A passionate designer on a mission to make the world a better place.
Fifteen or so years ago, there was a huge paradigm shift in my life. My parents brought home a big gray box, for which to get, I was taught the importance of patience and saving. Up until the moment that the rectangular shaped piece of plastic and metal reached the comfort of my parents bedroom table, I was dreaming about all the possibilities that will become available to me the moment I will turn it on, and it was an euphoric experience, even just a thought of it made me cringe out of joy. This was it, this was the moment my professional life started.
To be honest, creativity was a constantly encouraged virtue in our home. Even when I was a lot younger, my parents would bring me sheets of paper, which would then be quickly filled with childish drawings. But there was one thing I loved to do from my baby years - analyze my surroundings. I was an information addict. Visual, auditory, sensory, you name it.
It was about that time when Speed Racer started broadcasting, I found out that analyzing the details of something already done, could be used to make something else. I was inspired. During that time, my drawings, from being simple childish gibberish, started becoming more complex and organized. I was drawing 3d-like vehicles (with my name stamped a bunch of times on it, of course... I was 6 years old), heavily inspired by the animated show, but each one of them in my own developing style.
Then there was the wonder of LEGO, which my sister was nice enough to bring back home from Denmark, and you all know how that can exploit a child's creativity. I was building stuff the whole day, from one small bucket full of LEGO parts. Soon enough I stumbled upon a problem. There was a limited number of parts to be used in a 'project' and after building one structure, I had to take it apart, to be able to start a new one. That was the moment I learned the lesson about optimizing my work. But even after doing the optimizations and being able to build more than one structure, I needed something more, something to extend my design and make it move. That's when I was introduced with battery powered electrical motors, such as this one below:
Those motors usually came out of remote controlled car models. So I got basic instructions from my dad on how electrical currents, electric motors, electrical cables and switches work and that opened a whole new level of creativity for me. I started building LEGO helicopters with moving rotors, buildings with working lifting cranes on the roof, I even tried building a working boat once from all that electrical equipment and LEGO. Lesson learned.
After a while of dangerous experiments and a million sense of accomplishment occasions, the before-mentioned gray box had arrived. The personal computer. And, of course, being the young kid I was, I started using it with games, which was a fascinating experience in itself, but it didn't take long and I got the feeling that every game I played was exciting only for a short period of time (mostly, the buildup of excitement before playing the game). I remember one game, that got me hooked bad. It was called 'Colobot' and it was the only game I wasn't bored with for a long while.
As the wikipedia article states:
"Colobot (Colonize with Bots) is an educational real-time strategy video game featuring 3D graphics"
But it had a twist. You could either do the robot tasks by controlling the robot directly, or use a programming language, to write the instructions for the robot to do by himself, automatically. That was fascinating! To be able to make something work using only letters and numbers, the possibilities were limitless! I always knew that words are powerful, but until Colobot, it was just in a poetical sense. This was something much more powerful, to me at least.
But all good things come to an end, I finished the game and there was nothing more I could do with it. I literally wrote every possible code in the game, doing things the game designers never intended me to do. After that, I had to do some more of that text-to-real-working-thing stuff. I was hungry!
This was about the time when the internet became accessible to regular households. And it was... It was impossible to describe. Just thinking about the time before internet now is scary, and imagine the thoughts running through my head, when I realized that by having internet, I can get answers to my questions almost immediately, whereas before I had to call my busy parents at work and ask questions using a landline.
Several million questions after, I found a thing called IRC (Internet Relay Chat), some of the late-80's kids might remember. It was like a gateway to a place where communities of similar interests gathered. A place, where I made a lot of similar-minded friends, technology-wise, music-wise, creativity-wise. That's when I found out about the possibility to modify my IRC client, to look just like I want it to look and add my own functionality, just as I need, using scripting. I did a few versions of my own IRC client, but I felt that I need more. And by contemplating all the ways I could create added value to my favorite communities. And at that time, there were two mediums used electronically for information (at least by me): IRC and web. So I started looking at what I could do for web and found out about a thing called webdesign. It was perfect, not only was it easy (the whole web was still using
<table> designs, which is, simply put, pages with tables in them, stylized to not look like tables), it was cool to visually manipulate the 'design' using easy markup code.
onmouseover). Although I couldn't find the perfect images I wanted to use, and that's how I started my relationship with Adobe Photoshop. It was hard, it was tough, mainly due to my attention span when reading tutorials and the fear and loathing of doing something by someones' instructions, but I skipped the tutorials and started doing my own thing by trial and error. Eventually I could get the results I needed and it brought my 'designs' to life. Creating buttons that would look as if physically pressed, when pressed with your mouse... fascinating stuff indeed. But it really was.
Being a person raised in a creative environment (my dad was a photographer and a musician, my mom was an awesome engineer and my sister had a thing for painting) I was doing a lot of music, like choir, saxophone, played guitar and bass guitar with a couple of bands so I had a lot of ways to express my creativity (thanks to my parents) and that way I got even more inspired to do other things. I did 3d modelling, even to the extent that my models were used in a couple of games, so that was a nice experience.
I love my parents for a lot of things, but there is one thing that has made, probably, the biggest impact on my life and the way I turned out. It's a simple phrase, which I strive to live by, as it has become the catalyst of all the decisions in my life:
"It's not how rich you can get, or how many friends you can have. It's how interesting of a person you can be is what matters in life"
And my whole life I've had thousands of interpretations of those words, and each one of those has helped me become a better, more interesting, more skilled person, than I was yesterday. I started to understand, that as long as you're more doing your best to become interesting, you will get all the other things you want, eventually. And doing that is fairly easy, you just have to say yes to every opportunity, experience of which could be valuable now and in the future. To make you better understand what I mean, I do everything, that I am able to do, which does not harm others or me in any way, I learn everything that I start being interested in and do it thoroughly and I gather as much experience as I can, even if it means I have to fail at something, usually it transforms in a win in the near future.
Simply put, fear of failure was never part of my mindset. Because even the hardest fail is at least a good story to tell. And that's all because of the simple phrase my parents told me when I was a kid.
And, after more than 8 creative jobs I've worked at, thousands of shitty designs, a lot of sweat and blood, here I am.
Hi, my name is Audrius Linkus, I'm a co-founder and a creative director at an international creative agency called monotwo which works with the biggest USA & Europe based companies on innovative projects, I have extensive experience and expertise in UI/UX and graphical design, I do design consulting and participate in a few charitable projects. I'm a person who's doing his best to make the world a better place.
And this blog, is one of the ways I'll try to encourage and inspire You, the reader, be more creative, be a better designer, be a better traveler, be a better person.
I hope you will appreciate the content, as much as I appreciate the experience of creating the content here!