Tag: design

Origins of the Cyrillic alphabet | Infographics

The 24th of May is a national holiday in Bulgaria. It is the day of St. Cyril and St Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet back in the 9th century. On the basis of that alphabet the Cyrillic emerged, which is one of the most widespread alphabets in the world today. Bulgarians have a special soft spot for this “weird” alphabet as it was created and popularized on the territory of medieval Bulgaria under tsar Simeon the Great. Needless to say we still use it and (at least some of us) get a kick out of watching foreigners struggle with it!

As I am living abroad, I’d be often asked why we use the “Russian letters” and I’d get slightly annoyed. I’m not at all “national- minded” and have none of that “we-are-the-most-amazing-nation-in-the-world-and-we’ve-invented-everything-that-matters” mindset, which I very much dislike, but it still bothers me when people call the Cyrillic the “Russian alphabet”. I’d correct them, but usually people just take it as sort of national vanity. I don’t want to minimize the role Russia played in preserving and modernizing the Cyrillic while we were… otherwise historically occupied (this line turned out kind of pun-y), but I’m quite tired for Bulgaria to be seen as an extension of Russia.

So for a very long time I wanted to make an infographics, which explains the origins of the Cyrillic, but kept postponing, forgetting and generally speaking not doing it. I remembered again few days ago and decided it is just the right time to do it. I had to cut off a lot of the ideas I had initially and to simplify quite a lot in order to make it in time for the 24th of May, but I am happy I made it happen! I might revisit it in the future, but for now here it is: a very brief history of the Cyrillic alphabet!


Origins of the Cyrilic Alphabet Infographics-01


10 things clients say to get you to work for free

I’m certain that every creative professional out there has been asked to work for free at least once. And I’m sure that each and every creative professional out there has worked for free (or ridiculously small amount of money) much more than once. We are promised the world, but sooner or later we realize we are being used. And yet we let it happen again and again, because we hope that next time we’ll be appreciated. Before we know it we are in a loop and the “quality projects” just never seem to come. The clients which demand amazing work, done in couple of hours, but who won’t pay anything, bring you more of their kind. All of a sudden you are known as the girl or guy who does free graphics. As soon as you mention budget or hourly rates the clients disappear without a trace. And on and on it goes…

So I’ve decided to put together the most common excuses I hear when someone is trying to get me to do some free work for them.


“We are a charity/ non profit organisation”

Hey, that’s great! I’m glad you are making the world a better place. I’m sure if all people got fair payment for their work the world would already be a better place.


“We are a start up”

Great! I love start-ups! In fact I consider myself a start up of a sort. I’m sure you’d like people to appreciate the product you put so much love, effort and time in. I know I do!


“It’s a small job, it will only take you like 10 minutes”

As an authority on the matter, I am the one who can actually tell how long a job will take. And no, it never takes 10 minutes! But if it does I’d be happy to calculate that for you, based on my current hourly rate.


“It will lead to more work in the future”

Yay, more unpaid work, thank you for the opportunity!


“…but we have great faith in our venture and are sure we’ll be able to pay you later”

That’s nice! I have great faith in your venture too, so please call me later.


“It will look great in your portfolio”

My portfolio already looks quite good, isn’t that why you called me?


“If you do this for me, I’ll do *insert any kind of tradable favour or product here* for you”

Aww! That’s so sweet of you! And how about you pay for my work and I pay for yours?


“I already have an idea, I just need someone who knows Photoshop/ Illustrator”

I’d be happy to direct you to the hundreds of helpful free tutorials available online!


“My wife/ neighbour/ brother etc. can do it too, but they are busy at the moment”

What a coincidence, so am I!


“This project will give you a lot of valuable exposure”

Yay! I’d be contacted by so much more freeloaders in the future! Can’t wait!


I’m not saying working for free is never an option. A starting designer does need to acquire experience. An internship at a good company or a work for a big project that will in fact be viewed by a lot of people in an industry you are interested in, a charity you believe in, a job that requires skills you don’t have, but want to learn, etc. These are all potentially beneficial for both sides and one should consider them. But when it happens too often, when people do not appreciate the work you do for them, when they treat you as if you owe them something, when they keep promising, but never deliver anything, than you should stop.

I have decided for myself to only work for free as my own initiative. If there’s a cause or a project that interests me, but the organization can’t pay me I might come up with something to contribute anyway and I’ll offer it for free. But I have learned to respect myself and never ever again work for a client who expects me to produce something for free or for insultingly low payment and on top of it requires unreasonable deadlines and insane quality.


