10 ways that blogging helps me as a designer

As part of ‘studio bonding’ at work, every other Thursday the team gets together for an informal catch up; a few drinks and a presentation or discussion. With everyone’s minds so focused on work the majority of the time, it’s nice to spend an hour just hanging out and is really important to build a great studio culture.

The other week it was my turn to present – it could be a project we’ve been working on, some inspiration or a trip away; it’s just about sharing really. I think that the assumption was that I would talk about my blog, but I didn’t want to talk about myself really. I wanted to do a talk that everyone could be interested in, learn from and take something away, so what did I choose?

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For me, blogging and designing go hand in hand (but then I would say that because I don’t know any different?). There are a lot of cross overs between the two, although a lot of people either don’t know what blogging is or have the wrong idea (that it’s all about parties and free stuff). I did use images from other blogs on my slides to show what bloggers can do and to share some of my favourite blogs, so I’ve credited them where needed.

Also just to explain a bit more, alongside the Graphics team the rest of the studio are interior/architectural/lighting designers mainly working on projects in luxury retail e.g. fashion, food, lifestyle etc. So that’s my audience & hopefully that helps to puts things into context for you.

So, I know I said I didn’t want to harp on about myself but I did start with a little intro into the history of my blog; what I blog about, why etc. Some people don’t really ‘get’ blogging so I wanted to start with the basics…

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I started with; People. People are interesting, or I find them interesting anyway. As a designer you need to like/be interested in people – how they think, how they interact with things, what they like etc. Although bloggers all have 1 thing in common (they all have a blog), they are all individuals with different quirks and interests. I showed some screenshots of the Bloglovin pages that I follow to demonstrate the variety of images and topics. By looking at influential people you can discover/predict trends, and every designer wants to be on the forefront of trends.

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Top left image; From Roses. Bottom left and right; My latest branding featuring letter press typography and how I used it on my business cards(which I still need to post about… coming soon!).

Numero 2 was a bit of an obvious one; Branding. Branding is part of my daily life as a Graphic Designer, but I’ve watched it creep into the blog world too. Blogs can be more than an online diary nowadays; making money from advertising or sponsored posts, influencing a following and even becoming a full time job. To be seen as ‘taking it seriously’ bloggers are now treating their blog as a ‘brand’, with consistent values, tone of voice and image. I think this is because we have grown up in a society bombarded and obsessed with brands; Heinz ketchup to Gucci handbags. With blog layouts, logos, business cards and branding on images, a lot of consideration goes into building up a blog’s ‘brand’. Most of the time bloggers are not from a design background so I thought it was important to show that it’s not just designers crafting branding nowadays…

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Left image; A Beautiful Mess Right; Me being totes amaze, obvs!

Related to branding; Trust. Why are bloggers successful? Why do 1000s of people read their online rants/advice posts etc? Mainly because they’re real, honest people. They’re just a girl sitting at a desk writing to you or a girl that you walked past in the street. They haven’t got a reason to lie as appose to a brand who could just be saying that their product is amazing because they want your money.

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Image: The House That Lars Built

Next up, #4: Opinions. Bloggers are not afraid to say what they think. I mean obviously you have to take into account that whatever you say it’s going onto the internet for anyone in the world to read. Someone asked me if I had ever posted something and then regretted it, but I explained that I’d never post anything that I wasn’t 100% about. (And it usually takes me about 5 revisions before I hit publish anyway!) Designers are communicating a message to the world, so they need to make sure it’s the right one.

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Left image; A Beautiful Mess Right image; Cider with Rosie

At number 5; Inspiration. Designers need inspiration – they love it! And bloggers love posting it; mood boards, recipes, quotes, events and the list goes on… Bloggers keep up to date with news, fashion, technology and being leaders/trendsetters. They spend a lot of time crafting posts with amazing imagery and content and post it online for anyone to access for free – mad lot! It’s just there waiting to be read and spark those lightbulb moments so take advantage.

Which leads me onto point 6; Innovation.

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Left image; Nouvelle Daily. Right Images; Marc Jacobs Tweet shop & London Design Festival 2014

Like I said, Bloggers are trendsetters which means they’re used to trying new things and entering unknown territory. There are so many social media platforms now; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope… and the list goes on. Bloggers also go to cool events like the Marc Jacobs tweet shop which I loved – a brilliant concept which is different and innovative. As a designer, it’s a perfect example of thinking outside of the box!

