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Building a career in Art Direction—A chat with IKEA's Marko Cvijetic

What’s it like to be an Art Director for a huge multinational brand? Today we chat with IKEA’s very own Marko Cvijetic to learn more about his role, creative passions, and career as an Art Director.

Tell us about who you are and what your background is.

Hi, my name is Marko. I’m a Visual Designer & Art Director from Zagreb, Croatia who currently lives in Copenhagen. My design career started really early on. During my second year of design college, my friends and I started working at one of Croatia’s best agencies.

After that, I explored many different aspects of being a designer—from co-owning a small boutique studio, moving to another city, quitting a job, being a freelancer, to now ending up at one of the biggest brands in the world.

How did you break into Art Direction?

I would say it happened naturally. I’ve been always interested in overlooking the entirety of projects and passionate about setting the visual concept, style, and expression. I think my interest in other creative fields and constant search for new inspiration sources helped a lot. It took many years to learn the craft and how the creative world really works, because there’s a big difference between creativity and creativity that solves business goals.

Copenhagen Garden — Main Page branding art direction design grid layout ux web minimal typography

Copenhagen Garden — Main Page

by Marko Cvijetic

Copenhagen Garden Art Direction ©𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴. 𝘐 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘭 /𝘵𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵.

View on Dribbble

What kinds of projects do you work on at IKEA?

I currently work as an Art Director at IKEA with a focus on Product Pictures & Films. That means that together with a really diverse team of Photographers, 3D Artists, Interior Designers, and Retouch Artists, we produce content for IKEA’s global website but also for many other channels.

I’m passionate about storytelling and forward-thinking concepts, but also about improving everyday life at home...

The most interesting part of my job is coming up with fresh and delightful ideas that over 3 billion people have to understand. I’m passionate about storytelling and forward-thinking concepts, but also about improving everyday life at home with our products or solutions.

Since I’m not doing any visual design at IKEA, it’s now become my hobby—I spend a lot of free time exploring some new ideas just for myself and for my Dribbble followers :)

  1. Artist Profile — Website ux design photography website art direction minimal grid layout web typography
  2. Shot Link
  3. New Balance – Magazine Layout photography agency branding art direction grid layout ux web minimal typography
  4. Product Presentation — Type & Layout muzli studio art direction design ecommerce website typography grid layout furniture design print web furniture
  5. Italy shot
    Shot Link
  6. Golf Course — Header art direction web typography grid visual design sports golf minimal layout ux website


What else are you passionate about design and how does it influence your work?

I’ve been always passionate about concepts where design is just one part of the bigger solution—where you have the opportunity to merge many different creative fields into one concept and apply the same methodology despite the final output. I like when design becomes a part of the much greater story or experience.

With more practice, your senses get sharper and even more precise..

When it comes to micro-elements, I’m really passionate about typography and layout. Currently, I’m inspired by exploring solutions that contain minimum elements but provide perfect balance and composition. It’s really interesting how with more practice, your senses get sharper and even more precise.

Swedish Holiday Homes – Layouts website art direction ux web minimal typography layout design

Swedish Holiday Homes – Layouts

by Marko Cvijetic

©𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴. 𝘐 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘭 /𝘵𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵.

View on Dribbble

What advice would you give to designers interested in an Art Direction career?

First of all, be patient. I think Art Direction should be a natural step after many years of working as a designer and not only knowing how you work but how the creative industry works too.

For me, a great Art Director should be able to tackle two main aspects of a project—creative and emotional. Being a talented designer who is attracted to details and trends is great, but the other half is being a people person who knows how to handle different clients and build bridges between the expectation and the solution.

A great Art Director should be able to tackle two main aspects of a project—creative and emotional.

Other than that, having an interest in other creative disciplines such as photography, video, illustration, and copywriting is a big plus because you’ll have to work with many people in these roles and they will expect proactive and precise inputs from you.

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If you weren’t a designer what would you be doing?

I would probably be a musician or film director. If I wasn’t in a creative field, then I’d be a psychologist—I like to understand people’s behavior, habits, and ways of thinking.

Fast facts!

  • Favorite design tool or software: InDesign, Photoshop, Sketch
  • What you listen to while you work: A lot of Brent Faiyaz lately. Slow RnB/Hip-Hop and Electronica suits the best.
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee always. I’m a really big coffee lover.
  • Name a Dribbbler who inspires you: Anyone with sharp typography, composition, and layout skills.

Want to keep up with Marko? Find him on Dribbble and at ashleyhohnstein.com.

Find more Interviews stories on our blog Courtside. Have a suggestion? Contact stories@dribbble.com.


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