Sergei Didyk

Professional in Photography Design.

About Sergei Didyk

Sergei Didyk is a photographer and graphic designer with an extensive, over 30 years experience in advertising and design. He is the founder and owner of Didyk Pictures - a commercial photography company specializing in food and beverages shooting. The company has at its disposal a large 150 m² photostudio, a comfortable kitchen to prepare food for shooting and a graphic department. It is located in Tallinn, Estonia.

  • 2-Time Winner of Photography Design Award.
  • Specialized in Photography Design.
  • 2 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Photography
Plates Visual Communication

Plates Visual Communication

Photography Design

TimeFlies Photos for magazine cover

TimeFlies Photos for magazine cover

Photography Design


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Interview with Sergei Didyk

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
In my childhood just like many other boys I was obsessed with cars and I could also draw quite well. My mother was happy to see me doing something that I liked and she actually decided my fate. She found a drawing teacher for me – he was a student of the art academy. He was so good in teaching me that it left me no other option but to get enrolled into the graphic department of the Art Academy in Tallinn – at the time there was no graphic design department yet.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Didyk Pictures Studio specializes in advertising photography and graphic design. I founded my company 12 years ago, already having over 20 years of experience in this field.
What is "design" for you?
To me design means convenience, visual logic and nothing superfluous.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
In my opinion the highest achievement in design is definitely Citroen DS by designer Flaminio Bertoni. Especially if you take into account the year it was designed. Being one of the lucky owners of this miracle I could literally feel with my own hands the proportions, forms and volumes of this car. The second trophy I would award Citroen SM by designer Robert Opron. On the third place stands all creative work of designer David Lewis for Bang & Olufsen.
When do you feel the most creative?
At night when everybody is asleep. I get carried away and forget about the time. I even forget to make myself tea. ))
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
No doubt, I am happy and proud. It is very important to satisfy your ambitions. However, very rarely there are also regrets if you find mistakes post factum.
What makes a design successful?
Some kind of luck. A lucky combination of client, time, mood and even the budget.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition happened a long time ago in Estonian city Tartu. And the next one I am planning at the end of this spring in the medieval castle Laitse, where the main theme of works will be a food photography.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I would like to think that my style could be called Scandinavian – simple, cold, functional and aesthetic. However, I assume there has also been an influence of the Polish school of poster.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live and work in Estonia. Estonia is a small, beautiful, comfortable and quiet country. A long snowy winter and a cool summer puts you in a mood for a slow, measured work. After attaining its independence Estonia is developing actively – the most progressive technologies are introduced to the everyday life. The development of the IT-services, for instance, has surpassed the most daring expectations. One cannot overestimate how helpful it is in work and everyday life.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I follow the principle that photography (especially, the design photography) starts with a pencil and a paper. Before taking camera in hands one should think thoroughly, come up with a subject, and analyze all the details of the composition. When you sketch first, then it becomes clear if there is any sense in doing that shot.
Can you describe a day in your life?
I wake up quite late. I take time in preparing myself a salad for breakfast and then savour it. Then the rhythm gets somewhat faster – I drive my favourite Citroen DS to my clients and after lunch I finally reach my studio. A cup of coffee and then the planned shooting takes place. Evening and night are the times for creative work – I get new ideas and draw sketches. Whenever I get a free day I lock myself in garage and continue the everlasting restoration of my treasure, Citroen DS. I do everything myself, from welding and dying till mechanics and hydraulics.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
First of all, pencil and paper. Then, when it is clear what we are up to, I use Aperture and the main set of Adobe – Photoshop, InDesign & Illustrator.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I am not good at planning time. It's rather the flowing time controls my actions.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
From several days to a month. Client cannot wait and wouldn't wait.
What was your most important job experience?
Mostly I have been influenced by experience of working in 90-s for the Finnish company NOKIA. That was the first time when I faced the tasks and responsibilities of the global scale.
Who are some of your clients?
Among my clients there are Courvoisier, NOKIA, Estelon, COMPAQ, Tavex Group, Gallina Blanca. If we talk about the advertising agencies, then I can name DDB, BATES, Kontuur Leo Burnett, Satumaa Family Business and many more.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
Creation of the 2-dimensional images – photos, images, illustrations. That's something I am really good at.

