|Sixtus Ugo - Graphic Designer|Hello Readers, welcome to another wonderful edition of our Exclusive Rapport Interviews. On this edition, we managed to interview a very bright and buzzing young man popularly known as Sixtus Ugo. He is the CEO of Sixtus Graphix, a Graphic Designer with one of the leading Microfinance banks, and a Digital Marketer. I can assure you that you will learn one or two things and have fun with this smart young professional. Read as Mr. Ugo takes us through his life journeys in this precious interview below.
My name is Akintobi Jimoh from Ink & Pen's Blog - Rapport Naija, and we (myself & blog readers) would like to know about you and your works. Thanks for finding time to grant us this precious interview.
1. Welcome sir. Please can you tell us a little about your personal and educational background?
My name is Sixtus Ugochukwu Ekeocha. I am fondly called Ugo by friends and relatives. I am the second from a family of six. I hail from the south-eastern region, Imo state to be precise.
I had my primary education at All Saints Private School, which was the first private school in Ikorodu, Lagos back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I had my secondary education at Lagos State Civil Service Model College, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, after which I opted for part-time study at Yabatech, Lagos where I obtained my OND in Business Administration. Presently, I am running a DLI program at the prestigious University of Lagos and a couple of diplomas in Digital Marketing and Graphic design
2. We see that you like to look good in your pictures, handsome man *Laughs*. On what do you spend the most: clothes, accessories, perfumes, underwear, or anything else?
Thanks for the compliments. Well, we all understand that looking good is a serious business. Thus, I as a social person with an inevitable public presence, looking and smelling good are to be prioritized. On the other hand, I spend a lot on software, electronic gadgets, and computer accessories, and of course online tutorials.
3. Are you married? If not, who's the special lady that has your heart? Or are you single? Should the beautiful ladies among our readers contact you? *Laughs*
Oya na, make dem come! *Laughs*. Well, I am not married. Though, I have quite a number of admirers and I am much open to a relationship. In other words, I am single and ready to mingle.
4. Take us through a day in your life… what does an average Monday look like for you, both professionally and personally?
Oh my gosh! Monday has always been a very difficult friend to reckon with *laughs*.
Although, as a Graphic Designer and online entrepreneur, every other day of the week is the same, except weekends; where you divide your activities and put clients on excuse just to savour a private moment with fun! But I traditionally kick off my agenda for the week on Mondays and the ball gets rolling.
5. When exactly did you start doing Graphics design and who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
It all started back in primary school, as I enjoyed drawing and doing a lot sketches. Later on, during my secondary school days, I do sneak into a business center in my neighborhood where they offer a course in graphic design. I was quick to learn, and then I convinced my parents to sponsor my dream. In 2010, after I got a laptop, there was this digital design guru, Osbalt Graphics. In those days, I used to marvel at his works. I added him on Blackberry Messenger, downloaded some of his works, and then I started to peruse and understand graphic design concepts. Before I came across osbalt, I have had a rapport with quite a number of graphic designers, but they weren’t up to standard as osbalt was delivering with international standard. So, I contacted him, he gave me few tutorials, advice and design samples to work on. I developed interest to learn more and registered online for an advance course in graphic design (CG FROG & ETHEOSWEB). I started professionally in 2013. Till date, I have executed countless projects, both local and international.
6. Which software programs are the best for Graphic Designers and why? I see that you're also into Social Media marketing, how has your experience been in Facebook Advertising?
Well, it all depends on the field of the designer. Whether 2D, 3D, or animation design. But the best graphic design software programs any designer is supposed to have are as follow; CorelDraw, Adobe Creative Suite and Cinema 4D or 3Ds Max. These software are powerful graphic design tools that perform relatively beyond imaginations, depending on the brain behind its use.
And the whole Social Media thing started in 2014 when I secured a job in a mass garment production factory (OSC Signature Fashion Ltd, Ikeja Lagos). I was actually employed as a graphic designer, but because I was also social media savvy with average knowledge in other I.T related fields, I was assigned to manage all their online presence and that was where it all kicked off. Presently, I offer freelance services even though I run a digital marketing outfit (Ample Media Group). I also work as a graphic designer and online communication support with one of the leading microfinance banks in Nigeria.
7. What are the 2 Top Questions asked by your clients?
The two questions are; ‘describe your creative process and what the major steps were?
Walk me through your portfolio. Which pieces are you most proud of, and why?’
These two aforementioned questions normally come in a very tactical way. As a designer, if you are not braced up in advance prior to the interview, one could end up disappointed.
8. What question do you get the most from your clients or followers that make you want to just rip out your hair every time you see it?
