Designer Profile: Spork

July 27, 2010

Meet Mark Lester Jarmin aka Spork – an awesome illustrator and just one of the designers who has helped make 99designs.com the #1 marketplace for crowdsourced logo design, web design, print design or any other design need!
Spork - an Illustrator in the 99designs Community

Designer Profile

Mark Lester Jarmin – Philippines
99designs handle: Spork
Projects entered: 218
Projects won: 50

How did you get started in design?

I started drawing in school when I was very young. From elementary to high school my notebooks are filled with sketches and doodles. I was always assigned to design our classroom bulletin boards and I was chosen to represent our school in art competitions. I won several awards including one for a design that our university used as our school ID.

After I graduated, I worked as a sign maker and later as a mall artist – designing decors and seasonal themes including graphic designs for events and activities. Right now i’m focusing more as an illustrator.

Professor Lead

How do you get your design inspiration?

I really look up to great illustrators – seeing how they create their art inspires me to create something better. Reading their books and blogs, watching their animations, studying their comics, etc… motivates me to learn and improve my skills.

The Mac Guys

What led you to start using 99designs.com?

My officemate referred me to 99designs and I’ve been hooked ever since. At first, I joined the contests just for fun but when I won my first contest and a follow up project came in – I got serious and more competitive. I love it here – I enjoy, learn and earn at the same time!

99designs has really helped me showcase my skills. I continue to improve, meet new clients, make new friends and build a good portfolio.

Caption Obvious

What are three things designers can do to have success at 99designs?

1. Preparation is the key! Study the design brief first. View it in different angles – from the client’s perspective, from the perspective of the target audience and from your view as the designer. Proper composition requires more time than execution.

2. Create your own identity. As an illustrator, style really does matter! If you want to stand out and get noticed, draw the way YOU want to draw – offering something unique… yourself.

3. Take care of your profile and portfolio. A higher winning percentage surely reflects well on your status within the community and to potential clients. This is not a raffle contest so – join only the projects that you are really interested in and you’ll have more chance of winning.

Totally Toys

What do you love most about being a designer?

I just love what I do- I enjoy, learn and earn!

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Designer Profile: Lugosi

June 18, 2010

Meet Tomi Vinsek aka Lugosi – just one of the designers who has helped make 99designs.com the #1 marketplace for crowdsourced logo design, web design, print design or any other design need!
Tomi Vinsek - Lugosi on 99designs

Designer Profile

Tomi Vinsek – Zagreb, Croatia
99designs handle: Lugosi
Projects entered: 408
Projects won: 43

How did you get started in design?

In my childhood I participated in creative and technical workshops as member of National Society of Technical Culture in the field of Product Prototype and Modeling – this was the start of my creative work and production. Even as young boy, I loved to sketch imaginative things. I was a big fan of Flash Gordon :D, and I was always curious in how others see things in imaginative and creative ways. I believe imagination is extremely valuable in creative process.

Back in the ’80s when I was about 10, I got into computer graphics – first in a BASIC language environment on ZX Spectrum 48K computer, and later on Atari. About 10 years ago I started collaborating at a local magazine – this was my first experience with prepress process and magazine drafting. I was so inspired – I loved using Indesign, Photoshop and CorelDraw. I started working on logos, magazine ad’s, brochures, wallpapers and CD covers, etc. for friends, online contests and local small businesses – this was the start of my freelance graphic design business. As my skill improved and my love for design grew higher each day- I decided to enroll into an Adobe Certification program at the local academy.

Bove Audio by Lugosi

How do you get your design inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere – comedy, drama, nature, people, animals, books, movies… everywhere. I mostly design at night. I love quiet atmosphere, coffee, low light…That’s how I got my nickname, Bela Lugosi was a famous Dracula actor in ‘30s.

Spa Brochure by Lugosi

What led you to start using 99designs.com?

I joined this community back when the contests were still in the Sitepoint forums and I must admit -the 99designs team has made great progress the last few years. Well done guys! At first I just wanted to improve my design skills and compete but I have also met new people from design world. 99designs has helped me a lot – I’ll never forget my first win here, wow, that was celebration!

Over time, this community became more and more valuable, and with respect I can say that 99designs gave me the opportunity to define my future. I mean it, really!

Two years ago I met Vjeko on 99designs.com – we found out that we live in the same town. We became online business partners and built our first web business and online portfolio. Today we own an award winning graphic design company here in Croatia – we are employed full time as Art Directors and Graphic Designers – we have built our own business with help of 99designs.com!

Quadrophenia Identity by Lugosi

What are three things designers can do to have success at 99designs?

