Name: Ana Druga
What is your job title? Managing Director / Creative Director / Photographer
Where do you live? Berlin
How would you sum up your life-style? Enjoying life and art to the fullest every day.
Hobbies: Photography, Traveling, Fashion, Art
Do you follow a philosophy in life? The journey is the destination
What is your professional background?
In 2008, I completed my studies of visual communication at the UdK University of the Arts Berlin with a „Meisterschüler“ degree. During my one-and-a-half-year trip around the world with agency work experience in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney, I dealt with the topic of visual perception in different cultures worldwide for my final project at the UdK. In addition, I created a book named “360 °” accompanied an exhibition.
Immediately after my graduation, I plunged into the adventure “start-up” and co-founded the “Saftfabrik”, a company that produced and distributed freshly squeezed juices with individual juice creations and labels, with Alexandra Zanders and Thomas Förster in Berlin.
During this time, I also founded my studio for visual communication “Druga Design” 2010 in Berlin and by now look after numerous customers worldwide – especially in China and the USA – but also in Germany in the fields of print, web design and photography.
You are a communication designer, web designer, book illustrator, photographer, founded a design agency and now your own publishing company. What can you tell us about your projects?
The diversity of my work is every day fulfilling and inspiring. My studio for visual communication “Druga Design” mainly serves clients of medium-sized companies, start-ups and self-employed in the field of corporate design.
As an artist and photographer, I have spent the past three years working on the fashion project “Hyperborean Folklore – Between Modernity and Tradition” with my partner Iraida Florea and have had numerous exhibitions. The photographs are currently being shown in the fashion and art store SYLD Berlin.
With the founding of the publishing house and the design agency “Buchkunst Berlin” I just fulfilled one of my dreams. Here I can pursue the passion of making books with wonderful photographic projects and get to know and support talented artists. Together with my partner Thomas Gust we design books, curate the accompanying exhibitions and teach at universities about the medium photo book.
Which project is your most favourite and why?
Right now, my heart beats mostly for photo books. With the newly founded publishing house “Buchkunst Berlin”, we presented our first photo book “Berlin May 1945 – Valery Faminsky” as a start at the Frankfurt Book Fair with great success. We are currently planning the next photo books that we would like to release in 2019. I am looking forward to the close collaboration with other photographers, the discovery of new artists, and further, the challenges of book publishing.
You also support Styles4Work with the design, how did that come about?
Alexandra Zanders, the founder of Styles4Work and I have a long history already since our study time. The start-up “The juice factory – Saftfabrik“ was one of the first big joint ventures. Over the past 10 years, there have been frequent joint projects, including the start-up “Glamloop”. Because of this shared past, I am glad that Alexandra Zanders approached me as well with her new start-up idea. The collaboration with Alexandra is always very enriching.
How do you benefit from your network?
Since my studies, I have built up a large worldwide network. Especially through social media and online communication it is very easy to work together in a quick and professional way with my colleagues. The global collaboration seems to me to be an advantage, because I am in a much larger cultural exchange.
What made you decide to establish your own company?
There has never been an alternative for me. Even while studying at the UdK, self-employment was strongly promoted by the professors. My drive and curiosity to discover and work on completely different projects and to be able to process them with diverse media, and the accompanying freedom I receive from it, reinforced the urge for the self-employment and as well the foundation of an own publishing house. I work every day driven by energy and euphoria on various projects.
What are advantages and disadvantages of self-employment for you?
Because of my independence, I have always had a great deal of freedom and have been able to carry out my activities worldwide without being tied to supervisors. Of course, one is obliged to stick to all deadlines and should never neglect a project. You always need to perform more than 100% to convince.
Teamwork is usually neglected in self-employment and therefore I am all the happier to have found a wonderful partner in Thomas Gust.
A secure, steady income is an important issue for employees. You need to work hard to be self-employed. If you have survived the first three years well, everything will establish itself in this area as well.
Do you think women generally have to struggle harder in business?
Yes. To be taken just as seriously as men, women definitely need to prove more strength and shine with more knowledge. Even though this is still no guarantee to assert yourself in a “still” male world. However, I strongly believe that men and women can complement each other wonderfully and achieve better results together. Therefore, I do not see it as a competition, but as an opportunity to grow together.
Styles4Work is an online shop focused on business fashion and business editorials. What is your estimation on specialized platforms and blogs for future trendsetting?
I think that specialization can be one of the main reasons for the success of the online platform Styles4Work and as well for other existing specialized platforms. The progressing digitization allows exactly this shift from offline to online. Styles4Work, as an influencer in the field of business fashion, can certainly be enriching for style-conscious business women. I myself am an enthusiastic newsletter subscriber and am especially happy about the event tips and the styling ideas.
Do you use social media yourself?
Yes. Especially Instagram and Facebook. Initially I used the platforms to stay in touch with friends and colleagues, but for several years now also to communicate my projects or those of my clients.
Fashion is an emotional, very personal topic. Do you have a favourite professional outfit, that always works for you?
I’m a big fan of silk blouses – these are mostly plain, but I also love colourful accents – mixed with a dark blue jeans. Depending on which shoes you choose, you can mix it to a sporty or elegant outfit.
Are you including fashion trends in your business outfit?
Yes. Either on blogs, or on my travels. Here I always discover new fashion trends and consciously take time for them.
Which hint do you have for women who are still looking for their own style?
I find the magazine of Styles4Work very inspiring. I would also recommend an advice from a personal fashion coach to all women who are still looking for their own style.
Who or what inspires you?
I get my inspiration mainly through my travels, art and photography. Communication with people with different professions and backgrounds and the insights that come with it, enriches me every day.
Which social topic is important to you?
Currently, wars, their causes and consequences occupy me. The confrontation with one’s own history, but also the constant witness of the past, which we gain every day through the medial experience of war all over the world, are presently strongly influencing me thematically. The Second World War and the current war in Syria, with the concomitant destruction of cities and cultures and the hardly foreseeable consequences for the next generation, are the focus of my research. For the moment, we are working on the next book, which will probably deal with exactly this focus.