This week I had the opportunity to interview one of my favourite designers. This guy is not only a great and inspiring designer, but also one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met in my life. I really LMAO. So I urge you to stop with what you’re doing at this moment and take the time to read and enjoy this fantastic interview I had with my friend Pedja Rusic!!
Welcome to Iconpaper Pedja. Would you please introduce yourself to our Iconpaper followers?
Hi folks! My name is Pedja Rusic, recently I learned that in Ukraine it resembles something like fagot, but I’m proud of my name nonetheless, I am located in Belgrade, Serbia. For those that have no clue as to where the heck is Serbia use Google Maps! I’m in to all sorts of stuff, that I believe the other questions will provide an answer.
Where did you learn your skills? Where do your creative instincts come from?
Hmm now that takes me back, I started back in 2001 something like that, worked for the school newspaper, now that was sort of the lamest thing anyone would ever do, but I got a lot of free time for it and I hated school and classes so that was sort of the best thing. And there is where I met her, no wait wrong story, and there is where I met Photoshop…7. Gahd that was a fun time, everything I made looked like crap, and was not improving at all, but my god that was a fun time. Then thx to Aqua-Soft and my brother who always had his icons, and wallpapers as custom ones, I started to think that icons were so freaking cool! I mean the word customization even had a nice ring to it, and all of those people that were making Icons, and Wallpapers, then the Visual Styles came and it was truly a period where I did feel as a consumer whore, and just worshiped the work that was slaped at my face. So like any other hobby or interest, when you do something for a long, or show interest for a long time, you sort of want to show and take part in that great community. So in 2003-2004 I started making my own stuff, never released the iKlank set, my own version of Aqua, and there was something very simillar to that 2D japan set from back in the day. Then again I played the role of a consumer whore, had some life problems, and when I fixed those problems I finally made my first release! The “Tiger Trash”, in 2007. Well after that I believe most of you know what I did.
But back to the question, my skills are still unknown to me, I guess I just watched a lot of pixels in my time, I am really thankfull to the people that started before all of us.
Can you give us an insight into a typical day in the life of Pedja Rusic?
Hmm I think I’m, a boring person for most of the day, wake up with Boxee, play me some WoW and CoD4, suck some pixels, get out with some friends to probably have photosessions, or get wasted and crazy! I listen to A LOT of audiobooks, I watch too many shows, games are like wine for me, I digest and love videogames! Podcasts are an important thing too, would love to make one someday! Then sometimes I play with Legos, yeah still… then night falls and it’s party all night long! If not that im prob. working on some jobs till I die of being tired.
Altough Iconpaper is a website dedicated to Mac, iPhone and iPad customization, I really wanna know the answer to my next question from you as a designer. Are you a Mac or a PC and of course why?
Hmm I’m gonna have to say, I’m a Playstation man…Windows was good when I was a kid, games are great on windows, Mac is amazing for work, it’s simplified easy to use, sort of like consoles. I like it when something is easy to use, because we have other stuff in life that need our attention, why can’t I have all types of shortcuts and apps that make my life just a bit more easy. Mac is expensive, Windows is retarded to use, Playstation is just wonderfull, makes me smile the most!
What design tools do you use and can you explain your choice? Which tools would you suggest to fellow designers?
Well, these past few years, I saw a lot of 3D…and I hate that.
Because I only use Photoshop, and pixelmanipulation! Using other apps for the basic shapes like 3D I find them to be cheating! So I say PS ftw!
Where do you get your inspiration from or go for inspiration? And how do you deal with creative blocks?
Oh boy, did I have those blocks…well I found out that when that happens, thank god that didn’t happen in a long time, I sort of hit rock bottom, get really wasted and probably wake up next to some chick I have no idea…that happened two times, and those were the two times I actually got drunk, cuz I’m a big guy and I drink like a horse!
After that weird trip, I look at myself and say:”Dude, just make something…U will feel better!”
And so I keep making stuff, for clients and for mysefl! As for inspiration, I just suck up my whole life and keep the good parts and go in ZEN mode and just make something awsm.
What are your favorite online design resources?
