Nikolay Saveliev

Posted inDesigner Profiles
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By: Marlow Riley | April 9, 2010

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CD packaging for Horologium’s album The World is Not Enough.

Title: Designer/Art Director

From: St. Petersburg, Russia

Lives in: New York City

Age: 24


When Russian-born designer Nikolay Saveliev was still studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, he came to New York City and worked in an unlikely field: go-go dancing. “It was the worst way to start everything off,” he says. “I made some good money; it was all in wadded-up dollar bills. I did it for a week. Then I got an internship at Landor and got to do that instead, which was a good thing.”

After that auspicious beginning, Saveliev went back to Providence to finish school. He returned to the city after graduation, bouncing around various jobs. The branding and identity work he was doing began to influence what he terms his “clunkily masculine and aggressive” style. “Because I was doing all this identity stuff, I started getting really into elaborate vector illustrations,” he says. “I always liked building little worlds, and because I started building all these little worlds within branding, that started spreading over into series of illustrations and books.”

After gaining attention for his personal projects and freelance work, he managed to incorporate his influences to show that the word “masculine” can also mean illustrative and elaborate. “I like a lot of industrial music, a lot of ’80s New Wave music,” he says. “I feel like that was a hyper-designed era–it wasn’t as approachable, and it was a lot colder. I love stuff like Liquid Sky and reading William Gibson novels.” His album design for Horologium, for instance, combines layers and layers of abstract patterning to achieve a cosmic tactility.

And while Saveliev claims to be interested in religion, he is not particularly religious. “I like the higher-up mysticism,” he says, “which is a lot like design, a lot like art–it’s trying to communicate something that’s not tangible until you create it.”

Nikolay Saveliev

Spread from The Dramatic Arc, Vol. I, a self-published zine.

Cover for Favourite Sherlock Holmes Stories. Creative director: Darren Wall; client: Atlantic Books.

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