Designer profile: IfThenElse

Maria Rakic

Marija Rakic – Novi Sad, Serbia
99designs handle: IfThenElse
Projects won: 28

How did you get started in design?

Some of my friends were building websites and I started to learn html/css as an option to provide some extra cash. I was student of Faculty of Technical Sciences, University in Novi Sad, and I saw myself working as hardware programmer – I was more geek than artist so having a creative job never crossed my mind :) .

At first I was all over the place: flash, html, css, illustrator, Maya, php … Coding and programming was very interesting and easy for me but I found myself enjoying the design process the most. I’ve started paying more attention to it and spending more and more time working in Photoshop.

It took 5 years, and 3 PC’s but now, what started as additional income has become my full-time job.

Jeep Club Web Design

How do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. It can be my desktop wallpaper, a TV commercial, a tea cup… The main thing is not to force it, sometimes it takes days to come up with a wireframe and general idea – and in some cases a design brief is so interesting that you immediately get inspired.

CSS galleries are always a good resource for inspiration and as a way to follow design trends. You can learn a lot just by watching and analyzing other websites. Never stop learning, read as much as you can on design process and trends. Even when not inspired by the theme of the site you are working on (your 10th commercial site this month) it is important to develop a skill and to be able to produce quality work.

Hexaville Web Design

What led you to start using was one my favorite websites, and at the time the design contests were part of the Sitepont marketplace. … back in 2006. I spent some time just following the contests and then eventually decided to give it a go. 99designs has helped me develop my design skills – I’ve learned a lot through the contests and watching how different concepts are created based on the same brief. This is an excellent learning environment.

The majority of my regular clients found me on 99designs, so it is good place to find clients. This doesn’t mean you have to win a particular contest to get work, very often people will hire you based on your designs.

So don’t be discouraged when another design wins. Keep in mind, that even if you loose, quality work will be noticed, and in time you will obtain clients and a steady workflow.

On the other hand, even when I have work, it is too much fun to participate in the contests :). Measuring your work against others and trying to guess what the CH will like is very exciting. This will always bring me back to 99designs.

Cigar Info Web design

What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at

1) Have respect for contest holder and his decisions. When entering a contest, keep in mind that the contest holder is spending time and money, and can conduct the contest any way they choose. Treat the contest holder as a client – not as a buddy. Be aware of when the contest ends and try to submit designs in a timely fashion ( you probably wouldn’t go to your boss or client 2 days before deadline and say: ”Please, please extend!”:))

2) Choose projects based on how they interest you, not by the prize money. I understand that high prize contests can be very tempting but you will do a much better job, and probably have more success if you only enter the contests that are appealing to you.

3) Keep your integrity. If you are asked to use other people design elements – respectfully decline. In my experience – this usually results in a win ;). Your opinion matters, don’t be afraid to suggest something different to a contest holder or propose a different solution for revision request. Treat any kind of feedback as constructive criticism.

Endurance Magazine Design

What do you love most about being a designer?

First of all, I am a web designer and developer – so for me – the perfect blend of technology and creative work is the part that I love the most.

I love the variety of work – you can work on a website for children one day and do a corporate and clean style the next. Every project is different.

Also, working with different people from different parts of the world can be very interesting.

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Jason Aiken is the Community Director of 99designs.
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  1. Rehan Khan

    You were right about the inspiration thing…

    was nice to read about you…

    Reply January 12, 2010 at 11:40 am
  2. Aanchal

    Very inspirational article do you know of any other sites that are as interesting as

    Reply January 12, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    • IfThenElse

      Hi Aanchal,
      I appreciate your comment. Sitepoint has the best community, by far. Everything else you can Google and find what works for you.

      Reply January 16, 2010 at 9:23 am
  3. Chris Web

    A great designer, clearly.

    Reply January 13, 2010 at 1:50 am
    • Nikola Petrovic

      Svaka cast imas super radove … obozavam ih… Valjda cu i ja jednog dana biti tako dobar kao ti . Ako imas neke dobro fontove mozes li mi reci ? :)

      Reply January 13, 2010 at 6:27 am
      • IfThenElse

        Hvala Nikola,

        Dobre fontove, pa za web dizajn, drzi se sistemskih :). Ali je odlican ako ti trebaju fontovi, imaju veliku bazu plus sve je klasifikovano.

        Reply January 16, 2010 at 9:25 am
  4. freak

    awsome works, very inspirational article.

    Reply January 13, 2010 at 9:06 am
  5. Jude Fernando

    Hi Marija nice reading your profile, I love your work. Good luck


    Reply January 13, 2010 at 11:41 pm
  6. bloop

    great works…

    Reply January 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm
  7. Michael Martin

    Awesome interview Marija, love all of your designs! It definitely looks like you made the right choice by going down the design instead of coding route :D

    Reply January 15, 2010 at 12:17 am
  8. Rezandi

    wow…I learnt one or two things from you..

