Andy Sowards Interview
Hello! My name is Andy Sowards, I am 24, a nerd, a dad to 3 beautiful baby boys, a husband to an amazing wife, and an avid tweeter/designer/developer/programmer/tech-addict.
Well, once upon a time in a galaxy far far away…. jk, it was in this galaxy, and it wasn’t too long ago. I’ve always been interested in computers and technology my whole life, so naturally in high school I took all the computer classes that were available to me, it was then that the seed of design was planted into me, but it did not flourish at all until I graduated high school, and was about to start college. My design interest exploded once I started college, and was constantly looking at designs and photoshop tutorials, just playing with it and making whatever came into my imagination. I hadn’t thought of making a career out of it until years later, when me and my wife had our first child, and I was tired of working crappy jobs that went no where. So I dropped out of my college (whose classes really didn’t teach anything of any value) found and was hired by a Web Agency to continue my passion at work (and still at night lol). It was the best choice I could have made looking back, and thus, my career was started. Definitely no regrets.
Where do you look for sources of inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere these days. You can’t step foot outside of your house (hell, you don’t even have to leave your house) without being inspired by something (if you don’t see inspiration, your not looking close enough).
What is your favourite aspect of blogging?
My favorite aspect of Blogging (I have been blogging more and more lately and have been loving it) is that I can help other aspiring designers, developers, or programmers on their journey to improve their skills. I believe that anyone and everyone that is in the position to teach someone else something of value, that took them a while to figure out, should do it! This is how everyone grows. Everybody at some point in their career needs help in an area, or subject. I feel that bloggers are changing the world by helping others succeed, and I am honored to be able to take part in helping someone achieve their goals faster.
What are your top 5 favourite websites?
Who do you look up to in your field?
There are so many talented designers out there, so this is a tough question. If I could only pick one right now, it would probably be Collis Ta’eed the founder of the envato network. He is just such an inspiration to everyone in the design community. Just because he took his talents, and his ideas, and made an empire out of them. I think that anyone that can do that is a success in any right.
How has using Twitter helped the popularity of you?
Definitely!! I really doubt anyone would know me yet if it wasn’t for twitter. Twitter helped me gain credibility, and clients, fairly quickly. It gave me the exposure that would have otherwise taken a long time to build up through google search, digg, etc. It also gives me a platform to engage with friends, designers, developers, clients on a regular basis, and really create lasting relationships with them. Twitter is fantastic, I urge everyone to give it a try, and build your brand. Twitter is too good of an opportunity to pass up, oh, btw, follow me @andysowards. 🙂
What sort of social media tools have you found most successful?
Twitter would be #1 on this list. Followed by Digg, Design Float, Design Moo, Design Bump, and Facebook. They are all really good at what they do, especially the niche design sites, because the community really cares about the content, and it shows. Although, if your content or service is reliable and consists of high quality (which it should be if you want it to succeed) then it should do just fine no matter what you use!
What piece of work are you most proud of and why?
My most prized piece of work so far is definitely my blog/portfolio site – http://www.andysowards.com . The reason for this is simply because it was my launching pad to what I am today, its my constant piece of ongoing work. It will never be perfect but with each revision (it was recently/currently redesigned and is now almost officially on version 2.0) it gets a little closer to what I want it to be. Although there are a few personal projects im working on now that im quite fond of, but they aren’t quite done yet :).
What would be your perfect dream project?
A Dream project for me would be to work with a large, well respected company on a social marketing campaign site to showcase a new product, or work on a really high profile web application that is going to be *big*. I really enjoy working on highly creative projects that have a large scale and vision, that I get to basically take the horns on from the beginning, and help the client drive their vision home while making it the best it could be. Other than that, my dream project would probably be working on a Social Marketing Campaign that integrated some sort of gaming mechanism. I have always wanted to create a really amazing flash game that tied into a social media campaign, always thought that would be great fun (and experience!).
What advice would you give to someone looking to specialize in web design?
When I was trying to get into Web Design, I wish someone had an answer to that question!
My advice to someone trying to get into the web design/development industry is this:
find someone that already does it with passion, and work for them or apprentice with them, whatever you do just LEARN from them. There is no better, or faster way to learn the industry, than getting tips/tricks from someone who does it day in, day out, for a living, and loves it. Even if they are not the best, they are doing what they love, and that is the goal isn’t it?
Some quick guidelines for the journey are: 1) Get used to learning, a lot. 2) Don’t give up, it gets hard sometimes. 3) Have fun.
Looking into a crystal ball, what do you think will be the next design trend?
This is a tough question, as trends change pretty rapidly, and more than one trend are usually appearing around the net at the same time.
Typography has been getting a lot of attention this year, and I think that we will be seeing a lot more of that, especially with serif type. It looks hot on web pages that are well designed, and I don’t think that it will go away anytime soon. So start typo’ing up your site with serifs! its our future!
What can we expect from Andy Sowards in the upcoming year?
Great things. Great things. 2010 is going to be a big year, I already have a ton of things planned both project wise and blogging wise. Project wise I will finally get some of my startups and website ideas out of ‘idea stage’ and into the public so you guys can use them (and hopefully benefit from them!). So definitely keep an eye out on AndySowards.com for those when they are launched. Also, speaking of my blog (andysowards.com) I will be posting more and more content as I already have some great guest bloggers that are contributing, but next year I plan to finally be able to launch a paid authoring program, so that my authors can get exposure and some bling at the same time. Also going to be adding a lot more interactivity to andysowards.com so that we can get the design community in there and collaborate! Stay tuned, its going to be a fun ride. Thanks so much for your time and thanks to the visitors for reading! 🙂