Designer Profile: Hitron
We have a lot of talented individuals and freelancers in our community, and we are proud to showcase them through our designer profiles. But designers are collaborators at heart and often find that their strengths are better funneled through a group working environment. Successful collaborations are something to celebrate and that is why we are really excited to introduce you to the eJump Media team, known around here as Hitron.
99designs handle: Hitron
Projects won: 216
99designs: Give us a bit of background on yourself. Who are you outside of 99designs?
Bogdan: I’m just the visible part of the iceberg 🙂 Even though on 99designs I’m registered as an individual, I’m just the interface between my colleagues and your website, so I think its best not to talk much about me but about my team.
We’re eJump, a gang of nine dedicated graphic designers, html coders and programmers with more than five years background in the industry. Now in our team, there are two designers, two project managers (one for the design team and one for the coding team), and five programmers for front end and back-end. Each of us has a specific strength, but we are stronger together. Through our combined expertise we can handle projects of any magnitude, starting from design to html implementation, CMS integration, testing and migration. Here’s how our team looks like at the moment:
- Bogdan: me, a graphic artist and a customer relations manager
- Radu: our technical team leader who also manages customer relations
- Dan Nistor: graphic artist who does impressive illustrations
- Cosmin S: talented graphic artist
- Edi: specializes in front end technologies, one page applications and ERP integrations
- Liviu: CMS guru (Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, OpenCart)
- Dan A: HTML Coder and Wordpress expert
- Adrian: PHPL Programmer and Agnitio expert
- Liviu B: C++ developer and backend integrator
We’re not only defined by our work, but also by our diverse hobbies — ranging from photography, painting or electronics to karaoke or even TV series. So the daily conversation between team members at the office is always quite interesting, to say the least.
You have been with us since 2009. How has your style changed and progressed since those early days? What are some of the most important design lessons you have learned over that time?
For us it was a very interesting and intense journey. Five years that shaped the team and our general way of working. I started as a one-man team, me — Bogdan. Then the workload started to be too big for just one person and projects kept coming in, so I quickly became a team of two when another designer joined me, and this way we were able to produce more state-of-the-art designs for our clients.
Gradually we realized that our customers wanted a full range of services, not only design, so we started to take into consideration the idea of filling this need. We brought into the team a developer and a new designer, and then a new coder. In these last five years we’ve grown fast by adapting to the demand and clients’ requests and now we are a team of nine innovative people who work together in our own modern office in Bucharest.
There were a lot of design lessons that shaped our style. We’ve learned one very important thing, and that is that the financial reward is less important than choosing the right project for your team and that matching with the right client is crucial.
We value working with someone with whom we can communicate efficiently, and at a project we really enjoy. These things trump the value of the financial prize. When you like what you are doing, you will do better work and you’ll come out with a sense of accomplishment. Well-done, useful and appreciated work makes it all worth it in the end. Most of our clients are from the US or Australia, and a pleasure to work with as they have a more relaxed, calmer and result-oriented attitude, a bit different from the common Eastern European mindset.
Another thing we learned is not to take it personally. Even if sometimes you feel you had the best design in a certain contest, but you were still not selected, is often a result of the fact that (luckily) people are all unique in our behavior and tastes. You must realize that the work done is not work for nothing, but is a way to practice and become better at what you do. We learned to keep at it no matter what and to produce excellent work while keeping the team united, because when you do that, the money will follow.
What was your design experience before us? Do you have any formal training in design or are you self-taught?
We all had relevant experience in design or coding before joining eJump. For example, I have been working as a designer even before discovering 99designs.
My work experience actually goes all the way to my youth as design was always one of my passions. I had some very interesting projects, including an e-learning platform project where I led a team of 12 designers along with a friend who ran the coding team. During this project both of us realized that we work well together and we laid the groundwork for our current team. Most of us have some of both: formal training and learning by ourselves through a trial-and-error process.
Who/what are your biggest design influences?
We think a designer is influenced by everything around him or her. It’s important to pay attention to your surroundings, to notice patterns and learn from everything you see and experience every day. Inspiration comes in all forms. Above that, to feed our creative minds we browse through niche blogs and design web pages or become part of communities dedicated to designers, and draw inspiration from those. We are always checking the relevant news, new releases or trends and commenting on new design.
A big part of inspiration is the environment you create. We try to create an environment to entice the creative mindset. We do that with music and things that make us feel comfortable — like a cup coffee with milk, something sweet or a comfortable chair. When we feel our best and all the basic and not-so-basic conditions are met, the creative process unfolds more easily.
On 99designs you are a prolific website designer. What is it about website design that draws you to the medium? What are some web design trends you are really excited about these days?
There’s a continuous challenge to create something unique, functional, different but yet very familiar to the user. You can never get bored in this domain and we feel like we are improving the world little by little every day. It’s also a medium that allows you to meet very interesting people and to stumble upon new and challenging concepts and ideas.
And when it comes to design, we are particularly excited about geometric, handcrafted, flat, minimal and clean design, which we integrate in our own work.
What kind of space do you work in? What would be your ideal work space?
The working space is very important to us and we invested almost an entire summer to redesign our new office to create a comfortable and creative environment. Each of us has a high-performance PC with dual screens.
But the most important thing is the general atmosphere at the office. We work in a relaxed and creative space, we have Happy Fridays, hold regular outings, little fun work events, and students have flexible schedules. We strive to have a sort of Silicon Valley startup feel, which means time and dedication. But it’s all worth it. We work in an environment which stimulates creativity and which creates friends out of team members.
You live in Bucharest, which is a city that has seen a lot of changes and contains many different architectural, historical, and artistic influences. How has your location inspired your work? What do you like best about where you live?
Even though Bucharest may not be as visually inspiring as other European capitals, it compensates through the inspiring, hard-working and determined people you meet here, and the lively crowd and quite active lifestyle you can have. You can always find a new coffee shop, magazine, bar, or art gallery that can surprise and inspire you. We are also lucky to be just a few hundred miles away from the mountains and the sea, a change of scenery is always inspiring.
There’s something special in the way people think, live and interact with each other in Bucharest. That changed the way we see design and the way we go about our work. Bucharest is a hustling and bustling city and it’s a bit chaotic at times, which helps to keep our creative minds busy and active.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring web designers?
An aspiring web designer should always be open to experimenting with new trends, but should also try to add a personal touch and develop his or her own style. He or she should not stop looking for sources of inspiration, and that often means looking at the work of other designers and trying to improve their solutions to design problems. There is no shame to drawing inspiration from others as long as you don’t commit plagiarism.
We would encourage each aspiring designer to keep at it even when it proves to be difficult, and to identify the type of projects that bring the most satisfaction. Choose the clients as much as they choose you and focus on great quality!
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