I’m Learning Figma

Figma has just been another tool to me as a product designer. I never really used it proactively for any reason other than to try out the latest thing. I’ve always just used whatever I had available to me and made the best out of it. It started with Photoshop, then Fireworks, then back to Photoshop, then to XD, then to Sketch and now here I am doing a deep dive into Figma

Fast forward a few months ago when I learned the company I work for planned on phasing out Sketch and replacing it with Figma in 2023 for every product designer. Licenses would be issued starting in March and we could ease our way into the program before being cut off at the end of the year from Sketch. However, one of the teams I’m on is starting a new project that will be huge with multiple screens, so it seemed pointless starting it in Sketch and then slowly migrating over to Figma. 

Deep dive time! I got my license and downloaded the desktop version of Figma and I was ready to go. Did I learn the basics? Nope, I immediately imported what we had in Sketch to Figma and threw myself into the program. How else would I learn? I could look up some basic tutorials but I’d rather just import and learn what I need and when I need to know it.

I was very surprised to see just how easily Sketch imports into Figma. I was very pleased that the only issues I’ve had so far was sizing with frames and certain symbols. I’m sure there are a ton of proper ways to figure things out, but google has been like an old friend when it comes to seeing exactly what it is I need. 

After a week of using it and figuring out what I NEED to do, I went to udemy to properly learn any quick tips and tricks I could. Lucky for me, my agency has a Udemy business account for all their talent. While it doesn’t have everything Udemy has to offer, it does have everything a product designer needs to evolve. I’m half way through learning Figma and I’m already discovering lots of cool things that I can implement and share with the team to make our workflow a lot faster and more efficient. 

It looks like I’ve finally stepped into the party, and I’m now an official Figma user.

SeptemberJanuary 2020

It begins again! I haven’t wrote on this blog since, well the last SeptemberJanuary challenge hosted by Jon Acuff. However, I’m doing it again! What is the SeptemberJanuary challenge you ask? Well it’s a yearly challenge started by Jon Acuff to encourage you to start and finish something in a month. Kind of like how we all have our new years resolutions, but in the middle of the year…ish.

This time I will add on to the challenge of last year. Last years challenge was to create a sticker and sell it. I came up with skullbot sketches as a sticker concept. The sketches turned out great, however something just didn’t resonate when I digitally recreated them in Illustrator. The month went by, and I just decided to continue on it next month. Life happened big time the next month, so the sticker project was just put on the backlog.

What a better way to rekindle the idea than with the same challenge? Only this time I’ve decided to change it up. This year the goal will be to sell 50 stickers. I’ve decided the sketches them selves looked raw enough that I plan on straight up putting them up as stickers! I do have a few steps that I wrote down that I need to plan out properly.

  • Find the skullbot or 2 that I want to make into a sticker
  • Finish it by making it into a sticker
  • Find a stinker printer and order stickers to be made. This one may be tough, because if shipping is more than a few weeks, this whole goal is bust.
  • Market the stickers. Come up with some google adwords, facebook ads, instagram and a variety of other social media platforms. Maybe venture into tiktok? I’ll come up with something.
  • Setup an online shop to actually purchase them online
  • Get shipping materials to send this stuff out.
  • Find a proper pricing to sell the stickers

That’s my short list of what I need to do. So much to do, especially in terms of setting up my own online store and marketing. However, I have the talent to do everything since I’ve done it all before. Now it’s time to do it for myself and see where I can go with it all!

SeptemberJanuary2019 Challenge – Day 10

Second Finalized Skullbot Vector Illustration

It’s Day 10, a Tuesday, and I’ve started this week turning the sketches into vectors. Yesterday I finished the first one, which was the big eyes skullbot. Today I finished up the female version that my wife loved and gave her a nice shade of pink, also her favorite color.

I’ve been creating little icons lately for user interfaces, so starting to create these skullbots have been fun. They’re meant to be very simple illustrations with not too much to it. There will be a new sketch everyday for the rest of the week. Once that is all done, I’ll be creating a sticker sheet as well as a custom logo to go on that sheet. Then it’ll be ready to send out to the printers!

Cliff Nowicki is a Product Designer by day and a freelance web designer by night. If you’re looking for a new website or even a logo, make sure to go to the contact page and get in touch.

