Today we are interviewing a designer who's work you can see on our Free Goods page. Check out this Loupe UI Kit that you can download for free right now.
First of all, why don't you tell everyone a bit about yourself, where you are from and what you do.
Hi, I'm Ed Wellbrook, I'm a student and part time freelance graphical interface and web designer from London, England. I take huge pride in what I do, and having always been a perfectionist, its frequently converted over to my design work to my advantage. I code too, and I'm currently building and designing a site for tracking your TV shows, which I hope to finish soon. I tweet a fair bit too and I'm a big fan of music.
How did you start out in the field of design?
I've always been very interested in art and a few years ago I was introduced to Adobe Photoshop and Fireworks in a school project. I quickly got the hang of the software and practiced with some similar free software at home. I watched some tutorials to learn some more of the advanced techniques and experimented a lot. I soon got my invite to forrst.com and the community quickly helped me improve. A few months later I got on Dribbble and since then, my work quality has been continually increasing.
What are your favorite fonts to use right now?
As like many other interface designers, Helvetica is generally the first font I go to when creating a mockup. As I add more detail I choose more suitable fonts and/or font weights. Recently I've been a fan of Proxima Nova for web design, but sticking with Helvetica & Helvetica Neue for interfaces. The TypeKit font collection is a great selection to choose from, and I'm often finding great stuff from there.
What is your general design process?
I start by getting what content is needed to be displayed and come up with some ideas as to a layout and how the user would interact with the content. I find planning to be hugely useful, as it means when I'm opening Photoshop I have an idea as to where I'm going. Colour scheme and style is then decided on and and I mock up a template in Photoshop. I'll do maybe 3-4 iterations of this improving and improving and then I show the client for feedback. Any additional changes are then made, checked on and when it's all perfect with both me and the client happy, I'm done.
When feeling stumped, where do you turn to for design inspiration?
I visit various design blogs and Dribbble on a daily basis, so I'm rarely without inspiration, but on those occasions I'll have a look through those sites again, often some of my friends' portfolios and projects they've done. When I'm in a creative mood, regardless of whether I have a project on I'll put together UI kits and individual elements for my personal use later on. I recently released Loupe UI, which is one of those.
What are your favorite resources for design?
When other talented designers release resources I'll usually get them, regardless of if I'm in immediate need for it. I now have a large and growing collection of these resources on my hard drive for moments when i need them. This has the advantage of saving time when looking for things as well as knowing that whatever's in there is of a high quality.
What advice would you give to a designer who is just starting out?
I'd say my top tips for starting out are to follow some design blogs that don't necessarily have to do with your field. I'm an interface and web designer and I read fine art and product design blogs. I find it helps with inspiration because it's not restricting what you look at to one topic, meaning you're getting a far broader collection of things to be inspired from. Following designers on Twitter I found was useful too; I often share links to interesting things related to design, and I also see others sharing previews of their work. Get involved in projects and practice loads, join a community like Dribbble and get feedback to improve from. If you've got some friends who do design, get their opinion on your work and take it on board. You're asking for what's wrong with your work so you can correct it and hopefully not make the same mistake again, so don't ask expecting it all to be praise. If you do the same to others you'll get used to seeing where to look for improvements and that'll quickly apply to your work too.