Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019 Winner: Alexandr Kovalev Designs a Beautiful Summer Vacation
We continue to celebrate the top performing apps in creativity, quality, design, and innovation, as we interview winners of our Best of Galaxy Store Awards. Today, we're talking with Alexandr Kovalev about how he creates dials (watch faces) for the Galaxy Watch.
How did you start designing watch faces?
I first bought a Samsung Gear S2 watch at the end of 2016. When I found out about the GWD program (now Galaxy Watch Studio), I immediately wanted to draw my own dial. At first it was not easy, because I never studied as a designer.
I began to slowly study Photoshop. In 2017, I made my first submission to the Galaxy Store. After I saw it in the Galaxy Store, it inspired me even more. Since then, I am constantly learning something new, and it seems to me that this training will never end. But the most important thing is that the design of the dials gives me really great joy.
As the Best of Galaxy Store Awards Winner for Best Watch Face Design for Summer Vacation, tell us what went into this design and why it stood out amongst the crowd?
This design, like my other work, came about spontaneously. I have no initial or ready-made projects. Each of my dials is born in the course of work in Galaxy Watch Studio and Photoshop. Therefore, I can redraw the finished work dozens of times, as if bringing it to the ideal state. I painted Summer Vacation for the summer season. I really looked forward to the summer, and it inspired me. I wanted to create something colorful and beautiful for Galaxy Watch users, so that everyone who downloaded this watch would be in a better mood after looking at it. After all, we all love summer and holidays!
You have a new pro version of Summer Vacation. How have you evolved Summer Vacation with this new version
I have a new version of Summer Vacation; it's name is WFP211 WEATHER TIME PRO. In this dial, I tried to improve the design and quality, as well as optimize battery consumption. I added the temperature in degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit on the same dial (earlier they were two different versions, which confused users and often they downloaded the wrong version).
As for me, the new version turned out to be more interesting, but my opinion does not always coincide with the opinion of a huge audience of users. Over time, it will become known how much my efforts will be justified in front of users.
What are key features of a good watch face design?
In fact, the main thing is everything! The quality of each detail should be perfect, given that the screen resolution of the watch is only 360 pixels. Readability is very important, while the dial must be optimized for minimal power consumption. The Always On Display (AOD) mode also plays a huge role, as experience has shown that many users often use the AOD mode, but only occasionally the main mode. I spend a lot of time until I send the dial to the store, because you need to test it yourself. And only when my work suits me do I send it for testing. It is also important to record video reviews in the Galaxy Store, because only on a video review can users can see what it really looks like and appreciate it.
Your brand Watch Face Production (WFP) includes Luxury Pro, Techno, and Plasma watch faces, all with an exceptional look and feel. How do you come up with new designs to support the continued growth and evolution of your brand?
As I wrote above, I do not have any blanks or projects drawn on paper. An idea is born in my head, and I sketch out Photoshop as soon as possible. After that comes the development of the idea. I constantly upload my project to my watch and can watch it for some time, sorting through the thoughts in my head, and so on until the design suits me.
After that, the second stage begins - this is quality, functionality, and optimization. Almost all of my dials are really very functional, almost everything changes in them - arrows, backgrounds, glow, and much more. This significantly affects the battery consumption, but the user can customize the dial as they like, for any clothes and mood. I think this is very important.
How do you maintain the quality of your watch face designs?
I try not to be like others. Each of my works should have a highlight. It should be something not ordinary and not standard. There are thousands of thoughts in my head, but unfortunately many of them are not yet feasible in Galaxy Watch Studio. I hope that with every update of the tool, I will be able to translate my ideas into reality.
Your designs have received great ratings and reviews, including third party watch face reviews from Huck's World. How much does user feedback factor into the designs you create?
Thanks to the Huck's World Channel for its work! It makes excellent video reviews for all users.
Feedback is very important for any developer in any field of activity, because this is the only way we can understand, take into account, and further realize the wishes of users and correct our shortcomings!
You employ various marketing strategies including social media promotions. Can you share the channels and resources you use to market your watch faces?
Yes, I have pages and chats in almost all social networks that I know of. Just recently, I had my own website where users can see all my new products. In the development of marketing and promotion on social networks, I work with a team, these are great guys who are also dial designers.
What have you found to be successful in marketing your watch faces?
I cannot consider something more successful than another. In each country, people use different social networks, some places use Facebook more, and other places use Reddit. Therefore, it is important to be visible everywhere. When my new work appears in the store, I can spend several hours until I send alerts to all sources.
How does the Galaxy Store badge support your marketing strategy?
It is very convenient, short, and clear! There is no set of obscure characters in each link, as it was before. In addition, I can see the number of clicks on the link, which allows me to understand the interest of users of one or another of my work.
How has the Samsung Developer Program supported your journey and growth as a watch face designer?
I express my deep gratitude to each member of the team that has worked and is working with me so far! To all the questions that interest me, I instantly received not only answers, but also often useful tips. Each team member is professional in their field.
What advice do you have for new designers looking to create a successful watch face business?
Strive, and you will succeed! Maybe not right away, but study your business, and do not rush. There is no need to take pictures from the Internet and with the addition of arrows or digital time put it in the store. And most importantly, it should give you joy. First of all, this should be your hobby, as for most famous designers.
What is next for WFP?
Next, only the development and study of the future functionality of Galaxy Watch Studio, Photoshop, and other programs that allow you to create masterpieces for the Galaxy Store.
Thanks to Alexandr Kovalev for sharing his insights on how to design and promote award-winning watch faces. Follow our Twitter @samsung_dev for more developer interviews and tips for building games, apps, and more for the Galaxy Store. Find out more about our Best of Galaxy Store Awards.