You don't need talent: An interview with Razvan Vezeteu
Razvan Vezeteu is a freelance designer specializing in illustration and icon design. In a very short period Razvan has gone from a budding physical therapist to one of Dribbble's Top 50 Designers in 2017. What can he attribute this to? By starting a daily design project and over 500 days later, still doing it. In this conversation Razvan tells us about his unorthodox path to becoming a designer and how working hard has made all the difference in his career.
In addition to the above, we're proud to have Razvan as a moderator of our Happy Learners Club community Slack.
How did you get into design?
My journey into the design world was a rocky one to say the least. I had just graduated university with a bachelor degree in Physical Therapy and a dream to get my masters. I didn’t get into the MA program that I wanted so I was forced to start looking for work in order to support myself because I had moved out of my parents home and in with my girlfriend at that time. After a few failed attempts into looking for jobs, I had to move back home with my parents and start helping them out with their business. What little money I made I was sending to my girlfriend so she that could afford the rent and the other things that went along with her living in another city.
After a few months of doing this I was introduced to 99designs, the place where you can "get rich quick". A few more months passed by and I managed to win my first contest there. That gave me the encouragement to keep pushing myself more and more to design each day. It was around then that I joined Dribbble and started my journey into 365 challenges.
What is it like being a designer in Romania?
I don't really know how to answer that. Because first of all, I still don't see myself as a designer. I'm just a guy that does things in Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects, and for some reason, people think they are cool! Second of all, I've never really had too much contact with the community in my country mainly because I focused my efforts towards working day-in and day-out on my own. I guess you could say I've been lone wolfing it ever since I started.
How have you managed to stay connected to the creative community?
I've joined different Slack groups. They helped me gain confidence in my work. Plus, they gave me a channel where I can ask other people about design related questions without feeling like an outsider or sounding stupid.
What had you decide to start designing every day?
Well, I wasn't really doing anything with my life. My "design game" wasn't as strong and I wasn't providing for my family as I should have. After waves of "advice" where I was told that I should quit or find a job moving merchandise around a store, I doubled down and started doing design each day. This was to force myself to become better and to make myself known.
Over 500 days later, how do you still manage to design every day?
It's become second nature. It's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when going to sleep. It's like breathing or drinking water. Also, the fact that I have to provide for my wife and kid keeps my drive going to infinity and beyond!
How has your daily design project affected your career?
It has hugely influenced my work speed, my confidence and my design thinking. Not to mention that I've now had the pleasure to work with a lot of wonderful people. Plus, I can design killer houses now apparently.
Why would you recommend a daily design practice to others?
I've always seen myself as a person that doesn't have talent, and I've always thought that you need talent in this business. While that is true to a certain degree, there is also a more important factor at play here. That is hard work. If you work hard it will overcome talent everyday.
If those reading this could do just one thing to become better designers and illustrators, what would it be?
Don't be afraid of your mistakes. I have come to the conclusion that we learn better from our mistakes than our successes.