What about you? What do clients tell you when they try to get you to work for free? Do you actually do it or send them on their way?

10 things you hear when perusing a creative career

Most of us start out as creative individuals- we draw, we sing, we dance, we “bake” mud cakes, we play games and make things up and it is all perfectly fine. In fact we are encouraged to do so. No one ever tells us that there’s something wrong with play and creativity, which gives us the idea that it is actually a viable occupation. The more you grow up though, the more things change. Suddenly there are rules, restrictions, and silent classrooms in school, where you don’t get to make things up anymore. And when you do nobody takes that seriously anymore. You need to follow structures, remember facts and do what is expected of you. The more grown up you are the more creativity and otherness seem to become a handicap, something ridiculous, that sane people keep away from. So when you show an interest in creativity as a career you are met with raised eyebrows and discouraging remarks disguised as genuine concern. Splashing watercolors around and sewing clothes for the dolls was cool when you were 5, now it just means you’re a loser and will spend your life in a cardboard box!

Recently someone commented (once) again on my choice to go after a creative career vs. the stable safe job I had at a hotel before. It was quite annoying for a random stranger to judge my life decisions and it reminded me of all the different remarks I’ve heard over the years and I’m sure I’ll keep hearing. So I’ve decided to make fun of them instead of letting myself be irritated. The result was this little collection:


“Are you sure it’s not just a phase?”

Uhmm let me think… I’ve been drawing, DIY-ing and decorating since I remember, but yeah it probably is just a phase. A lifelong phase.


“Are you sure it’s not more of a hobby?”

Yes. I’m sure, because it used to be a hobby. But now it’s a job. Are you sure accounting is not just a hobby?


“There’s no money in that”

There is no money in anything. Whatever you do you might fail or succeed. Nothing is guaranteed.


“There are too many artists/ designers/ illustrators already”

There are also quite a lot of doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. What’s your point?


“Did you choose it because it’s easy?”

Yes. I chose it because it is easy. The self doubt, the never resting voice of the inner critique, the uncertainty, the constant reminding from others that what I do is silly, the rejection, the lack of appreciation… It is all really easy!


“Does anyone actually need this?”

I hear cavemen painted images on the walls of their homes, created music, made decorations to wear, they told stories… At the same time they lived happily for thousands of years with no banking, laws or governments.


“So you just sit down and doodle all day”

Of course not. I sit down all day browsing the internet. Isn’t that what everyone is doing these days?


“Aren’t you too old for this?”

I am old enough to have tried this and that and to know what I am good at and what makes me feel good.


“That’s not a real job”

Where can I find that list of “real jobs”, so I can pick one?


“It’s so cool you are following your dreams, but…”

There is no “but”. Either give me your support or don’t.


Have you chosen creative professional path as well? Please share what it is and how people react to it? Are they being supportive or judgmental?

Let’s start a blog!

Hello World!

Until few months back this used to be my portfolio website. I visited it maybe once a year to see if it was still there and basically never did anything with it, barely even updated it. So it was pure waste of online space and I was never too surprised it barely had any visitors. Keeping a site like that felt wrong. This realization came at a time when I’ve been occasionally reading some interesting and inspiring blogs. I found myself “blogging in my head” while I was doing stuff and it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do for real. That’s when I decided to convert my portfolio website into a blog!

Even though a decision has been made, I kept postponing starting the blog, most of all, because it was scary (and still is). I wasn’t sure I have something interesting to share, I wasn’t sure I can keep up and be consistent with it, I wasn’t too comfortable with having my thoughts online… and it saddens me to admit that I have grown out of the habit of writing. While these factors made me keep postponing the idea, the internal “blogging” monologue kept going on, so I’ve decided to do it anyway and see “where it goes”.

For my first post I wanted to write a nice goal oriented, focused and clear article that lets you know all the amazing benefits of following this blog in the future, all the valuable content it will provide you with, all the things it will teach you… The truth is I can’t and if I keep trying to do that I’ll probably never even get to start and publish a single post. It seems to me that striving to capture the future content of a blog in the first post is like asking a one year old what his or her career is going to look like in 30 years. There are plenty of 30 year old people who aren’t even sure! After all everything we do is a work in progress and that should be fine! In fact staying the same should be the problem, not changing. What I am trying to say is that I can’t give you a clear outline of what this blog is going to be or become, but I expect there will be a lot of design and illustration, work in progress, walkthroughs and case studies and general thoughts on creativity and living the dream that lifestyle.

Hope you’ll join me on that journey!

Let’s have fun 😉