I’m really excited to share a brand new designer interview series with you guys! I have a couple interviews with designers lined up and hopefully more are on the way. 😉 I’ve chosen a few designers in the book blogging community and we’re going to chat about their business, their processes, and their design history.
First up is the lovely Hazel from Stay Bookish!
Ashley Hiya Hazel! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hazel Hi Ashley and Ashley’s wonderful readers. I’m Hazel, book blogger at Stay Bookish. 19 y/o Filipina with an intense love for reading and enthusiasm for photography and design. I offer my design services to fund my book addiction. 😉
Ashley What kind of design services do you provide?
Hazel Right now, I do blog designs for both Blogger and self-hosted WordPress blogs. I also offer to do designs for blog elements like headers and such, as well as print designs for bookmarks, contact cards, shirts, etc.
Blog design for A Book So Fathomless by Stay Bookish
Ashley Do you design full time or on the side?
Hazel Just on the side! I’m in college and that takes up a lot of my time but my design business is something I really feel passionate about so I make time for it even just partly.
Ashley How long have you been designing for?
Hazel Well I started my design shop just last May but I’ve been designing since I was in sixth grade, when I discovered the wonders of photoshop.
Ashley How did you get started? Are you self taught or did you go to school for design?
Hazel I experimented a whole lot. I started firstly by designing a lot of graphics—icons and banners mostly. When I started to get into social media and discovered you can customize social media pages (anyone heard of Multiply? no?) with html/css + designs, those were pretty much my baby steps to doing web design. I’m mostly self taught although I did take a a fundamental course for photoshop and html/css in high school. 🙂
Ashley What’s your favourite kind of project or style? For example, do you love designing author sites? Or whimsical blogs? Or complex, graphic-heavy sites?
Hazel I don’t really have a favorite style. I’ve never just stuck to one—I like to think I’m pretty flexible.
Ashley I think that’s great, Hazel! That really reinforces the point that designers’ styles change over time. You don’t have to find one style and stick to it.
Ashley Do you code your designs, use a template, or outsource the development work?
Hazel I do code my own designs but I don’t start from absolute scratch—I just have a blank very basic template (pretty skeleton-like, if you know what I mean) and I start from there.
Ashley I know exactly what you mean! That’s very similar to my own process.
Fragments of Life blog design by Stay Bookish
Ashley How do you begin a new design project? What’s the first step you take? Do you create a mood board with your client? Start with a colour palette? Start with a font? Walk us through your first design steps
Hazel I always start with a color palette. It’s the one thing I always ask from my clients—especially when they don’t know what they want design-wise. I need to know what colors they like or don’t at the very least. After that, I start with the header or the main design and then work from top to bottom.
Ashley Do you have a blog? If so, how do you think it has helped or affected your design business? Do you think a lot of your clients find/hire you because of your blog?
Hazel I do—I blog at Stay Bookish. My design business started because of my blog actually. I’ve been designing my blog since I started it and my readers and friends are the ones who gave me the confidence that I do well enough designing my blog to offer my services to others. My clients often are my blog readers or at least people who know of my blog, so I definitely think I get orders because of my blog’s reach.
Ashley Are there any services you don’t currently offer that you would LIKE to offer in the future?
Hazel I would really really like to do book cover designs. ONE DAY.
Ashley I bet it would feel really great to see a physical book out there that YOU designed!
Ashley Is there any advice you’d give to aspiring designers?
Hazel Practice a lot. Design anything to everything. Mix colors and fonts and lines and shapes. Make Photoshop and imagination your best friend.
Ashley Is there any advice you’d give to someone looking to hire a designer?
Hazel I personally think scrutinizing design portfolios are the best way to look for a really good designer to hire. Consider the styles used and see if it fits with what you like or want. Find the designer who’ll be most worth their price.
Daring Damsels blog design by Stay Bookish
Thank you so much for joining us, Hazel!!
Hazel is working on my new blog design 😀 Can’t wait till it’s done!
Awesome!! 😀 I bet it’s going to be fabulous!
I can’t wait to read more of your designer interviews, Ashley! I was actually thinking about learning html & css yesterday because I’ve always wanted to be a web designer. I got into html & css around 6th grade too but I stopped when I became a freshman in high school so now I totally forgot everything that I’ve learned. I really love Hazel’s designs! So cool and unique. 😀
You should pick it back up again! Being able to design your own sites is pretty awesome — and a lot of fun. 🙂 Luckily there are so many great resources available online!
Her blog designs have a distinct style to them. Keep up the good work 🙂
You’re right, they do! 🙂
Great interview and great portfolio Hazel!
Hazel, you do beautiful work! I wish I was at that level in designing, but I feel like I am a baby at it right now. I think book covers are my thing, I love the couple I have done so far. So I know what you mean. You would rock them, I know it!
Great feature, Ash.
Ooh, this is going to be such a cool series, Ashley!
And Hazel, I’m so happy you found your confidence to offer design services. Your designs are really lovely and I can’t wait to see how you develop over time 🙂
I didn’t kwow Hazel, but I really enjoyed the interview and find her designs lovely. Great interview!
Love this new feature! I think it’s so interesting to read about other people’s processes, especially when it comes to blog design since I’m so clueless myself. Lol Hazel, your designs are beautiful!
What a great feature! I love learning about people’s processes and such, especially creative types that do what I never could 😛 I’m not familiar with Hazel before now, but live these designs!