Interview with Nikola Vucicevic

Winner of Advertising and Kitchenware Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Nikola Vucicevic shares insights


Interview with Nikola Vucicevic at Thursday 27th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
NV : I have Masters degree in Graphic Design from the School of Applied Arts at the University of Belgrade in 2004. In 2007, I completed Auto Desk Courses for Computer Graphics Software Maya in Chiron. I have over 15 years of design experience, which has given me the opportunity to work with many prestigious agencies including New Moment, McCann Erickson, and Leo Burnett. In 2005 I opened my own studio and have collaborated with a variety of clients from over 25 countries, including the Serbian Government. It has been my passion and success of design work that allowed me to receive my visa to stay in the USA. I promote my work as Designer and Gentleman.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
NV : I have always been passionate about visual arts. But I became a designer because I’m passionate about bringing brands and products to life and intriguing customers to take action. This brand-product-consumer-action relationship enables me to explore and be part of the whole process.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
NV : When I was a kid I considered myself a young artist. It turned out that I found my path in communication design rather than fine arts. But I would have never been able to be as successful as I have been if this passion didn’t come from within.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
NV : I am interested in any field of design; branding, communications, web, advertising, product and package design. With any of these fields, I have pride myself on my abilities to turn a vision into a practical product or campaign.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
NV : Don’t be like me, be yourself. Be unique! Get inspired and find your own way to improve the market that interests you. Also, be available to listen to your clients and their consumers. Define short-term goals and long term goals, have a strategy and try to go as high as you can.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
NV : Levels of creativeness, conceptual thinking and skills are what distinguish between a good and great designer. Furthermore, having the ability to stand by an idea and capture the trust and respect of clients to allow the designer to follow through with that idea is what also makes a great designer.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
NV : By the level of success. Design does not always have to be beautiful and elegant. But what is key is that it provokes a proper call to action. If you can do that and get financially rewarded for it, then you have achieved success and you are good designer.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
NV : A good design should bring new value to the brand and therefore the ROI is always obtained, whether through raising brand awareness or financially through a campaign.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
NV : For the right client I always find the time! Maybe you are the next one! I am available for whatever you need as long as you are not in Tabaco industry; I don’t do cigarettes.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
NV : My dream project is my next project.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
NV : Deep, conceptual thinking. Listening to my client and learning about the market. I try to incorporate different cultures and predict the future. I put my heart into all I do. Without passion, there is no success.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
NV : Sasha Vidakovic , Vladan Srdic, Slavimir Stojanovic, Mirko Ilic, David Carson, Milton Glaser, Balsa Gracevic, Goran Milanovic, Davor Bruketa and Nikola Zinic, Paula Scher, Stella McCartney, David Turner and Bruce Duckworth, Michael Beirut, Jessica Walsh.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
NV : VAIO Logo, I LOVE NY, Moulin Rouge posters by Toulouse Lautrec (very first poster design that included imagery), Jewish Museum identity, Tate Gallery London Identity, Metro Trains- Dumb Ways To Day Campaign, they are all visionary.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
NV : Heart Plate™. I believe it’s going to be game changer because it is a design object that everyone has at home. It’s use and financial potential is huge. You can learn more on

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
NV : Work hard and have a lot of discipline. Wake up as a designer and go to sleep as one and never stop dreaming.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
NV : I would have been a competitive athlete

