Many thanks to Chris Spooner for taking the time to answer some of PV.M Garage questions.
Chris is the guy he guy behind Blog.SpoonGraphics. This site acts as my digital playground, where I present Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials, articles around the subject of design and a bunch of free vector and resource giveaways. The blog have 15.000 visitors every day and 20k+ subscribers for this Spooner is one of the most known web designers and bloggers in the world.
Chris, welcome to PV.M Garage and thank you for this informal interview. You’re now one of the most known web designers and bloggers in the world. Can you tell us when and how you realized that you would become a creative designer?
Thankyou, it’s a pleasure!
I’ve always aimed to become a graphic designer from quite a young age. At school and college I always went down the creative route, and finished with a BA HONS) in Art & Design at University. From then I landed my first full time job at a local studio where I worked as a Graphic and Website Designer for two years before deciding to go independent.
Well, you graduated in Art & Design, but often the background education of many designers can be very different. What do you think about this and which skills do you consider a essentials for a web designer?
While a degree or education can look great on a CV, I certainly don’t think it’s mandatory in this industry. With the web moving so fast many of the courses available are at least a couple of years out of date, which when considering their cost makes them a little pointless. While I did pick up some great knowledge from my education, I found my main skills were learnt from online blogs who share their techniques and resources.
You started your activity in two studios then you decided to work as a freelance. Was it a good choise? Could you describe us about the benefits and the disadvantages of this kind of activity?
Working at an established design company is highly recommended. It gives the necessary insights into how the industry works, and gives opportunities to get real world experience on projects that otherwise would be out of reach.
In your “about” page we can read “The combination of blogging and freelancing has been a great mix, both working hand in hand to increase my creative skills [...]“. In what way does your activity as blogger support your daily work? Is there a direct money gain or is it only a method to increase your visibility on web?
There is the direct money gain through advertisements on the blog, that provides a solid revenue each month. This means I don’t have to worry too much about the usual freelance feast or famine cycle. If I’m low on work for a particular month, I don’t have to worry because all my major outgoings are covered. Also, the exposure the blog has provided brings in plenty of enjoyable projects, so it’s a win-win situation for me!
If I had to find three adjectives to describe your works i would choose “direct”, “soft grungy” and “clear”. Do you agree?
I’ve always wondered how others would describe my work. I often see projects created by fellow designers and recognise their style, so it’s great to receive some indication of my personal ‘theme’. Overall I am a big fan of subtle textures, collaged paper and the odd ink splatter so this does fit into the ‘Soft Grunge’ style I suppose.
How well do you known the italian web design scene? What do you think about italian web designers?
I’m afraid I don’t know of any Italian web designers, other than yourself. But having checked out your site there’s definitely some highly creative designs out there. Unfortunately my Italian isn’t quite up to scratch to read about such designs, but visually they are definitely a good source of inspiration.
What are the best italians web sites (or web magazines) in your opinion?
I would have to say PV.M Garage as the best out there!
Some personal questions now. Here we go.
You have two blogs, Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25, you work as a freelance designer. When do you give rest to your hyperactive brain?
While you work, what should it not lack on your PC (or MAC?) desk? A pint of cold beer, coffe, your I-Pod…
I work alongside a collection of notebooks with random notes, as well as a large glass of water to keep me hydrated throughout the day. My iPod also makes the odd appearance to help me focus and get into ‘the zone’.
During last weeks we have read about the end of Internet in 2012, it will be true? Yes, no, maybe… but how would your daily life change if there weren’t the current resources for Internet?
I haven’t actually heard of this story, but it sounds quite scary! My daily life would experience a drastic change, my whole business relies on the Internet, as well as quite a lot of personal connections through Twitter, Facebook etc. If the Internet were to disappear, I would have to revert back to the freelance practices of 5-10 years ago and meet people locally – Which is no where near as fun!
Many web designers seek their inspiration on-line watching gallery of beautiful web sites, other’s creations anyway. How and where do you usually find your inspiration?
Browsing through web design galleries is a great way to check out the latest design trends. Establishing my Line25 website has also given me a good incentive to actively look for new designs on a weekly basis to produce the “Line25 Sites of the Week” post. Otherwise, I also subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds, many of week provide lots of inspiration to me.
Could you describe your best creation?
Although it is a personal project, I would have to say my blog over at Blog.SpoonGraphics.co.uk. I am amazed that after originally building it as an experiment with Wordpress, it has continued to grow to become quite a famous and successful website with over 15, 000 visitors per day and 20k+ subscribers. Without it I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.
A greeting for PV.M Garage readers.
Greetings PV.M Garage readers, it is a pleasure to have to opportunity to gain an insight into the Italian industry. Best of luck with all your future projects! Ciao!