What inspires a graphic designer? How do they come up with some of the creative images we see every day on websites and emails or any type of business advertisement? For anyone starting out or even a seasoned design expert, we can all learn new things by picking the brains of other graphic artists and swap some of their secrets and sources for inspiration.
We spoke with Mark Valenzuela, Web Design Manager at Next Day Flyers to get a little information on him and insight on the graphic design world.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been doing graphic design for over 10 years. Ever since I was introduced to graphic design, I have been obsessed with trying to learn everything I could in web, print, photography and video.
I’m currently a web design manager at Next Day Flyers. Besides working at NDF, I have my own freelance business and run a music production blog where I provide free music and design tutorials. Plus I contribute to this blog.
2. What are some projects have you created?
3. What is your design process?
Every project is different, so I don’t have one standard process. Sometimes I see something that inspires me – other times I have to go out and find it. I get inspiration from all types of sources: web, print, video, magazines and more. After I find that inspiration, I try to sketch those ideas out on paper. Then I begin mocking it up in Photoshop.
4. What are some of your design essentials?
- Pen & Paper
- Sites of inspiration: http://psd.tutsplus.com/, http://creattica.com/, http://abduzeedo.com/, http://thefwa.com/
- Ice Coffee
- Digg.com when I need a design break
5. What tips do you have for anyone who wants to succeed as a graphic designer?
Learn everything. One of my career goals has been to be very independent and learn everything that I can. I pride myself in not being an expert in any one thing, but being well versed at a lot of different things. This way when you present yourself to a company you can list a broad range of expertise – rather than just being good at print, for example. With the ever changing face of marketing, and therefore design, versatility is key.
6. Can you recommend some methods for designers to get new clients?
I highly recommend starting a blog and updating it regularly to help build traffic and make a name for yourself. Write a few articles, promote your work, and I’m sure you will find all types of people interested in your services. I get good traffic flow on my blog so when I want more projects I just throw up a banner and at times I get more clients than I can handle. Also, you can get a lot of clients through word-of-mouth, and from referrals. It’s always good to keep those contacts to help spread the word about you and your services.
7. What is one of the biggest mistakes you see in graphic designs?
One big mistake I see often is too much going on in a design. I see a lot of graphic design projects that may look nice, but the design actually takes away from the information you are trying to display. I think it is important and necessary to find a clear balance between a nice design that will stand out, yet still highlight that clear clean message so it’s not hard for the customer to read. Clean design is a must.
8. Anything else you would like to share with the design community?
Technology is always changing and it’s vital to keep up. If you don’t, others will. The more you know the more valuable are. There are so many blogs online that supply tons of information, which make it easy to learn, and on your own schedule. Push yourself creatively and try to always have fun.