1. Design with love – the best designs are the ones that you yourself can be proud of! It is definitely not good to enter too many contests at once. Enter one or two – make the best design you can and wait for feedback. After 6 days, if you have the opportunity – make it awesome. Put 100% effort into a design project and the client will notice. Contest holders do care! Don’t think about money, think about the design, your portfolio, your own and the client’s satisfaction. The prize will come for sure!

2. Define your style – it is precious and will separate you from others. Think about the thousands of products out there and what it would be like if they were all are the same? People love to choose! Just lead them. Every product has its own buyer – it’s the same with design. Your design is your personality – combine that with the client’s feedback equals success.

3. Presentation of final work is very important! It’s good to show how the design will work in different applications and surfaces or in different versions. Sometimes presentation takes almost the same amount of time as designing the main concept – but it’s worth it. Not all people are imaginative and they love to see how the design will work for them.

Wine Label by Lugosi

What do you love most about being a designer?

Freedom of creativity, expressing my personality – I love when my work is seen by many people all over the world. Design is timeless and recognizable. I love to see how other perceive different shapes and colors. Design does not live in the designers head, design lives in the viewers eyes – show it to the people.

BottleMate Logo by Lugosi
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Meet Kris Taft Miller aka KT Design, Inc. – just one of the designers who has helped make 99designs.com the #1 marketplace for crowdsourced logo design, web design, or any other design need!
Designer Profile: KT Designs, Inc. at 99designs.com

Designer Profile

Kris Taft Miller – Durham, NC USA
99designs handle: KT Design, Inc.
Projects entered: 65
Projects won: 13

How did you get started in design?

I graduated with a degree in elementary education but took a summer internship with Disney Animation where I re-discovered how much I loved graphic design and learned on the job from the pros. From there I spent 8 years at the studio in Florida and later Los Angeles before relocating to North Carolina with my husband and starting my own company as a freelancer.

YMCA Web Design

How do you get your inspiration for your web design?

I find I do a lot of designing in my head before I even get to the computer. When I am about to fall asleep especially, designs are running through my head. Once I get to the computer I work organically and just try lots of different things to see how they look. I love designing things that are out of the box, colorful and fun.

Maitely Weismann Web Design

What led you to start using 99designs.com?

I stumbled on 99designs last year after returning from maternity leave and actually having a few spare moments to get caught up on the design world. I loved it immediately, the challenge and “game” of it all is a new element to work I already love doing. I also love the community of designers – getting inspired by those around you and their work.

Budi Bar Web Design

What is the most important thing designers can do to have success at 99designs?

I would say to really listen to the client, just like any other design project. Make the extra effort to reach out to the clients – try to accommodate their specific needs and give them something unique.

A Princess For You web design

What do you love most about being a designer?

I love the artistic element, the feeling of creating something from scratch. I love when my 2 year old comes in my office and asks me to show him what I ‘made’ today.

International Relief Teams Web Design

What tips would you give to clients running design projects on 99designs?

Be clear in your brief, give as many specifics as you can, including dimensions, file format, and as much detail as you can about what you are looking for. Designers will give you lots of options but they don’t want to feel like they are going in circles and designing blindly.

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Designer Profile: Jude Fernando

Designer Profile

Jude Fernando – Philippines
99designs handle: Fernando’s design
Projects entered: 126
Projects won: 29

How did you get started in web design?

I got my start in design a long time ago, 1995 to be exact. It was not in web design, but in Architectural design. Yes, that was my foundation and my five years in architecture school developed my aesthetic sensibilities.

However, architectural practice in the real world didn’t work out for me. It was not my cup of tea – I discovered that creativity in the world of cement and steel was limited by so many factors. I started looking into other creative outlets such as traditional art and sculpture. All this was until the day I discovered Photoshop…

I was so amazed by the capabilities of the software, that I started spending all my waking hours messing around with it. I tried my hand at some personal websites for friends and poster designs for local events. I realized that this was something I could get good at after much encouragement and appreciation from my friends, family and early clients. This was also the time when websites were not cool and pretty to look at and there was definitely no web2.0 and glossy, shiny interfaces! There was and is so much potential on the web!

Web Design

How do you get your inspiration?

My initial inspiration is always the client. A good brief inspires me and gets me thinking about the possibilities. I also spend some time every single day just browsing the web, looking at great designs, seeing the work of other designers. The more you appreciate the work of others the more you grow in your own work. Most of my ideas come to me at night – when the world is asleep. A calm mind and quiet surroundings inspire a lot of thought. I never rush into a design.