    Reply January 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm
  9. IfThenElse

    Thank you all,

    I really appreciate all your comments!

    Reply January 16, 2010 at 9:26 am
  10. kerrigan

    My story is a lot like yours.. (girl) developer to web developer to web designer. Perfect blend indeed!
    It was nice to read about you.
    Good luck!

    Reply January 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm
  11. ian diez

    cool works and great story… keep the creative juice flowing :)

    Reply January 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm
  12. Zlatko Malinovic – pixelzDesign

    Tvoja prica me ohrabrila da ne odustanem. Posto nikad nisam radio preko interneta, interesuje me kako ti isplate novac kad pobedis na nekom od konkursa. Da li preko Western Uniona ili nekako drugacije?


    Reply January 20, 2010 at 9:29 am
    • IfThenElse

      Cao Zlatko,

      I splata je moguca za Srbiju Western Unionom i Moneybookersom :

      WU ti je jednostavniji, samo prosledis svoje podatke, ali ti je Moneybookers jeftiniji, manje novca se izgubi pri transferu, WU uzima bas debeo procenat.

      Da bi koristio Moneybookers, treba da se registrujes na njihovom sajtu, i treba ti devizni recun u nekoj banci, bilo kojoj i trazi da ti daju instrukcije za WIRE transfer, EUR i/ili USD. 99designs ti uplati novac na tvoj moneybookers nalog i ti odatle samo povuces na svoj racun, obavezno koristi devizni racun, a ne povlacenje na karticu jer nas bankovni sistem to ne podrzava.


      Reply January 23, 2010 at 4:56 am
      • Zlatko Malinovic

        Hvala puno.

        Reply February 11, 2010 at 6:59 am
  13. Kendi

    beautiful webdesigner

    Reply January 21, 2010 at 7:33 pm
  14. Danny I.

    Nice to have read this! You made me think about the integrity thing – I encountered it once so far, since I’m relatively new on here. Thanks for the advice! (: Nice work and congratulations!

    Reply January 26, 2010 at 8:40 am
  15. gile

    Super su ti dizajnovi, odlican odnos 85/23, imas li neke male sitne tajne da nam otkrijes i gde vecinom radis u kojim programima ? Veoma sam srecan kada vidim da jedna devojka iz Srbije odlicno prolazi na ovim sajtovima :). Srecno !


    Reply January 28, 2010 at 8:11 am
  16. dzibus87

    e majo majo, eto koliko se bavish web dizajnom a ja tek sada vidim tvoje radove… zbog ljudi /chitaj:dizajnera/, ponekad je teshko ustati iz kreveta :) keep up the good work…

    pozdrav od brata Minje Ninkovitja

    Reply January 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm
    • IfThenElse

      :).. Minja bas si me obradovao :).
      Pa kad nikako da zavrsim svoje sajtove, sve mi je prece od toga :)…

      Elem rekla bih ti da bacis neki kontakt, ali ne vako javno.. Probacu da te nadje na FB, bas sam skoro videla neke linkove za 3d pa sam te se setila :)


      Reply January 30, 2010 at 9:16 am
  17. IVan

    Pa zdravo Majo!
    Cool radovi! Baš mi je drago da vidim ekipu s naših postora kako uspješno rade i zarađuju! Samo naprijed i puno pozdrava iz Zagreba!!!
    Ivan aka I-one

    Reply February 10, 2010 at 12:13 am
  18. neil pearce

    I can only echo what others have said about being inspired by your article. I have been using 99designs for just over six months and got a little down heartened because i haven’t won anything yet!

    But i will certainly keep at it :0)

    Reply February 10, 2010 at 12:40 am
  19. Biggiebor

    Bravo mala!

    Reply February 10, 2010 at 1:54 am
  20. N.

    Mudro zboris :))

    Lepo je videti te tu :)

    Reply February 10, 2010 at 9:06 am
  21. sam

    great! inspiring experience…i like it…

    Reply February 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm
  22. Glenn

    hi, you are one of the best female designers I found on net. keep it up

    Reply February 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm
  23. Dusica Grabovic

    Bravo! Samo tako!

    Reply March 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm
  24. Jelena Markovic

    Bravo! Jako sam ponosna na tebe!:) A verujem i ti na sebe :)))) Zelim ti sve najbolje u daljem radu.

    Reply June 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm
  25. Simon

    Great article, I especially like the “keep your integrity” point. It is all too easy to comprosie on this when challenged by a client. I decided early on that there would be certain types of web sites that I would not design or support for web hosting. While it has cost me money, I am happy that I do not feel compromised.

    Colchester, UK

    Reply July 22, 2011 at 2:11 am

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