The Expert Episodes is our series dedicated to exploring the insights and experiences of experts in the design and development community. We'll bring you candid conversations with the best and brightest minds in the space. Each episode will feature a different expert as we uncover their unique perspectives and explore the lessons they've learned along the way.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, you're sure to find something interesting in this series.
Today, we interview Oguz Yagiz Kara, a talented designer who is paving the way with some incredible work. Let's learn about his journey together.
So Oguz, tell us how you got started in design?
I never tire of answering this question! As a millennial, I was lucky to grow up with the best of both worlds - playing outside as well as playing computer games online. I loved drawing as a kid so I drew the logo for the clan I was playing with. I then did some research and discovered people were making game logos with Photoshop. I found some tutorials online that were teaching White Rabbit Photoshop CS5 which I followed. It took me a couple of weeks to create the logo digitally but I got there in the end. I will never forget this first design. Of course, looking back, it was terrible but my clan loved it! I then started sharing my designs on MMORPG forums and getting feedback. I absolutely loved this process.
During my last summer vacation before I started high school, I got my first online job! I was making a concert poster for a local DJ. I’ll never forget the first time I met 300DPI… or having to save every time I moved my mouse in Photoshop! I got paid 20 Turkish Lira (approx. $13 USD) for this job and no one was happier than me! I kept up with this type of work until the end of high school and so my journey as a designer began.
What motivates and inspires you to design?
Design has always been what I’ve enjoyed most in life, which really goes a long way with helping with motivation. I’ve spent most of my life hustling as I didn’t come from a rich family. I was inspired by my father and knew I needed to work hard to reach the standards I set for myself.
I always knew that what I loved doing could become a livelihood for me. I have quite an ambitious personality and I’m hungry for success, even in the smallest things! I’m always focussed on developing myself and working on becoming a better designer, a better person and a better individual.
It’s important to aim for the stars. I’ve noticed that successful designers (and just successful people in general) dedicate a lot of time to their craft and improving themselves. For me, to be a good designer, you shouldn’t just design.
Tell us about some designs out there at the moment that inspire you...
- Looking at Siddhant's colourful 3D's make me very happy
- Lukas' glass-like 3D motion designs are incredibly beautiful in colour and light
- Wes is probably the designer I enjoy following the most, his profile speaks for itself
- Rauno's experimental designs have always been inspiring
What is the design you are most proud of?
My Twitter followers know the answer to this question - my work with Wope has been one of the designs I’m most proud of lately. It’s not quite finished but the live version is available on the homepage. The team at Wope gave me infinite freedom to create. Yigit (Wope’s CEO) and I worked closely to brainstorm ideas. Necati (Front-End Developer at Wope) also produced this project to such a high quality and remarkable standard. His creativity contributed a lot to make this project what it is and really brought my design to life.
How do you overcome periods of creative fatigue?
I am lucky to have people around me that support me through periods of creative fatigue. I think it’s important to realise that nothing is as it seems on social media. Every designer has problems with customers, faces thousands of problems while working on projects and can become disenchanted with their work. But these things come and go. It’s important to wait for things to pass and focus on other things that help you create. Making music has always been a creative outlet for me. I feel comfortable in this space where I can create what I like, without being judged.
One of the biggest challenges of being a designer is people commenting on or criticising your work. My advice is to pay attention to the people who criticize you on social media. Are they producing their own work or just consuming? The productive, talented people that I’ve observed always support and help fellow productive people without judging them.
I also love to relax by playing video games - it helps clear my mind.
Feel free to add me on Steam!
What design trends do you predict for 2023?
I think particularly in the SaaS world, people are tired of seeing abstract illustrations. They want to see the product they will use at their fingertips. Small details, micro interactions, storytelling and good typography always win.
It’s important to not just focus on trends. Of course you want to keep on top of current developments in the space, but think about setting your own trends! When you are designing, you should focus on highlighting the aspects of the design that give you the best result.
What advice would you give to up and coming designers that are new to the industry?
Work hard and spend time imitating the people you look up to. Never be afraid to imitate. Of course, don't claim the work as your own, but it is always very useful to imitate designers to understand their point of view, what they use and how they use it. Also, always try to be curious and inquisitive. This will always give you different experiences.
Give us a peek inside your designer toolbox - what are your must-have tools?
- Figma (always open, never closed!)
- After Effects (the factory where sweet animations are created)
- Eagle (the tool I use to save my inspirations)
- Spotify (90bpm Old School Rap)
- Adobe Illustrator (for more complex illustrations)
- Adobe Photoshop (to edit the images I plan to share)
- Discord (for chatting, chilling and collaboration with friends)
We hope that you have enjoyed our first Expert Episode. Our goal is to provide a platform for talented individuals, like Oguz, to share their experiences and insights, in order to inspire and educate others in the community. Stay tuned for more interviews as we continue to spotlight the incredible people in our industry!