Interview with Petar Stojakovic – Art Director

Interview with Petar Stojakovic

Petar Stojakovic

Product Designer and Art Director, Serbia
I just simply wanted to learn by myself, and I do believe that was the more difficult road to take, but I also believed that is the best way I can improve myself.

Please give us a brief bio of yourselves ?

Hmm, let me try to tell a story that not many people here know and at the same time try not to bore anyone out of their minds. I am a digital product designer and art director, born and raised in Serbia. A small but unique country in the heart of the Balkans. Until, let’s say, I was 22 years old, my talent for design was not visible at all. Usually people who have some talent and show interest in design have fairly good art class grades, attend various creative workshops and in general are acting in a creative way. Me, on the other hand, I was far from it. But in spite all of that I knew, deep down, that I want to have a career where I can, with my own wits and hands, create something out of nothing and shape the impossible. A fun fact: Since I was a little kid I was interested in mechanical things, so, at the age of 12, in the cover of darkness and throughout two months I was secretly fixing my brothers scooter which stood there out of order for more than 5 years.

The start of my university years also meant the start of my search for a job, since I was paying for my own education. Interestingly enough, my first job also landed me my first baby steps in design. I was a kitchen designer in a local furniture store and after 11 months of hard work I managed to obtain a leading role and told myself: “Hm, this design thingy seems to fit me quite well!” On my third year of studies I had a course in “Computer design and graphics”, in which I fell in love with and there I definitely found myself. I was 22 at the time and I had a whole bag of mixed feelings about it. I was still not 100% sure in which direction should I expand myself, but I knew that I needed to make that decision pretty fast. After I finished the university, I got a job at a local agency “Heavyform”, in that same agency I made my first steps and walked into the world of professional design. After a year or so, I decided to quit and begin my freelancing adventure. I bet you are wondering why. The work environment, the salary and the working conditions were not the reason, quite the opposite, we had amazing conditions, excellent teammates and we worked for world renown brands and companies and that brief period there helped me get a great deal of experience. But I figured, as a very young designer, I need to feel out my direction, achieve my own style and make my own decisions, and that was difficult to achieve there, when you are constantly under the lead of someone else.

I just simply wanted to learn by myself, and I do believe that was the more difficult road to take, but I also believed that is the best way I can improve myself. And make my own specific style for which, someday, I will be recognized. After two years of being a freelance art director and designer I still think that that was the best decision I ever made. Now, in front of my team and me, stands a whole slew of new challenges and a whole lot of learning, but that is the bread and butter of this job that fulfills me.

What you did for getting “one step ahead of the curve” ?

I tended to develop my own style and not to be under the influence of current trends or idolized designers. Simply I wanted to learn from my own mistakes and failures, which there were a lot in the beginning, and a new one comes here and there even now. My goal was that every new project is different from the latter. I try not to use the same “tricks” I used previously, but try to experiment with new and exciting ideas and details. To try to bring something new, fresh, and different. Even if my attempt was a total disaster, even if I throw away two weeks of hard work, and if at least 3% of that failed attempt taught me something new, I consider that a success

Which projects excites you most ?

A simple answer: Concept Projects. They allow me to get out of my comfort zone and be in top shape, to make something new, cool, and different. Now, that doesn’t mean they are always successful. I had few concept projects that have never seen the light of day, but those were learning experiences and I am grateful for them. That also taught me a lot about who I am and what am I capable of. Simply put, concept projects are the things that excite me the most and put that little glitter of joy in my eye. A bit of a tease: In a month or so I will publish my first, hopefully successful concept project. One I worked on almost a year. So, CSS Winner, expect my submission soon. :)

What will be the design trends to grow in 2015 ?

Google material design is definitely one of the more growing trends at this moment. I believe that we will see more mixing of styles, such as iOS and Material design in web and as well in app design. Also, the usage of WebGL technologies will be more and more prevalent in the design world

What do you do for inspirations ?

I try not to think of design. I look for inspiration in being relaxed with my family and friends. I walk the streets and travel. Most of my best ideas pop to mind on my way to work or back home, when I travel, simply put when I don’t have to think about design but somehow subconsciously I solve a puzzle which has been bugging me in the past few days. I don’t want to force my creativity and inspiration, I just let it flow and allow it to come to me. It doesn’t come from reading other designers books or looking at their work, just when I don’t even have to think about work inspiration comes by itself when I least expect it.

What will be the designer’s role in the world of standards-based apps ?

Standards have good and bad sides. One of the positive things is an easier, cheaper and faster development of a single application from which we get the all-to-well known UX and UI, this some people consider an advantage. The negative aspect of standards is that, most of the applications look like one another. They have the same elements, the same layout, the same UX and UI. Here the client and the designer come into play. The client who is ready to come away from the standards, set up by the industry, and make something different and, a bit, more expensive. And the designer who needs to come out of his comfort zone and make a recognizable but innovative UX and UI. I think that standards don’t have a huge effect when it comes to very serious designer/client combinations and with big and expensive projects, because everyone wants to stray away from the standards in order to make its own product a bit more unique and set up its own brand and signature look.

Tell us about your latest project.

Unfortunately I cannot disclose a lot due to an NDA, but I can say I finished it a few days ago. Also I can say that it is a dating app which will, I’d like to believe so, be a game changer in that industry. The complete vision of the app is made in accordance to the passion of the user itself, and merging the user with another user who shares the same. UX is very innovative and much different from what we could see until now. UI also brings a very fresh and different approach, which should bring a unique, luxurious and fun experience with the user.

Your favourite blogs, web apps or mob apps you refer frequently ?

I would name a few: Wired, Fubiz and Medium. With these blogs I spend most of my online reading hours. I get to hear news from different topics and professions which spark my interests, even if they have nothing to do with design.

Mac or PC ?

I love both OSes, both of them have advantages and disadvantages. Both are nice and functional in their own way. I used a PC most of my life. It has been only two years ago that I started using a Mac, but as someone who is working with design, and not being a heavy user, and a person who has an eye for detail, my vote goes to Mac, because there it definitely wins.

Your favorite studios, designers or agencies ?

I try not to have favorites, but some are too good to not mention:
1. Fantasy Interactive
2. Hello Monday
3. Anton & Arene

Has “CSS Winner” helped you in any way :) ?

Definitely YES! Getting the SOTD award from CSS Winner has shed a significant light on the PetarStojakovic™ team, which motivated us massively. The best thing about this award is that it increases the confidence we have and get from our current/future clients.

How many hours do you work each week ?

I try not to work more than 60h a week. As I mentioned earlier, I never really shown any talent for the work I do, so sometimes I need to work a bit longer in order to achieve the thing I really want. Working 12h a day does not present any kind of problem to me, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work anymore, more like one big classroom where I learn something new every day.

Your biggest achievement ?

I think for me, as a young designer, it may be a bit too early to state some big achievements. My biggest success, if I ever achieve it, would be to get recognized by users and colleagues by my own style and design, without writing my name anywhere.

What software could you not live without ?

Photoshop and Spotify, simple as that.

You are very much alive in which social networking website ?

Facebook and Twitter

Thank You Petar, Thanks for your time.

No, thank you Nick! It was an honor!

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