Wow! I wasn’t expecting this question. However, this will be a great avenue for me to spew my experience about this.
A client can come in different dimension; illusionist, paranoid, harsh, defective and even brutal. But I tend to brace up my persona and handle them with caution. These are the top questions I have gotten from prospective clients;
"I don't really have a design idea yet, but can you tell me how much it would cost?"
“Can you give me about 3 to 5 different designs, if I like them, I’ll pay?"
"Why is your bill this high? I could’ve gotten it cheaper from Mr Lagbaja."
"Can you copy my Mr A’s design exactly, but make it different”
You and I will agree that the above-listed questions could really sound ridiculous. *Laughs*
9. What tools do you find indispensable when you do Graphics Design?
For me, I find CorelDraw very easy to use. I don’t need to create any pallet or whatever; I will just have all my elements in one working space. It is unlike in Photoshop and other softwares where you need to create numerous pallets before merging them into one piece.
For logo, banner, flyers, brochure/magazine/book covers and the likes, CorelDraw is the best software to use. For manipulations, advance effects, branding, picture editing, mockups and the likes, Photoshop is the best software to use. Though, it is limited, unlike in CorelDraw.
Lastly, for animations, modelling, branding and motions graphics; Cinema4D takes the lead.
10. What is the most embarrassing professional screw up you’ve been guilty of on a design?
This happened sometime in 2014. I designed a logo for a client. She actually brought a sketched concept for me to develop digitally. Well, I applied my creative skills and the outcome was great! But unfortunately, when I put up the artwork on social media, to advertise my creative skill, lo and behold, a young lady stumbled on the art and lambasted me for plagiarizing her identity and even threatened to sue me. Luckily for me, I sent her a PM, including the rough sketch and quotation for my client (though, I blurred her name so as to avoid further embarrassment). Afterwards, I pleaded with her and that was the end. Surprisingly, she even ended up becoming my client too! *Laughs*
11. What is the best advice on Graphics Design and Social Media Marketing you ever received and from whom?
Well, this implies generally to your question, and that would be a peculiar piece of advice I got from my dad a very long time ago and it goes “If you start off tidy, it’s really hard to get messy." To add to that, “No one loves authenticity like a graphic designer. And no one is quite as good at tweaking it to the best!"
12. Which Graphic Designers you believe are the most influential?
Let me start with the international scene. I have a very high regard for Michael Bierut who is from the United States. He has been in this sector for more than 30years. He is an icon and has achieved numerous accolades on graphic design worldwide. In Nigeria, I really respect Moronfola Yusuf. His designs are great, simple-looking and thought provoking. Another powerful graphic designer I respect so much is Osbalt Abobabde, CEO of Osbalt Grafix. Oh my! The guy is good! He has been one of my inspirations from day one. In fact, he is a guru! He is also a good tutor and a constructive critic.
13. What is still your biggest challenge in Graphic Designing?
First, I will start with clients. I must confess, clients are really difficult people to handle. If you are not strong psychologically to handle a potential client personalities and expectations, you could break down, get client disappointed, and that is a negative.
Negotiating rates is also one of the major challenges for designers. You hear stuffs like “I have done it on Paint (Microsoft Software), I believe it will be cheaper now, because I have done the main job”
Also, 11th hour changes is one of the major challenges of every designer in the world. You agree with client on a brief, and set out to interpret the brief, with series of options, only for the client to propose a preamble change. That can be horrible!
14. Where do you see yourself and company in the Graphic Designs competition?
Wow! For the past 2 years now, I have been pushing so hard to attain a recognized slot in the A’ Design Awards online platform. That alone can change the whole story for a very long period of time. In general, I am working towards being recognized globally. To be recognized as one of the best graphic designers in Africa and the world at large.
15. What tips can you recommend on Graphic Designing that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?
*Laughs*. Oh man, creative tips change over time. Thus, we only tend to dish out revised version. But generally, I’d advice grooming. Groom yourself to be better, build a strong relationship with top guys in the game and of course, carry out deep research.
16. What is your favorite quote? And last words for Ink & Pen's Blog - Rapport Naija readers?
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Never compromise a chance!
To Rapport Naija, I say a very big thank you for this opportunity. It’s been quite an honor gracing this platform. I also urge every new and existing readers of Ink & Pen’s Blog to develop a culture of visiting at least, a particular section that relates with their everyday live, most especially articles which will impact them positively.
We thank you for the time you invested on answering our questions.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: Did you enjoy this interview? Are you an Entrepreneur or Professional in any particular field and would like to be interviewed on our platform like this? Simply email [email protected] for more enquiries.