Nina Gajdosikova: Award Winning Tennis Player On Designing for World’s Largest Brands

Most of whatNina Gajdosikovalearned about critical thinking, strategy, dedication and looking for unique solutions, came from her experience on the tennis court. Throughout 20 years spent as a competitive tennis player, this young Slovak grew an extensive passion for graphic design.

From the beginning of her design career, Nina worked for some of the largest brands in the world such as Heineken, IBM, Peugeot and Philips. Through her work, she helped grow national engagement and shape these global brands to fit the European market. Nina also played an essential role in helping a small, local business grow into the world’s largest provider of metered paywalls. Beginning with humble audience across Slovakia and Slovenia, Piano Media’s successful campaign soon expanded first into Poland, then into rest of Europe and the United States. Currently, the number of news and media providers is over 1200, worldwide.

Even alongside her professional design career, Nina’s passion for tennis never left her. The combination of her successful portfolio on the Slovak advertising scene as well as impressive tennis results got her recruited to Academy of Art University in San Francisco, on a full athletic scholarship. It is here she started developing a taste and new skills for UI/UX and web media, all white maintaining a #1 captain position on the team, for the next three years. She was later hired by an award-winning digital marketing agency, SocioFabrica, where she worked on extensive digital campaigns for global brands such as Ross and Nespresso.

According to Gajdosikova; “In this time and age, it is important to understand the power of technology and social media, but also storytelling”. Working on extensive print as well as digital campaigns, she has experiences with both sides of the coin. Designing collateral for print and packaging, results in a powerful experience of personally being able to touch and see the material, final product. Creating for a computer screen, however, enables you to directly observe the engagement the work initiated. It is easier to directly reach out to users through their computer screen with a visual asset they can also react to. The possibility of an immediate reaction is something that differentiates designing for print as opposed to digital campaigns and is something the designer always have to keep in mind.

“While designing for a computer screen you are not only thinking about how is the final creation going to look,” Gajdosikova says. “You have to keep in mind the overall user experience and you have to know exactly how you want the user to react to your product and afterwards you design according to that.” Building digital campaigns, designers must know their audience to be able to predict all the possible scenarios to customer reactions. Social media also offers a great tool of engaging audiences and outreach to new users. “Using social media platforms you can educate, engage and motivate people to follow your product,”  says Silvia Li Sam, a viral marketer. “Doing so requires working tirelessly to create the most appealing ways to share information. Li Sam and Gajdosikova launched multiple social media campaigns together and they are constantly looking for the most powerful ways to engage new audiences.

Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for The International New York Times says: “Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives, whether or not we are aware of it, and can also be inspiring, empowering and enlightening.” Creating visuals that connect with the user on an emotional level is one of the most rewarding feelings a designer can reach. “It is visual communication that offers a powerful bridge towards better understanding and relating to a problem at hand,” says Gajdosikova.

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