG: Design is a passion more than anything, if you have the passion then you can develop your skills and polish your talent.

BB: How do you describe your design aesthetic? 

HG: I am not limited to specific design aesthetics. I always get inspired from different design styles wether classic, modern or contemporary, like  Ancient cultures, Art Nouveau, Art Deco or Bauhaus, it depends on the project, but overall I prefer well balanced simple and minimal design aesthetics.

BB: How do you get inspired ? 

HG: Traveling and learning new skills are always an essential sources of inspiration. In everyday life, I get inspired from watching everything around me from nature, architecture, products, museums and art galleries, also talking to people and designers is an invaluable source of inspiration. 

BB: Can you walk us through your design process? 

HG: We follow a consistent design process method to ensure that our work is coherent with the client needs and up to our quality standards. Here are our standard steps when kickstarting any project:

  • A thorough interview with the client to determine our goal and target audience
  • We research competition
  • We focus on what makes the brand unique and valuable and what sets it apart from the competition
  • We brainstorm with the team and develop a clear brand strategy aligned with the vision and mission statement 
  • Define design directions
  • We refine the design and test it
  • Finally we finalize taking attention to every detail until we are completely satisfied

BB: When you start a project, what is the most important question you ask your client? 

HG: “Describe what sets your business apart in one sentence” A clear articulation of the client’s needs is essential to build a strong strategy.

BB: What do you do if you get a creative block?

HG: I take a break

BB: How do you deal with a rejected design? 

HG: We think positively with the client and try to define exactly why it is rejected and adjust according to the new design criteria and most of the time it works. If we don’t reach a convincing logical argument we don’t proceed further, because you can not work on a winning design without having a clear goal. 

BB: Which work are you most proud of? 

HG: The Nile Co., Nooj, Dara’s Ice Cream, Edge

BB: Favorite color is….. 

HG: Orange

BB: Favorite font is…. 

HG: Gotham

BB: Solid or gradient ?

HG: Solid

BB: Morning person or night owl ?

HG: Morning person

BB: Coffee or tea ?

HG: Coffee

BB: Favorite global designer….  

HG: Dieter Rams 

BB: Best part of being a designer is….. 

HG: Not being a banker!

BB: Worst part of being a designer is…. 

HG: Nothing

BB: Best design piece of advice…

HG: Design is the silent ambassador of your brand

BB: If I wasn’t a designer I would have been… 

HG: A painter or a Photographer