Pro Talks: Meet Chris Spooner, the Guy Behind Blog.SpoonGraphics
For those who might not have heard of Chris Spooner, he is the creative mind behind two popular websites – Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25. In this interview, we’ll discover a bit about his background and some of the intricacies of running his own design blogs.
Hey Chris, tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got started in graphic/web design.
Hi, I’m Chris Spooner. I’m a UK based Designer who is probably most known for my design blogs, Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25. I naturally fell into the graphic design industry after excelling at the art & design subjects right through school and college. I landed my first full time job as a Graphic Designer at a local studio, where I stayed for a couple of years before heading out into the world as a freelancer.
What is the most challenging part of running your own freelance business? What do you think are the most important skills a freelancer should develop?
The most challenging part I’d say is being able to plan ahead in order to keep the income rolling in. A freelancer definitely needs to wear many hats, especially when it comes to accounts and bookkeeping.
If you had to write a Freelancing Codex for designers, what would be the first rule?
My main rule would be to have confidence, as I touched on earlier. Confidence in your work and your abilities as a designer will help prevent projects from turning bad. Remember that clients hire you for your expertise, so it’s important to take the lead when it comes to making important design decisions. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of being a puppet.
What do you think of personal branding? Does it really matter for designers who are joining the industry? Do you have a strategy for this?
I think personal branding is extremely important. Having a popular profile online can really benefit you, whether it attracts lots of freelance work, or leads to having extra influence which may help when applying for design jobs. I’ve found just being talkative with fellow designers, being active on popular social media sites and design specific sites, and consistently sharing your work online will quickly develop a network of contacts, and, more importantly, a network of friends.
What do you think is the toughest job you’ve ever been involved in? Why?
Every project comes with its own challenges, but I think the most challenging are those when you have to stand up against a client’s wishes and put forward the ideas you think, as a professional, are a better solution for their project. It can take courage and confidence to do so, but ultimately it results in a better final product, a more enjoyable project, and a satisfied customer!
Do you ever feel stuck in the middle of a creative project? If yes, what do you do? Where do you draw inspiration from?
Browsing the web for inspiration often helps me generate new ideas. Sometimes browsing artwork that is in no way linked to the design I’m working on can inspire me.
Speaking of creativity, how does it feel to be a source of inspiration for thousands of designers around the world? Do you feel the burden of responsibility?:)
I feel honored if that’s the case! It would be amazing to know that simply sharing my work online has helped people with their projects. It’s always great to hear from people who have made use of my free design resources in their projects.
Do you have a favorite design software or app?
Illustrator has always been my favourite piece of design software. I love how it can be used for everything from illustrations to logos to print layouts.
What is your favorite color?
Slate grey is actually my favourite colour. It’s probably a little boring compared to blues, reds and greens, but I love the combination of dark grey and black in every aspect of life.
Could you share any pictures of your working space?
Here it goes:
Is there any gadget or software you simply couldn’t live without?
My iPhone has become a lifeline so I can continue to access the web when I’m out and about.
Have you ever thought of what our world would be like without the Internet? Would you survive this? If not, how long would you last without the Internet?
I wouldn’t survive at all. My entire income comes from the Internet, so if it were to disappear one day I’d have to find a completely new line of work. It’s a scary thought!
Ha, it’s scary indeed! Any thoughts on web design’s future? You’ve posted dozens of vintage illustration and photo effects tutorials over the past year. Will vintage ever go out of style?
I don’t think the vintage style will ever go out of fashion. It seems especially popular at the moment, so it will probably be replaced with a new trend soon, but I enjoyed the retro/vintage style long before it became super trendy over the past year or two.
A huge thank you to Chris for taking the time to answer these questions!