Serbian designer Branko Loncar (or Ludibes, as you may know him) has been a long-time member of our community. Joining 99designs back in 2010, he’s grown to be an incredibly successful Top Level logo designer, with more than 100 contest wins and five times as many 1-to-1 Projects.

Over his time here, Ludibes has become a prominent face on the designer Forum and earned accolades including a Top 9 at 99 win, as well as the Logo design winner for the first annual 99awards.

In this interview, we chatted with Ludibes about how his drawing hobby transformed into a professional career. Enjoy!

Name: Branko Loncar
Location: Novi Sad, Serbia
99designs handle: ludibes
Specialty: Logo design

What is your background in design? How did you first get started?

For me, it all started as a hobby. Drawing isn’t on my list of talents… I’m more of a “technical” person and even in school I had higher grades for Technical Drawing than for Art Classes. But I still had eagle-eyes for details and fine art 😉

At some point, for pure fun, I started playing with Photoshop and was amazed with the endless possibilities. Even though I was completely unschooled in this field, it drew my attention and I started teaching myself with online tutorials.

Soon, I was hired and working for a large local publishing house, mostly on book cover designs.

Hobby became job, job became passion…

Describe your design style.

My designs are modern, edgy and mostly abstract but suitable for its intended use. I’m a big fan of 3D designs, but I’m trying to be versatile so I often enter contests for classic and even girly designs 😉

Combining different styles keeps my mind fresh and inspiration flowing.

What led you to start using 99designs? Can you describe your experiences with us?

I was introduced to 99designs by a friend who was already a noticeable member of the community. At first sight, financial opportunity was really encouraging but I wasn’t familiar with vector designs. I was stunned by the quality of work submitted and my hunger for knowledge was unleashed.

When I won first contest, I was hooked 😉

I’ve learned a lot since that first win, thanks to 99designs and its community members. I’ve made some good friends and with their guidance, I’ve built my own style. After one year, I had a pretty big base of clients and started to get more business offers outside of 99designs. The bar was raised, I had to quit my regular job and start with full-time freelancing.

Now, I work for two design agencies and I’m planning my own in the near future. Still, whenever I can, I like to join contests and compete with fellows.

Somehow 99designs always pushes my boundaries and makes me test my skills over and over again 🙂 There are some great designers on this site and their work is not just impressive and inspiring, but are also dictating the direction of future design. That’s why I’ll never quit 99 😉

What can 99designs do to help you have a better experience?

  1. Last forever
  2. Never break first rule

What do you think is the most important part of the design process? What is your favorite part of the process?

Most important part of the design process is “initial spark.” The feeling you get when you see a company name and after reading the first two lines of their brief, you have great ideas that could win the contest.

If there is no spark, solutions are possible but it requires much more time and thinking. The toughest part is evolving your idea — implementing the requirements and maintaining the overall desired look.

Presentation of your work is very important and lately, I’ve been experimenting with it. Your presentation has an impact on the clients first impression, and is a great factor in winning their contest, but it’s crucial to develop your design skills first. No use in providing a good presentation for lousy work 😉

And finally, what’s better than the prize and money is the feeling you get when your logo is displayed and representing the client.

How do you take in feedback from the CH’s on your designs? We understand that feedback can sometimes be negative. Do you have any words of encouragement for new designers who may receive negative feedback?

After 800 contests, I have learned to deal with both, positive and negative feedback. Its a tricky part of our job because we all need feedback but it can make us feel pettish about our work.

There are times contests take a direction that is far from your initial idea where, even if I win, I’m not pleased with the results. But, I welcome negative feedback. It can save you plenty of time from developing concepts for someone who clearly doesn’t like your style.

What do you love about being a designer?

The feeling you get when something you’ve created draws a proud smile on your face. And an even better feeling when you receive positive comments and the client is satisfied.

Also, the fact that I have a decent life thanks to designing. 🙂

What is a hobby that you enjoy doing outside of graphic design?

There is not much time left outside of designing, freelancing and raising children.

Music is irreplaceable because it plays even when I’m sleeping. When I have free time, I like to play djembe or listen to African roots music, as well as modern psychedelic trance and ritual beats. I was once a party person, but now I satisfy my party needs each year at a festival.

See more of Ludibes work here.