Why should we pick remote designer over someone local?01
The real question is why not? Remote is a reality of the 21st century. The World is interconnected as never before, giving you an opportunity to bring in all the people who are great fit for your vision and culture, not only the ones who happen to dwell within your ZIP code.
These days the internal communication in many companies is carried out in Slack and projects are managed in Basecamp or similar products, anyway. Hooking up an external team member there won't be any different. When you know how remote really works and how to manage people at a distance, enormous opportunities are opening up to you.
How do you manage to work across different time-zones?02
Like any digital creatives, designers are lucky enough not to be dependant on their location for doing their work. When you think of all the activities they do during the day, it appears that most of the time designers are executing stuff, and only a fraction of time is dedicated to communication. You don’t really want a designer talking all day long and not doing the actual thing, do you?
So the key is to optimise the communication. Find the overlapping time, when it’s convenient for all the parties to have a Skype-meeting, and keep the rest of the interchange in Slack and Basecamp. You’ll find that it actually works pretty great, when you write your feedback in the evening, and find it already implemented the very next morning.
Will we save money when hiring someone from Lithuania?03
Not exactly. Lithuania is not your typical outsourcing destination like, say, India. Despite being a new face on the block, this Baltic nation is an integral part of the EU and NATO and enjoys high standard of living, high GDP and HDI.
So, drastic cost savings is not the reason why international partners choose to work with Lithuania. It’s rather the impressive production quality, the amazing tech and design culture, and the high work ethic that come at a fair price.
Learn more about Lithuania
What is your hourly rate?04
My current hourly rate is $70/h. This number is used for part-time arrangements and project budget estimations.
I tend to work on projects, that take at least a week or two to accomplish. That’s quick enough even for startups that are living and breathing lean, but at the same time long enough to make a thoughtful contribution to the product. So it’s safe to say, that you can think of $5,000 as an entry point to your MVP design.
To get an idea of what you might get for this money, let’s look at the following table. This is a sample budget and timing estimate for a website of 8 pages (although pages are getting obsolete these days and are replaced with views and states, they are still quite convenient as estimation units).
|| Grand Total
|| $5,320 (76h)
Principal screen (page or view) takes more time to accomplish as it is the starting point for the whole project. I use it to set up general design direction for the product, establish its visual language and overall concept. I usually offer up to 4 major iterations at this point, so I can freely go back and forth with client to experiment and find the optimal solution. Once we have an agreement on the general direction, it’s easier and quicker to get the rest of the design ready.
Minor interface states like hovers, favicons and basic dialog pop-ups are included in the total project estimate. Same goes for basic design specs and thorough implementation revision.
How does your process look like?05
I don’t rely on “one size fits all” set of rules, but rather try to match my approach with the specific needs of my clients.
Some customers are new to hiring designers. In that case I guide them through each step of the way — explain what wireframes are for, how many screens and resolution are needed, what kind of assets should be prepared for the development team and so on. I also help to set up project roadmap, estimate deadlines and delivery dates.
However, if the client is an agency or an experienced product owner, I just try to follow the rules that are already in place and to be a good team-player. So, in short, my approach is about flexibility and attentiveness before anything else.
What exactly is your skill-set?06
I design websites, web apps and mobile apps in Photoshop or Sketch app and ship PSDs and design specs to developers. I can work with existing wireframes or start off from scratch and do UX work myself. That makes me a UI/UX designer, and that is my core business.
I’m also very good with typography, color, layouts and iconography. So, not only can you expect these components to be top notch in your product design, but also as a part of your product branding. Branding is not exactly my specialty, but I'm known for creating killer logos from time to time.
In addition to that, I can create simple but nice animations for UI flows and app on-boardings. I’m not new to HTML and CSS and know exactly how to communicate ideas to developers clearly. Although, my front-end skills go beyond that (this website is assembled by me personally, for example), I wouldn’t call myself a developer and do client work in that direction. On top of that, I have a solid experience in recruiting talent and running design and development teams, when working on bigger scale projects.