Finalized Skullbot Sketches

skullbots finalized sketch

I finally got my skullbots down to the finals! I’ve adjusted it to 7, but 1 of them may get ditched. Why? There may be some adjustments in Illustrator that’ll either create more space or save more space.

How did I choose the finals?

Finding the right skullbots to use for this project was tough. I wanted to get a variety of feedback, so I leveraged my social media accounts. Facebook, twitter and instagram were used to get some feedback on what people liked. Some of the skullbots were big hits! However, there were a few that I was kind of hesitant on and didn’t make the final list. Since my main focus was to get a variety of feedback, I did favor the feedback of people that also showed off their sticker collection. After all, these people will probably buy them! That’s not all I did, I made sure to take the feedback from those who could potentially buy stickers and those who were just fans of skulls/robots

There is an outlier though! I wanted to combine two of my sketches together to create one single skullbot. The skullbot with the headset was cool, but my wife really wasn’t digging the mouth. She suggested that I use the mouth from one skullbot and put it on that one. That gave me a great idea for future projects. What if I made pieces, and created an art kit out of it? Something to keep in mind

Next Steps on Skullbots

So I got the sketches, now what? Each day this week I’ll spend time recreating each sketch. Each skullbot will get it’s own personal attention so I’m not just ripping through them. The process will include bringing the image into Adobe Illustrator and retracing into a vector format. This is where it may change from the original idea, but it’ll still look great!

Interested in following my sketches as I finish them? I’ll be making sure to keep posting actively after each vector is finished. If you can’t wait, or social media is your thing, you can follow me on twitter and instagram.

Cliff Nowicki is a Product Designer by day and a freelance web designer by night. If you’re looking for a new website or even a logo, make sure to go to the contact page and get in touch.

SeptemberJanuary Challenge – Day 5

skullbot sketches

It’s already Day 5 and I have a few more sketches up! My goal is to have a full sticker set in hand by the end of September to sell / pass out / give / etc. I didn’t even think about the timing release, as next month is Halloween! Yes, Halloween, not October. Some people get it. I think this will benefit the set as I can sell them more in the genre of Halloween stickers.

This Friday / Saturday I plan on sketching a few more before selecting which ones I want to turn into stickers. I had to give myself that deadline, otherwise I’d sketch forever and never put anything into Illustrator. If you have any thoughts, please let me know!

Cliff Nowicki is a Product Designer by day and a freelance web designer by night. If you’re looking for a new website or even a logo, make sure to go to the contact page and get in touch.

Michigan Web Designer – A pivot to freelance?

Up North Michigan Sunset near barn, a place where web designers dream

Every web designer at one point in their life has thought about going freelance. Right? Let’s face it, if they aren’t full time freelance, people are typically looking for side work. Why? To scratch an itch they can’t at work, to make some side money or to add to their portfolio. The possibilities of why is long, but mine are to eventually move up north on a lake (see above photo) and become a Michigan based web designer.

It’s always been a dream of mine to wake up in the morning, hearing the soothing sounds of water from the waves of a lake. A house that has plenty of space as well as a workshop area that overlooks said lake to do all my design work. Is that a lofty goal? Possibly. Is it possible? Yes it is!

Picking up freelance / side work is far and few between for me. When I do, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to show my craft. There’s a lot that I can do. Web design, print design, logo design, icon design, video editing and the list goes on. That’s why I made it a huge goal to achieve everything I want by the time I’m 40. Achievable? I’m almost 37 and I’m not getting any younger.

How will I achieve this goal?

I introduce to you my new site coming soon, Over the Cliff Designs. Since I’m open about what I do, I’m sharing it right now. http://www.overthecliffdesigns.com/ If you look at it, you’ll notice is just a coming soon page, but it’s up and online. Turning that site will be a huge work in progress! It’s all focused around being a Michigan Web Designer so my theme will be up north and metro Detroit based.

What will I do with that site? I’ll be marketing myself as a web designer, print designer, logo designer and icon designer. Finding a niche will be my goal in the first year. In addition, I’ll also add an ecommerce section to sell some merch will also be available at some point featuring stickers, pins and what have you. I hope you stay tuned and keep your eyes on that site as I have big plans for the site!

Cliff Nowicki is a Product Designer by day and a freelance designer by night. If you’re looking for a new website or even a logo, make sure to go to the contact page and get in touch.