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Direction – Timeless & Thoughtful Design

Our team has decided to interview the most intrigue creators on good design and test their works with the Attention Insight platform. It predicts how user’s attention distributes in design. Hope, these short talks will inspire you and give some useful insights on catchy design. Enjoy!

Meet Filip Justić from Croatia. He is a Co-Founder and Head of Design at a design and development agency Balkan Brothers.

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Why have you decided to step into design field? 

This happened by a chance. We needed a steady income, after our startup crashed and burned. Back in 2012 we started competing on 99designs without any previous knowledge, or traditional design education to try and see if we were any good at designing, and if we could make any money doing it. Maybe it’s not a standard answer, but it’s an honest one. We didn’t know what else to do, and designing brand, marketing and website materials for our startup was the only thing we did for the past year. We needed the money, so we gave it a shot. 

Immediately we were pretty good and could see there was some potential. At least good enough to make it on 99designs. So without proper design background we started to unfold our design journey, bit by bit. Now few years later we are glad we jumped into that rabbit hole. 

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What inspires you and why?

I believe i’m good at what I do, what I create. I strive to create simple and functional design solutions for my clients. Something that lasts, something that is easy to use, and even easier to understand. My inspiration is to create timeless and thoughtful designs that could stand the test of time and maintain their visual potency through all trends. It’s a long road to get there, but I think I finally started walking it. 

Not sure if it’s inspiring directly, but I love to see how someone can create a lasting impression through well balanced typography, spacing, sizing and use of colour. Through just a few ingredients you can create beautiful brands, print materials, websites or apps.

I’m always fascinated by simplicity. How simple can you make it, without damaging the experience?

How do you measure the success of your design?

Obviously, what kind of improvements we made for the client in terms of user experience, conversions, and general user happiness. But also how simple it is to maintain, manage and scale. How long it will last. Will they need to update and change their brand next year? Hopefully not. 

If we are able to create something that will satisfy everyone involved, from designers, developers to clients and users than I would say that was a success. 

Also, maybe sounds a little vain, but I love to see people getting inspired by some of our work, or if we manage to predict and/or influence the next “change” in design.

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What is your biggest challenge in design creation process?

Making design helpful for the user, while satisfying clients wishes (to some degree) and being happy with the final outcome of my work. That is generally the biggest challenge. 

The start is probably the hardest part to any project. Digesting all the data, research, examples and then opening a white canvas and starting to create layouts and ideas on style and visual language. Obviously, it all depends on the project and requirements but I find that the very start to any project (design phase) takes the longest. The trial and error process of creating something worth showing. 

On projects where I’m basically in charge of creative direction, I would say the most challenging part is to align everyone with the requirements and expectations. Giving all designers the tools and data they need to achieve wins, create progress and provide value to the client. 

The main challenge for our agency so far is to create guidelines for all processes imaginable: 

  • The way we organise folders, documents and design files. 
  • The way we layout design systems, connect styles and symbols. 
  • The way we communicate with clients, and write emails. 
  • The way we prepare handover files for our developers. 
  • The way we write code, setup projects and build products. 
  • The way we define who we are and what is our culture. 
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What principles do you follow when creating attention grabbing design?

Nice typography, spacing (vertical and horizontal), sizing, visual balance, white space, colour and contrast. There needs to be balance to anything you do. Balance comes through precision and guidelines, and through that comes visual appeal. 

I love white as a background. Most of the designs that come out of our workshop are “white”. Obviously, there are colour pops here and there, but generally we aim to create clean interfaces where “white” can be considered one of primary colours to all of our projects. 

Another big thing is that view ports, grids, sizes and load speeds are important. You need to consider the final user and his overall experience. Sometimes we need to degrade or remove the visuals to improve in general. 

Also, consider your client and their design or development resources. Don’t just design something for the sake of looking good, consider if they will be able to maintain that. What pops to mind here is testimonials, about us pages and similar.

Don’t just design something for the sake of looking good.

Get inspired by Balkan Brothers: behance.net/balkan-brothers or dribbble.com/balkanbrothers

Follow them on Instagram or Twitter

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