Designer In The Spotlight (DITS) is a weekly feature that I run every Sunday to help particular individuals in the design community get their name ‘out there’ and to educate the community as a whole. It is a series of questions that asks the designer about themselves and their job as a designer. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming DITS post fill out the form here.
1. Please tell us more about yourself, your background, education and what you do as a designer.
2. How long have you been designing and what made you become an artist / designer?
I’ve been designing since 2004. Before 2004, I had a couple of “confusing” years when I was looking for myself. The person I met, who nowadays is my true partner and friend, was the one who inspired me to do web design. I’ve been very art-oriented since I was a child, but with all the troubles I had back then, I forgot what it was to be inspired. So, I started by learning Photoshop, and then I got interested in web design. I got a subscription to Computer Arts magazine, which is a great source of inspiration and learning new trends and techniques. Since then, i’ve designed many sites, and have been continuing to improve my skills on a daily basis.
3. Where do you work and what is your daily routine?
I work at my office part of the house. My daily routine usually starts at 5:00 AM – I do yoga, gym, and then start working. I have big lists of tasks in front of me, and I feel happy when I cross each item out and go on with the next step. I usually work on more than one site every day, so my tasks vary a lot – from creative to just pure code. My working day ends around 8:00, then I watch a movie or go out and have fun.
4. How did you market yourself in the beginning of your design career and how has that differed to how you market yourself now?
In the beginning of my design career, I created many sites for free to fill up my portfolio. Then I started selling banners and templates at Webhostingtalk. Sooner than I expected, I got some good clients, who would also recommend me to other people. Now I have my freelance web design company, Elune Art, which consists of 4 professionals, our work is much more complex and, certainly, on a different level.
5. What are your tools of the trade? This could include hardware, software and traditional tools.
Adobe CS3, Swish, Wacom Intuos drawing pad, pencil and paper, pc, laptop, my camera, imagination, crazy people and friends.
6. How do you manage the business side of design such as accounting, invoicing and bookkeeping?
Me and our main programmer are the ones who deal with that. I am not a very math person, but what has to be done, has to be done. Sometimes we use Freshbooks for invoicing , or our own site.
7. Where do you get your inspiration and how do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
I get my inspiration from nature, talking to friends, art magazines, art events, obscure movies and CSS galleries. I keep up to date through my RSS reader, Computer Arts magazine, my Delicious bookmarks and blogging.
8. Can you please guide us through a typical project from start to finish.
1. A client contacts us (usually via email). We have a questionnaire for the client, which clarifies their needs. We evaluate the project, see if we are able to take it, what resources it would require, what a time frame would be, and we set the price.
2. We contact the client, let him know about the time frame, the price, how many free revisions and free support he would get.
3. If the client is interested in us doing the project, we invoice him for 50% of the total price and start working.
4. When the graphic layout/design is done, we send the sample to the client (with additional descriptions of functionality, etc), so that he can preview it and let us know if he is satisfied with it. If not, we revise the work (usually a client gets 3 free revisions, if more, he has to pay per hour).
5. When the client is satisfied with the look of the site, we start coding it and integrating it on our local server. When the integration is done and everything is working properly, we show the preview to the client and invoice him the rest of the project’s price. After that, we upload the work to the client’s server and the site goes live. The client gets our support with the site if there are problems with it.
9. What are your top 3 websites / books and why?
Notcot.org – innovative design applied to whatever you can think of – I really like this site.
CSS Mania – lots of inspiration
Return from the stars by S.Lem – very prophetic and “colorful” book
Carlos Castaneda’s works
( I couldn’t choose just 1 book but those 2 mean a lot to me)
10. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?
Never give up. Generate as much happiness as possible. The main thing is to start, not speculate, but just start doing.
Jacob: Thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview: If you want to be featured as the next Designer In The Spotlight, please fill out this form.