There Is No Spoon….
(Well Actually There Is &
I Caught Up With Chris Spooner for an Interview)
Some of you may well know Chris from his incredibly popular blogs Blog.SpoonGraphics & Line 25, keen to find out Chris’s experiences with WordPress and find out more about him for my own interests (and I hope yours too) I approached Chris for an interview. So without further ado let the interview commence, for it has many things of interest etc.
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Q. Can you tell me a little about Blog.SpoonGraphics?
Blog.SpoonGraphics is my main design blog. I set this site up in 2007 originally to play around with the WordPress application. I began posting tutorials and freebies and it received a fair amount of traffic. I’ve continued this ever since and the site has now grown to quite an unbelievable level!
Q. Why is Blog.SpoonGraphics & Line25 powered by WordPress?
WordPress was the application every blog was based on around 2006-2007, so I simply jumped on the bandwagon myself. I soon found that WordPress is so versatile it covers everything you could ever want from a blogging platform, so there’s been no need to change.
Q. With reference to Blog Spoon Graphics do you have a particular workflow you adhere to when creating new posts?
Kind of, I’ll usually create post content for Blog.SpoonGraphics on Monday-Tuesday every week. The content depends on whatever captures my interest at the time. Over the years I’ve kind of developed my own little process when taking and editing screenshots for tutorials.
Q. Where do your ideas come from for posts on Blog SpoonGraphics & Line25?
Post ideas come from whatever captures my interest at the time. I might get the inspiration to create a certain style of artwork after seeing someone else’s design or just from things that catch my eye in every day life.
Q. If you could change anything about WordPress what would it be?
WordPress has always seemed to be pretty resource intensive when employed on a site with lots of traffic, but since I discovered the W3 Total Cache plugin this hasn’t really been too troublesome.
Q. Favorite thing about using WordPress for Blog.SpoonGraphics & Line25?
It does everything I want it to and I’m perfectly familiar with how it works after using it for 5+ years.
Q. Bloggers of note, is there anyone you admire in the blogging world?
I subscribe to a fair few blogs but I rarely take note of the author behind the posts! A few names that spring to mind who have been blogging for around the same amount of time as me are Chris Coyier (CSS-Tricks), Steven Snell (Vandelay Design), Nick La (Web Designer Wall), Henry Jones (Web Design Ledger) and Walter Apai (Web Designer Depot)
Q. I see Blog.SpoonGraphics has a members section packed full of digital goodies, what membership system do you use?
I use a WordPress plugin called WishList member. It does the job nicely and has loads of options available that I don’t even make use of.
Q. What’s the uptake of Blog.SpoonGraphics been like from a membership viewpoint?
It has gone pretty well, over time the value of the resources in the members area has increased, so it now kind of acts like those bundle offers. Sometimes people sign up to download one or two goodies, while others enjoy keeping their membership active and following my tutorials with the source file download.
Q. How long have you been using WordPress?
My first experiments with WordPress was in 2007 when I set up Blog.SpoonGraphics so just 5 years now.
Q. If you had a gun to your head and had to pick your favorite WordPress plugin what would it be?
It would have to be W3 Total Cache, without it my blogs just wouldn’t survive.
Q. What powers BSG & L25 in terms of plugins?
I don’t have too many plugins, mostly just the majors ones that offer core functionality. These include W3 Total Cache, All in One SEO Pack and DB Manager. I actually created a post listing my recommended post-install plugins on Line25 –http://line25.com/articles/post-install-plugins-to-enhance-protect-wordpress
Q. Do you have a top tip for fellow WordPress users?
Definitely take the time to get to grips with WordPress themes and template tags. WordPress can be used for all kinds of websites, so knowing how to configure it can be a huge time saver.
Q. Do you have any other projects on the go at the moment that might be of interest to others?
Not at the moment, I’m happy working away keeping my blogs updated. I don’t have any special plans for the near future.
Q. You seem to be a very busy boy indeed with Line25, BSG and client projects and your own personal blog! How do you divide your time?
My time is mostly taken up with creating content for my blogs these days, I no longer take on client work, so all my time during the day is put towards creating design work and writing up the process for the tutorial posts. I designate certain jobs for each day of the week, so for instance I’ll work on a post for Blog.SpoonGraphics on Monday-Tuesday.
Q. Proudest achievement, what gave you Goosebumps when it happened and why?
My proudest achievement has to be my SpoonGraphics blog. I only started it just to play around with WordPress but it turned out to become more than I ever expected. This blog has allowed me to go self-employed and has sent some fantastic opportunities my way.
Q. Best type of client to work for?
The best type of client are those who hire you specifically to work on their projects because they like your style of work. Often these clients are over the moon at what you create for them, as opposed to the generic client who happens to find you and is never satisfied!
Q. Notable works (please feel free to list websites / designs you have created)
I haven’t actually created any major client projects for years, so there’s not really anything out there that’s fresh enough for me to link to!
Q. Graphic Designer or Web Designer, Which one suits you best?
Probably Graphic Designer. I do enjoy working on the web side of things but I enjoy logo design and illustration just as much.
Q. What percentage of your work is graphic design & what percentage is Web Design?
My work these days is classed as creating articles and tutorials for my blogs. I have one on Graphic Design and one on Web Design so it’s pretty even.
Q. For your Web works what’s the platform of choice for a CMS?
I’d have to say WordPress yet again, it’s so versatile it can be easily configured for use as a CMS.
Q. Any tips for aspiring graphic / web designers?
I always advise new designers to take the time to work on personal projects and share what they learn with others via a blog. This has provided so many opportunities and boosted my exposure on the web.
Q. Useful tools for developing a website in WordPress what do you use?
The apps I use when designing a website are Photoshop for the visuals, Coda for the coding and CyberDuck for file transfers. I guess I should also mention a browser… I use Firefox.