Branzas 30 years – The beginnings (1)

Although I founded the agency in 1994, the beginnings were made as early as 1988 when, thanks to a favourable context, I discovered the designer profession. At that time, the places allocated for university admission to the design department were minimal. I competed for three places, there were 13 candidates for one spot. So the competition was fierce and I had to be exceptionally well prepared to get into one of the three places. The preparation consisted of backbreaking work during the last two high school years. It focused on the entrance exams which consisted of artistic drawing (perspective, object, composition and human figure, representation techniques), colour (theory, composition and representation techniques), technical drawing (drawing and axonometry) and design concepts (industrial object and interior design). The exams lasted three days, six hours each day.

The last two years of high school were almost an ordeal but still enjoyable because I was doing what I loved. Exact sciences were never close to my heart. I say ordeal because my daily schedule was: classes in high school, doing homework at a minimum level to pass the class, and then four to six hours a day preparing for the SATs. The whole thing took almost two years and almost without exception seven days a week. Okay, so I passed the entrance exam in 1989 and then spent six months in the Army until the spring of 1990, and then in October I started my first year of college. And here, surprise surprise, for the first two years all the homework was rehashing from scratch all the drawing, color and design concepts that I had gone through for admission. It was tough because the standards were even higher than admissions.

And yet, how did I discover this profession? By chance, in 1988 I visited the semester exhibition of the final-year design students and was speechless with amazement. I saw industrial design, graphic design, and interior design projects, at which point I had a revelation about the path that was opening up before me. I said to myself: I can and I want to do something like this! Without a doubt, I was lucky to discover my vocation at 16 and without overthinking, I took this path. I threw myself headlong into an expedition and exploration that has been going on for 36 years and will continue for a few more.

Dan Koblickska asked me if I’d completed the 10,000 hours supposedly required to master the craft. I think so, given the two years of training and six years of college during which I practiced intensely, plus the four years during which, in parallel with college, I worked either for an advertising agency, freelanced or worked through my agency since 1994.

Here I must thank some people I owe a lot, personally and professionally. They are: Daniel Dociu – for being patient for two years to teach me everything and from whom I learned for the first time the practical applicability of the designer’s job, Florin Maxa – the one who initially tested me and encouraged me from the very beginning to follow this path and Mircea Baciu – the one who was my friend and teacher in learning the secrets of drawing the human body. Daniel Dociu is today one of the most fabulous video game designers in the world, and Florin and Mircea were terrific teachers, but unfortunately they are no longer with us.

Regarding this period, the two years of training and the first two years of university, I must say that, although it was highly demanding and imposed a rather severe program on me, they formed the basis of everything I learned and achieved later. It will follow!