A logo designer and illustrator from Indonesia who loves to create simple but smart visual designs. Always wants to simplify batik pattern, and considers that gado-gado is too complex to eat.

LocationSurabaya, Indonesia
DateMay 27, 2018
The meetup

I didn’t stay much in Surabaya because I only went there to meet Alfrey. It was a sunny Sunday morning and he welcomed me with a nice piece of art from Indonesia. We sat down in his office to do the interview. 

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I always like creating something that is fun, playful, and can make people smile.
Chapter 01
About the designer

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you got into design? 

I'm Alfrey Davilla, I have been a logo designer and illustrator for ten years. I'm from Jakarta, Indonesia. I moved from Jakarta to Malang and then to Surabaya where I am now. After studying in Surabaya, I started working in an agency based in Jakarta. I didn't spend a good time there, I was being humiliated and laughed at by everyone because my design sucked. . For example, one day my boss asked the designers to do a logo. They chose the best and the worst logo in front of many people and my work was chosen as the worst. From that point, I decided that I wanted to be a great logo designer. Today, I'm a full time freelancer and I like it because I can do my own schedule, I can work anywhere and anytime. Besides logos, I also do cute illustrations. 


Corgi / Unicorn


Cow / Family portrait

Thanks for sharing that hard time. What did you do to improve your craft? 

I searched for great work on Dribble and Behance. I practiced a lot and then I started working on 99design contests. In Indonesia, the graphic design industry is not really famous and we are not getting well paid.

I realized that those simple illustrations can be my speciality.

I participated to a lot of contests so I could make a living out of it, I won 130 of them and then I built a portfolio with what I won. Then, I didn't win for a month and I realized that these contests were just based on luck. And since only the winner was getting paid I figured I needed to find another way to make a living and I joined Dribbble.


Civil War / Joker

You do a lot of illustrations. Were you the kind of kids drawing in the back of the classroom? 

Since I was a child, I have always liked drawing, but my drawings were not as good as the other illustrators because I think I already had my own style : I do really simple illustrations. One day I posted it on Dribbble and got a lot of praises for it. I realized that those simple illustrations can be my speciality. I always create my illustrations based on my expertise and my experience as a logo designer. I always want to make illustrations that are a geometric and good in small sizes.


Alfrey always start his creative process on paper.

You do a lot of illustrations of animals and they all could be logos, right? 

I always like creating something that is fun, playful, and can make people smile. I really like that. Before publishing on Dribbble, I usually ask my wife first : "Is it cute enough?" 


Brave Care Mascot

You said that you wanted to work on your own, wherever and whenever you want. What would you say are the other reasons to explain your choice to be a freelancer?

When I worked at the company with a nine to five schedule, I felt like this was a constraint. Also, the salary was very low and I needed to earn more than this. I tried to go full time freelance and now my income is better plus I really like the flexibility of my schedule. 

What does a typical day look like for you? You said that you liked the flexibility of the schedule but do you impose yourself some sort of schedule?

I wake up at 7:00 AM and then I read a motivational book for 30 minutes. After that, I write some goals for the day. I write a main goal first and then the secondary goals. The main goal could be like "exploring the idea of this logo". The second goals can be doing a laundry or something like that. After that I have breakfast, I do some physical exercise, check Dribbble and then post on my Instagram. I usually start working at 10:00 AM until 5pm. And after that, it's my family time.

I always like creating something that is fun, playful, and can make people smile.

Could you explain a little how a project goes from the client reaching out to the final delivery? 

My clients mainly comes from Dribbble. I always give my client a questionnaire for them to answer. After that, we have a chat and my approach is always to be friendly to my clients. After that, I asked them a 50 percent deposit payment. Then, I start to sketch some ideas based on the brief. This is the longest part, but the funniest for me. I spend about two, three days maybe for the sketching part. When I have inked my illustrations, I show them to my clients before the coloring process. I usually give three different drafts. When my client picks one or two, I can put some colors on my illustration and I ask for the final payment before delivering the final asset.


