How One Photographer Pursued His Passion and Found Success

Aleksandar Cocek
Nov 30, 2017 · 4 min read

Eemagine’s Zlatko Vickovic Take on the Meaning of Photography and Design in Today’s Business

Zlatko Vickovic did not go to a fancy college to pursue his dreams and start his career. His cornerstone was his true passion — photography.

Zlatko Vickovic self-portrait

As he says, he’s a visual artist and a “natural”. He’s always had a thing for photography. From drawing, painting, and copying comic books as a kid, to becoming a successful photographer & web designer who could teach you a thing or two on how design & photography actually work.

What does design mean in today’s world?
“Everything around us is design. It enriches our reality. People take things for granted and don’t notice what surrounds us. A human being loves living in a beautiful place, wearing nice clothes, having a neat phone, a good-looking car. Even things like food; it has to look appealing to the human eye. That’s design. It gives you the possibility to sell anything for big money. “

If you asked someone to memorize certain things, like historic facts or numbers, surely, e’d be able to do it, at least some of it. On the other hand, many-sided people like Zlatko remember anything visual. Effortlessly.

Whether it’s street signs, billboards, big city commercials; he memorizes the details, and the big picture behind it, as well.

Through his daily tasks and experiences, he learned the important connection between photography and design.

“You can’t separate photography from design. The photo suggests to the user that the product is real, that there are people using it. Using a good photo in design is crucial. For instance, if you have an old metal plate with jam on it, that’s it. Who’s going to buy that? If you get a nice jar with an attractive print, you’ve got yourself a good deal. You’re selling tradition and you’re in for making a lot more money.”

But, we’re living in a world where mostly everything has been already seen and it’s very difficult to come up with new ideas. Finding a way to remain being original isn’t easy, or is it?

“The main question is how much people actually need to be original. Everyone wants to look like their successful competitors. There’s a standard in all industries. The colors, look & feel, atmosphere, brochures, users’ impressions and experience. You can make some additional changes, but that’s about it. Still, designers pay a lot of attention to tradition and trends. Your design sells your product.”

Zlatko also says that designers pay a lot of attention to tradition and trends. Because, there’s a thing — your design sells your product.

“People have started to see the importance of it. It’s the first thing they notice. When someone visits a website and it’s not well done, he’s gone.”

In addition, you have to make sure you craft a product your client’s going to like.

“Sometimes, you can be a good designer, but your style isn’t compatible to your client’s wishes. When I design, I have to look at the competitors and trends. Sometimes, I spend an hour looking for a suitable photo. Sounds like a lot, but it’s all part of the process.”

He points out that it’s designer’s job to put everything together and make it click, both aesthetically and functionality-wise.

The Endless Battle — Design or Programming?
“Comparing pros and cons of programming and design is difficult”, says Zlatko. “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages.”

“If it’s design, the biggest advantage is working on a project and maybe some additional modifying later on. The job of a programmer is never ending. There’s maintenance, constant updates, websites crashing and, of course, improving user experience all the time. In programming, it’s either if it works or it doesn’t. There’s no skipping. In design, it’s what you think looks the best. It can attract you and trick you. It’s the first thing you see, but there’s the web development part which has to be awesome.”

The other part of both businesses, the money, also depends on various factors.

“If I’m in a good mood, I can make a good design really fast. My input can be 20 hours, comparing to programmer’s 200. Programmers’ advantage is working with a couple of clients for a long time and earning good money. You make a design once and it lasts for at least 3 years.”

Zlatko emphasizes the importance of these two working together, the design and programing part being compatible and working well together.

How to be the best possible designer?
He’s found a way to treat design differently than the others. Having been passionate about visual arts for so long, it has made his approach to design quite unique.

“For me, logo design is the Zen of design. Putting a lot of elements and a story in one single thing. There’s a lot of work until you figure out what’s the best.”
“I’m especially proud of this certain project…”, I don’t treat design this way. I’ve had many clients. The big ones and the smaller ones. It’s about solving a problem and finding the best solution. Where I found it, it was the biggest accomplishment. Not where I earned the biggest money.”

But, there are some things the book can’t teach you. If you ask Zlatko, he’s going to explain you quite well.

“People often ask me to teach them. You can rock the software part, but in visual arts, when you make something, your whole being’s in it. I can tell you what kind of person someone is, what he loves, how much work he put into, his technique, what he tried to represent, but did or did not succeed; all of that, based on only two photos. You can see everything.”

“Some things you just can’t learn. It’s really difficult. You put in everything; the things you’ve read, where you’ve been, who you’ve talked to, the way you’ve thought. It’s all in.“

Follow more of Zlatko’s work at:



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