is a graphic and illustrator mainly focusing on illustrations and identity work. He has worked on several exciting projects for big clients like Facebook or Harvard University.

Illustration created for Facebook.

Hi Janis, how did you start with design?

Already back in the days in elementary school, I knew what I wanted to do in my life. No kidding.

I succeeded in several art competitions, and I realized this was a path 
I wanted to follow. I was accepted to the Riga School of Design and Art where I picked up an excellent base of color, composition, and art history.

Afterward, I got into Art Academy of Latvia, and I also moved to France for a while to attend Saint-Etienne Higher School of Art and Design. 
The knowledge I gained in school enabled me to pursue my career further. It might sound a bit boring, but I don’t have the story of a plumber who becomes an illustrator one day. 😀

What design project that you worked on in the past is your favorite?

One of my favorite projects was one that I made for Facebook. It was my first big client, and I had a lot of fun working on it. During the project, I realized I need to speed up my sketching skills. Also, it was a good trigger to improve my English skills as well. Also, I like the project I did for Avocode last spring. Additionally, I enjoyed the project I did for the new Avocode website in spring 2018.

The biggest lesson I have learned so far is never to trust your external hard drive. 
I almost lost all my files on one whole project (sorry can’t say which one). Since then, I use only Dropbox.

Sketch and illustration created for Avocode.

How does your workflow look like? What makes it special?

Before every new project, I take my dog for a walk.

Walking helps me to open my mind. Then I’m ready to do research.
I screenshot every good inspiration on my phone I think I could implement. Then I move to sketching which is the most crucial step for me before I start with the real work.

Sketch created for Avocode.

What design tools have you started with and what tools are you using now?

I think I must have tried all the tools from the Adobe Creative Suite. I used to work as an animator, 3D artist and also did some technical drawings in Autocad. These days, I only use Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects.

What’s the one thing you wished you knew when you started with design?

Shortcuts! Try to learn as many shortcuts as possible to help you work faster without using the mouse.

What problems do you face as a designer when working with developers?

Since I do mostly Illustration, I always want my work to be exported precisely. When I run into some technical problems such as export for responsive layouts, one of my good friends who is a developer helps me solve the issue.

Illustrations created for Avocode.

In our opinion, what’s the most to develop for a designer and why?


Everything starts with a sketch. Every shape of a logo or illustration I make is born during the sketching process. Most of the time I solve the problem during this process, and it’s way easier to transfer it to digital. You can have all the computer tool skills, but thinking and sketching are the essential skills for every designer.

Do you think self-promotion is important for designers?

Sure, it’s very important. If you want to stand out and have your work seen, it’s something you need to do. Especially these days, when there are a lot of talented designers all around the world with great work.

I use Dribbble & Behance.

Sketch and illustration created for Avocode.

What would be your dream client to work for?

A client with a comfortable budget and long-term collaboration.

But I cannot complain. I’m living the dream actually, as I had the opportunity to work with Facebook, Google or the Harvard University.

Another one on my dream list is to do some editorial work for the NY Times.

Illustration created for Toggl app.

What do you think will be the next big thing in design?

I think that all the big things have already been done.

The big artists saw how the light was playing with the color a long time ago and now we must be grateful that we can learn from that. Hopefully, we don’t need to discover it again.

If you want to do design, you have to look into the past now. Nobody will ever develop nothing better than the perspective, compositional principles, etc.

I also love the new technology, and I think that VR/AR is the future. You no longer will have to sit by your desk, but you will be able also to stand up, walk and create at the same time.

Bonus question: If they made a movie about your design work, what would it be called?

Maybe, “Janis, The Corgi Whisperer”.

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