Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Dragan Babić, and I am a designer-founder of a small, independent design shop called Superawesøme, based in Novi Sad, Serbia but we’re servicing customers from all over the world. Our primary focus is UI design and front-end development.
Where were you when the idea for Superawesøme came to you?
I was working full time for a US company doing mostly front-end development and a bit of design. It was a dream job for someone who likes to chill and do the bare minimum to get through the day. I was also telecommuting (working from home), and the loneliness and the lack of personal contact with people who felt the same passion towards the Web, design, and the new emerging technologies was really getting me down.
That’s when I realized I wanted to do my own thing, and on own my time. Even though the management at the company I’ve worked for were awesome people and great bosses, I just felt bogged down because I wanted to do so much more, often things that didn’t fit my role within the company.
Tell us a bit about your team and company culture?
We try not to force things at Superawesome, and we like to think that we work to be able to live our lives a certain way, rather than devote our lives to our careers. I honestly believe you don’t need to devote your entire life to something in order to be considered good at what you do, and I much prefer the balance than the constant pressure of one-upping yourself.
That’s not to say that we don’t push ourselves. There’s a drive that makes us churn out good work and we take pleasure from it, but it’s not the only thing that drives us and we like to have time to enjoy other things in life as well.
I believe the work-life balance is so underrated in today’s workforce. Having suffered from severe burnout myself, I think we should take better care of ourselves generally.
How do you craft your identity?
We like to think we’re a “no bullshit” type of agency. A blue collar bunch of dudes who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. We don’t sell anything, but rather try and let our work and good word from our customers drive our business, even though often times it comes out underwhelming — when compared to how a good marketer would spin it — it has substance and can never fail.
What motivates you?
To be honest, making good things — or better than they were before — never stopped being fun. I was doubtful before, but as I get older and more experienced there is no doubt in my mind that good design and even pure aesthetics can make a world of difference for a product; whether it’s software or a physical thing. It can’t do it on its own, but it adds tremendous value.
What skill / quality do you value the most?
Communication is number one without a doubt. If you learn how to speak — and perhaps even more importantly write — so that others can understand you, you will have a huge advantage over your peers or competition. Being able to create connections with people is key, it builds trust, which in turn alleviates doubt, which makes your job easier.
No one likes to deal with an asshole, no matter how good their work may be. They may suffer you for a while, but they will leave you as soon as they get the chance.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken? What was your process in making your decision?
Starting Superawesome for sure. Moving away from a cozy life with a fat paycheck for a life of uncertainty? Sign me up!
On a serious note, starting a company is a Sisyphus’s undertaking. The only reason I’ve dared to do it is because I had no idea what I was getting into. You’ll be OK though if you’re willing to sacrifice a lot (for a while at least), learn fast, and do a lot of things you may not be prepared to do.
What do you do in your free-time to decompress?
Honestly, I like it when things run in such a way that I don’t need to decompress, and every time I feel like I need to I try and find out what caused it. It’s usually a mismanaged project, a mistake in scheduling, overbooking our staff, or committing to more things than I can handle personally.
If I dread opening my email in the morning, I know I’m not doing something right.
In these situations I like to go out for a night on the town, be around friends, and just blow some steam. Recently, I’ve gotten into road-cycling, which has quickly become my go-to method of relaxation.
What is something you’ve had to learn on your own that you’d like to pass onto the next Creative?
Stay humble. Things change. If you can’t help someone, at least try not to make it any harder for them.
What forms of media have influenced you the most?
The reason I got into design was my fascination with skateboard graphics. I remember as a kid I couldn’t stop staring at them and drew some of my favorites constantly. Later I got into graffiti, followed by design for the Web. I was never too much into print. The Web always seemed much more interesting and close to the DIY culture I was kind of always a part of.
What hardware / software do you use?
I don’t pay much attention to those things anymore to tell you the truth… At the moment I have a retina 13″ Apple laptop that’s just the right size and weight for me. Before that I was on one of those big iMacs – those screens are awesome.
As for software, for graphics I use Sketch app and Pixelmator, Sublime Text for code, CodeKit for pre-processing and local development, and my browser of choice is Chrome.
I do use a lot of SaaS products: Evernote, Asana, Google Apps, Funnel, Wunderlist, Hackpad, Marvel, etc…
What would be your dream creative setup?
Most of the time, it’s our (relatively) new office. It’s the place we’ve created to allow us to do our best work, and I’m so used to it now that I don’t do any work outside of it anymore. I especially like it on the weekends when it’s quiet and there’s no meetings or emails.
Sometimes I like to do a bit of work at home as well, but that’s rare.
— Superawesøme (@sprawsm) March 31, 2015