Web Design

What led you to start using 99designs.com?

Unlike many here, I discovered 99designs quite late. I was randomly browsing through a popular web design forum when I came across a discussion about contests. The whole concept of crowdsourcing was new to me and I was curious enough about 99designs to give it a try.

I was hooked immediately – each and every contest gave me a rush but I was also depressed when I didn’t win. I am sure all of you designers here have felt the same. After 126 contests its still a rush and I have learned to deal with losing :)

99designs has been invaluable in providing me with a lot more opportunity than what I had before. Every contest is a learning experience and I have built relationships with more than a few regular clients though this site. I have improved a lot since I first started here – much of which is due to the concept of this site. Being able to compare ones work with the work of other designers gives you great insight into what you need to improve on. Without this constant interaction with other designers through the contest environment, I would still be stuck where I was a year ago.

Web Design

What are three things designers can do to have success at 99designs?

  1. Understand the brief. This is the the most important aspect of any contest, yet is more often than not the most overlooked. I don’t mean just read the brief, but actually understand what the contest holder wants. Read it carefully, take the time, don’t rush things.
  2. Think like the client. Put yourself in the clients position and think about what you would want if you were the client. What would be most important to you? Sometimes I even think about where the client lives and the acceptable current design practices in that country or that city. For example Scandinavia has a minimalist, functional and ultra modern design language, whereas Miami beach is about being eclectic, colorful and a little over the top.
  3. Offer something unique with your entry. Everyone likes to be surprised and clients remember unique designs. If two designs follow the brief to the letter and both designs have excellent technique, it’s likely the design that offers something unique or something extra will win. Remember, think like the client. Every client wants their website to standout from the crowd.

Web Design

What do you love most about being a designer?

Creative freedom is what I love the most. Each new project is a creative outlet and a challenge in itself. Each project brings something different. Not having to do the same thing every day for years is what I love most about being a designer.

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Designer Profile: ulahts

March 9, 2010

Logo Designer Profile - ulahts at 99designs.com

Designer Profile

Emilian Constantin – Bucharest, Romania
99designs handle: ulahts
Projects entered: 2349
Projects won: 301

How did you get started in design?

I started working with pencils when I was 12 years old – drawing sketches of muscles. I wanted to get the finest and strongest abs in my classroom – Later I discovered colors, and I think that did the trick :).

I participated in a few school-to-school drawing competitions which I was fortunate enough to win. At the age of 16 I started to play football (soccer) and I directed my creative juices towards “nasty” ball running. Then – between secondary and superior school, I started messing around with graphics again and especially printing.

I got my first part time job as an offset machinist in a large print house at the age of 21 when I was studying at university – I call that period “colorful white nights”. Logo Design - Spiffy Sparrow I worked for about 4 years as a machinist and then later I got into the sales department and prepress management. Of course this is where I discovered my aptitude for graphic design and finally met Mr. Corel … Corel Draw. Yeah, for me Corel was James Bond of graphic design programs for the next few years. Throughout the time I spent in printing I experimented heavily with brand design, logos, stationary, brochure design – almost everything that prints.

Around 2002-2003 a friend showed me a website where I could try to sell my artwork. At the beginning I thought it was a stupid idea, but later it got more competitive which for me – the harder it was the better. I haunted that website for about 3-4 years and worked my way up to being ranked first in the logos section.

What led you to start using 99designs.com?

Logo Design - Sprout BucketIn 2006 I was introduced to SitePoint at that time they had a Contest Marketplace section later to become the successful 99designs.com.

On 99designs I’ve had great success and during this period (SitePoint and 99designs) I have sold over 500 logos. I think I sold 80-90 logos on SitePoint alone – and that’s really when I began to get addicted to logo design. At this time I was a part time employee and was able to start my own small printing boutique which later brought me even more success.

Participating in projects at 99designs has definitely helped me reach greater heights in my design skills. One important lesson I learned is that if you have doubts about something that you are drawing, even the smallest doubt, then start working in another direction. Another tip I have for designer is do your homework – read about brand identity, color usage, printing etc… It helps a lot!

How do you get your inspiration?

Logo Design - CropdRegarding inspiration and what comes from it – both are lead by your state of mind, skills and experience. But above all that – there is something that I always keep firmly in mind:

“There is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity. In every generation the least cultivated taste has the largest appetite.”

Paul Gauguin

What I love most about being a designer is that it’s related to the brain and that’s an unlimited resource!

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99designs.com - Connecting Client and Designer

One of the biggest benefits of using 99designs.com for both clients and designers is that it creates a tremendous opportunity to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS for future work.

