Meet Serbanescu Gabriel (aka _Trickster_), a truly talented designer who has enjoyed tremendous success in t-Shirt design contests at 99designs. Most notably known in our community for his iconic 99designs “Fist” t-shirt, Serbanescu has long impressed clients looking for edgier apparel.


Name: Serbanescu Gabriel
Location: Romania
99designs handle: _Trickster_

How did you get started in design?

I’ve been drawing since I was about 12 or 13 years old, but I never actually thought I could make a living out of it. When I was a kid I remember trying to reproduce the Ninja Turtles and other comic books characters. I was always a fan of the bad guys (they looked cooler than the good ones). I enjoyed drawing skeletons and monsters and for a short time I enjoyed painting religious icons.

The crucial moment in my development as a designer and artist was when I started using Adobe Illustrator and a drawing tablet, because it improved my skills and sped up the process – I must admit I can’t imagine drawing now without my friend “Ctrl+Z” :).

How do you get your design inspiration?

Although everything that I see or hear can be a source of inspiration, I guess music is the one that inspires me the most… besides other great artist’s works, movies, or simply my mood. I’ve been working with Adobe Illustrator for more than 5 years now and I can say that I will never stop learning, I’ve discovered amazing artists along the way, and the internet is of course the fastest way to discover new styles.

I must say there are some great artists that I do like and I watch, because they have a lot of things you can learn from: Dan Mumford, Aaron Horkey, Felix LaFlamme, GodMachine, Jeral Tydwell, and many many others.

What led you to start using

A friend introduced me to 99designs about a year ago and I was boomed because it gave me the chance to compete with other designers and it brought me that thrill that everybody wants – to see your design appreciated, shared, commented, and eventually used as image for a product.

It continues to be an amazing experience working with clients and it brings a lot of satisfaction seeing how their brief becomes real with the help of each entry submitted by the designers. I must admit it took a while not to be discouraged when the client didn’t like my design or I didn’t win – it’s all about the competition after all.

What are three things designers can do to have success at 99designs?

1. Read the brief twice to make sure you didn’t miss anything and try to come up with more than one idea – sometimes the client might like the one that you like the less.

2. Never underestimate another designer. Even if you feel you are more talented or experienced, it doesn’t mean you’re better than somebody else. We all have to start somewhere – remember how you were at the beginning.

3. Try not to get too affected when you don’t win – there are many other contests where you are needed.


What do you love most about being a designer?

The fact that I am doing what I’ve always wanted and even get paid for it – this is one of the things that I will never stop being surprised by. It’s a strange sensation when people ask you “What do you do for a living?” and you say “I draw” – that’s pretty cool! Well, it’s not brain surgery, but that’s the best I can do, haha… 🙂

See more of _Trickster_’s work here!