david airey sunrize

Some people seems to have it all – the looks, the luck, the recognition, the respect from their peers and admiration from their fans. But behind the mask of effortlessness hides a naked truth about the long hours of hard work and the tenacious perseverance in following their dreams and achieving the goals.

David Airey, an Irish born graphic designer from Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of such people. To celebrate a successful one year anniversary in blogging, David is throwing a big giveway party with $4000 in prizes sponsored by half of blogiverse, a very prominent half. There are prizes for everyone’s tastes and needs:
- Signed copy of Blogging Tips by Lorelle on WordPress
- $60 of books from Amazon courtesy of Darren Rowse of ProBlogger
- One year’s hosting and blog setup from John Boardley of iLT
- One hour blog optimization consultation with Daniel from DBT.
- Personal marketing / advertising plan from Maki of Dosh Dosh
- Revolution Premium WordPress theme package from Brian Gardner
- Logo design from Tara Roskell of Graphic Design Blog
- Website critique from Randa Clay
- Blog writing consultation with Ben Yoskovitz of Instigator Blog
- Behringer Podcastudio USB Podcasting Kit, donated by Fraser’s Affiliate Marketing Blog

There are only two days left to participate in his contest, so if you haven’t done that yet, head to David’s blog, check out the other prizes and enter the game. But before you leave this blog, make sure to find out the naked truth about an amazing blogger who likes to relax in nude by looking at the sunrise in Thailand (see the photo above).

david airey ireland

1. Why and how did you chose to become a designer?

Why? I reckon I’d exhausted all other possibilities. First I wanted to be in the police force, then a firefighter, soldier, footballer, electrician, architect and so on, until, at the age of 15, my school wouldn’t let me back in due to poor results. So I started on an ‘art and design’ course in my local technical college, first for two years, then with a two year extension. Those four years opened my eyes to design, and how enjoyable it was working in the field.

It’s funny, looking back, I never really considered myself designing for a living. I suppose I thought it seemed too easy (sketching, sitting at a computer). I paid my way through education as a tire-fitter (fixing car punctures, changing exhausts, wheel alignments, and so on. the end of a busy day fitting tires, you know you’ve been working.

In saying that, I guess I didn’t realise the stress you can be put under, working to deadlines, dealing with clients, sorting out your own accounts, etc. Still, I know I’m very fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I enjoy. Not many people can say that, and I’m extremely grateful for the start in life that my parents gave me.

2. You’re a graphic designer, who specializes in a Logo design. What made you to narrow it down and actively promote this particular field of design?

It has only been recently, within the past couple of months, that I’ve focused on promoting my logo design skills. The reason for this change is because I enjoy creating logos more than any other aspect of graphic design. I love the sketching process, and how it allows me to step away from the computer. I can go anywhere and sketch, because all you need is a pencil / pen and some paper. Most of my working hours are spent in front of a computer / laptop, and the more time I can spend ‘unplugged’, the better.

3. How and why did you decide to get into blogging?

Oddly enough, I first heard about WordPress on the MySpace forum for graphic design. It’s quite an active forum, and despite the millions of idiots on MySpace, there are some very intelligent designers / programmers using it. I still stop by from time to time, and I’ve been helped out of quite a few fixes after posting my calls for help.

I didn’t really know the value of blogging, but heard great things about WordPress, and was curious. I wanted to develop my 5 page static portfolio site into something bigger, more useful, so headed to WordPress.com , and set-up one of their WP-hosted blogs.

4. Does blogging bring you more business? What advice would you give to other freelancers who want to build their clientèle with the help from their blogs?

Blogging brings me more business than I thought I’d be getting at this stage of self-employment. It was just two years back when I decided to ‘go it alone’, and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it past the first year. If you like the idea of working for yourself, you’ve just got to do it. All the planning in the world won’t educate you as fast as personal experience, and I’ve learnt a lot these past years.

As for any advice I’d give to freelancers who author blogs, hmmmm, first-off, I’d say to question why you call yourself a freelancer. I’ve stopped calling myself one, preferring to trade as a graphic designer / design consultant. I think that a lot of people out there have this idea that freelancers are hired to do what they’re told, and that’s not what I want. The impression I’m aiming to give, is that I work ‘ with’ my clients, and not ‘for’ them – that I’m knowledgeable about what I do. I know enough to tell my client what works, and what doesn’t.

If, whilst reading this, you think I sound big-headed, feel free to give me a cyber-slap. I still have tons to learn about graphic design, and never want to appear as if I know it all.

5. The blogger-reader interaction on your blog is awe-inspiring. How did you manage to build such a loyal readership?

You think so? Thanks! This is a question for you / my readers to answer, because you’re the ones that make my blog the enjoyable place it is to spend one or two of my hours every day.

One thing I do my best to keep up with, is responding to each commenter individually. Some times I’m just too swamped with client work to do so, and on those occasions I leave a comment, apologising for not responding. I just think to myself, that someone has taken the time out of their busy schedule to tell me what they’re thinking, in response to what I’ve published. Keeping that in mind, how can I just ignore them?

As I continue to become more busy, it’ll be harder to respond to everyone as I do. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

6. You’ve got a very impressive list of sponsors for your $4,000 anniversary giveaway. What did you do to get so many influential and prominent bloggers to not only be interested in your blog, but even sponsor it?

It took me by surprise how many people offered prizes! I think it’s important to mention that I’ve known everyone I contacted through their blogs. I’ve joined in the discussion they generate, leaving comments and giving my thoughts etc. There might’ve been one or two people offering prizes who I wasn’t familiar with, and they kindly responded to my call for sponsors (the blog post I published in the run-up to the prize draw launch).

7. How would you categorize blogging – is it your hobby, business or simply a time killer? What is your favourite pastime?