Well just the usual designer social sites, love Dribbble, and Iconpaper, and WeLoveIcons, and not many more though, I don’t use resources, I always make my own!
What’s your typical design process when designing an icon or icon set? And what makes a good icon or icon set in your opinion?
Boom, now were talking. Well after my zen mode, in my mind I make all of the layers and blending options, place the object on a white background, dark background then place it on wherever my eyes can reach, and after that, I can’t keep it out of my head I just get in PS and just copy my mind layers, I sound like Neo haha, but it’s true!
What makes a good icon, is understanding of material, light! Light is really important, that some people seem to neglect. Colors are sort of irellevant, any color looks good with a good shape and shading. Also today the idea is really important. Probably more important than the actuall look of the icon or whatever. But if you just have ideas and miss that crisp quality, I think that’s a waste of pixels, because we are all doing this to make pretty things!
How long do you spend on average creating an icon? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating an icon or icon set?
Well…that part is sort of god like, I make stuff SUPER SUPER SUPER fast, lol
I hope I will edit that Tutorial I did soonish, then you all will see the mighty pixel pushing!
What other things do you do besides designing icons?
Well I’m beeing still a kid, just 21 years old, legal now in all states, I go to college, hang out with friends, love photography, and like I said I play games! I did a lot of sports too, like rowing, and basketball etc. But the thing is, when I’m training I eat like a huge elephant! I eat x4 more, and even now I eat like a orca, lol so I’ll keep my tooshie to my chair for some time now.
Most designers have unusual quirks. For instance I find the best collaborator is myself and often talk to myself to brainstorm ideas and solutions. What are your quirks?
Well I like opium, talks to me non-stop, lol I’m joking but I do that, talk to myself in order to copy my layers from my head, also I like to move a lot…..for example, an icon is made in 4h, 2h of that time is spent in me going from room to room, because my theory is, the more you move and try to forget the thing that you are making, the better the product! Hope that helps someone.
Quick Fire Five:
• Forrst or Dribbble? He shoots, and, HE SCORES!
• Comic Sans, Love it or hate it? Well I grew up with it, so yeah love it
• Hand drawn or Digital? Digital, traditional is good, but people go with the times.
• Facebook or Twitter? Tweet, tweet, tweet!
• Design for Life or Design for Pleasure? Well both sound like good ideals!
I follow you for quite a while and your work is always a real inspiration for me. What do you think is your best work (so far) and why?
Hmm they say Pentax K-7 is the best one, and I personaly like Uniq the most, mostly because of the Idea behind it.
What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Well that’s a slap to the face, I have no idea where I’ll be in 2 years, life just started for me…and I’m gonna enjoy the fact of me having no clue, as to what will happen, I just hope I don’t lose my hands, cuz that would suck.
Can you tell us who your favorite designer is and please tell us what’s so special about him/her?
ME! Hahaha, I’m joking, well for that part I also have little idea, I mean there are way too many artists, and way too many styles, and stories behind them, but I do have the utmost respect to the crew, from Aqua-soft, that now is not with us, and work at Apple™.
Please tell us what’s the last song you’ve listened to, the last movie you’ve watched and last videogame you’ve played or we should listen, watch or play and do you have any good tips for us?
Well that new twitter video, showed me “Freelance Whales” that’s the latest in music, In film you guys have got to see Six-String Samurai, a beautifull film made in 1998 with a low budget, but an amazing film! As for games, hmm Mafia II is awsm, and also Scott Pilgrim: The Game! Read the comic too!
You’re also working as a icon designer for IconBlock. Can you tell us something about your experience with commercial projects?
Well like any other job, just that you have a team, and that part is just huge, I never worked with other people on jobs, and IconBlock ltd. has provided some great jobs and great experiences!
Pixels are fun, and provide the wisdom for any designer, to make a living out of it, or just play around and do it for fun, but on a serious note, learn as much as you can about life and it’s pros and cons, because in the end your kids won’t care about your weird pixels on the edges. Just watch other work, but just watch it as in wow this looks good, try and figure how the dude/chick actually did it, copy, arrange, mod, play. Success is just around the corner friend.
Thank you for this lovely interview I hope I will contribute with some more pixel work for you all. Cheers!