Dominik Martin on dropping out of design school

Dominik Martin is one of 10 nominees for Emerging Talent of the Year in the 2014 net Awards (opens in new tab). He's a self-taught web designer currently working for an agency in Munich. We quizzed him to find out more.

Tell us about your main areas of competency.

I really enjoy the visual design part. I have spent some nights front-end coding with litres of coffee but every time I come back to UI and UX.

Are you currently working or studying?

Two or three months ago I dropped out of design school, because it felt like I was wasting my time there. As I have already worked as a freelance designer for about three years now, they were teaching me things I already knew.

Give us a summary of your web work so far.

I have had the pleasure of working on some pretty cool apps. During the summer of 2013 I enjoyed working on an ecommerce design for an online glasses shop based in Switzerland. At the end of the year I designed the logo and website for two hairdressers in Munich. One of these guys is a good friend of mine now (and also my hairdresser).

Also over the holidays I was working on some side projects as I couldn't enjoy the time without designing. I designed iOS screens for 'Lissn' which is an app for recording and sharing sounds. Maybe I will release it, maybe not, as it's a lot of development work to do. I also had the idea of building a good-looking colour bookmarking online service, with a social network build in. I designed a few screens and a logo for that with my good friend Sjors Snoeren.

Currently I'm working on the design for a German lifestyle and fitness product.

UI for Lissn

UI for Lissn

At what age did you start learning to code, and how did your interest in the web get started?

I started in early 2012 with that web thing. First I directed a YouTube channel, where I uploaded some graphic design tutorials, speed arts and all that stuff.

I taught myself to work with programs like Photoshop, After Effects and Cinema 4D. I really enjoyed the community there and I went through photo manipulation, motion graphics and graphic design. When I realised I couldn't grow anymore on YouTube I moved over to Forrst, where I started enjoying UI Design. I got more and more experience and scored a Dribbble invite. There I started getting client work.

What was the first thing you built?

As I remember I had the pleasure of working with the Avira CEO Travis Witteveen on his side project 'Minutesync'. It was an app for scheduling meetings, and it was a lot of fun working with him. After he became CEO at Avira he had no more time for his project. Maybe one day…

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working full-time at a pretty cool agency based here in Munich. I enjoy working with so many talented and engaged designers there.

In my free time and on my weekends I try to work as much as possible on freelance projects and side projects.

Are there any people whose work has been especially inspirational to you?

There is a lot of inspiration for designers out there, but I'm a big fan of Tobias Van Schneider's work. His design style is to be as simple as possible, but his work is still recognisable.

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