We recently received the following email from one of the designers in the community, pb_design, who wanted to tell us about just one such relationship.

Hi Guys,

Hope you’re all well.

Just want to share a story with you and it’s some positive feedback.

About a year ago I won a design contest on 99designs for a logo and iphone
application icon:

http://99designs.com/contests/17119

Since then I’ve continued working with the client, Ambient Industries, as
their graphic designer, designing the look of the whole application and the
website. During the evolution of the application it has changed name and
brand, from ‘Groove’ to ‘Flook’:

http://www.flook.it/

Flook is a location browser, it’s free to download and is currently a
staff pick on the Apple store US. Try it out and let us know what you
think!

I believe this is one of the true benefits of using 99designs. It enables
clients and designers to meet, who otherwise wouldn’t know of each other.
In a number of projects I, and other designers in the community have gone
on to do further work with the clients after the initial contest is
complete. Your site supports this, right across the world, which is
brilliant.

So, here’s a big thank you from me and Ambient Industries! If you hadn’t
hosted the contest, then the partnership in creating the app could never
have happened!

Cheers!
Pete Borlace (pb_design)

Oh and if you have an iphone – check out Flook… it’s pretty cool!

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Designer Profile: IfThenElse

January 12, 2010

Maria Rakic

Designer Profile

Marija Rakic – Novi Sad, Serbia
99designs handle: IfThenElse
Projects entered: 85
Projects won: 23

How did you get started in design?

Some of my friends were building websites and I started to learn html/css as an option to provide some extra cash. I was student of Faculty of Technical Sciences, University in Novi Sad, and I saw myself working as hardware programmer – I was more geek than artist so having a creative job never crossed my mind :) .

At first I was all over the place: flash, html, css, illustrator, Maya, php … Coding and programming was very interesting and easy for me but I found myself enjoying the design process the most. I’ve started paying more attention to it and spending more and more time working in Photoshop.

It took 5 years, and 3 PC’s but now, what started as additional income has become my full-time job.

Jeep Club Web Design

How do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. It can be my desktop wallpaper, a TV commercial, a tea cup… The main thing is not to force it, sometimes it takes days to come up with a wireframe and general idea – and in some cases a design brief is so interesting that you immediately get inspired.

CSS galleries are always a good resource for inspiration and as a way to follow design trends. You can learn a lot just by watching and analyzing other websites. Never stop learning, read as much as you can on design process and trends. Even when not inspired by the theme of the site you are working on (your 10th commercial site this month) it is important to develop a skill and to be able to produce quality work.

Hexaville Web Design

What led you to start using 99designs.com?

Sitepoint.com was one my favorite websites, and at the time the design contests were part of the Sitepont marketplace. … back in 2006. I spent some time just following the contests and then eventually decided to give it a go. 99designs has helped me develop my design skills – I’ve learned a lot through the contests and watching how different concepts are created based on the same brief. This is an excellent learning environment.

The majority of my regular clients found me on 99designs, so it is good place to find clients. This doesn’t mean you have to win a particular contest to get work, very often people will hire you based on your designs.

So don’t be discouraged when another design wins. Keep in mind, that even if you loose, quality work will be noticed, and in time you will obtain clients and a steady workflow.

On the other hand, even when I have work, it is too much fun to participate in the contests :). Measuring your work against others and trying to guess what the CH will like is very exciting. This will always bring me back to 99designs.

Cigar Info Web design

What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at 99designs.com?

1) Have respect for contest holder and his decisions. When entering a contest, keep in mind that the contest holder is spending time and money, and can conduct the contest any way they choose. Treat the contest holder as a client – not as a buddy. Be aware of when the contest ends and try to submit designs in a timely fashion ( you probably wouldn’t go to your boss or client 2 days before deadline and say: ”Please, please extend!”:))

2) Choose projects based on how they interest you, not by the prize money. I understand that high prize contests can be very tempting but you will do a much better job, and probably have more success if you only enter the contests that are appealing to you.

3) Keep your integrity. If you are asked to use other people design elements – respectfully decline. In my experience – this usually results in a win ;). Your opinion matters, don’t be afraid to suggest something different to a contest holder or propose a different solution for revision request. Treat any kind of feedback as constructive criticism.

Endurance Magazine Design

What do you love most about being a designer?

First of all, I am a web designer and developer – so for me – the perfect blend of technology and creative work is the part that I love the most.

I love the variety of work – you can work on a website for children one day and do a corporate and clean style the next. Every project is different.

Also, working with different people from different parts of the world can be very interesting.

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