Grant Friedman is a great designer and blogger and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing him for a series of interviews I’m doing here on SpyreStudios. Grant is the man behind the popular design blog, Colorburned. I hope you enjoy this interview! Please make sure you leave a comment at the bottom of this post and feel free to ask Grant any questions :)
Hi Grant! First of all, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Please you tell our readers a little about yourself, what you do, where we can find you online and where you’re from.
Hello! Thanks for the opportunity! My name is Grant Friedman and I am the editor of Colorburned.com. In addition to being a blogger, I am also a graphic designer, author, and occasionally, a public speaker. I have been working as a graphic designer for the last 10 years and am currently living in Louisville, Kentucky.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start a blog?
I started Colorburned in May of 2008. At the time, I had just left my job with the state in order to pursue a career in design. My site began as a portfolio site but eventually transitioned into a graphic design blog after I stopped looking for a job and started freelancing full-time. Now I rarely do any freelance work and spend most of my time working on things for my site or others.
What does a typical day in the life of Grant Friedman looks like? And what do you enjoy the most about your work?
The one thing about being a freelancer and blogger is that no two days are ever alike. I typically start my day by checking email, Facebook, and Twitter. After that I check my RSS reader for any articles I may have missed on Twitter. Then, I start any projects that I have pending for the day. Sometimes, that means writing an article, sometimes it means creating a set of brushes for my site. Once I have finished all my projects for the day, I then, head to the gym; have a nice meal for dinner, and relax a bit. Then, I get ready to do it all over the next day.
What does your workspace look like? Are you the clean and organized type, messy and chaotic or somewhere in between?
I’m embarrassed to say that my workspace it quite messy. My office is sort of like half office, half art studio. I have paint, brushes, and sheets of paper littered all over the place. I do my best to keep it clean but just can’t seem to manage to keep up.
What is the biggest mistake you have made as a designer / developer / blogger / entrepreneur?
The biggest mistake I’ve made as a designer was being branded as a person who would work for free. Just like a lot of designers, early on, I fell into the trap of working on several projects for free. Admittedly, those projects opened some doors for me but ultimately being branded as a person who would work for free, or cheap, proved to be a tough hurdle to overcome.
If you could give one single piece of advice to people who would like to follow your steps, what would it be?
The best piece of advice that I can give is to never under-value your worth. If you believe that your time is worth something, stick to your guns. Eventually, you will find someone who agrees. Like I said earlier, you don’t want to be branded as the cheap alternative to more experienced designers; overcoming that stigma can prove to be difficult.
This applies to blogging as well. There are a lot of blogs out there that are a little too eager to help out a company or product for free. I receive quite a few requests from companies who want me to help them promote their products and for the most part I really enjoy that aspect of my job. The problem, however, is that many companies have begun to expect this sort of thing for free. My advice, don’t be too eager to promote a company on your blog without being compensated. Most companies understand that you have to make a living as well and are more than willing to compensate you for your time. Beware of companies that talk about “partnerships” and “mutually beneficial arrangements” all too often these “partnerships” are one-sided.
What project are you currently working on that you’re particularly proud of, or excited about, apart from Colorburned? If you can’t talk about it for some reason, can you tell us what project you had the most fun working on in the past?
I’m very proud of the work that I’ve done on Colorburned. Being able to give something back to the design community has been very satisfying. I am also very proud of the work I did on my book Retro Style Graphics. I never thought that I would ever have a book and being able write one of my own was incredibly satisfying.
If you had to chose just one typeface or only one app or software, what would it be and why?
My favorite typeface would have to be Helvetica. It’s my favorite not because it’s the coolest looking font but instead because of its versatility. Apps are a bit harder to choose from. There are a lot of great apps out there but I suppose I would have to choose Illustrator as my favorite. I usually start every project I work on in Illustrator. Print, Web, it doesn’t matter – Illustrator is just the best product our there to quickly create layouts that you can then bring into other apps to add detail.
What are your 3 favorite blogs or online resources (not necessarily design related)
What’s usually in your iPod?
I love 80’s music! U2 is probably my favorite group but I also love The Police, Guns and Roses and admittedly Cold Play.
Stay tuned! We’ll have more interviews with more awesome designers/developers/bloggers over the next couple days! :)