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 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

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 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

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 – 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!

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 the #1 marketplace for crowdsourced logo design, web design, or any other design need!
Designer Profile: KT Designs, Inc. at

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

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: ulahts

March 9, 2010

Logo Designer Profile - ulahts at

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

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

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!


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 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

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.


Designer Profile: Neptune

December 8, 2009

99designs Profiles - Neptune

Designer Profile

Diane Murphy – Milwaukee, WI
99designs handle: Neptune
Projects entered: 301
Projects won: 49

How did you get started in design?

I graduated from Carroll University with a BA in Fine Art way back in the 80’s when there were no computers in the graphic art industry. I’ve had many different creative jobs over the years- photographer, painter, art director, and finally, mural artist. Then 12 years ago, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Illustrator and Photoshop, and I was hooked right away. I could not believe these amazing tools were out there. I ditched my ladders and paint brushes and taught myself how to use the software with books and on-line tutorials.

Host Hut Logo

How do you get your inspiration?

I would have to say I’m inspired by the incredibly creative work I see from fellow artists, by current cultural trends, and by imagination.

I imagine a logo design project as simply a problem to solve in the most original way possible. The process to me is a continuous stream of trial and error- a quest to find the perfect solution. The right logo is out there, waiting to be revealed.

Flannel Planet Logo

What led you to start using

A friend of mine sent me the link a little over a year ago, knowing that I loved designing logos. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

I think it does help build clientele- I’ve had many contest holders contact me for further work.

I have met many designers on the site that have helped me with technical issues, inspired me, and at times, made me laugh out loud. Logo

What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at

1) Before starting any design work for a contest, read the entire brief, any links from the contest holder, and any comments available in the discussion. This may seem like an obvious step to some, but when I first started participating in these contests, I would get halfway through the brief, get a scathingly brilliant idea, design it, then find out later it wasn’t even close. Had I read all the info I would have saved myself a lot of time.

2) Don’t get discouraged. It’s been my experience that most of the time spent designing for contests I didn’t win does not go to waste. The lessons learned and the experience gained proves to be quite valuable. Also, those rejected designs go on to inspire me and help save design time in future contests.

3) If you are new, I think it’s better initially to stay away from those big prize contests with hundreds of submissions. There are just too many designs for the CH to review and give proper feedback. I think it’s better to forget about the prize amount, and enter the smaller contests that are giving good feedback.

Sugar Pop Records

What do you love most about being a designer?

I like that my very left-sided brain works differently than those who think more with the right side. It makes me feel like I have a secret weapon.


Terry Bogard

Designer Profile

S. Riz – Toronto, Canada
99designs handle: Terry Bogard
Projects entered: 594
Projects won: 54

How did you get started in design?

Well I remember in school, my classroom’s bulletin board was filled with my drawings. My mom did quite a bit of drawing and my father was a very good poet, so I think I was born with the artist genes. Plus, I was lucky enough to have a lot of creative friends. One of my friends and I used to sketch fighting game characters and made storyboards for games just for fun. The first creative competition I ever entered was to design (shape) a game console for a worldwide contest. Later in 1993 when ATARI Jaguar (game console) was launched, I was happy to see that the design actually had a little bit of the angles I proposed. This alone felt like an achievement and motivated me to do small identity design projects from time to time. Later on I started working with a design studio where I learned more about identity design and market dynamics. That was the start of it really. I have no formal design education or background- I am self-taught.

Park Avenue

How do you get your inspiration?

I think inspiration can come from anywhere – from an individual atom to the entire universe and everything in between. It’s all about observation and bringing your memory of visuals together FOR the right brand, AT the right time, WITH the right combination(s) and WHEN the need arises. But that does not mean that I’m just another creative junkie who is waiting for his next design hallucination. There is a process that formulates this creativity.

I think a product has both functional and emotional attributes. The functional attributes are the brand’s promise to its consumers, while the window to its emotional attributes is what design is really all about. Although design process will vary depending on the project, my most basic practice is to do a 20 second visual check where I brainstorm the keyword(s) that best describe the business or project I am working on. The idea is to know what emotions those keywords generate and what image those emotions translate into from a consumer standpoint.

What led you to start using

I was at my office desk randomly looking at designs on to pass some time, when I came across I thought it was a great idea for both businesses and designers to come together on a platform that offers creativity from around the globe. I participated in a few contests just for fun and noticed that my designs were getting a lot of attention. I pretty much felt the same as I did when I entered the video game console-design contest back in my teens. After my first several contests I won one, and that’s when I started doing it more and more. Since then, the experience has been phenomenal and there has been a huge learning curve throughout. Watching the world design has helped me improve and deliver better each and every time. 50% of the projects that I won ended up with follow-on work. In fact there were times when even though I did not win, I was contacted and offered work. It helped me build a great portfolio and understand market dynamics. I have also made many friends from all over the world who have been extremely helpful and very appreciative. These are all very talented people with very respectful and professional attitude for the trade. I think 99designs is the only site that I have seen with so many contests running at the same time, so it’s a big opportunity to make money too.


What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at

I get asked this question a lot via private message but nobody ever asked about three things…LOL! Well, success for me is an ongoing process on, and it’s hard to close the box with 3 things only. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to deeply consider brand & consumer psychology. Here’s my advice for those who have recently joined 99designs:

  • Enter as many projects as you can to get a firm grasp on the whole process, from presenting a design to evolving it as necessary. This not only increases your chances of winning but also puts you in a design-groovy-mode and helps you to consistently generate creative ideas. It very soon becomes a chain reaction and everyone else tries to deliver better and better.
  • Do a little research before drafting ideas and look at other designs to make sure your draft is not similar to anyone else’s. This will help you to not waste time on a design that someone else has already made and allow you to invest your time in something unique.
  • Explain your thought process if you do something outside of what the client described in the brief – After all, you might be able to produce and envision something that the client did not. Have a positive influence on the community by being appreciative of others for constructive criticism. It has always helped me learn in one-way or another.


What do you love most about being a designer?

I think I’m no different than other creatives in terms of enjoying their work. I can simply put it this way – I love being paid for doing what I enjoy. Imagine being paid to have fun, eat and sleep. Designing is my passion and every creation of mine makes me feel great regardless if its sold or not. But getting paid to be passionate is just great.