As your agency started to become more successful did you find that you had less time for passion projects and conceptual work, or is this something you’ve always made sure you include in your schedule?

We would say that our client projects have always been extremely interesting and inspiring on their own so initially, we were never very focused on conceptual work even though it is a very interesting thing to train your creative skills on. We believe the right balance between the two is the best, and do not be afraid to not engage in client projects that do not resonate with your ideas or sense of design as it can help push other skills you can then use in conceptual projects of your own.

Do you encourage your individual team members to pursue passion projects and side hustles?

Absolutely, and we encourage our designers to work on passion projects within the Outcrowd work hours. We think that having side hustles might influence the quality of work overall so we always make sure that all our designers have time dedicated to passion projects within their working hours at the studio.

What are some of your favourite passion projects and conceptual projects by other designers?

We are always searching for inspiration and looking for outstanding work by other designers. We love the Sleepiest branding made by web design agency Cuberto and it turned out perfectly! Note the purity of branding, pleasant colors and a minimalistic style that cannot be overlooked!

Sleepiest Rebranding by Cuberto

Neomorphism has returned in 2020 with new, clean, pleasant shadows and shapes. It was a trend of past years, but quickly lost its strength and flat design prevailed. Apple has introduced this style recently with the new Mac OS, giving a sense that the design of the future lies with it. Taking this style to the next level is this concept artwork by Alexander Plyuto.

Skeuomorph Mobile Banking by Alexander Plyuto 

And of course, Mike aka Creative Mints! He is the best designer in our opinion. If we talk about 3D, the first thing that comes to mind is Mike! Super bright design, super cool fonts and he has always been and will be in the top ranks! He always keeps perfect proportions in every detail and includes large, visually satisfying elements that are very eye-catchy!

IOCO / Biocomputer by Mike | Creative Mints

Did you find that working on conceptual work and side projects has actually helped you land well paid projects?

Yes, working on conceptual work has helped us to develop our portfolio and show the world what we were capable of once we’ve started as an agency. This is definitely something we would suggest doing to newbies in the design sphere. Once a freelance designer or an agency has been working for a while in the market - the need for conceptual work might not be as big.

What are some of the key tips you can offer to designers starting out who are looking to work on conceptual work in between client projects?

Tip 1. Make sure to always have an idea behind the visual concept. Making a design with a purpose would allow you to think through the user experience of the design piece what would boost attention to the work.

Tip 2. Learn from the best. If you are just starting your design career or even if you’ve been designing for a while - make sure to always follow the best players on the market to see what is trending, what are the new killer design approaches. Seeing and analysing others’ works allows you to create your own unique pieces that resonate with design community.

Tip 3. Do not be afraid to experiment. Try different things - both from the visual point of view to the user experience. Experimenting helps to discover new and unique approaches.

Outcrowd are a web & app development agency based in Ukraine. They craft beautiful digital products and illustrations that work seamlessly for their clients and they have blown up across the design community in the last few years.

Cover artwork by Outcrowd