Last week we published our long-awaited report on the freelance industry: “Design without Borders – The Freelance Revolution”. And thanks to the amazing design work by Top Level designer Shwin, it looks pretty stunning! We talked to him about his career, how he got into design and his approach to this challenging project.

Design without Borders illustration
Designer Shwin’s illustrations make Design without Borders stand out. Download the report here.

Shwin is a British-born graphic designer based in Vietnam. A self-taught talent, he joined 99designs early on in his career to learn new techniques and build on his skills. While he admits to never winning contests initially, Shwin has seen significant growth on the 99designs platform. Now with nine years under his belt as a professional designer, his career has allowed him to break into London working for some of the city’s biggest agencies and clients. Specialising in branding and illustration, Shwin believes diversity is key, so he never shies away from a new challenge.

In taking on this project, Shwin felt it had great potential for creativity. By combining his flair for beautifully crafted illustrations with new, experimental brush styles, he breathed new life into the data. And the end result? A colorful and edgy expression of technical data that you won’t be able to take your eyes off.

How long have you been designing?

9 years, but I wouldn’t consider myself a good designer for all 9 of them! I used 99designs early on to see how I could tackle different projects, I but I never won any contests because I was frankly terrible. However, this was how I learned my skills, taking on projects and learning new techniques for each one. Eventually, I won one.

How did you get into design?

I was always encouraged to draw by my parents and I think that moving that onto my computer was just the natural progression.

Diversity is definitely the key for me.

I didn’t go to university. YouTube was my tutor and my bedroom was the campus. So I was thrilled when I was finally working for the biggest agencies and clients, as I wasn’t sure it was possible without a degree.

What would you say is your speciality in terms of design?

Folk of Oli designs
by Shwin

I love branding and illustration most but, as you may be able to see from my work, I like to take on all kinds of projects and do them in all different styles. Diversity is definitely the key for me.

What was it about this project that made you want to take it on?

I’ve worked with 99d on a few projects before and they’ve always been good fun. The project itself had a lot of potential for creativity.

The project itself had a lot of potential for creativity.

Also, it’s a big endorsement of your work to get a call from the big guys.

How did you approach this brief?

I started experimenting with illustration styles and brush strokes then created some drafts which we narrowed down together.

What is your favourite part of the end piece?

I like the illustrative style. I think overall it’s great to look at stats in an engaging way.

Love Shwin's work?
Hire him for your next project!