Designer of the Day Interview with Sergei Didyk

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
In 1983 I finished Estonian Academy of Arts, Graphic Design and Photography studies. It has already been 35 years that I am dealing only with design and photography.
How did you become a designer?
At school I didn't assume yet that I would eventually become a designer, but my mother happened to be an architect and a building constructor and she wanted her son to know how to draw. So she found me a great drawing teacher. That left me no other option but to get enrolled into the Art Academy in Tallinn.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
While working on the new project I always go through three phases. First and foremost is a search for the visual idea. I am doing many sketches with pencil, simulating the shooting, contemplating the details and methods and evaluating the results. The second phase is the shooting of the best idea I had – no difference whether digital or on film. The third phase is postproduction, Photoshop. One can call it a polishing of the original idea.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
Emotionally each project can be very different. Sometimes one goes through torments of idea shaping and the shooting itself is a piece of cake. Sometimes quite the contrary – a great idea is very difficult to realize while shooting. And that is what I like the most – each work is not supposed to resemble anything I have done before.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
I am glad that in my work many skills and abilities happened to be useful. For example, good drawing skills, solding of electrotechnics and photo-shooting. I can also sew and restore classic cars.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
The best advice I have ever received was an advice in the beginning of my career from one elder colleague - „First you have to work a lot to build your name, then your name will start working on you“. Besides, I advise everyone to read instructions carefully. ))
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
I would advise it to myself and to others – while having rational, professional and pragmatic methods of work to be able to break away from the frames of banality and open yourself to something unpredictable, to something that is called courage.
What is your day to day look like?
I do not have a certain day schedule. That makes me in a way more like a freelancer. I wake up quite late. I take time in preparing myself a breakfast. After eating the breakfast I start working – usually at noon. I am working till late evening. At night I am watching Discovery channel, for general information. When I get bored or there is no work to do I go to my garage and and continue the everlasting restoration of my favourite Citroen DS. We are together for 22 years already.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
I kept up with the latest design trends and learned new things already 40 years ago, 20 years ago and today. How? I read many magazines, I surf the Internet, I visit exhibitions and analyse photos. I try to understand how they were made, but I never try to just copy them. This knowledge will manifest itself in my own ideas.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
I determine if design is good or bad in a very simple way – based on whether I like it or not. On the subconscious level.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
As a rule, whether the project is ready or not decides deadline, not me. ))
What is your biggest design work?
My most interesting and successful work I consider to be the poster «Full bodied taste. Enjoy slowly.» for cognac Courvoisier. This poster received Gold on Summit Creative Awards in 2003. In addition to photo-shooting we had to construct and sew a corset with non-standard proportions.
Who is your favourite designer?
I have a very personal attitude to great designers. Flaminio Bertoni - Citroen DS, Robert Opron - Citroen CX and David Lewis - Bang & Olufsen: these are the masterpieces I use every single day. And every single day I am amazed by their design.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
I was born and I live in Estonia and without doubt Tallinn is my favourite city. Local mentality could be called Scandinavian and the attitude towards design is Scandinavian as well.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
I prefer to work alone or with a small team that I know from long ago. Photography, as compared to the cinema, is a very personal type of art.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
Along with my work I teach photography course to the graphic design students in the Estonian Academy of Arts.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
It was really interesting for me to take part in A’Design Award. The thing is that it was the first competition I took part in by myself, not hiding behind some advertising agency. I really appreciate the attentiveness and help of the organizers. And of course, to receive Platinum on my first participation was just tremendous! ))

