Judging an international design competition is no easy task. It takes a special kind of person that is willing to give their time and experience for the betterment of the industry.

It's time to shine a spotlight on these special individuals and dig a little deeper to see what makes them tick. Therefore, on behalf of the CSSDA founders and crew, please enjoy the following interview with one of our esteemed judging panel members.


Lucas Nikitczuk is a graphic designer and director of NK. With more than ten years of experience in the design industry, Lucas has always been strongly associated with the digital world. This specialty has given Lucas the opportunity to work in different agencies that were leading him up to what NK is today, working with brands such as Netflix, Sprite, Revlon, Peugeot, to name a few. "While I was in those agencies, NK was gaining strength and shape to be finally born in 2006 as an agency."

Earlier this year we relaunched NK, incorporating everything we have learned in previous years. If I had to summarize what NK is today, I would say that is about working in a free space where the passion we feel for the design is added to the strategy of an agency.

Time Warp:

1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?

My first computer was a desktop PC, back in the eighties. If I remember correctly it was a Celeron 400Mhz with 32MB of RAM and a 14" monitor. I remember, that in my ignorance, I erased my memory files within the C: / Windows, thinking that by freeing up space my computer will work better. Then I had to take it to get repaired. : P

2. When and what was the first website you were involved in designing/developing? Which elements of the project did you do? Can you remember the 'cutting edge' tech used at the time? How did the site turn out and what did this experience teach you?

The first site I did was in 2002 in which I basically used my personal portfolio and my university research. I had to include a gallery made with XML and Flash. I found myself cutting out images and then applying rollovers from the tools Dreamweaver provided. It was a whole new world. It was certainly a great first experience to optimize the 4 colors GIF images so the 56kb connections could provide smooth navigation.

3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?

The story of a new website launch for the radio program "What is?" back in 2010 was the nicest thing. The program was not only very popular but was also at the forefront of technological issues. For several weeks the radio host Mario Pergolini announced that he was preparing the new website. At that time, as the designer, I was really proud to hear on the radio something that I was working on being talked about with such magnitude.

Another interesting project is the recently launched Tupuy case in which we were able to put all our tools into play since we worked on the brand concept, Identity, App, Website and Media campaign of the client's new company audio-guide. Besides this, this project was the one that opened the doors in Peru and gave us the confidence to win, so it was very interesting and rewarding. I have a nice memory of this project.

4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?

"Do not complain about reviews, and, if you are asked for more settings is because something is missing and you need it to make it perfect." It is always difficult to accept criticism, but it is precisely this that makes you grow every day in what you really love.

5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?

Without a doubt I would go to the twenties and thirties to visit the great German Bauhaus.

Favourite Things:

1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?

I think one important aspect is working conscientiously and starting on paper, then heading to the computer with a sense of humor. I cannot imagine a good project with whom we speak every day (both customers and team) without sharing a good sense of humor.

2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?

Just to name some of them: Slickplan, InVision, Fromupnorth.

3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?

I have a Moto G which has some noble features, but one must admit that the iPhone 6 is amazing. For nearly 90% of my career, I used different PC configurations and I recently entered the Mac world with an iMac and Mac Book Pro and they are a one-way road.

4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?

  • 1st Brazil: for the talent it holds, for the beaches and proximity to Argentina.
  • 2nd Chile: for its stability, for the friends who are living in the country, and the proximity with Argentina.
  • 3rd Peru: (where we already landed), for its potential and proximity to Argentina.

In large part, I chose these three cities because I could not have my friends and family far away.

5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?

Simple things like taking a walk with my girlfriend, running, being outdoors, preparing a delicious barbecue and being with loved ones. And any chance to do some sport is very welcome.

Life Hacks:

1. How do you stay motivated?

I think the challenge is to be driven every day, we obtain that dose of adrenaline from being embarked on the project. Sometimes a simple email with a prospect that later became a customer can totally change the big picture.

2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?

I think that balance is given by the rhythm of the year. There are times where you can enjoy more the little things of life and others when, fortunately, work is just more enjoyable. The thing is to know that these moments exist and we don't have to get frustrated by them, but take advantage of them. However, we have to know that the world won't explode if I decide to answer that "e-mail" tomorrow and not today.

3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?

I could tell them just to look, listen, ask and investigate everything that arouses interest in themselves.

4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?

On the one hand, to be part of the judging panel of CSSDA allows me to see the latest trends and technologies every day. On the other hand, by leaning on the awesome team that I work alongside with here at NK. We are not many, but everyone is an expert in their field. It is also important knowing how to listen. Here we say: "There's no need to know everything about everything, you just need to know the phone number of the one who really who knows."

5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?

I would be a carpenter (a very detail-oriented one).

Versus: In your opinion...

1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?

I think the experience is what makes a great designer.

2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. full­time job?

I can say today that the best thing is to become the founder of an independent studio since you're up to great projects as any big agency would be without the annoying rhythm that usually permeates them.

3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?

For durability and affection, my Moto G.

4. Printed book vs eBook?

Printed book without hesitation.

5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?

Star Wars

Thanks for your time. Any last words?

Thanks to you for the interview. Believe the impossible.

Lucas is Director at NK studio with 10+ yrs experience. Focused on maximizing brands by building strong communication strategies.