Blogger, Designer, and Self-Employed – Interview with Chris Spooner
2. How did your two blogs come to be, and why did you create them?
Blog.SpoonGraphics was created over two years ago originally as a little experiment with the WordPress application. I had seen design blogs springing up and decided to give it a go myself. Soon after publishing a couple of tutorials and freebies, the site started to grow in popularity. Many articles and posts later the site is continuing to grow and has reached a fantastic level of popularity in the web community!
Line25 was setup more recently, given the enjoyment I have developing Blog.SpoonGraphics, I decided to branch out and do it all again. I wanted to focus more on web design topics, but with Blog.SpoonGraphics developing a name for Illustrator tutorials, I didn’t want to suddenly switch subjects. Setting up a second blog seemed like the perfect way forward, and Line25 is also seeing some unbelievable growth in the four months it has been active.
3. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts, and how do you keep coming up with fresh ideas?
Ideas for blog posts tend to appear from general Internet browsing and picking out interesting images from magazines. If there’s a feature that catches my attention, creating a blog post on the topic is a great way to research into the topic further, which also helps polish my own skills.
4. How have your blogs come to have such a strong following? What advice would you give to bloggers just starting out?
Keep up the hard work. Even with Line25 having the advantage of receiving an already establishing group of subscribers from Blog.SpoonGraphics, it’s difficult in the early days to keep a consistent level of traffic. Keep the faith and pump out articles that you think would be interesting to fellow designers, sooner or later one will be picked up and receive a decent influx of visitors.
5. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Browsing design galleries and the work of inspiring designers is always a great help, although I also seem to pick out interesting images from magazines and general things I come across on a daily basis.
6. What first got you interested in design, and how did you go about getting into this industry?
I’ve always been fairly creative minded, and went down the creative route throughout schooling and college. After university I landed my first job as a Graphic/Web Designer at a local small studio. A good website has always been a useful resource for landing jobs and opportunities, so that’s one recommendation I’d give to others.
7. How (and when) did you transfer into the freelance designer lifestyle? How did you turn your work into a personal business and gain your first clients?
I worked on a couple of personal and client related projects in my spare time outside of work to begin with to gain a feel for managing projects completely by myself. After a while my blog revenue increased to cover my basic monthly expenses, which was a great help in making the transition to working for myself. The exposure it has developed online now brings in clients from around the world, along with some really interesting work!
8. Could you describe a typical workday in your life as a freelance designer and blogger?
A typical workday starts by catching up on Twitter and browsing through a couple of links I come across. I’ll then check over emails for the day and respond to clients or messages from my blogs. I usually aim to work on a project or blog post in the morning, and one in the afternoon, so depending on what I have in store at that moment I’ll either work on some kind of web design, a little coding, a logo design, or think of a topic to create an article about. Midday I’ll head off for some lunch, then check over my RSS feeds for some cool topics from the blogosphere. My interesting findings are then posted to Twitter to share with others.
9. Has owning Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25 helped you find clients, or helped your freelance design career in any other way?
For sure, my blog over at Blog.SpoonGraphics has been a fantastic source of clients, mostly through the exposure it has given online. So much in fact, that I hardly need my portfolio website anymore.
10. What is your general design process now that you have the freedom of freelancing?
My design process tends to vary slightly depending on the nature of the project, but generally an estimate will be created based on an indication of time needed for the work. This is then invoiced as a 50% deposit and the project started with research and sketching. Designs are created and supplied to the client, followed by an invoice of the remaining balance. Between these steps I try to keep the relationship personal and informal, in my eyes there’s nothing worse than all that boring business jargon and malarkey!
11. Finally, what are some of our future goals for your blogs, your freelancing business, and for yourself?
I’m looking forward to developing both blogs further into the future with new posts and useful content; Line25 is heading towards the 10k subscriber milestone so I’m looking forward to that achievement. Outside of blogging I’m looking to continue on with a selection of interesting design projects and generally keep on top of any upcoming changes in the industry!