Designer of the week is a series of articles brought to you by Web Design Pics. This is our small attempt to reveal hidden talents standing behind the scenes of great designs you see every day on the net. Independent designers deserve to be noticed and their work to be known. Designers – Personalities who make our everyday virtual life more attractive and nice. Professionals who are behind the scenes.
Designer of the week: a short interview with Mike Kus – Designer, Developer, Thinker.
How long have you been involved with web design?
I’ve been involved in Web Design since about 2005.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a web designer?
Between 2005-07 I worked for a web design agency. At this stage I didn’t build websites, I only designed them. In the early part of 2007 I decided I wanted to learn HTML & CSS so I could fully realize the creative potential of designing for the web. The web design world was really beginning to flourish and I saw an opportunity to bring some creativity to it.
What other illustrators do you take inspiration from?
I don’t generally take down the names of people who’s work inspires me. I scan a lot of work on all the usual platforms. There are so many great designers and illustrators that produce amazing work it’s hard to keep track of them all… but two names that spring to mind right now are Ryan Putnam & Steve Wolf. Ryan always inspires me with his unique take on design and illustration. Everything he produces is just a little bit ‘different’ to everything else you see out there. Steve Wolf specializes in branding and has the ability to create beautiful, bold and recognizable branding work. Again, it’s the kind of work that stands out from the crowd and that’s what attracts me to it.
What portfolio piece is your personal favorite?
My work goes down many different paths, so they’re not always comparable to each other in terms of ‘what I like best’. They’re designed to do different jobs, so I like them for different reasons. Having said that I’m pretty happy with the work that I’ve produced this year. Epic, Snapsound, Big Eye & Gooddollar are all projects I produced in 2018/19. You can view these projects at mikekus.com
What does a usual day involve for you?
This completely depends on where I am in a project. I could be doing research, hand-drawing some ideas, creating illustrations or designing web UI’s. I cover a lot of areas in my work. It feels good to have a job that keeps you interested and inspired.
How do you go about promoting your work?
I don’t do a whole lot of promotion but I put out new work on Twitter and Dribbble. A combination of using these platforms and word of mouth seems to work pretty well for me.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Firstly, it’s being creative and making stuff. I still get really excited about every project I work on. I love the feeling of potential possibilities at the beginning of a project and seeing it come together as the project progresses. Secondly, it’s the freedom I have. I run my own small design shop and get to work on many different kinds of projects, both client-based and personal. I also do some photography work alongside my design work and I love having that variation in my working life and the fact that I have the freedom to do it all.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
When you’re running your own business there are a lot of challenges. Project timings & logistics, working across various timezones, keeping track of finances and budgets, etc. Balancing this with a busy family life can be difficult at times but its all part of it, I guess.
On a more personal level as a designer, staying creative is always at the forefront of my mind. I’m very aware that creativity isn’t really a tangible skill. It’s an ability that designers and creatives have but to some extent, it’s out of our control. You can’t always just turn creativity on. This leads me to spending a lot of time thinking about ideas, looking at other creative work and generally keeping myself feeling inspired. Being creative isn’t something I take for granted and isn’t an ability I want to lose.
What’s your ultimate aspiration?
I want to create work for my clients and myself that stands out from the crowd and exceeds my client’s expectations. Creating work that I feel is pushing my own creative envelope is what makes me happy and what keeps me moving forward.
What advice would you give to aspiring web designers?
Stay creative, do things your own way, avoid sticking to web design trends, listen and take on advice but trust your gut feeling, create your own style or approach that people recognize, work with clients that want you to do your thing and above all believe in yourself.
Other works by Mike Kus: