This week I am honored to publish this exclusive interview with Adrian from Design Modo for WPCrown Magazine. Adrian is one of the people behind Design Modo, one of the greatest design related websites of the web.
1. Hello Adrian, DesignModo is a source of inspiration for many people, including myself. So on behalf of the WPCrown team, let me thank you for providing WPCrown Magazine with this interview. How are you today?
Hi Alex, thank you for offering me this opportunity and the kind words you have addressed to me. I really hope you will keep getting useful information from DesignModo in the future. I feel really good today as I have some free time to enjoy and answer your questions.
2. Tell us about yourself, how did you become interested in web design?
My name is Adrian Valeanu, I am 25 and I am from Moldova, Chisinau. It is also the place where I live at the moment. My interest towards web design appeared about 7-8 years ago. This subject wasn’t quite developed back then, because if people knew you were a webmaster it implied you being a web designer and a web developer at the same time. I am happy that today, these two subjects have a clear meaning and it is quite obvious that web designers and web developers have different responsibilities. This phenomenon was also determined by the appearance of new technologies, hence being a designer and a web developer at the same time has become quite challenging.
The first website I built was about 8 years ago. It was a simple website built in HTML and CSS. The design and the development were both done by me. After that, I have designed and developed a community website for rock music fans. It has celebrated its 7th year this February and yes it still exists today!
In the meantime I have started some personal projects but they never came to existence and have disappeared. I have designed and developed myself all the projects I was working on and back then it was ok for me to do both of these things. Today I have a different opinion on this subject.
I am interested in web design and web development in general, but I am not directly involved with any of these two. I work with lots of professionals from this field and together we create some beautiful projects. My web development and web design skills are a little bit outdated, so I would better call myself a project manager in this case.
3. Tell us a bit more about DesignModo. What is its story? And how did you manage to make it so popular?
DesignModo has appeared first as an aggregator that featured different design and web development articles taken from other top design websites. The design and the WordPress backend were implemented by me, but this project has disappeared after about one month after its launch. I have then decided to write our own articles and we have seen the first positive results after a short period of time. Hence we decided to invest some time and money in this project and in the end come up with a new design. I remember we started by having about 1000 – 1500 visitors every day. It was then when I met Sergiu (the developer and designer from rockablethemes.com) and we have both decided that he would be in charge of the technical part of the website, me being the one who would take care of the content, promotion and clients.
Back then, I worked at a company that operated a Moldovan website (similar to Yahoo+Yellow Pages). Once I started DesignModo, I decided to leave my workplace and dedicatee my time entirely to this subject. I have never regretted this step.
After the redesign, I have started working on publishing new articles, freebies; hence the number of RSS, Twitter and Facebook followers has reached a considerable number. The freebies posted on DesignModo had a great success on social networks. Google generated good traffic towards DesignModo, bringing more and more visitors.
Last fall in 2011, I met one of the best Russian designers – Vladimir Kudinov, that has created some exceptional products for DesignModo. This connection brought some new opportunities for selling web elements, UI kits and web icons. All these had great design. In the next few weeks we will be launching new products that will be helpful for web designers and developers. We will offer products that will come in handy for webmasters that create beautiful projects with professional elements, for a small price.
DesignModo is being visited daily by about 25 000 – 30 000 visitors and on February 28, 2012 we celebrated one year of existence. We hope we can change this website to something better, meaning a better design, new articles, concepts that would bring over more and more visitors and followers. I can’t say that I am completely happy with the results DesignModo is showing at the moment, there are still lots of plans to be implemented and once I achieve those maybe something else might come up. Who knows? :)
4. How is the experience of getting things started and watching them coming into life. Is there anything you wish you had done differently in the beginning? What is it?
This year, DesignModo has brought me a huge experience and I have learned a lot of new things. I have seen the mistakes I have made at the beginning of this project, but I have also passed through complicated experiences that I am not sure I could go through today. Now that some stages of promotion are done, it is much easier to work with the website. If I would have started the website from scratch and have today’s experience, I would change the technique of working with people. I regret the fact that I didn’t have enough knowledge on how to work with people and clients when I started my own project.
I hope I will get to know even more in the future and regret the fact that I didn’t know them earlier next year….
5. What is the most important thing you have learned by starting DesignModo?
I cannot state that I have learnt only one thing from this project, because things added up together, forming an experience that will be very helpful for me in the future. However, I would mention one thing here: every person has to do whatever he does best, meaning if you are a designer – be a designer, don’t be a manager, a coder, a promoter or someone else. Everyone has to do and get paid for the job he does best.
6. The workplace is very important for you, could you please describe yours?
My workplace is very important for me, this is why I have chosen my own house to work. Here I feel free and more comfortable than anywhere else. My workmate and I have tried to work in an office last year, and he appreciated it a lot, while I didn’t find it that attractive. This probably happened because before that I used to work in an office and I kind of got sick of it and the people that didn’t have the experience and proper knowledge about the Internet.
I work from home today, and I really save up a lot of time and money this way. I have my own laptop (HP), and there is always a real chaos behind it – bills, papers and other stuff. I always keep a basket with fruits near my workplace, and of course my favorite tea cup, or two :) I don’t keep a lot of stuff at my desk, because I have everything I need at my laptop.
7. What inspires you?
Everything new, everything old – they all inspire me as long as quality comes first. I listen to a lot of podcasts, read articles, scroll websites like behance.net, dribbble.com and Evanto. One source that really inspires me is Twitter and all the followers. The people that surround me inspire me a lot as well, as they are really cool and fight for the things they want to achieve.
8. How do you enjoy your spare time? Have you got any hobbies?
I don’t really have a certain hobby. I like to take long walks in the park, listen to good music (rock, symphony/orchestral, jazz, ambient, instrumental), sport and football (I have practiced it for several years).
Work is my favorite hobby right now. I name it like this because it started as something else, but ended up to be an activity I really enjoy doing. I would like to have some spare time to work in Photoshop though.
9. Thank you very much for your time Adrian, is there any advice you could give to the newbie designers?
Thank you Alex for the chance to have this interview with you. I would recommend beginner designers to keep learning, look for new sources of inspiration, do unique things and learn from other people that do the same things, create and share freebies in order to increase their popularity and learn more about their work. I wish everybody to do the things they enjoy most of all, and if it doesn’t work the first time, try more and more, until you get it right.