Extended Interview with Sergei Didyk

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
In 1983 I got a masters degree of graphic arts in Art Academy in Tallinn, Estonia. Ever since then, already 35 years I am dealing with photography and graphic design.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
Photography and design are the only things I've learned to do very well. I like to do things that come out well. That's why making design brings me joy. And that's the main motivation!
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
First, my mother decided I should become an artist and did a lot for that to happen. Then I realized myself that I want to be a creative person - a designer and a photographer.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
First of all, I am interested in the design in photography and photography in design. Not just an ordinary fine art photography, but its applied form - a photography as a graphic element in design.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Just do every day your favourite thing - do design. Learn how to convince clients that you are right. Work hard and win yourself authority. Some day this authority will allow you to be yourself.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Great design makes you believe it. It needs no arguments. You see it, you touch it and you realize that nothing could be done better than that.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Citroen DS by Flaminio Bertoni. This car's design is just perfect! I was so in love with this car that I could do nothing but buy it. Already 20 years it takes me anywhere I want.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
It's a poster “Corset” created in close co-operation with Bates agency for Courvoisier VSOP Cognac. With the help of limited means we managed to create a distinguishable visual image that perfectly illustrates the slogan - Full bodied taste. Enjoy slowly.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I had two dreams when I was a child. The first one was to become a SOVTRANSAVTO lorry driver and drive beyond Soviet borders. The second one was to become an astronaut. Now it's kind of difficult to guess which one of the two dreams could be realized. But probably, to become a lorry driver…
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
During all stages of my career my irreplaceable assistant has been my wife Rita Didyk. She functions as a stylist, advisor and my main critic.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
The biggest satisfaction I received was from the project when we had to build 100 sq. meter pool for radio-controlled boat model competition. This huge pool had been placed on the main square in Tallinn and stayed there for some time. It was a large-scale project for me. Usually I only take photos and do graphic design.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
My projects are usually short-term and have deadlines. After deadlines you cannot change anything. That's why the final stage comes fast and it is really the final of the project.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Almost every project starts with small pencil sketches that help me to imagine the final result. With drawing by hand it is easier for me to contemplate the technology of the future shooting, calculate the props and the budget.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
It is a question about the chicken and the egg. )) Undoubtedly, successful design specimens bring the new consumer possibilities that people couldn't even imagine yesterday. The new demands, in their turn, expect designers to perform on even higher level, which in its turn widens again the possibilities. That's how, half-a-step at a time design and trend (demands) change the world.
What is the role of technology when you design?
For sure the development of technologies accelerates and simplifies the work of designer and photographer by increasing its effectiveness. However, then one must learn new technologies all life long.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
In graphic design I use a standard set of programs: Aperture, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop & Illustrator. In photography in addition to the digital camera I've got a quite traditional equipment - SINAR, BRONCOLOR and a photo studio.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
The first thought that comes to my mind – why nobody thought it out before? It is so simple!
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I don't know whether ideal, but all I've done I have done in cooperation with my wife and stylist Rita Didyk. That's why I just cannot deny co-design.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
There is one man who influenced my convictions and beliefs several times during my career. This is a graphic artist Slava Semerikov. First, in my young age he taught me how to draw and later we did several projects together.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I'd like to talk to Flaminio Bertoni about his masterpiece Citroen DS and to Robert Opron about the design concept of Citroen CX. Because I own two of these cars for more than 20 years.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
I treat awards with gratitude and they don't influence my innate modesty. I am not that famous to face difficulties in everyday life.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Orange, Estonia, roasted duck with apples, winter, iPhone, Bang & Olufsen.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
Maybe you have heard that there was censorship in the USSR and the censoring organization was named „The committee for protection of the state secrets in print“. All advertising editions, catalogues, flyers and posters were supposed to pass this censorship control and get a permission to be printed. I received a task to create an advertising poster for women underwear factory. All attempts to use photography were turned down by censorship as a pornography. I had to think of an alternative to demonstrate the beauty of the piquant production. And I got an idea to draw with watercolours a figure of entirely naked lady and over the painted image to glue specially sewn flat lace bra and panties. This picture was taken to the Committee for a control. They returned it only a month later with a strict ban to use it as a poster. Judging by the fingerprints it was clear that the officials were especially interested in the details under the panties. Apparently, that's where the state secret was hidden. )) And the underwear factory was left without an advertising poster.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
As a child I used to watch and read different encyclopediae and reference-books, books about physics, outer space and relativity theory. I also liked to draw cars and I could name any car model. But it was difficult to expect a successful designer career in the USSR, there was hardly such a profession then. A chance to become a big designer appeared only after Perestroika, but then I was not a child anymore.

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