MY STRENGTH PROFILE

I lead with the Relationship Building Theme.

 

I tend to see and concentrate on the best in people, believing that the value and experience individuals bring to a collective elevate it beyond the sum of its parts.

  1. Empathy

  2. Adaptability

  3. Input 

  4. Developer

  5. Connection

Stas Semukhin

DESIGN MANAGER

he/him   |   Portland, OR

A constant learner and perpetual tinkerer, I am always looking to improve my workflow, draw out a connection between a word and a shape, or move an element three pixels to the left to bring a composition into balance.

MY SIDE HUSTLES

For Impact:

  • Helping small businesses

  • Branding for startups

For Fun:

  • Making and discovering music

  • Exploring old record stores

  • Photography

How I think:

MY MARK:
I seek to create things that transcend culture and dialect.

Maybe it’s the result of being a cultural transplant at a young age, of having to learn new systems and a new language, but I have always been interested in the concept of a universal language. I believe visual design is the closest thing we have, and am honored to engage in this work every day.

MY WHY:

I want to create something a client can present without reservation.

My detail-focused nature requires me to push myself and my designs until I achieve perfection — or come as close as I can in the time allowed. I am sensitive to the visual balance of each composition on a pixel level, because being mindful of the minute details of a design strengthens the whole. 

As a result, every product I send to a client is my best work, and it is my hope that clients will see not the effort I put into a design, but a deliverable that exceeds their expectations and makes them excited to put the piece to work.

WHAT LED ME HERE:

I left Russia for the US at the ripe age of 10.

Having the experience of leaving my home country of Russia and moving to the United States at the age of 10 has imparted to me an understanding of the value of adaptability. I left everything that I understood to be comfortable and familiar behind, including friends, culture, and language, and yet I found myself able to quickly adapt. Language came naturally to me, and my ability to see past the cultural differences and to concentrate on mutual interests yielded new friendships. Looking back, I've internalized my ability to adapt to external circumstances to be a key strength. When viewed through a professional lens, I find this attribute to be a source of confidence. The world of design is constantly evolving - as the technology that enables it changes, I find myself excited to learn new workflows and avenues that lead to producing effective design pieces.

From the beginning, technology and art were magnetic to me.

Anything technological was something that I could not look away from as a child. An old camera, turntable, cars parked on the street - my attention was drawn to these complex and mysterious objects. This early interest translated itself into attempts to capture, contextualize, and gain a deeper understanding of this fascination through art. Drawing and painting were daily activities for me, something my parents encouraged and nurtured with supplies and classes. With age and experience, my proficiency at visual communication grew. When I eventually discovered the field of graphic design, I recognized it as art being driven by technology - something grounded in the principles of visual language and delivered using the latest tools technology has to offer. Having found a discipline that unified my interests, the way forward was clear, and I never looked back.

Pushed my limits and rounded out my craft as a solo in-house designer.

Serving as the only creative on staff of a small non-profit organization means wearing many hats in order to fulfill the design and visual presentation needs of a brand. I was tasked with producing printed and digital pieces of communication, company branding (and subsequent rebranding), as well as website design and maintenance. Photography, both in the studio and on location as well as videography and subsequent editing were part of the job, as was the creation and management of online ad campaigns. Being able to bring so many disciplines into a cohesive brand was a rewarding experience, as our audience often expressed surprise at learning how small the company was in opposition to how it presented itself. This experience was full of learning opportunities and has helped me view myself as a fast learner who is always up for a new challenge or a new skill to add to my repertoire. Being the only designer on the team also taught me to communicate design concepts clearly and to explain decisions to team members without a background in visual communications - a valuable asset when speaking with clients.

Retired the solo act to join a cross-disciplinary team.

Most of my professional work experience has been a solo act. From freelancing to serving as the sole in-house designer at a small nonprofit, I have learned how to take a project from start to finish, how to trust my instincts to make the right decisions, and how to critique my work and identify areas to improve. I am thankful for the confidence and self-reliance that these experiences have granted me, but I have also become acutely aware that I was missing meaningful creative collaboration, and in order to grow as a designer, my next goal was to join a creative team, which I’ve found here at Aggregate.

THIS IS A PLACEHOLDER FOR NOW

Under the leadership of the renowned researcher Dr. Lauren Bakaletz, I learned something that shaped my career in strategy: that is, what makes a successful subject matter expert is never knowledge alone—it’s the ability to tell a story compelling enough to make non-experts care about that knowledge (and fund her work). We spent Mondays being grilled on the “why / how / what and so what?” of our research, and that exercise taught me a valuable lesson: the “why” behind innovation matters just as much as the clinical results.