I still think of that moment as the key moment of my career. I didn’t start that job without any experience. I had freelanced for years before that. But I was told that I needed to get a degree and a proper job so that I’ll earn enough money. So I got a degree in economics because there’s no design course at any of the Slovenian universities, and got that high-paying job at the bank. It was a ”proper” job that everyone kept telling me I needed. It wasn’t really a design job either, I was a business process manager. I basically designed software solutions for business processes which is basically what UX designers do.
I was presented with this opportunity in the summer of 2015. Until that point, I had spent two years living in Germany and working for an early-stage startup in Luxembourg. It was the job that I moved abroad for. Now, I finally had the chance to move to London and kickstart my UX design career there. Or so I thought. The gut feeling that I ignored was right. I joined the London-based startup which described the role in the contract as just “designer.” I found it odd at first, but then I consoled my self with something like: they probably see designers as generalists, that’s why they didn’t use UX designer or Product designer to describe the role. Being self-taught and having mostly freelance and early-stage startup experience at the time, I had already considered myself as a generalist. So I deluded myself that calling the role just “designer” was actually a good thing.
I’ve been advocating more daring and bolder use of typography on the web ever since I started the Better Web Type project. Picking a sans-serif font for titles and a serif one for the content is boring. So is placing the title at the top of the post and centre-aligning it. We’ve now had the tools required to design and build more interesting websites with exciting typography but most websites still go for a safer option.
I’ve been trying to achieve this type of design often when I worked on my personal projects. I’ve mostly been looking for inspiration in print and graphic design and tried to translate that to the web. I think I’ve been partially successful at doing that, but something I learned through the process is that websites still prefer to stick with safer approaches when it comes to typography.
53 percent of designers who responded to my survey were UX/Product Designers, around 17 percent were graphic, 9 percent web designers, 6 percent design generalists, 6 percent UI and visual designers, and around 4 percent were design managers. I have to admit that I’m surprised by these numbers as I didn’t expect such a large chunk of UX and Product designers.
My personal website used to be on the matejlatin.co.uk domain and consisted of mostly personal articles. I had only written a few of those in the past few years so it didn’t get a lot of traffic. Long gone were the days when I published an article every week. So the website was updated only every now and then. It was running on Jekyll and was hosted on GitHub Pages. That made a lot of sense when I designed and built it because I wanted to improve my Front-End developing skills, as well as Git.
It would take me years to find out that the open-plan offices suck. It would take me even longer to understand that a designer doesn’t need to be collocated with the team they’re working with to do their job well. Working remotely doesn’t hinder collaboration. Ok, that’s only partially true. Let’s dig deeper into this.
After more than 10 years of living in flats and paying a rent, after spending six years living abroad, and after saving every Euro through all these years, we finally have our own home. I wrote how I needed a break in the last blog post because I had to many things in my life at the time. Building a house, a full-time job, personal projects, new pets… it was all too much.
It’s almost one year since I “broke down” and I have been struggling ever since. A good week is always followed by two or three bad ones. It’s exhausting. So I decided to take a break. Or at least try. Me and my family depend on my full-time job so I can’t just stop working. But I need to take a pause and find a new balance. And that means stopping the work on my personal projects for a while.
2020 was a shitty year, there’s no arguing about that. So when I looked back and tried to remember good books that I read in 2020, I had a feeling that there were few. I thought that I wouldn‘t have enough for my annual list of favourite books. But I was wrong. With my latest… Continue reading My favourite books of 2020