It’s certainly not a time-killer. Well, it does eat away at my time, but time-killer sounds negative, and I wouldn’t put blogging in that bracket. Blogging is now part of my business. It’s a marketing tool that shows what I’m capable of creating. More than that, though, it’s perhaps the best networking device I’ve ever come across. I’ve met so many fantastic people ‘online’ through my blog, and learned a lot from all of them.

I can say for sure, that if I was employed by someone, with a guaranteed pay cheque coming in each month, I’d still document my thoughts and interact with others through my blog. I’ve previously read that if you’re blogging for business, you should keep it business-like, and not add personal thoughts / comments. I don’t agree. People deal with people, not businesses, and it’s that personality that helps build lasting relationships, whether they’re related to work or not.

My favourite past-time? There are a few things, so I’ll touch on them briefly. I love playing football (soccer to the un-informed), and even though my shins take a battering, it’s great putting the ball in the back of the net. I love movies. Not your cheesy Hollywood blockbuster types, but films that make you think. Life stories, like Motorcycle Diaries, Dirty Pretty Things, or fantasy types like Spirited Away, LOTR and Big Fish. Lots of others, and I’ll not bore you with a list. Last, but most certainly not least, I love spending time with my girlfriend. We’ve been together for a couple of years (almost) – still short enough in duration to have conversations together, and for me to put ‘love’ in the same sentence when talking about her. ;)

8. What were some memorable moments from your one year of blogging?

The most memorable moment, without doubt, was when I stumbled upon InspirationBit. Vivien, you’re doing a great job with your blog, and it’s an honour to have you feature me (I just heard someone say, “Get a room”).

Seriously though, one moment would’ve been when someone popped my comment cherry. I can’t actually remember who it was, but I remember thinking, “Who’s this typing on my website?” and I became more and more curious about the interaction I could generate.

I’ve been celebrating my blog milestones, which I think is a good idea for everyone, and one memorable moment was reaching 1,000 RSS subscribers. Who’d have thought I’d pass 2,000 before the first year was out!

Picking up new clients, purely through my blog, has been fantastic, and I’ve spent a lot less on offline marketing than I’d ever have anticipated. That’s memorable!

And what are your thoughts on….

Before I could ask David another question, he was off to “cook up a storm in the kitchen”, getting ready to watch his favourite Ireland playing France in the rugby world cup.

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21 Insightful Bits in response to “The Naked Truth About David Airey”

  1. What a treat! Two of my favorite bloggers in a wonderful conversation – not some stuffy interview. Love it.

    Great work – both of you!

  2. Thanks again, Vivien, for thinking me worthy of interview!

    Not a lot of people know this, but see that second photo of me, on the north coast of Northern Ireland? I cropped the photo so it didn’t show me hanging onto a chain-link railing for dear life. The drop was pretty scary, and I think you can tell from my expression. ;)

    Sadly, the Irish rugby team didn’t put up a fight against the French… but I did cook up a storm!

  3. What a great interview and a hilarious title! I enjoyed reading it, and getting to know David a little better!

  4. That was a good read, and I concur with Randa re the title; though I’m terribly pleased that the “naked” was only figurative (no offence, David ;) )

    That memorable moment response was great; very moving (in a manly way, of course). I think it’s a good idea to specialise, or to at least focus on a particular discipline, like logo design. The problem now of course is, who do I get to design my logo? Randa or David? Thanks for this post, Vivien. I’m off to read the previous literature one to get my day off to a good start.

  5. Vivien

    Thank you, Char, Randa and John. I’m very glad you all liked the interview.

    It was really nice of David to find time and answer my questions. David, to tell you the truth, you don’t look at all like you’re hanging there on a chair link. You should send me the original, so I could see you in “all glory” :-)
    And thanks so much for this interview.

  6. That was an awesome interview Vivien… I am in awe of all David has accomplished in such a short time and of course you have a talent for interviewing people! it was an enjoyable read!

  7. What a great way to make an entry into David’s drawing! I like what he said about not working “for” but “with” his clients. And David does know a lot about design. I love the logo designs he’s been sharing with us recently! He always has such a clean look to his work. It’s very refreshing.

    “People deal with people, not a business” – that seems to be the way the new business trends are moving and I totally agree! I, for one, am much more likely to business with someone who is nice to me and someone with whom I feel comfortable talking than someone who may be more competent but is a jerk.

    And pardon the silly question, but is that really David in the first photo??

  8. Vivien

    Thank you, Pearl. Glad you enjoyed the read.

    Lauren, I’m afraid that it is indeed David on that first photo :-)

  9. Thanks for the comments, Lauren, Pearl.

    I don’t know why Vivien’s afraid that the 1st photo is me. Contrary to popular opinion, I was wearing shorts. ;)

  10. Vivien

    I was just pulling your leg, David :-)

  11. I remember. That’s why I cropped you out of the photo. I didn’t think it would show you in a professional light. ;)

  12. Vivien

    haha… David, I just hope that your girlfriend is not reading this blog and your confession :-)

  13. Actually, I’ve just found a craftily hidden hotspot within that photo. If you find it and click it “all” will be revealed!

  14. A great interview, I really enjoyed it. I’m sure David will find success in ‘going it alone’.

  15. Vivien

    Graphic Designer Suffolk, glad you enjoyed the interview.

  16. Nice interview, I’m starting off as a Web Designer just to make some extra money while still in High School, I know im still young, but reading these blogs about all you very sucessful Web Designers has really given me hope!

  17. Daniel, glad you enjoyed the interview and got inspired by it. Good luck to you in all your design endeavors!

  18. David has some great articles on his site about the fundamentals of design. He’s also a good example for other bloggers trying to market their blogs e.g. http://www.davidairey.com/how-.....ign-brief/

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on