Q1. Many of us may be familiar with you because of your website, for those who are unfamiliar with you, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your life?
I’m Chris Spooner – A self employed designer who now earns a living by posting tutorials and articles on my two design blogs: Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25. I simply enjoy experimenting with different styles and fulfilling my creative needs by playing around with colors, shapes and textures!
Q2. How long have you been blogging and how (or why) did you start a blog?
I started Blog.SpoonGraphics in April 2007. The reason was just to have a go at working with the WordPress application. I remember seeing lots of other design blogs spring up at the time like BittBox and Smashing Magazine, which also inspired me to create a blog so I could also post out freebies and tutorials and become part of the growing community.
Q3. What was your goal when you started blogging?
The original goal is the same as it is now, and that’s just to give myself a playground to experiment and practice with new design styles. Whenever I get the urge to create a certain type of design or artwork, I can take the time to do so, then convert it into a tutorial to help others out.
I remember learning loads from online tutorials while I was studying, so I wanted to give back to the community in order to help other newcomer designers who were looking for insights and instructions on how to create cool things.
Q4. How much time do you need to spend daily on the upkeep of your blog… do you ever sleep or play?
I post one big topic each week on both blogs, which averages at around 2 days each. Then there’s a smaller roundup or news post that goes out on Fridays – These are much quicker to put together especially if I consistently bookmark resources throughout the week to include in such posts. Once the posts have gone live there’s a spot of promotion and general blog upkeep but it does usually leave a little time to sleep and play!
Q5. Please tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and web designer?
I’ve always been quite a creative person and I followed the artistic route throughout my education. Then led me to landing my first full time job as a Graphic/Web Designer at a local studio where I stayed for two years before heading out on my own as a self employed designer.
Q6. What do you feel are the most important skills for a designer to have/develop?
Just the passion to keep experimenting and developing your skills. If you’re passionate about something you have no problem spending hours researching, reading and working on that particular topic. You’ll just want to absorb everything that’s available to you.
Q7. A typical day in the life of “Chris Spooner”, how is it like? What do you enjoy the most about your work?
I wake up at around 6:40am, have breakfast then take the dog out for an hour or so then settle down for a day’s work. I’ll tend to work on two projects per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon before leaving off for the day. The thing I enjoy most is being able to have fun doing something that I love, and earn a living from it!
Q8. What do you think of the web design blog niche? A lot of designers say it’s overcrowded, but many say there’s still room for new blogs and tutorial sites.
The trouble is many people have set up a ‘design blog’ over the past couple of years just to earn some quick cash which seems to have caused this overcrowding. They all seem to be going down the same route of posting generic type posts, rather than creating articles or tutorials based on the things that inspire them. I think these blogs will end up fading out because the author isn’t fulfilling their creativity, they’re just posting for the sake of it.
Q9. If you could give a single piece of advice to people who would like to follow your steps, what would it be?
I always advise for people to just keep playing around and learning new techniques. There’s always something to learn even in applications you think you know inside out. Create things for enjoyment and you’ll never tire of being sat in front of Photoshop all day!
Q10. What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
The tools I use on a daily basis are probably the ones I couldn’t live without. They are my MacBook and Cinema Display as hardware, and the Adobe Creative suite (particularly Photoshop and Illustrator) as software.
Q11. Do you have any favorite websites for interacting with others in the design community?
Twitter has to be number one favorite. I’ve met and stayed in touch with loads of like minded designers over the years through Twitter, many of which I didn’t really know about before.
Q12. What are your favorite websites at the moment?
I always struggle to pick out a collection of favorite sites, as I browse so many and often come across great posts on various blogs. One that always pumps out great content is Design Instruct.
Thank you Chris for taking the time out to answer our questions. Much appreciated.