Designer Interview: Tezar Tantular, Founder of Kerismaker Studio

Here’s how Tezar, a former university lecturer, switched careers to freelance icon designing. Currently a founder of his own studio, he shares his process, inspirations and favorite icon design tools.

Designer Interview: Tezar Tantular, Founder of Kerismaker Studio

Tell us about your role and what you do.

Hello, my name is Tezar Tantular, an Icon Designer and Founder of Kerismaker Studio from Bali, Indonesia. Currently, my role is as a designer producing icon designs and other digital asset designs. Sometimes, I collaborate and work with clients. I am also a creative director for several talented designers who are divided into a few teams at Kerismaker Studio.

I founded Kerismaker Studio in 2010, and it officially became a team in 2019. I manage this team remotely because they are spread out across several provinces in Indonesia.

I have a story that was a big step in my journey to where I am today. In 2018 I became an icon designer after resigning as a lecturer from one of the universities in Indonesia. After resigning, I didn't have a job and had to support my family. I decided to start freelancing to become an icon designer, earning zero income for 1 year. But I learned how to make a good icon and continued to innovate.

My struggle has finally paid off, especially in 2019 when several opportunities opened up. And here I stand now with my team at Kerismaker Studio doing the work we love.

What is your primary source of inspiration, and what is your creative process in creating these awesome, fun designs?

The source of my inspiration comes from opening my mind to new things, so I can develop my own ways of creating a design solution. Sometimes I work out in a cafe or co-working space. This is what gives me inspiration – good vibes and meeting new people with different business backgrounds give me new perspectives to develop ideas to be more productive.

When it comes to style, I'm not sure what to call my style, but I realized that the icons I make always have realistic shapes, even across different design concepts. For now, I'm still trying to develop new designs with different styles.

In my first year as a designer, my motto "don't be afraid to be ugly", because the first designs will always look ugly. I just tried to make icons for topics I love or am currently thinking about.

The Kerismaker Studio workplace
The Kerismaker Studio workplace

At the beginning, my goal was to consistently make icons every day. I always have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. My weekly goal is to submit all these icons to the IconScout marketplace. My monthly target is to evaluate and improve my skills. Sometimes there will be icons that are featured in the marketplace or even rejected – what I do is learn again to improve the quality and make a new one that is better.

I always research to determine what icon themes should be made for the next three months. Then I organize each icon theme idea into a working timeline. The easiest way to find theme ideas is to follow seasonal events around the world. I break these down into daily targets so I know what I should do when I wake up.

During the process, what type of software and design tools do you use?

I started by planning in Trello. Almost all the ideas, inspiration and references I need are put into Trello cards. This also makes it easier for my team to determine which jobs need to be done. With this app, I can determine deadlines and update progress.

Then for the sketching process, I sometimes use Procreate. I think this is necessary to speed up the process and to provide documentation. But sometimes, in certain conditions, I use paper to sketch. Yes, no one knows when ideas will come and must be worked on immediately.

For the digital process, I always use Adobe Illustrator. So far I feel in the icon production process, this is the most comfortable software to use. I use plug-ins from Astute Graphics to ensure the icons that I create meet industry standards.

The process of creating an icon set
The process of creating an icon set

At Kerismaker Studio, icon production doesn't stop at digital processing with AI, EPS, or SVG files. I need to make it even easier for users to use the icons they need. So I convert every icon I produce into several formats, using additional software for post-production processes such as Iconjar, Sketch and Figma.

What advice would you like to give to the designers of the IconScout community?

Know your own skills and be consistent. Don't be afraid if your design looks ugly, because everything needs a process. Set your big target and plan how you’ll achieve it, starting from what you’ll have to do today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year – until you reach your target and start your next new goal again.

How can people find you and get connected?

I have a website at kerismaker.com. Feel free to visit my website or meet me in person in Bali, Indonesia. I would be very happy if I could chat or discuss with you. You can also find me on social media, where you can leave a message, ask anything including about collaboration or projects.

behance.net/krsmkr

dribbble.com/kerismaker

instagram.com/kerismakerstudio

What is your favorite asset on IconScout?

Digital Marketing Icon Pack by Kerismaker Studio
Digital Marketing Icon Pack by Kerismaker Studio

I really like this Digital Marketing icon design. It brought some big clients who asked me to create an icon based on this style for their company. This style also got me to explore other new icon styles that might be applicable to various media.

What do you love about IconScout?

As a contributor at IconScout, the most enjoyable thing I've felt so far is that the team really cares about their contributors. They provide feedback and good communication from their website or from their social media, including their personal team’s accounts.

As a user on the IconScout platform, I can see that their user interface (UI) is easy to understand. We can easily find what we need because the categorization of asset types is very helpful.

The last thing that amazed me is that they always make innovations that are needed by the market. I think IconScout can be a medium for designers to improve their skills to make products that clients need.

What are your thoughts on the members and culture of the IconScout team?

I had a good experience with the IconScout team. When I had a design theft issue on IconScout, Mohit Gandhi responsively solved it in minutes. I even communicate with him through social media. I think this is proof that IconScout has a good work ethic and really cares about their contributors. I really appreciate it  🤜 🤛.

How do you see your future with IconScout?

I wish IconScout had a feature to be able to create some kind of plug-in or template that would make it easier for designers or developers to animate icons just by clicking a button. For example, simple motion animations such as fade in fade out, wiggle, rotate, bounce. I hope all the motion effects can be done with just a choice of buttons or drag and drop.

[Editor’s note: Have you tried LottieFiles’ SVG to Lottie feature? 😉]

What are the benefits you have received from uploading your work on IconScout?

The first is passive income. Other than that, some clients come and contact me directly for their projects. IconScout increases my chances to be more easily found by clients who need exclusive designs.

How did IconScout as a marketplace help accelerate the growth of your work?

IconScout as a marketplace provides a platform for Kerismaker Studio to distribute our design assets worldwide. In addition, the Kerismaker Studio brand as an icon designer is stronger, and this increases our opportunities to meet new clients and prepare innovations for what the market needs.

What would you like to see more in the future of animation?

Possibly everyone would agree that animating an object with smooth and natural movements is not easy. My hope is that there will be a tool or software that is very simple and easy to use to make it easier for users to animate.

Want to be an IconScout contributor too? Join our global community, help buyers fulfill their creative needs and enjoy some of the best payout rates in the industry. Apply to be an IconScout Contributor here.

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