Nenad Milosevic is a t-shaped designer focused on interaction, product, and interface design, based in Vienna, Austria (open to new job opportunities!)
Developing intuitive and frictionless user experiences is not just his expertise but also his passion. Self-taught and fluent across multiple platforms and technologies, he loves great design, problem-solving, and crafting digital interfaces that make people’s lives easier.
This interview is a part of the Austria Design Map – a project that tells stories of the Austrian Design scene. The project is done by Brainster Alumni as a part of the Brainster learning-by-doing curriculum. Through this hands-on approach, students get real-life experience from working on products that come to life.
Brainster: In your portfolio, you have some beautiful case studies where you use storytelling to explain project workflows. This is easier to do when the project is finished because the big picture is crystallized and learnings have been accumulated. Can you give us some tips on planning the design process better, and understand the client requirements clearly in order to have a 10/10 realization of the project?
Nenad: That’s a good question and also a very tough one. There are so many factors to consider, but I’m gonna try to answer it anyway.
The key is to have a great understanding of what the client (or company) wants to achieve. Usually, you don’t get that in a design brief and it’s not rare that client doesn’t know. So, the questions you should ask yourself and your client are how to make the product/service better.
Understand. Go into details but keep in mind the whole picture. Talk to users (if possible). Look at the competition. Do massive research on the subject. Explore solutions and never settle on the first one. Make 10 versions and then go through a process of selection. Explore. Test whenever possible. At least ask people around you for their opinion and try to understand why they said what they said. Gather feedback. Ask all the questions you might have and don’t be shy. There are no stupid questions. The more you know about the thing you’re designing the more are the chances that you’re gonna do a good job.
Your success will depend on your experience. To get experienced you need to work, so keep on pushing and you’re gonna make it!
Brainster: The design world is one big community of interconnected creatives. How has the design community contributed to your career (knowledge, opportunities) and vice-versa?
Nenad: I’m a self-thought designer so I owe a lot to the community. I started messing around in Photoshop a bit before I had an internet connection (1998). I learned by doing, and later by reading forums and tutorials on the oldie DeviantArt. Reading books, downloading project files, analyzing how are things done. Reverse engineering designs that I like. Working with a lot of different clients at first is very important. Reject bad clients.
Now, whenever I have the time, I upload my files online for anybody to look inside. Giving back to the community is important.
Brainster: What are your favorite apps/websites to work on? (In your portfolio we noticed a couple of projects from the music industry =)
Nenad: Yes, exactly! That’s my thing. 😎 I’ve been fiddling with music production for like 20 years. I’ve designed professionally for around 15. So, yeah, it kinda made sense to combine the two passions. I’d recommend that to everybody, see if you can marge your hobby with your profession. It might work. The advantage is obviously an expert-level understanding of the subject. The downside is that you’re running a risk of ruining your hobby.
Brainster: Can you show us your 3 favorite projects and tell us why you like them?
Nenad: I’m currently working on projects that are not finished and some are unfortunately under NDA. But for sure my Ableton Live redesign is in the top 3.
I didn’t get the job at Ableton but I’m getting a lot of clients because of that project. The other one is Captain Plugins.
Brainster: What is the 1 designer that has influenced your work the most?
Nenad: I think that one designer is Dieter Rams. Because I learned from him that every part of a design should have a purpose. The saying ‘Less is more’ is certainly not his originally, but I learned it from him. I strongly recommend to anyone to read his ‘Good Design’ principles.
Brainster: That is the 1 designer you admire most?
Nenad: Hmm, not really… Here’s how I see it: Design is a problem-solving game and every designer has a different way of doing it. I don’t admire anyone specific way of solving problems, I try to figure out the best way every time I have a problem that I have to solve.
Regardless, I love great design and I love looking at other designer’s works. But I don’t think I should be influenced much by a single designer, in any way.
Brainster: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge a beginner designer must overcome to start doing amazing work?
Nenad: It depends. We are all different. So, it might be communication for someone and it could be technical skills for somebody else. Beginners often think that tools are of utmost importance but they are not, especially when you’re a noob.
There are a couple of things that you need to nail to be successful in my book.
You need to know how to sell yourself. You should figure out what you’re capable of doing that others can’t do well. Find your niche. Then crack what clients need and want. And finally, work out how to find a client or company you want to work with.
It’s much easier if clients and companies are coming to you for help. If you solve how to set yourself apart it will be easier to make yourself seen. You need to get the attention of your clients.
Working with people is hard and you need to work out how to make it manageable and fun.
Keep learning. Use the oldest books you can find as well as the latest tutorials on YouTube. Your career is a design project as well, so, you have to keep updating it. I found that the basics are the most important, and often I don’t see that designers understand that. By ‘basics’ I mean colors, composition, typography, etc.
Finally, all this is doable, keep that in mind. As Steve Jobs said:
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.“
Discover more designers from the Austria Design Map and learn how you can transform your career with Brainster and master UX/UI Design.