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Tell us about yourself?
I’m a self-taught designer based in Pakistan. My strengths are creating user-centered experiences and creating aesthetically pleasing interfaces, focusing on pixel level perfection for web and mobile based applications.
My passion is to take ideas and visualize them into beautifully crafted stories. My career has led me to work with amazing companies, web agencies, and individuals from all around the world.
When did you start your design career where?
I didn’t even know what a website looked like until 2006 because I didn’t have internet access. I knew that sites were created through Photoshop, so I installed it on my Pentium-||| and started experimenting with it. While my friends were busy with continuing their education, I was busy enhancing my web design skills.
I would sit for hours at my uncomfortable desk and write down photoshop commands in my notebook.
Shockingly, I managed to create my first rounded rectangle using the pencil tool, by joining pixels together. My friend borrowed me his Lynda Photoshop CD, and I watched it several times. I learned vital information, and it helped to answer several of my questions.
I started my career as a web designer at a local firm in 2006. On my first day, I was given a flash assignment. I was given many similar assignments after my success with the first one. From this, I established myself as a flash designer. I increased my knowledge and skills by practicing at home and engaging myself with online communities, such as DeviantArt (a huge source of inspiration for designers).
Although I’m not active there anymore, my previous work can be seen there: http://www.zee7.deviantart.com
I worked for four years at local firms before I went full-time as a freelancer. In the beginning, being a freelancer was a struggle, but then I found Dribbble. My freelance career started rolling once I joined Dribbble.
That community has had a huge impact on my life. I wouldn’t be at my current level of success without the help of Dribbble.
Who inspires you to be a designer?
Colors have always fascinated me. Colors are everywhere, whether it’s from kites flying in the sky, cartoons and movies, clothing, or just the nature around us.
My dad has always been a huge inspiration for me. He used to work as a calligrapher and painter. He’d help local businesses and shops with their banners and billboards. I would help him by holding the color buckets, the banner or by reading the upcoming word from the text-script. I was intrigued by how my father constructed beautiful, precise designs, and how he chose to integrate his colors.
Another inspirational figure of mine is my mother. My mother used to sew clothes to help my father with expenses. While watching the colorful clothes and threads, my sisters and I used to help her with her work. It would give me a great sense of euphoria whenever my mom opened a bag full of colorful pieces of clothes.
How does your work day look like?
During the summer, I prefer to work during the day, whereas during the winter, I prefer to work during the night.
When working during the day, I tend to wake up early in the morning, complete a quick exercise routine and read, while watching the sunrise from my roof.
After eating my breakfast, I usually tidy my desk up and catch up with other designs, by going through the design communities, such as Dribbble, Bechance, and Tech World. I write down all of the tasks that I want to complete, for the next day, on my whiteboard.
I get 95% of my work done with Photoshop and 5% with Illustrator. In my free time, I’ve been experimenting with SketchApp. I plan to migrate to SketchApp soon, once I learn all the ins and outs.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on Ubergrad. I’m helping them with the last phase of the project, facilitating the development team with all the necessary materials, and providing design consultancy.
Where are you currently based and what’s next?
I’m currently living in a small town of Pakistan called Sialkot. Currently, I’m looking for the opportunity to start something new, where I’m involved in the beginnings of business ideas that mature into a full product. I want to learn how ideas are crafted and executed by teams and become a part of the process.
Working in the office for a company or you’re freelancer?
I’ve been freelancing for the last six years. However, I occasionally assist companies as a remote designer. Being a freelancer gives me the freedom to work with different people and to choose from various projects from a diversified array of fields.
What are the tools you can’t live without?
MacNotes, Jumpshare, Dropbox, Teleport, Things, Slack, iBooks, Photoshop, and SketchApp.
What is your latest project?
KeepTruckin is my latest project. It’s a Google-funded startup based in California that provides electronic logs for drivers and management tools for fleet managers. I was hired to redesign their fleet manager dashboard.
I defined a visual language that was usable, accessible and had other user-centered design best practices, acknowledging the business and end user’s needs.
I designed visually rich, user-friendly interfaces by recreating and rearranging the complex components such as log graphs, data tables, and modules. I explored different colors, consistent with their brand, and crafted meaningful icons to give the dashboard a fresh feel.