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Jan was the main speaker at our Design Meetup 3 in Košice so I sat with him for a quick chat about his work and set up the mood for his talk about How to succeed as an individual designer selling UI kits
Design Meetups is an event series organised by Vacuum.design—Vacuumlabs’ design unit in Košice, Slovakia. Events are focused on digital products, user interfaces and solving contemporary problems through design. Design Meetups series is also a part of the UX Košice initiative.
Jan is a Czech product designer famous for his complex design systems and UI kits he has been creating for the last couple of years. He’s a very successful seller on Gumroad, quite visible on Dribbble (with more than 30,000 followers) and was also a speaker at Design Meetup #3.
The initial idea was to build a passive income off my work which I was already doing. Before that, I had worked on some client projects where it didn’t go well, the expectations of both sides were different, or when the design work was successful, the implementation part was not right. That’s when I decided I will try it by myself with my own product.
Usually, I like what I create. With UI kits it’s more about designing the core visual language, and a couple of default elements, patterns and colour palette. The rest is about copying, reusing and adjusting them to different versions and scenarios. I like to be sure that I’m satisfied with the original visual concept. If I found out I hate it later, I would be screwed after designing 30 additional screens. Of course, When I look back at my old designs, I can’t say I love them, but I’m sure those were the best pieces I could produce at the time.
I always try to react to things happening around me. My first product was the Apple Watch UI Kit that I published soon after Apple released the first Apple Watch. Nobody knew what the screen resolutions were going to be, or what patterns will be used but I didn’t care—and it worked. The same happened lately with Webflow where I reacted to their announcement of copy/paste functionality for the elements between projects. I created a UI kit in Webflow from which people could copy/paste and create their own versions. That got Webflow interested, we got in touch, and now I’m a part of their design team.
No. The only difference is in the timezones your work in. If you are working with Americans, you have to count with 7 to 9-hour time difference. Now that can influence your workflow, but design-wise it doesn’t matter at all.