Graduation Intern Kaloyan Madzhunov: "A very fun explorative challenge"

5 minute read, by Daan
Group 542

The 22 year old Kaloyan is working on his graduation project at Mandelo in Amersfoort. We'd love to get to know him and his project a bit better, so let's start right away.

Hi Kaloyan, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure! I'm 22 years old and - because of my study - I currently live in Eindhoven. I used to live together with my parents and my older sister in Kostinbrod, Bulgaria. It’s a small city which is very close to Sofia. It’s what Best is to Eindhoven - just on a slightly different scale. At the moment I’m studying ICT & Media Design at Fontys in Eindhoven. Now is the last semester and I'm working on my graduation project at Mandelo.

I can imagine ICT & media design is a pretty broad study. Is there a specific direction you like to specialize in?

I've always had a passion for both design and development. Because I love to be creative and conceptual, which I'm able to find in design, but I also like to bring my concepts to life through the breath of technology. You would see me as a curious and analytical person and that’s true. I like to dig further into a topic to understand how things work. Because I just can't take something for granted. At the same time, I try to keep an open mind and let myself go broader to seek interesting interdisciplinary connections. This allows me to find inspiration in different fields and discover new exciting possibilities. Art, design, music, movies and storytelling are often the main sources of inspiration. And when I'm inspired, I feel invincible.

So, you’re working on your graduation project. Cool! What is it about?

It's about helping filmmakers find the right music for their projects and connecting them with starting music artists who can provide authentic music and get the recognition they deserve. The idea came from Droomgever who have collaborated with Mandelo in the past and are now the clients of my project. I'm in charge of the project and it's nice that I also get support from my Mandelo colleagues.

So far, I've done extensive research by interviewing filmmakers and music artists to get to know their needs. For instance, I've also been investigating the different creative approaches to making film music like those of Hans Zimmer. I came across the problem that filmmakers often feel overwhelmed by the choice of filters when looking for music on royalty-free music platforms. It's an affordable solution but they often have to do adjustments to make the music match the film's theme and desired mood. The music artist’s effort is often disregarded in that case. Working with a composer can deliver the right feeling but although worthwhile, it's an expensive path. So I’m trying to find the sweet spot.

Good insights already, what is typical for your way of working?

I'm working iteratively as it gives me the flexibility to change the project's direction based on the insights I get to find almost every day. For example, currently I am exploring more abstract topics related to music like graphic notation and synesthesia. My goal is to translate that into the UI and UX design realms.

Do you already have an idea on what the solution could be?

Yes, more and more. Music is full of emotion. It's something you can only feel to tell if it fits certain visuals or not. Simply describing it with a label is not enough. I'm a videographer myself, so the process of finding the right fitting music for my footage is quite familiar to me.

I’m looking for the answers to questions such as: 'What if we could redefine the way people search for music? What if there was a user interface that is different from the familiar filter search engines that use limiting textual descriptions of moods and emotions? What if there was a whole new intuitive experience that helps you find the right music?'

Cool! How about the next steps?

The next step is to start designing concrete prototypes. Eventually I will do some implementation with A.I. as it has the potential to be a suitable solution to the problem. I'm learning so much and I want to combine all of the findings to come up with an interesting solution. Overall, I think it's a very fun explorative challenge and I can't wait to see how far I can push it.

What are you aiming to learn during your graduation project at Mandelo?

Working at a design agency and having my own project and client, allows me to maintain a professional mindset and make sure that I always have interesting results to show. In this way, I get to constantly improve my communication and presentation skills, think about the next steps and make informative decisions. I'm happy that I have this environment at Mandelo and the ability to grow here.

What I would really love to learn is how to design in the Mandelo way. The design I've seen so far in other projects at the studio is always attention-grabbing and effective because it is clean and communicates the right message. There is always a dynamic twist to it in the form of thought-through playful animations that make the design come to life. I would love to be able to communicate like this with my design as well.

Are there things you hope to add to our agency in Amersfoort? Helping us improve our English skills for example...

Haha, I think English would always come in handy, especially with international clients. My non-Dutch-speaking presence in the agency certainly is an opportunity to speak more English. I also think it would be nice if my project gets to contribute to Mandelo's work as an experimental case study. I believe it has an innovation element to it which could turn out to be a great showcase opportunity.

Thanks Kaloyan, good luck with graduating!

Written by
Daan Douven