Creative Series Oliver Twardowski

Creative Moxie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Oliver Twardowski: I'm a 28 year old freelance user interface- and icon designer from Cologne, Germany. I love design, style and much more than anything else I love coffee.

CM: How did you get interested in icon design?
OT: I've been a graphic designer in advertising agencies for quite a long time. My job was 100% print-design related. I created posters, ads, print-campaigns and so on … All that time I was interested in web design and taught myself HTML and CSS. One day I created a new personal portfolio website and I needed some icons to use on that page. I didn't want to use any of the free iconsets - I wanted to create them by myself. I created my first icons and soon those icons grew to a whole set. That's when it all began. From that moment on I took more and more of my private time to get into icon- and user interface design.

About two years later I switched my job to work as a full time user interface designer and about 2 months ago I quit that job to be a full time freelancer, to be able to work for more clients in the whole wide world, than just to work for one.

CM: What are the programs your primarily use?
OT: Depending on the use of the icon, I use Photoshop or Illustrator, but most of my designs, interfaces and icons are done in Photoshop CS5.

CM: What is the most difficult thing about designing on such a small scale?
OT: The most difficult thing in my opinion is to chose the right amount of detail for every single iconsize.
How much detail can I put into that size and what should I leave out.
Following is the right use of light. I see a lot icondesigner having problems here. That's one point where you really need a lot of practice to get good looking results.

CM: How do you market yourself?
That's a pretty good question that I can't answer in a really proper way. Since I am quite new to the "full time freelance job" I am just right now starting to market myself. Until now I had the great chance to publish my iconsets over at the Smashing Magazine. I think that this is the best marketing I could have wished for. In the past year I never really had to "market myself" because the clients always contacted me.

CM: Any advice to young designers interested in icon design?
OT: I think the best advice I can give to any young designer is to just get it started. Don't hesitate to try out something new. Your first results may not be as good as you wish them to be, but sooner or later you'll get into it and achieve much better results.

Go to awesome sites like Dribbble and check out how the "big boys" work. Try to copy them first for practice and than try to find your own style.

CM: Anything else you would like to add?
OT: I want to thank you for this interview and I want to start shameless marketing myself here: I am available for cool freelance user interface- and icondesign projects. :)

Check out more of Oliver's designs

---------- Check out past Creative Series:
+Paul Windle : Illustrator
+Meriol Lehmann : Photographer
+Muthari Insani : Illustrator
+Juan Leguizamon : Designer
+Sarah Hennessey : Illustrator
+Danielle Gundry-Monji : Illustrator
+RightBrainy : Crafter
+Laura Di Francesco : Illustrator
+Ryan R Thompson : Designer
+Delia Jalomo : Illustrator
+Cory Graves : Musician
+Anthony Williams : Social Media