A chat with young design star, Mudrac

Mudrac, a very diligent designer at 99designs, has built a huge clientele through successful design contest wins.

As a high school student, he stumbled upon 99designs and, after creating his first “bad” design, was determined to learn the field of graphic design. His hard work paid off and he landed a permanent design position at a large marketing agency.

Now, at the young age of 20, he has decided to take his real world experience and pursue a degree in graphic design.

We recently received the following letter from Mudrac sharing his story:

Hello 99designs,

My name is Mihailo Kalabic from Serbia. You might know me better as Mudrac.

I am 20 years old and I can freely say I am a professional graphic designer thanks to 99designs.com. My interest for creativity and graphic design started when I was around 16 years old. At this age I was drawing and painting and began to find an interest in design. After learning programs and the very basics of design, I felt the need to improve my work.

Since I am a child in the age of computers, I simply googled “design contest” and one of the results was 99designs partnering company, Sitepoint. For me, that was like giving a baby candy but with the condition that it has to behave well to eat it. I began working and working and working, yet my design was very bad. I knew I was an amateur and I was sure it would get better with time. After several months of continuously posting designs, I won my first contest! It was Hip-hop T-shirts and several other designers were awarded as well.

It was like winning a million dollars.

As time passed I was very motivated and through hard work, I won more contests. I continued working privately with a contest holder. I always had work to fill my free time while I was still in high school. At the end of high school, my designs got much better and my portfolio on 99design grew.

One night, I was on the site and I got private message: “Nice portfolio. Who are you working for?”

The person that contacted me was a creative director and owner of a large marketing agency, SuperStraw, from Serbia. He invited me to a job interview and I went. I was competing with several other professional designers and somehow I passed successfully.

I got the job as junior designer for a trial period. While working at Strawberry I&S I had the opportunity to work with major brands in the Balkan region. After a month, I passed the trial period and got the job permanently. As time passed, I learned a lot and dealt with very big clients.

Last year, I left Strawberry to pursue a degree in Faculty of Applied Arts with a focus in graphic design. When I have free time, I work on 99designs for pure fun since it became like a game for me. I’ve succeeded in gaining big local clients and I am currently still working with them.

In my career, I have worked for a lot of local brands:

  • Phillip Morris
  • Intelectual Property Office of Serbia
  • Oriflame
  • Mlekara Subotica
  • Poli supermarkets (Italia)
  • Opel
  • Ministry of finance of the Republic of Serbia

As a freelancer at the age of 20, I always have clients to work with. I am currently studying graphic design and have won contests on other platforms while being apart of a few exhibitions in Belgrade.

Thank you Mudrac!

We thank you, Mudrac, for sharing his inspiring story with our design community. We wish you the best of luck in your degree and future success!

Check out more of Mudrac’s work here!

The author

Allison S. Gremillion
Allison S. Gremillion

Based in San Francisco, Allison (Alli) Stuart works as Head of Community Marketing at 99designs. When she's not writing articles and communicating with designers, she is working on her Children's Book. She also enjoys extreme sports, like sky diving and traveling to new places. Alli has a Fine Arts Degree with a concentration in Graphic Design from Louisiana State University, her home. Geaux Tigers!

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