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
NV : Design brings new value to quality of living. It can be seen and felt, and it eventually becomes an experience. Design has the power to change peoples habits, perception and therefore, the world itself. Design has the ability to make the relationship better between understanding how things work and people’s needs.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
NV : My wife and family.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
NV : My focus and determination.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
NV : Thank you for “master” label. First there was the financial challenge. I am always improving the quality of idea/concept, which itself is not an obstacle but finding the time while working on projects as well as juggling a family is sometimes challenging.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
NV : Depending on the circumstances and audience, there are different ways that work can be presented. Sometimes a rough sketch is enough, at other times, something more detailed such as a catalogue or movie is better. Whatever works to engage the clients further and close the deal. Speaking the language that people outside the design industry will easy understand is extremely important, as you don’t want to overwhelm them.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
NV : I got few ideas on my mind. One is a social network. Contact me if you want to learn more.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
NV : To improve myself as much as I can and enjoy it along the way.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
NV : Expectations are big and my clients always anticipate that I have new and innovative ideas.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
NV : By improving the quality of living. That’s why I strongly believe that my Heart Plate will make a powerful impact on eating habits, diet, and health, primarily in US.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
NV : My next project.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
NV : Because I love what I do, I have a great time on any of my projects and truly enjoy working with all of my clients. Maybe because I put my heart into these projects they become my personal statement which communicates or touches people that I don’t even know.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
NV : In the next 5 years every relevant product will have smart components and everything will be connected in a way.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
NV : In the future, design will include more smart components and an eco friendly character. Environment friendly biodegradable materials will take over other non-eco friendly materials.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
NV : Depends of the project. For a Platinum Award, the Rent A Car concept took me 2 working days, around 16 working hours. Other projects that I work on are sometimes very complex and can last several months.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
NV : By defining a smart concept, strategy and communication.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
NV : Could I do a better job on next project?

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
NV : “Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” –Massimo Vignelli

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
NV : Although technology is important, sometimes it’s not relevant for a winning campaign. In many cases it’s the idea, not the technology. For example, the award winning project Worth rent a Car did not have any production or technology costs, but the idea still made huge impact. Learn more here:

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
NV : Paper and Pen, Adobe, Canon Camera.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
NV : Designers build experiences, a new vision or environment. If my research shows that we need a key visual without many colors, we apply that. Whatever boosts the emotional impact of the idea and makes the communication easier to understand, I follow.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
NV : Nothing particular. My designs speak for themselves.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
NV : This is amazing; I would like to have it!

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
NV : Yes, one of the things that was very challenging in my career was to find right partners. Now, I have a team of experts and we work as one. We evaluate each other’s ideas and improve projects along the way.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
NV : My team members during the process and in the phase of beta testing.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
NV : New$ Age by Zorica Tomic is a great book that had big influence in my work. I also read about modern philosophers and entrepreneurs.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
NV : I got rid of my ego a long time ago. I also stay informed on the latest trends in the industry. I am a regular at design conferences and I read a lot about other designer experiences. I do whatever it takes to get better.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
NV : Nikola Tesla, Milutin Milankovic, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozzart, Antonio Stradivari, Edgar Degas, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, Milos Forman, Freddy Mercury, Walt Disney, Jack Nicholson, Jimi Hendrix, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
NV : I wouldn’t say that I’m famous; designers are not super stars like athletes. I appreciate any interview and I am glad that I can inspire younger designers. That is great honor and privilege. Awards that I have received and my rankings help me to engage with more distinguished clients. For example, recently I started working with Prada because they had seen my previous work and my accolades.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
NV : One color is meaningful only if there is other color next to it. Black wouldn’t be black without white; we couldn’t understand the characteristics of red without of green etc… Bottom line, I don’t have a favorite color. Place: I like where are I am currently. I enjoy summer the most. Thing- I pad. Brand: Apple.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
NV : Recently a client accepted my proposal and than told me what to do, even though he wasn’t in my industry. This was confusing to me, as it doesn’t make sense. In those cases we have to change the game during the process. All awards that I have received were won because of the ideas and hard work of myself and my team. Clients do have to share their thoughts or expectations but they have to stay clients and trust us to do the designing.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
NV : As a designer I have my ups and downs like anyone in any industry. Sometimes I am trying so hard to “get it right” that I don’t sleep well. Not so long ago I was struggling with one package design project and I had a very tight deadline. My partner said to me, “If it doesn’t work- let it go, just let it go.” But I was stubborn and I didn’t want to give up. I kept working on it, and eventually I did find a way to improve that concept. I ended up receiving several awards for that design.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
NV : I’ve wanted to be a designer since I was a kid. Of course at my early age I didn’t know what the proper word for it was, but today it’s clear: I am a designer. My design is about communication and a strong concept that looks good.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
NV : Social awareness of environment and pollution will rise and design will help resolve that. Replacing fuel by other energy forms, making cleaner air, and drinkable water will be some of the main focus. I see that we will get back to nature in some way.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
NV : I am so happy that I have fans out there. I hope they will get inspired with this interview. A Design Awards, thank you this wonderful interview, it’s been a pleasure, and thank you for your support.