First sketch with a pencil / Inking with a pen


Final illustration made on computer / Final product (magnet)

How do you price your work, by project or by day of work? 

I charge on a project basis, depending on the complexity of the project.


Elephant / Octopus

Could you tell us where your clients are located? 

The majority of my clients are not from Indonesia, they are from everywhere. They are mostly from the United States but I also have clients from Armenia and France and elsewhere. When I bumped up my price for international clients, I lost Indonesian clients as it became too expensive for them.

Where do you find your inspiration? 

I mostly find my inspiration online from Dribbble and Behance but sometimes it can be anywhere. For example, when I do exercise outside and I see a wall with a texture, it can inspire me for a logo. I also have a lot of logo books that I go to sometimes for inspiration.

What do you do when you get stuck and you don't have any Inspiration? 

I would go outside and run for a while to boost my mood. I can also play video games, I’m a fan of Tekken. 


Lion / Shark

How do you keep learning and growing as a designer? 

I try to learn new software when I think it can be worth it. My new goal is to become fluent in English so I can have better conversation with my clients and have a faster understanding of what they like. This would ultimately help me to sell my logos and illustrations a bit better. 

The most important thing is not only creating the concept but also how it could be delivered to people

I've seen on Dribbble that you always ask for feedbacks. Did you find any valuable content in those feedbacks? 

Sometimes. I would say that most of the time, they just support me which is something valuable in a way because it keeps me motivated. Sometimes there are constructive feedbacks that helped me a lot with ideas that I never thought about before.

What would you say is the best advice you've ever received? 

The advice comes from my brother who is also an illustrator. He told me that the most important thing is not only creating the concept but also how it could be delivered to people. I've always remembered that advice from him.


Mount Bromo, Indonesia - © Robin Noguier

Chapter 02
The design industry in Indonesia

How would you describe the design education system in Indonesia?

The design education system in Indonesia is growing very fast. Especially during the last five years because the government gave full support to the creative industry. Before that people didn’t really know what was graphic design. Now it's changing and they are so many talented designers in Indonesia. Like I said, designers here are not well paid here so they usually try to work for international clients. To this day, clients sometimes ask me : " Can you create a logo for me for 20 dollars?". They see design as an easy job and they don't really respect the creative process behind it. It's changing, not drastically but it's improving. The design education system is also improving. It's not just about graphic design but also illustrations and photography for example.


Flamenco Dancer / Geisha


Lady Mariachi / Sumo

You said that there were a lot of talented designers here. Do you think there is a community in Indonesia? Do you feel like designers are helping each other here?

Honestly I am not a part of that community, maybe because I'm a freelancer but I know that young designers are sharing ideas and going to meet-ups together. 

Growing up in Indonesia, did you think that designer was a path you could take?

Not at first no. Not at all. When I was young, my drawing skills were really bad and sometimes people didn’t understand it. I really liked Dragon Ball and it was my first inspiration. While my other illustrator friends improved their skills, creating more complex and detailed illustrations, I sticked to a simple illustration style because I couldn't draw like them. I turned my weakness into a strength. I realized it especially when I joined Dribbble and saw the great reactions from the community.


Sketching is the favorite part of his work 

What will be your advice for someone like you that wants to become a designer in Indonesia?

I think the most important thing is to have your own unique style because when you do, you will be an expert in this area. You will not need to find clients because clients will find you. My style is to make illustrations that are simple, cute and that can make people smile.

They see design as an easy job and they don't really respect the creative process behind it.

Cool. That's a good advice. Can you tell us a bit about who are some of the designers or design agencies that you look up to? 

For logo illustrations, I really like the work of of Carlos Puentes. I love a symbol logo that is simple, creative, smart, using negative spaces and has hidden meanings. Some logo designers I like is Gert van Duinen and George Bokhua Another style that is completely different from me, I love Yoga Perdana works because of his awesome gradients. 


Reach out to Alfrey

Spread the word

Final boarding call

Where do you
want to go next ?

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