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Interview With The Man Behind Vandelay Design and DesignMag

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A Great Interview with Steven Snell the founder and editor of two big design blogs in the design community Vandeley Design Blog and Design Mag, who shares his tips on how he manages over 7 blogs with still be capable to mange time to peruse a freelancing career. Feel free leave your thoughts and feed back about the interview.

1. Can you give us a brief insight on who you are and what you do ?

: I’m 31 years old and I live in New Jersey with my wife, although we’re planning to move to Pennsylvania at some point in 2010. I am a designer and blogger, but I spend more time on blogging than designing these days. I manage two design blogs plus a network of niche gallery sites.

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2. Running so many blogs and pursuing a freelancing career what does your normal day usually consist of ?

: My days are different depending on what I need to get done. Typically I try to get as much blog-related work done on Mondays and Tuesdays as possible so I don’t have it hanging over my head the rest of the week. Most of my client work at this point is for on-going, long-term clients, and I’m really only taking new projects that are a perfect fit for my situation. Typically my days start at 6:30 and sometimes I wind up working into the evening, but not as much as I used to.desigmag

3. You use to work a full time job and decided to peruse a career in freelancing, what freelancing tips would you offer to designers starting out as a freelancer ?

: My biggest tip is to start part-time if possible. I had a job that was totally unrelated to web design (I was an auditor) so I had to start from scratch. If I had left my job immediately it would have taken me a long time to work my way up to a full-time income and the stress would have been really high. I waited until it was very safe and as low risk as possible to make the jump to full-time. Looking back, I probably should have left my full-time job a little earlier, but I waited until my wife and I were comfortable with the decision. My other piece of advise is that if you are freelancing part-time and you have a full-time job, don’t live off of your freelancing income. That will make it more difficult to ever leave your job because your standard of living will drop. Reinvest what you’re making into your business or just put it away in savings somewhere. Having some savings will also make it less risky to quit the job eventually.icon-fever

4. Your job is pretty much based around the design community, what are your five favourite design blogs ?

: I’d say the usual ones like Smashing Magazine and Six Revisions. Also, I like the SpoonGraphics blog, Spyre Studios, and recently I’ve been following Instant Shift.minimal-exitbit

5. Starting up and the founder of two massive design blogs, what advice would you offer to upon coming design bloggers to set them apart from the crowd ?

: I think the best thing you can do is to focus on quality of content rather than quantity. Publishing 5 average posts per week isn’t going to help you to stand out, but 1 or 2 really good posts will. Focus on what you do best rather than what everybody else is publishing, and always work to improve skills that will open up new possibilities with your blog.

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6. What’s your future plans or recent projects you’ve been working on ?

: Well, I recently did a re-launch of the DesignM.ag Job Board (http://designm.ag/jobs/) that made some improvements from the old job board. That was something I had been working on for a while and I’m still working to make it a better resource for everyone. I also have some plans that will hopefully free up some more time for me to work on Vandelay Design within the next several months, so I’m hoping to do some new things there, but nothing is set at this point.design-mag-job-board

Now Time For Some Quick Questions

1.Photoshop or Illustrator ?

Steven Said: Photoshop, only because I have more experience with it.

2.Twitter followers or subscribers ?

Steven Said: Subscribers. I’ve gotten more into Twitter over the past year, but I’d rather have people chose to receive my blog posts as opposed to choosing to receive my tweets.

3.Designing Or blogging ?

Steven Said: Probably designing, but I’m not sure that I would be completely happy if I were forced to do just one of the two.

4.PC or Mac ?

Steven Said: PC, again, only because it’s what I have more experience with.

5.Vanderley design blog or design mag ?

Steven Said: I guess I would say Vandelay Design. I think it means more to me since it was my first blog, but I spend more time these days on DesignM.ag.

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16 thoughts on “Interview With The Man Behind Vandelay Design and DesignMag

  1. Wow, great read. I enjoyed it. (Albeit a bunch of typos including the spelling of Vandelay as Vanderley – wow).. Anywho to Steven Snell thanks for the incredible inspiration you are! You are awesome. I just started my own blog up a month ago at SoulTravelMultimedia.com. I hope it’s as great as yours one day! See you at the top! ;-)

  2. “focus on quality of content rather than quantity. Publishing 5 average posts per week isn’t going to help you to stand out, but 1 or 2 really good posts will.”

    Excellent advice Steve… congrats on a great interview… and best of luck on more continued success.

    ~ Aaron I

  3. Great Interview. I have to agree with you Steve on “Focus on what you do best rather than what everybody else is publishing”. I think there are so many blogs that publish the same content and think if they publish often that they will stand out. I try my best to come up with tutorials or articles that have not been discuss or done anywhere else. Being different is the key to creativity. Why care what others are doing when you can do your own thing and be happy :)

  4. Great read! This is very inspiring. I currently have a full time job and freelancing illustration related work as a part-time. Your advice really help to decide whether to jump or not. I guess I will wait until it is safer. Thanks for sharing all the great tips.

  5. as I recall when I first read vandelaydesign.com in 2008, designm.ag has just created, and it is now one of the largest design blogs on the internet. congratulation.

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