I remember how when I was a child, I thought that designers are people that “design clothes”. That was the only perception of design I had.
I joined an after–school class when I was 13. There, I first played around with Front Page. Then I learned the basics of HTML by simply memorizing all the element tags. It felt like magic—I was able to create something out of nothing. But I had been doing that before.
Growing up in a single-parent, working class family in Slovenia we couldn’t afford the toys a child wants. Also, back then, Slovenia just broke free from Yugoslavia. There was no free market and not that many products available under the crumbling socialist regime. But we could watch the Italian TV channels. Italy, being on the other side of the iron curtain, was quite the opposite. Watching cartoons meant that we also saw all the toy commercials that aired at the time. And that was a source of both, my frustration and my inspiration.
Not being able to afford toys didn’t stop me. I used everything I could get my hands on to create my own. Paper, cardboard, wood, glue, duct tape… anything. I remember creating things like trucks and airplanes out of those. My grandfather brought me some Lego blocks from Switzerland at some point. Now that was cool. Again, I had a limited range of those but I had been building rockets and robots long before Lego started an official range of those.
Now that would be a dream job—playing around with Legos all day (like these lucky bastards). After joining that web design after–school class, I started to dive deeper into design. I started taking on professional projects for local clients in high school. I started drawing interfaces and websites in Photoshop soon after that. That was the first time when I started to think about myself as a designer. That was also the time when I started realising that I had probably had a mind of a designer for my whole life. But it had always been a hobby for me. There was no design course at any of the universities in Slovenia so it would always remain just that. A hobby. At least that’s what I thought at the time.
I tried quitting design two times but I kept coming back to it. For some reason it stuck with me, like I was meant to do this (I think it simply boils down to the fact that I kept doing what I loved). I entrusted the steering wheel of my life to my curiosity, always did what I thought was right and never looked back. It got me where I thought I should be. Now, I call myself a designer, I am a designer, and no it’s not a hobby anymore. It’s not even a job. It’s a way of life. And I still love it.