Ever had a thought that’s been so creative, you’ve simply marvelled at your own genius?

Well, now you can tell the world about it with My Modern Metʼs new slogan shirt collection that was created in collaboration with 99designs.

We spoke to Ana Stoyanova—also known as Rockrose—to discuss the creative and collaborative process that brought the playful Brushstroke of Genius slogan to life.

Ana started out on 99designs in 2014 when she was searching for more stability in her freelance career, and after winning her first contest, she was hooked. She has since worked on a wide variety of projects, from apparel to social media designs and even inner parts of bicycle tyres—all of which has enabled her to develop a deep understanding of what clients want and need, as well as a large, varied portfolio.

Ana has since established a graphic design career centered around lettering and typography, creating apparel design that clients can’t get enough of!

Name: Ana Stoyanova
Profile: Rockrose
Speciality: Typography and t-shirt design expert

Tell us about the process of designing this shirt for My Modern Met.

Brushstroke of genius” was actually one of the projects I enjoyed most working on this year!

The My Modern Met team contacted me with clear brief and good references (both of these things are very important to me) and that helped start the project immediately.

by Rockrose

I’ve been working with 99designs for a bit more than five years now and most of my projects are for t-shirt designs. For the past two years I’ve been addicted to drawing letters and I felt this job was just right for me! I was so excited that I got a lettering project invitation, that I started drawing some sketches before the payment was even secured 😆

After sending the first sketches and getting feedback for them, it was only a matter of a few revisions to get to the final design. For the letters I used one of the default calligraphy brushes in Procreate, but edited the settings to get the thin and thick parts of the letter flow easier with my handwriting.

Even though I worked on a huge canvas in Procreate, I found it a bit challenging to vectorize some of the strokes in Adobe Illustrator—converting a raster image into vector has its subtleties and when I traced the letters some pixel information was lost. So I spent some time adjusting that before I sent the final print-ready files.

by Rockrose
Can you tell us a bit about your design career to date?

I started freelancing the first year I got into university. It was a really tough year as I was alone in a large city with no friends, my mom became sick and my family couldn’t support me financially. I struggled with a number of challenges with some of the regular jobs I was holding at the time—such as late payments, lost contracts and workplace harassment. I knew working for someone else just wasn’t for me. I devastatingly lost my mom a month later, but since then things have slowly started to improve.

It was that summer that I spent learning and practicing graphic design. A friend told me about 99designs and a few months after I started participating in contests, I got my first win. It was such a refreshing and motivating experience! I’ll never forget how I woke in the middle of the night, checking the contests for feedback and going back to sleep, dreaming of it 😂

Over time I got better at understanding what clients want and need, my portfolio got bigger and the best part is that I work from home on projects I enjoy—I still haven’t found a better freelance platform than 99designs (and I spend a lot of time on the internet!).

I’ve worked on various projects from t-shirt and other apparel graphics, to social media designs, web and print, inner parts of bicycle tyres—almost everything you could think of 😂

by Rockrose
How would you describe your style in your own words?

Currently I’m focusing more on personal work (such as patterns and typography). I would describe my style as playful, seeking the balance between simplicity and small details.

Usually I spend most of my time drawing for Instagram and Magic Room, which is a project for kids wall decals that I’m working on with my sister, or browsing Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. I’m not a big fan of going out hiking or to the beach. I think a person should grab the hustle while they’re young and still have motivation to work!

Do you have any tips to offer other designers?

One tip I could give other designers is to be careful of not burning out. One saying that’s stuck in my mind is “learn to rest, not to quit,” so find out what’s helping you relax and take your mind off work from time to time. It’s normal to feel a bit lonely sometimes, especially in times of social distancing, so I recommend finding great podcasts for designers to listen to while working. Adopting an animal friend is also a great thing to consider!

You can also view more of Anaʼs work on her instagram @rockrosee.

Love Rockrose's work?
Hire her for your next project.