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Mindsets leading to award-winning designs

Mindsets leading to award-winning designs
Nataliya Sambir
Nataliya Sambir
Chief Design Officer

Natalia Sambir, CDO at Linkup Studio, gave an interview published in Red Dot Design Yearbook 2022/2023. We summarized some of her thoughts and combined them into an award-winning design mindset. We will also discuss the company's approach to work, the pillars of successful collaboration, and other points that helped Linkup receive the world-renowned Red Dot Design Award.

What tells a good design from a bad one?

Great design is about people. It should be aligned with their habits and life background. Therefore, it is supposed to be intuitive and pleasant. Frank Chimero says: "People ignore design that ignores people." At the same time, it also has to be useful and solve practical user problems.

Bad design often contains only one of these criteria or none of them. But can it be called design?

Which design team can be called perfect?

They are passionate about their work. To love design is the first requirement. Not to make do with the first version but to constantly improve and iterate it if the market needs it.

They are product-focused. It means focusing on the points given in answer to the first question. We had a podcast called "Product is King." That's the whole philosophy.

They are responsible. In addition to experience and proficiency, specialists must be able to adhere to business plans and deadlines. Designing is a part of a business that is fond of accounting.

Who can be called an ideal client?

Each valuable project has two parties, the client and the partner team. Natalia notices the client needs to possess the following to ensure smooth cooperation and significant outcomes:

A distinct vision of the product needed. The design team understands the tasks faster when knowing their objective, the product's customers, and their needs. Then you can refine the shared vision instead of drawing it up from scratch.

A meaningful business idea. The main thing in business is to have customers who need the proposed solution and are ready to buy it. Without this, all the work will be nullified, and all results will be pointless.

Well-organized business processes. Not noticeable, but a fundamental issue. The client and design partner must clearly understand their scope of responsibilities, trust each other and establish the most acceptable format of cooperation for both.

What do such victories mean?

Linkup's design team worked in basements when they created the project that won Red Dot. For customers, it's a sign Ukrainians can do things and be trusted as reliable partners despite the war.

It is also a good sign for future cooperation.

"If they created world-class products while hiding from missiles and under the sound of air raid sirens, what will they create when peace comes."

Moreover, for Linkup Studio, it is like an endorsement and confirmation they are moving in the right direction. The team is pushing forward even harder now, bringing more innovative thinking and growing as a company.

Where to get inspiration?

Natalia shares that she gets it from simple things, but they work.

Relationships. She is happy being with wonderful people - family, friends, and colleagues. The secret is finding the ones on the same wavelength as you. It will become a great source of inspiration.

Working out. It is like switching off for a while and forgetting about current affairs. At the same time, she gets additional energy, fresh thoughts, and inner harmony.

Favorite places. Linkup Studio is a Lviv-based company. For many employees, it is their hometown, and they love it a lot. Natalia says it is a historical city and a regional center that is constantly developing.

The combination of local traditions and freedom reflects the design approach to projects.

Living in a place you like brings more happiness and allows to achieve more remarkable results.


What is given in the article is not a recommendation list. Rather, it is a five "W" questions outline that help to understand how to create robust, world-changing, and award-winning solutions that make a difference.

Natalia offers everyone such a motto and believes in your business miracles.

Believe. Cooperate. Act. Find solutions. And eventually, win!

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Nataliya Sambir
Nataliya Sambir
Chief Design Officer
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