Interview with Marvel App Co-Founder Murat Mutlu
How did you get into design?
I used to try and draw cartoons when I was a kid, I was really into Warner Bros. stuff and spent hours with colored pencils trying to recreate what I saw on daytime TV.
What do you use to help you continue to learn?
What tools do you use when you’re creating?
Other than Marvel, what’s one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
Could you tell us in a nutshell why you decided to dedicate your free time to creating Marvel?
Marvel was the first thing I’ve ever made in my spare-time that I thought could solve a problem. In the past we’ve made a ton of stuff, from Instabam to Tuner, but they never really felt like something substantial.
The idea was just to solve a problem for myself because I hated not having an easy way to view my designs on devices and play around with them. Then you realize that there are millions of others just like you and that’s when you see the bigger picture in some little thing you hacked together in your spare time.
Is there any significance behind the name Marvel?
Sadly there is no great story. I used to buy tons of domain names in case I would need them in the future. I have about ten or so with the word ‘app’ at the end.
After we created the first releasable version of Marvel and we realized it needed a name, I looked through my list and saw that I had ‘Marvelapp.com’. I figured you can ‘marvel’ at what you create in our app so seemed like the right fit!
The other domains I had were ‘furyapp’ and ‘overdriveapp’ which don’t fit that well!
Why do you think it’s important to see a prototype actually on the screen of the device instead of just a simple design that’s clickable?
You can’t really know what designs and ideas will look or feel like until you have a chance to view them on the devices they are being made for.
Prototyping lets you find problems before getting to the expensive part of a project. Validating and testing as early as possible is always a good thing.
Why is Marvel different from other prototyping services?
I think its growth is coming from its simplicity. It’s just really easy to put something together in a few minutes without having to navigate through a bloated piece of software.
Our iPhone app also lets you turn sketches into prototypes too, which means you don’t even need to be near a computer or have any design skills to quickly put something together. It’s really lowering the barrier to bringing your ideas to life.
Right now you have an iPhone app, do you have plans to create an Android app?
Yes! It’s around 85% complete. It’s fully functional, but just needs some polish.
Can you describe the feeling of seeing Marvel featured on stage at the 2014 Adobe Max conference? Did you know that your app would be featured?
Had no idea! It felt pretty amazing, some of the other companies on that stage were household names. Now we need to deliver an amazing experience on iOS to match people’s expectations.
When did you make the decision to work on Marvel full time and what prompted you to do that?
This time last year we were still building it in our bedrooms, it was only in November when we managed to raise an Angel investment that we were able to leave freelancing and go full-time on Marvel.
Why is Marvel free? Will it continue to be free?
Marvel is built on top of the Dropbox API, which means we don’t have to worry about storing large files. Because of that, Marvel’s essentially ‘bring your own storage.’ So since we stay really lean with our costs, we decided to pass that on to the users and offer the best free plan around.
Marvel will always be free with no limits on projects.
Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
One thing I did that really helped was downloading free PSDs on sites like Dribbble and picking them apart trying to work out how all these great designers actually made stuff.
Then I would try to recreate them in exactly the same style but from scratch. I can honestly say before I started doing this I was pretty crappy at UI design. I had the ideas but never the execution, so I would definitely recommend that if you’re just starting out.