Hi, my name is Jan Losert. I'm 23 years old and I am leading pixel creation at Tapdaq. I was born in the beautiful and historic city of Prague, Czech Republic. I moved to work and live in London 2 years ago where I became so passionate about building and designing web and mobile interfaces, whilst solving peoples’ problems. Another big part of my life is my passion for travel and thanks to being in a startup, I'm able to work remotely from wherever I want.
Currently, I'm 8,750km from home in sunny Bangkok on my trip to Southern Asia.
How did you get into design?
PirateBay of course. Nah, I was chatting online with people about various topics on one a forum back in the day. The majority of people on the forum used to have amazing graphic signatures in their profiles, which would appear under all of their posts. Curiosity brought me to Photoshop and I started designing my own signatures. The next two years following the creation of my first signature, I spent around 2 years creating various photomanipulations, matte paintings and wallpapers. Four years later, I moved to web designing, and I have been pushing pixels ever since.
What does your typical workday look like?
…..I'm not sure if sharing a schedule of my typical workday would be a smart idea, because if a potential client or company saw this interview, it’s likely I would be forever unemployed ;).
As my colleague, Dom Bracher says, I am a ‘crazy guy’. I often browse 9gag for 6 hours or watch 20 episodes of the Big Bang Theory during the day and in the evening design 5 pages in 2 hours. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I like to design when I feel at my most creative - being in a startup has allowed me to produce my best work.
In the past 14 days I have started to work on a day schedule to create a more stable routine, in order to become more focused and productive. In the morning I start the day with a 7 minute workout. I then go to a coffee shop to avoid being close to the bed in my apartment. At the coffee shop, I try to do as much work as I can before all my friends and colleagues are up in the western world (Remember, I'm 7 hours ahead). As soon as I feel that I have moved ahead with the biggest tasks, then I head home to spend some time by the pool or in the gym. After my break, I continue with the second part of my work schedule. I use the break to think about the designs I've done during the first part of the day. In the evening (9PM) I have a daily standup with the rest of the team. This is a time we all see each other face to face over Google Hangout, to discuss tasks for the following day.
Who or what inspires and influences your work?
For me, I’ve discovered that changes in environment and places, as well as people around me are hugely motivating.
What is one project you are most proud of?
Without even thinking, it’s definitely my current mission at Tapdaq. After 2 years within different companies, I have now found total freedom. At Tapdaq, I brought my best friend and one of the best front-end geniuses I've ever had the chance to work with, to the team. He even has the same name as me, so the team know us as Jan1 and Jan2 :)
The main struggle for me in previous projects was the lack of drive to build anything beautiful. It was hard to care deeply about shipping pixel perfect designs.
I can say, very proudly, that Tapdaq is my baby. I've designed the product from the first pixel, right up until this point. Tables, simple illustrations and graphs are my first love, which ironically, is what most designers find super boring. It’s a mix of those three aspects that you will find on Tapdaq, you’ll see more of this on my Dribbble to! :) (Also keep in mind that we have built everything that you can see on the front-end in 3 months, with just 2 people :))
How did you get introduced to Sketch and what do you like most about it?
I guess I learnt about it from the initial launch of the Sketch App, by the guys from Bohemian Coding. It was hard to miss all those tweets and articles about switching to Sketch!
My favourite feature is how Sketch handles export. I usually work on projects with more than 30 screens, and I could easily write books about the days I spent building Invision prototypes from Photoshop.
What are some of the tools in your workflow?
Since we are really small team, I enjoy the time we have together and talk about the next features as a team. I use Sketch, Photoshop and Invision for the main design work. In Tapdaq we are using Slack for communication. Hangouts for standups, Trello for tasks and I personally use Things for my personal management.
We use Mixpanel for tracking funnels and goals of our product. We are also using an incredible tool - Inspectlet to capture all of our user journeys.
By the way last year I've wrote whole article about my workflow and tools which I'm using on my Medium.
If you could go back in time and do something different what would it be?
Don't be scared about making a big change to your life and ask more questions. Stepping out from your comfort zone is a bit of a cliché, but it works, all the time. Even if it takes you months to make a change, the time it took will be worth of it. Remember, the worst case scenario is that there is always the option to go back home.
What advice would you offer to those starting out in the field?
Find yourself in whatever you are trying to do. This is quite a general statement and it can be applied to any field of work. I can say with confidence, there is nothing better than waking up with the feeling you are going to be better today than yesterday. If you find what you love in what you're doing, it will most likely end up as your job.
Share your stuff with your friends and the world around you, don’t hide and always be open to critics.
To sum up, I would like to quote Steve Jobs: "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
Where can people see more stuff from you?
I share most of my designs on my dribbble and I also post both my thoughts on travelling and pictures of my journey on my Instagram.
Like everyone else in the world, I am on Facebook and Twitter as well, so I hope to see you there. :)
Check out Jan's Apple Watch GUI Kit on Sketch App Sources.