First off – can we have a little background information on you Nick – Where you live? How old you are? (if you don’t mind answering) What motivates you? What inspires you?
My name is Nick La. I’m a 28 years old designer and illustrator from Toronto, Canada. I originally started the site, N.Design Studio as a college project where I showcased my drawings and design works. Now, I’m using the site as my personal blog and company site. Beside of N.Design Studio, I also run Web Designer Wall, Best Web Gallery, and IconDock.
What motivates me? Every time I write a good tutorial or blog post, people always provide positive feedbacks and I’m happy that readers find my posts are useful.
What inspires me? In term of design, I find inspiration from my environment in every day life such as nature, apparels, people, stores, etc.
Tell us about your main project, Web Designer Wall? Why did you launch Web Designer Wall? What was the best part of creating your own Web Designer Wall?
The main reason why I started Web Designer Wall because I wanted to create a blog that is dedicated to design trends and tutorials. The best part of creating Web Designer Wall was being able to freely express my creativity. Since it was my personal project, I didn’t have to follow any design rules or trends. I got to do whatever I want (ie. what color or font to use). Back then, a lot of people complaint the background image on Web Designer Wall is way too large and taking too long to load. But now, large background design seems to be pretty hot.
What is hot and what is not in the design industry right now? What would you recommend a web designer to be doing right now?
What is hot in the industry? Now, almost everything on the internet is free. For example: free open source software, free audio clips, free fonts, free design templates/themes, and free icons. So, I think this is a good way (by offering freebies) for young designers to promote themself.
What is not hot? Over-charging your clients. Clients (especially the small business owners) are learning how to cut cost by finding free stuffs on the internet.
A lot of web designers become internet entrepreneurs, what advice would you give another web designer who wants to quit the 9 – 5 and make money online with their web design skills?
Work hard. Love what you do. Contribute to the community (ie. offer free stuffs, help people on your blogs, submit articles to the design community). Then find ways to monetize by selling advertising or digital goods.
You have three very successful web design related websites, what advice would you give to someone who wants to drive traffic to their web design related website?
– Learn SEO (search engine optimization).
– Design a beautiful theme.
– Provide quality and useful content (most important).
Most designers don’t even consider search engine optimization when designing a website, why should web designers think about SEO when creating a design for a website?
Because if you don’t, you may be losing a good amount of traffics from the search engines.
Some of your design work has been featured in some top Web Design Magazines, what advice would you give a young web designer who wants to get noticed in the design industry?
Most design magazine editors go online to find creative talents, so I think getting your name in the community is very important. Submit your site(s) to those CSS galleries: CSS Beauty, Best Web Gallery, CSS Mania, CSS Import, etc. Create a profile/portfolio at Behence Network, deviantART, and depthCORE.
How do you keep your business focus – Do you have any suggestions for entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?
Love what you do and don’t give up or lose your passion.
Do you have any favourite business related or web design related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
I don’t read books that often. I enjoy reading online and some of my frequently visit websites are: Digg, SmashingMagazine, Techcrunch, and Delicious.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Design what you like, not what you think will make money.
Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to a Internet Entrepreneur starting their first business today?
Spend the extra time and deliver quality work (both design and coding).
What do you like best about the Internet?
The best about the internet: 24/7 available and I can take my work anywhere I want.
What do you like least about the Internet?
The least I like about the internet: I don’t get a break (sometime, I have to work during my vacation).
Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
If I get some free time, I want to create more digital illustrations and have my own exhibitions.