People sometimes ask why I started my graphic design blog. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved design. As a child, I made drawings and sold them to people (mainly my parents) for 25 cents a piece. After making two dollars, I thought that this was the best career idea ever.
As I got older, my interests in graphic design grew, and I learned digital elements on a page work together in a similar way — with some elements balancing harmoniously, and others looking like a horror flick.
I didn’t think about starting a graphic design blog until I felt my knowledge had reached a level where I had valuable insights to contribute. I’d studied design for a long time at that point, and I knew I could help others understand it better. Once I’d decided to start a blog, there was no looking back. There are many reasons I started a blog. Here are a few:
1. Connect With Others
My graphic design blog allows me to meet others who share my interests. There are around 266,300 graphic designers in the United States alone. Sure, I could attend a conference or two for graphic designers, but that only allows me to meet the ones who attend that specific conference. However, with a blog, I reach as many of those people as visit my site.
It’s inspiring to meet people from all over the world who share my passion for graphic design. It’s also surprising how similar design is from one country to another, with basic elements remaining the same.
2. Share Advice
If you’ve been in graphic design for any length of time, you know people will ask you the same questions over and over again. Beginners may want to know how to break into freelance. Experts may want to hear the story of how you learned to design and got started in the industry. Instead of constantly answering the same questions, a blog allows me to share my expertise and point people to a specific location on my site where they can find a detailed answer to a question.
3. Keep Standards High
One of the drawbacks of a global marketplace is that anyone can call themselves a designer and set up shop. Unfortunately, some of these amateurs have little or no training, and jump into the gig economy on a whim. A person who hires a cut-rate designer to create a logo may get an unusable finished product.
Cut-rate amateurs bring down the entire value of design by giving the impression that designers don’t care about the finished product, or have a hard time figuring out what a client wants. Writing a blog about design techniques and showing examples of what does and doesn’t work allows even amateurs to learn more about design and teaches business owners what to look for in a good designer.
4. Flexible Work Hours
Another reason blogging attracted me was the flexibility and the ability to set my schedule. If I have a sudden spurt of creative energy at 11 p.m., I sit down and churn out some content. On the other hand, if I’m tired and burned out by 6 p.m., I just wait until the next morning, when I’m fresh and able to better focus on work.
If I get a design gig, I can focus my attention on that, because I have articles already in the queue and ready to go up on the blog. On the other hand, if I’m in a slow work period, I can focus on my blog and building my audience or adding to my content. Blogging is arguably one of the most flexible jobs out there.
5. To Satisfy Curiosity
Those who start blogs are often highly curious themselves. I spend a lot of time surfing the Internet looking for excellent blogs to read on a wide variety of topics. I didn’t see anything out there that covered design the way I wanted it covered, so I decided to tackle it myself.
In all honesty, I’ve probably learned more from blogging than I’ve taught to others. When you write about a topic, you take time to research that topic and make sure you know it inside and out. Blogging forces me to evaluate my level of knowledge on a given subject and fill in any gaps.
6. To Learn
Above, I talked about satisfying a curiosity I had which led to creating a blog about design, specifically, the way I wanted to see it. That helped me grow both as an individual and as a professional, and I’ve learned a lot in the process. But that highlights another reason I love blogging so much: It helps you learn.
There’s an adage that says those who aren’t doers become teachers, and while that’s not always true, it does show sometimes you can learn a lot by sharing or helping others. That’s what happens to me every time I blog, especially about topics I might not have explored otherwise. It helps me learn and grow my mental capacity, and also increases my skill set. What more could I ask for?
7. Being Creative Is Healthy
Using your creativity — in any form — is healthy, and provides an outlet for your imagination. Writing is a unique form of therapy where I can articulate my thoughts and inner conversations. It clears my head, especially when there’s a lot on my mind.
And since staying healthy is not just about taking care of your physical health, but mental health, as well, writing keeps me healthy and young!
8. Hones My Talent
Talents are special — there’s no question about that. But if you don’t foster or sharpen them over time, they tend to fade away. You see, it’s not only about riding a bike, but about riding one well. Sure, you’ll always remember how to do it, but you’re going to have some wobbles and false starts when you return after a long hiatus. With creativity and writing, you tend to lose a lot more if you let those skills get rusty.
I don’t want that to happen. I want the exact opposite to be true: for my writing to get better over time. I want to grow as a creative person, and that calls for lots of practice. While it may not seem like it, blogging — or any other way to exercise my writing talents — helps me practice my skills and keep my mental abilities sharp.
9. Provides Consistency
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, certain parts of your life are going to remain unorganized and messy. That’s OK, so long as you have consistency, structure and rhythm elsewhere. That’s exactly what my blogging schedule affords me. Every day, week or even month, I know what’s necessary, and I can use that as a personal goal to achieve something — here, that “something” would be a new post or piece of content.
The reality is, the consistency aspect can be true of any repetitive or scheduled activity. In my case, that happens to be writing and connecting with my community, my favorite things to do.
10. Boosts Opportunity
Whether I earn fame as a blogger or not, other people are reading the content I post, and some of them may very well be potential employers or clients. By sharing my voice, insights and experiences through this blog, I am also showcasing my talents.
If you’ve been in the freelance industry long enough, you know one of the turning points is when clients approach you with work opportunities, not the other way around. A personal blog or portfolio is the first step in that journey. It’s about getting your name and skills out there, and it’s exciting to see who comes calling as a result.
Blogging Is a Commitment
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, be aware blogging requires a commitment of time and resources. Not only do you need to secure a domain name, take out hosting and build the actual site, but you must invest untold hours into creating content, finding a team of helpers and promoting your blog to the world.
Even though it takes a lot of time to see the traffic you want to see, it is a worthwhile endeavor. You’ll create something that is entirely yours and reflects the tone you want for that topic. It’s intensely satisfying when your blog posts help others. After all, that is the core of what blogging is truly about — providing information that helps others.