Marko Kuljis

Supreme Commander
The NineFive Design

It’s wise to recognize one’s good fortune in life. When I was a kid, I was blessed with a singular, laser-like focus to do one thing, and that was to command a very grand starship, defending the universe from attacking enemy hordes – with a minor in Rock-Goddery. Sadly, none of that ever came to pass. I choose to blame the lack of progress we, as a species, have made in the fields of space travel and starship development in conjunction with my lack of any significant guitar-based ability or desire to pull off leather pants. As a result, I had to set my sights on more gravity-based pursuits.

Since I also very much loved to draw, that’s what I did. Almost constantly. My love for drawing eventually led to a passion for many things creative: design, still photography, music, art, etc. I also loved to read and learned a lot about world history which then fed me with an enormous desire to travel, learn, and see amazing things, which in turn only fed my creativity. It’s the circle of life. Then, there are the less directly-applicable interests I have in sports, European beers, whisky, fast cars, geopolitics, engineering, technology, World War II movies and TV shows, etc. Also, I have what I believe to be a very impressive Trivial Pursuit winning streak. 

Ok. Comedy aside...

In summary, I consider myself to be a person of eclectic interests, and I believe it's those interests that help make me a better designer. I’ve been a graphic designer for over 25 years – 20 of those as a freelancer – and I've had the good fortune to work on a very wide variety of projects for an equally diversee set of industries. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, and have seen the industry change dramatically with new techniques, software, workflow solutions, etc. Some of them great, some of them not so great (we’re looking at you, Flash). Through all of that, some things have remained constant. Hard work, good communication, strong time management, and dedication never go out of style. The classics never die.

As a pure freelancer, I believe those values to be the foundation of my success. I love, and am very passionate about what I do, but I also love working directly with my clients.  I enjoy helping them come up with solutions to their problems, and I like feeling like we're all part of the same team. This is why I love freelancing. As a creative, it can sometimes be challenging to reconcile the desires of making something beautiful with the need to make it effective – the eternal form versus funtion struggle – but when you have smart people working together, smart solutions to challenging situations present themselves readily.

Looking back (Wow! 25 years have really flown by!), I'm very proud of what I've been able to do. Though my career thus far has been immensely rewarding and interesting, there is still a LOT I'd like to do, like designing a label for a truly great beer (I was close once, but it was not to be) and/or whisky. I want to shoot and write for National Geographic (one of my favourite things in the world). I want to travel (actual travelling, not going to a resort, or having a layover) to all 7 continents – though I can hang up the cleats not having seen Antarctica and sleep soundly... winter just ain't my thing. I want to get my open water diving license and, in keeping with all things of a nautical nature, my sailing license as well.

There are other things on the list, but more than any of it, I want to give my family a great life. I can't imagine anything giving me more pride. I'm a child of immigrants of modest means. My parents worked hard to give my siblings and I a good life. I believe they succeded. They taught us the value of hard work and dedication. We had our ups and downs like any other family, but I mostly remember being happy. I want my children to have that as well.

So… reach out to me, and let's draw some pictures together! I've got my crayons all ready, and they're non-toxic because, you know, I get hungry.

Let's work together.
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