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Mentor Spotlight with Liat Elkaim (Chetrit)

On the importance of passion, courage, and flexibility; applying new work methods to tackle frustrations; and navigating clients needs

Your name and team you belong to.

Liat Elkaim (Chetrit), the Wix Agency team.

Tell us about your work. What is your current position?

I’m the Art Director in Wix Agency, mentoring a team of web designers and tech designers, guiding them through our team’s projects.

As a bit of context, I joined Wix 11 years ago as a designer in the Templates Design team. After a few fulfilling years, I felt the need to move on and introduce new challenges for myself. At the time Wix Agency was just established as a team specializing in creating websites for strategic partnerships, enterprises, brands, nonprofits and influencers. I joined the team in what turned out to be the perfect opportunity for me.

What are the top traits that make you good at what you do?

First and foremost - passion. Every morning when I wake up I have the urge to design, and that’s why I'm always willing to put in that extra effort and time to create the best sketches to show clients. Knock on wood, I hope this feeling lasts forever!

Secondly, I’d say courage. I get my drive from design challenges and always want to push the boundaries with new ideas, new layouts or trying new behaviors, which all require a certain amount of fearlessness.

And lastly, flexibility. I have to be able to adapt quickly to any change in plans, like project timelines or client needs. This is a real emphasis in our team, as we work with real clients, so the demands they bring to the table have to be met.

What is the biggest challenge in your role?

Finding the balance between the designers’ aspirations and their creative process while also delivering great design results that the client will love. And managing this while working with tight deadlines.

How do you deal with challenges in your creative process?

The layout phase of designing a website is complex, and therefore something I would usually spend more time on. It’s never a simple process, and can be especially confusing when you have so many inspirations. out there. And so during my time working at Wix I actually developed my own method for tackling this challenge, a new process for creating wireframes which I call “The Frankenstein Way”. This method allows me to sketch compositions and create designs in a much faster, creative, and more efficient way.

What’s the best way to handle receiving negative feedback?

I'm always reminding myself that good design is like a puzzle which can be solved in many different ways. There isn’t just one correct answer, or one right path to get to that final desired result. If we receive negative feedback, all it means is that we need to continue working on finding the next best solutions - which will be just as good and which I’ll still be proud of and will be appreciated by the client.

Share something that inspires you that has nothing to do with design?

It might sound corny, but my kids. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something from them and grow a little bit thanks to them. There’s always something new to discover about myself, my emotions, about who I was and how I’ve developed and become who I am today, and most importantly what is important to me in my future.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on the way you think about design?

I’d say that a fundamental principle I work with is to never let the tool, platform or technicality control my designs. If I have a specific vision and encounter a technical challenge - I will never let that determine how I move forward and will always find a way to work around it or with it so I can bring my vision and creativity to life.

What would you do if you weren’t a designer?

I can’t imagine my life without design on a daily basis. For as long as I can remember, since I was a little girl growing up in a very small town, I always dreamed of having a job related to design somehow.

What's the best advice you can give to your designers who are mentoring other designers?

If you want to achieve much more interesting design results, you should look for your inspiration in other fields, and other platforms. For example, I can see a printed poster and translate it to a digital animation. Or when I'm looking for inspiration for a blog layout, I’ll look at e-com galleries or album covers, rather than looking at other blogs. This cross-pollination always brings out the best results.

Tell us something about the projects you’ve shared and we’re seeing here

OFFF Barcelona 2021 Editor X: During the Covid pandemic, I was just returning back to work from maternity leave. I was working from home with two kids and a baby, and was given my first task which was a huge challenge - I had one week to design a full website for the OFFF Barcelona 2021 Editor X partnership. There were no brand guidelines, nothing to rely upon, just a great open-minded client and a lot of creative passion to express.

Wix Devcon New York 2022: A website for a conference in NYC for web developers. The challenge here was to showcase the design abilities we can achieve on the Wix Editor in a very short amount of time, again with no brand guidelines. Finding the right communication while leading a group of four designers I’d never met before was a real challenge and a project I’m very proud of.

Thank you Liat!


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