UX & Web Designer
Nitra - Slovakia
I always liked graphics in all forms, from playing good looking games to learning 3D rendering programs to drawing. Back when I was finishing at the University of Economics I realized that I didn't want to be just another person in the crowd. That was when everything started.
I remember being in my room about 4 years ago while I was browsing internet, amazed at digital art. That was the key turning point that changed my path. So I bought design books, practiced design fundamentals, dig deeper into coding (in my free time) and made a few "silly" home-made projects.
I was given a chance in a small agency in Bratislava right after finishing school. It was there I learned all the basics about design and semantic coding. Then I moved to my current employment that unleashed my business thinking. Falling into the world of freelance was inevitable since I always wanted more projects and to gain more experiences. I can describe myself as a "hungry design shark" eating everything related to usability and design that crosses my path.
My strongest area is UX, Web and UI Design and I invest the most of my time into developing and mastering these 2 areas. My favourite tools are pencil, wooden desk, eraser, Photoshop and Sublime text. I can't live without web presentation tools such as Symu.co, where you can gently present your work to clients and Balsamiq for mockups. My greatest inspiration comes from CSSDA, Behance, Dribble and other great sites. If I had the option to be picked up by one agency, it would definitely be Hello Monday or Werkstatt due to the amazing work they are providing.
Being a freelancer is a lifestyle, not just work. It is very demanding on a psychological level because you have to search for jobs and do great planning to meet clients' needs. It requires a patient personality and great negotiating skills. You have to keep your mind clear and fresh which is why I strongly recommend to do any kind of physical activity. I regenerate my "damaged" brain cells by visiting nature, going to the gym, playing tennis, boxing a few times a week and enjoying my hyperactive son :).
The biggest gain is that you learn to think globally about the whole project process and not only about the design. I am a forward planner because I don't like stress (who does). Daily priority is being a great father and loving husband and then, of course, be an inspirational designer. Today I am working on a maximum of 1 or 2 side projects apart from my regular employment to provide ongoing creative and efficient work.
I prefer international projects because it's not easy being a freelancer here in Slovakia. Clients want the best solutions and have limited budgets. If they have money, they mostly use the services of prestigious digital agency.
Mostly, I cooperate with other people from the digital field (UK, USA, Australia, Germany) which is great for gaining and sharing experiences and keep up-to-date with the latest trends, tips and tricks. I can definitely recommend young designers to have a precisely crafted portfolio page since it's the first touchpoint with possible clients. It does not matter if you have only 3 projects. Take them, polish them and present to surrounding audience like a hero. Feedback from others will help you move forward and avoid mistakes in the future.
My final quote is - Everything is possible. It's all about the effort you're willing to invest. And don't eat yellow snow :).