Since joining 99designs in 2011, Fattah Setiawan has become a prominent figure not only amongst clients, but also in our Community Contests—most notably for crafting our beautiful 99designs Cafe logo with his creative partner, Bramanto Setyaki.

While his educational background lies in public administration, Setiawan taught himself design and grew more interested in a creative career after designing his first logo for his emocore band, Merrygoround.

From there he took a job at an ad agency, grew his skills on 99designs and eventually branched out to start his own agency, Orkha Creative. Today he boasts a robust portfolio that tackles everything from web design and posters to identity and branding.

We sat down with Fattah Setiwan to learn more about his creative career so far.

fattah setiawan

Name: Fattah Setiawan
Location: Indonesia
99designs handle: Fattah Setiawan

How did you get started in design?

It started with music. Most of my interest came from the graphic design of underground bands and the independent music scene. I get so inspired when I look at album covers, t-shirts, posters and merchandise. My first design was for my own emocore band, Merrygoround. I am an autodidactic [self-taught] learner in graphic design.

Fun Fact: My educational background is Public Administration. For the first stage of my career, I started working in a local advertising bureau and since then, my design skills have only developed.

melbourne mural by fattah setiawan
Mural concept for 99designs’ Melbourne office

Are there any other mediums or forms of art that you like to work in?

Personally, I really love freestyle drawing or doodling.

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration mostly comes from simple things. I am always thinking about how to get back to the function of products. Some designers put more weight on the aesthetics of design and tend to forget the main purpose of design (i.e. its function).

When trying to be inspired, I prefer to stay away from the crowd—I always like being alone. Just me, my laptop and internet. After I get some basic ideas, I start to execute and sketch!

I don’t believe you always have to use pencil and paper when sketching. Sometimes I feel more comfortable using the bezier tool in CorelDRAW. After that, I pick my best concept and finish it until the last detail is done.

poster designs by fattah setiawan
Poster designs from our community contests for 99designs, a Daft Punk concert and the World Cup

What led you to start using 99designs?

I started using 99designs after reading about it on a forum discussion board. Fortunately, it has changed my life.

I’m free to choose projects based on my interests and learn from so many talented designers from all over the world—it’s never a boring experience. For me, it is all about learning—money is a bonus in the process.

What are the three most important things designers can do to be successful on 99designs?

  1. Choose the right contest.
    This doesn’t mean you have to choose based on your expertise. Leave your comfort zone. Challenge yourself!
  2. Diligence.
    Bring lots of ideas and enthusiasm!
  3. Communication.
    For some designers, language has become a critical challenge—especially for designers from non-English speaking countries. But I do believe that design is an universal language. “Please” and “thank you” are simple words that can help you better communicate.
99designs cafe design
99designs Cafe logo

Why do you think design is important?

Every single thing needs to be designed to work. But while function is important, aesthetics are often the ultimate differentiator.

How do you see the field of graphic design changing in the next few years?

Design will be grow in an unpredictable direction. What we think is bad today could become the next trend.

I am pretty sure web and user-interface design will be heading into a golden era in the next few years.

album art by fattah setiawan
Album art for concept for Mayhem Attack Squad and a community contest winner for Yeezus

Describe your hometown. Do your surroundings impact your design style?

I live in Malang, a beautiful small town in Indonesia. The peaceful atmosphere of my town helps keep me focused on my projects.

The majority of my work gets finished in my small office studio in uptown. I have a solid team named Orkha Creative that makes my work a lot easier. I try my best not to work from home, so I can focus on my beloved wife and daughter while I’m there.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I work full-time for a plantation group as a creative attendant, but I often get lost in projects on 99designs to enhance my skill and knowledge.

See more of Fattah Setiawan’s work here.