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One of the main benefits I enjoy from blogging is attending talks. I love talks; I love learning, being inspired and I always leave feeling motivated. As a designer it’s really important to be aware of what’s going on around you in society and the creative industry and talks are a great way to do this.

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One of the biggest misconceptions about blogging is that we’re all just in it for the free stuff. Sometimes bloggers do get perks, but I just love the opportunities; being able to attend talks, workshops and events to meet people and experience new things. As a designer, experiencing new things and putting myself into other peoples shoes is really interesting and important to keep my creative juices flowing. And of course, who would turn down an invite to the MTV EMA Awards?

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At number 9; Organisation. Blogging and Designing are quite similar in this sense – there are lots of stages to both processes meaning planning your time effectively. Here’s a bit of a comparison:

Bloggers: Planning posts, thinking of ideas, taking photos, editing photos, publishing the post, promoting the post via social media…etc
Designers: Research, thinking of ideas, sketching, developing, amendments, further development, sending to print/production, promoting it via social media… etc

I explained how long it would take me to produce a post from start to finish and I think a few people were shocked ha A lot of people don’t realise the dedication, time and effort that goes into blogging!

So, we’re at the end now with number 10; Transferrable skills.

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As a Graphic Designer I spend a lot of my day on Photoshop but thanks to blogging I’ve had even more practice editing photos and creating graphics. Blogging has also definitely improved my photography skills – I looked back at photos I had taken throughout Uni and cringed. They’re so awful! I’m not the best photographer in the world but I’ve come a long way.

One thing that I didn’t realise would happen is growing in confidence. It’s easy to assume that because I’m outspoken on twitter/put my life on the internet that I’m confident but actually I’m just a regular girl with the same doubts and insecurities as everyone else. Crowds of people are pretty scary, especially as I have a tendency to do silly things in front of them (e.g. fall over at graduation), and without blogging I don’t think I would ever have the confidence to do a talk in front of 100+ people.

And last but not least, I have created something. I will always have this to show my dedication and motivation to people. What would I be doing if I didn’t have a blog? I don’t know, probably sitting on my arse watching TV? ha

And that is the end! The presentation seemed to go down quite well – everyone asked questions and seemed genuinely interested so that was good. I wanted to end on something to make them think;

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Blogging isn’t all free samples and parties; it’s hard work. I think a lot of people pass bloggers off as blaggers, when actually they probably wouldn’t have the dedication or creativity to do it for themselves.

I hope you found that interesting? Just thought I would share it to show a different perspective on blogging and working as a designer. Let me know what you thought 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. pixcelsocialmedia@hotmail.com' 29/05/2015 / 5:09 pm

    Really interesting read, we really enjoyed it 🙂

    • 02/06/2015 / 2:26 pm

      Thanks guys – glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Ready to blog and design now? ha

  2. caitlinkobrak@gmail.com' 02/06/2015 / 12:51 pm

    I read this the other day on my way home from work & LOVE IT! But in the haste of tube travel I forgot to comment! I think your 10 points are great ones & they can also be transferred across to many different industries – there are a lot of things that I only know because I’ve learnt it through blogging!

    • 02/06/2015 / 2:24 pm

      Thanks so much Caitlin – glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Yes I don’t think people realise the possibilities but I’m sure that you feel the same about events and blogging? Some things just go hand in hand!

  3. charisse.ysabel930@gmail.com'
    Charisse
    09/06/2015 / 8:12 pm

    Aha! Another post that reminds me why I’m not blogging yet. Actually, I did try; but as you said it takes a lot of hard work and I can’t tell you how many times I tried to write one post and erase it the next day because I feel like it sucks and lacks content and quality. It’s probably normal in the beginning though but I still can’t get past it!

    • 10/06/2015 / 8:07 pm

      It does take some commitment but it’s been worth it for me. I think even if you are posting sporadically you can benefit from blogging via writing practice, image editing or inspiration. Different people have different approaches but as long as you enjoy it, that’s the main thing! Like I said, there aren’t any rules as such… just that you enjoy it 🙂

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