ArekKajda (Freelance 3D Designer & Illustrator)

Arek Kajda (kajdax) is a German-based illustrator/visual designer specialized in creating happy 3D illustrations for brands & digital products.

Kassel, Deutschland • October 27, 2023

What led you into design?

I've always enjoyed drawing and had a love for design. After art school, I landed a job as an illustrator/animator for a local flash game company. Working on different game projects was a valuable experience for me, as it allowed me to not only develop my skills in digital art but also understand how to work creatively with clients based on briefs and brand identities.

Later on, when I got my first Mac, I was fascinated by the possibilities it offered for design. I started creating my own custom icons and sharing them on Dribbble and Twitter. The positive response I received from the design community fueled my passion and gave me the confidence to take the leap into full-time freelancing.

What does a typical day look like?

When I first started freelancing, I used to work at night and sleep until noon, but after a while, I noticed that my body didn’t really like that. Nowadays, it’s quite the opposite. After my wife and I moved to the countryside, I like to start my day early, usually around 7 AM, by enjoying 1-2 cups of coffee in bed while checking emails and catching up on news or just enjoying the view through the window.

If possible, afterwards, I like to go for a run or bike ride. I find that getting some exercise in the morning helps me stay focused and energized throughout the day.

Once I finish my workout, I begin my workday. I typically work until around 5-6 PM, taking breaks for lunch and coffee as needed. During this time, I focus on various design projects for my clients, mostly creating 3D visuals for websites or apps.

After I finish work, I like to unwind by spending time outdoors, perhaps going for a walk or, in the summer, enjoying the garden, or in the winter, watching movies in the evening to relax and recharge for the next day.

Overall, my typical day is a balance between work, exercise, and leisure time, which helps me stay productive, healthy, and happy.

What's your workstation setup?

To meet my needs, I have set up my workstation with a Mini ITX Windows PC exclusively for 3D works, and an MBP M1 which I use for graphic design and email etc. Both devices are highly portable, making them ideal for travel.

Where do you go to get inspired?

Appetite comes with eating”

I would say that I'm not the type of person who actively searches for inspiration. Instead, I find that my inspiration comes from the tasks at hand, the challenges presented by the project, and the problem-solving process itself.

When I'm working on a design project, I like to immerse myself in the problem and think deeply about how to approach it from different angles. I find that this process of exploration and experimentation often leads me to unexpected and innovative solutions.

Nevertheless, inspiration often comes from unexpected places, such as watching a movie, reading a comic book, playing a video game or browsing through social media platforms. Sometimes, these experiences can spark a creative idea or help me see a problem in a new light.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I like it when small things can make life easier. I was super stoked when Apple reintroduced the MagSafe magnetic port on the M1 Max. It's very convenient, and I love the satisfying "click" when connecting it. The LED indicator shows when it's fully charged, but the best part is that I don't have to worry about our cat knocking over the MacBook by getting tangled in the cable.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Brand visuals for Pitch
Hedgies NFT for dYdX

What design challenges do you face at your company?

As a full-time freelancer, one of the biggest challenges I face is finding the right work-life balance. There are times when I have to juggle multiple projects simultaneously and work non-stop for several days or even weeks. This can be very demanding and mentally exhausting.

On the other hand, there are also periods when I don't have any projects lined up, which can be challenging as well. While it's enjoyable to have a break from work, the uncertainty that comes with not having steady work can be stressful.

To maintain a healthy work-life balance, I have to be mindful of my workload and set boundaries for myself. I try to plan my schedule in advance and prioritize my tasks based on their deadlines and level of urgency. Additionally, I make sure to take regular breaks and engage in activities that help me recharge.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Keep it simple. Step out of your comfort zone and have fun!

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to share and exchange experiences. Stay updated on my upcoming projects and feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram.