Mike Kus specialised in photography, illustration, website and graphic design, and branding. He’s worked on photography projects for brands such as Burberry and O2, and design projects such as the Twitter Developer Conference and Berocca. He regularly speaks at design and technology conferences.
What made you want to become a designer?
I’ve always enjoyed being creative and expressing ideas. I used to design trainers/sneakers as a kid and send them to Adidas etc. I always saw the opportunity to make the visual things around me better.
Tell us about your career. What led you to the work you’re doing now?
After leaving university with a degree in Fine Art, I took a job as Graphic Designer for The Body Shop. Here I learnt about graphic design for print. From 2007 onwards I took a step into the web, as I could see how it was very much the future. Since then, I’ve developed skills that took me into designing websites and mobile apps.
What does a typical ‘day in the life’ look like for you?
I’m always hands-on designing. I have a broad range of projects on, from branding to UI design. So, that’s pretty much what I do day-to-day.
How would you describe your tastes?
I don’t really have tastes in design, I always like to try and do something differently when it comes to the creative. I like the challenge of creating distance identities for client. It totally depends on what that company does, their attitudes and what their values are as to how the work ends up coming to life.
Do you enjoy working within limitations, or do you prefer to be given full creative control?
I like being creative but you can be creative within limitations. Being told you ‘can do anything’ isn’t helpful for a designer. One needs a brief with some direction and goals.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I’m working on a range of branding and web design projects over the coming months.
What would be your one tip for design?
Do the kind of work you want to do more of. If you do this and build your portfolio this way, this is the kind of work you’ll get on-going.
What does the phrase “timeless design” mean to you?
Design that does not age. Although, I’ve rarely, if ever, seen this.
What advice would you give to those looking to pursue a career in design?
Build a strong and diverse portfolio that demonstrates your strengths and your passions within the design field. Make sure it’s online. Also, post work on Dribbble, Behance and other online portfolio networks.
In September 2013, academics at the University of Oxford published a report detailing the likelihood that robots will take over many professions. Do you think this could happen to design and creative work?
I doubt it. This is exactly why I try to focus my work on the creative space, rather than the more technical areas of design. Creativity will be the last thing computers steal from us.
Is there anything special that helps you stay focused?
If I’m honest, no. I think every designer wished they had a perfect answer for this.
What happens when you hit the proverbial “designers block”?
I get worried that I can no longer design. Normally a break helps. I work on something else and then return to the problem.
What do you think of social platforms like Instagram when it comes to sharing artwork? Do you have any recommended follows?
I think platforms like Instagram, Dribbble and Behance are great for sharing work. It’s essential to do it in this day and age. There are too many good creators out there. Just go take a look and follow what catches your eye.
Do you have time to do anything creative in your spare time?
I like to take photographs. You can see my pictures here.
Apart from this, I have a family – three kids – so they pretty much take up all my time away from the office. I also like to play guitar and write songs, when I get a chance.
Are there any other creative mediums or forms of art you’d like to explore?
Music and film. I’ve dabbled in both of them and if I had more time, I’d definitely explore further.