How would you describe your style?07
Form follows function. Same goes for style. I’m an adherent of minimalism, but can deliberately add clutter and decoration to canvas if that’s what needed to stand out (or to blend in, whatever the function is).
It goes without saying that I’ll follow your brandbook and existing guidelines before trying to apply my own vision and my style. And when starting from scratch I’ll try to listen to client and look closely to references before suggesting any styling direction.
What is the motivation behind your work?08
Do you enjoy things made with care and precision? Can you appreciate an object with a story behind it? Do you respect skill, knowledge, and craftsmanship, which are inseparable from everything beautiful and functional? Because I do.
I believe that being able to create is the luckiest gift man can have. And making a humble contribution into this World through my work as a designer is as exciting to me as it is rewarding.
Can we see more of your work for our industry?09
It’s very natural for a client to wonder, how that specific designer would handle his specific industry. As I’ve been doing design work for many years, there is a good chance that I’ve indeed done some work for a company just like yours.
However, with the pace Internet is changing, the work made even a year ago (let alone five years ago) no longer shines as brightly in 2016. The technology is evolving constantly, and so is the style and the skills of designers. Showing something outdated won’t earn me additional points, even if it proves my experience in the relevant industry. That’s why I prefer to keep my portfolio clean and minimal, with a handful of projects that are representative of my current approach and skill-range.
Can you travel to our office to meet the team and familiarise yourself with the product?10
Gladly so. I like traveling and meeting new people, and would love to come over and say hi. Though, let’s keep in mind, that a trip makes sense, only when a large scale project or some kind of long term arrangement is involved.
Would you consider relocation?11
If that’s Google or Facebook asking, then yes, I would consider it. If that's a smaller more nimble company, let’s try to kick something off while we are still at a distance and see where we go from there.
How can you help us with product development?12
Trying to coordinate your design and development teams may be very challenging, especially when both are outsourced. I’ve witnessed many cases of failed design implementation, because project owners didn’t make cross team communication a priority. You may spend months perfecting design mockups and end up with an implemented version lacking half of the details and proportions. Sadly, that keeps happening over and over again to many companies. A common mistake of designers designing without developers, and developers developing without designers in the loop.
I’m not a developer, but I’m not new to assembling and supervising development teams and launching rather large-scale projects. When choosing to work with me as your producer, you’ll eliminate this communication problem and will be sure to get an excellent design implementation in a fully functioning prototype or ready to use product.
Are you running an agency?13
Back in the day I decided to name my practice ufoby Design Agency and set up an actual company. It was a smart move in a way that it attracted bigger clients and was the right thing to do from a taxation standpoint.
However, it felt a bit weird to be a solo designer most of the time but sell my services as a company. You know, people still expect to see a full-time dedicated team sitting in the same office, when they hear the word agency. A designer, who does hands-on work himself but can bring in other people when necessary and produce quite ambitious projects, still better be branded as a designer but not an agency.
So, this website in part is an attempt to scale back a little and present more accurate picture of myself to clients and prospective employers. Though, I still conduct my business as a company, because it is easier to set up contracts and arrange payments that way.
How do we legally hire a foreign national?14
Wherever you are in the World, be it US, EU, China or Australia, hiring a foreign national at a distance may be very challenging. If you are not doing it on a daily basis, finding a proper form of arrangement is virtually impossible without legal counseling and is very time consuming. It may take months to get the paperwork right, before you can proceed with the actual work.
Luckily, you don’t have to go through any of this in my case. Despite being a solo designer, I conduct my business as an EU based company, which can be legally contracted the same way you would contract any domestic or international service provider. The only two pieces of paper needed to get us started are an agreement and an invoice.
Is Siarhei your real name?15
My full name is Siarhei Stashkevich. And, yes, it is an actual human name, not an array of random letters.
Just like Serge, Sergio or Sergei, Siarhei is a version of ancient Roman name Sergius. So, you don’t have to think twice before calling me Serge in a casual conversation. Stashkevich, in turn, is a typical slavonic surname, which is pronounced the same way you would pronounce Jovovich or Malkovich — Stash-ke-vich.
How do we start working with you?16