Meet Milan Nikolovski, Our Head Of Design At Native Teams
Today we decided to catch up with Milan Nikolovski, our Head of Design here at Native Teams.
Read the interview below and get to know him a little better. 👇
Hi Milan, we’re so excited to catch up with you today! How are you doing?
Hi there! I’m excited to be with you as well! I’m happy because summer is here and I can enjoy the seaside!
First things first, who is Milan?
Milan grew up in Kumanovo, Macedonia and turned his hobby and passion for design into a daily job. I used to travel very often while being active in youth organizations and organizing events for young people. 5 years ago, I moved to Zagreb, Croatia, considering that it is a prosperous city among young people, but also clean and beautiful, and close to the seaside, so during the summer you know where you can find me. ☀️
Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in design?
In 1999, my brother Stefan and I had our first Pentium 1 computer. He is an IT geek (today Software engineer) and used to be always busy around the computers and me as a younger brother carefully watched him what he was doing. To be honest I didn’t understand what he was doing at the time, but as technology developed, our computers were getting better and easier to learn. My first intro into graphic design was when we installed Macromedia Fireworks and started learning how to make business cards.
That was my initial start into graphic design and since then, it became my hobby. Although I studied law in Skopje (Macedonia) I still kept my hobby during my studies as something I do for passion. It was the turning point in my life when people started noticing my designs and telling me to start working in the field of design. I started broadening my knowledge with courses, podcasts and visiting conferences. Soon after, I got a call from one IT company in Macedonia offering me my first full time job as a designer.
Today, with my 9 years of experience in small companies and corporations, here I am in Native Teams!
How would you describe your design style?
My design style can be described as minimalistic and contemporary. I’ve learned that it is better to keep it simple, it is most effective that way.
Where did you first hear about Native Teams and why did you want to join our team?
I’ve heard about Native Teams from LinkedIn. The whole idea behind the startup made me research more about the brand and the solutions that Native Teams is providing to its users. Starting from myself when I was a freelancer during my law studies, I wasn’t able to provide receipts to my clients because I had no company, so the legal way was to create a contract each time I had a project. It was time consuming and not an optimized process.
Not long after finding out about Native Teams, I applied for a designer position and when I was introduced to the team, I was amazed by everything, especially the culture and the supportive people.
Most of our team works remotely. How do you maintain effective communication and collaboration with your team members when working remotely?
Effective communication is key and should focus on a singular agenda that’s consistent and efficient towards defined mission and goals. To maintain effective communication and collaboration we’re having regular online team meetings and a group chat that helps us communicate quickly. Most importantly it is to be open, honest and clear in our calls and messages, but also to listen and learn from each other.
What is your approach to the design process, from initial concept to final product?
The process of creating a design can vary depending on the specific project, but here I will explain my general overview of the process from the initial concept to the final product.
I begin by researching the industry, competitors, target audience or business goals. The solution I’m designing should solve a certain problem of the users and make their life easier.
Based on my research and the project vision, I develop ideas and sketches. The concept should be simple, effective and easy to remember. Sounds easy when said, but it is the hardest part where I dedicate most of my time during a project.
Once the concept is done, the next phase is the development of the design – design elements, color palette, typography, imagery, illustrations etc. It is very important to have a defined style guide and visual system in order to be consistent throughout the mediums.
When everything is ready in the design phase, the next one is to present the design for feedback and to make any necessary changes if needed to finalize the design.
The evaluation of the product in the end is the key to track the metrics and analyze the feedback from the defined target audience.
How do you stay updated with the latest design trends and technologies?
Design trend websites, books, Youtube and online conferences.
In your opinion, what is the best way to collaborate with other team members, such as developers or marketers, to bring a design project to life?
A successful design project for me is the well organized one, with defined standards and guides. The designers, developers and marketers should be on the same page when doing a certain project. The key for me is right in the start: the briefing, timeline, setting up estimated deadlines, being responsible but also having respect towards my colleagues. Communication during the process is a must, and if something is not right or not clear, it is better to address it immediately rather than when it is too late.
What’s your secret to staying motivated and inspired, especially during periods of slow work or creative blocks?
From what I’ve learned and experienced there is no secret potion or pattern of staying motivated and inspired. It is important for me and my body to feel good so I often do self-care from time to time. Sometimes I get so caught up in a project that I even forget to eat or sleep but creating a space for a daily routine like eating and sleeping is helping a lot. Doing simple things like walking in nature, or a short exercise will clear your mind.
How do you see the future of design evolving, and what trends or advancements do you anticipate?
The tools we’re using are evolving constantly, as we’re currently witnessing the AI that is being implemented in Figma and Photoshop, which aims to help us focus on the design and spend less time on other processes.
What do you consider to be the most important skills for a successful designer?
Depends what your standards for a successful designer are, but from my point of view the most important skills are communication, time management, and emotional intelligence.
Now tell us a bit more about your hobbies and interests! What do you like to do when you’re not working? Do you have any secret talents?
Traveling – I’m just happy to explore new places, meet new people and various cultures for the first time in a foreign city or country.
Running – Around 2 years ago I started running long distances, so far I have finished 5 km and 10 km running events and my next goal is half marathon.
I used to play billiards a lot from an early age and I’m enjoying that mostly when I’m in my hometown Kumanovo. During the summer I really love going to the seaside, for me it’s a source of endless inspiration, and during the winter of course, skiing and drinking hot chocolate in front of the fireplace.
What advice would you give to aspiring designers who are just starting their careers?
I always say work smart, not hard. Set your own goals and work towards them. Don’t overstress yourself in life, the key is to visualize your future and what you want to achieve, with a bit of patience and a lot of discipline the universe will give that to you!
Anything else you would like to add for the end?
Nothing much, I’m just happy to be part of the future and this amazing idea of Native Teams.