I Wish I Knew More Web Designers

Posted on 18/2/08

I know a ton of people in the online marketing industry. If someone were to ask me to refer them to a reputable SEO, PPC, or linkbait firm, I'd have no trouble finding someone I could send them to. When it comes to web designers, however, I'm kind of stuck on a drop-shadowed-gradient-filled desert island.

Sad Panda - by Matthew Inman

A sad panda, drawn just for this blog entry

I get quite a few requests for web design work, and I always feel bad turning someone down without having someone to refer them to. There are plenty of designers out there that I admire, but I've never actually done work with any of them so I can't vouch for their reputation. Also, a lot of the designers I admire probably wouldn't be too interested in taking on freelance stuff anyway (Dan Cederholm, for example).

Working at SEOmoz, we took on way more SEO clients than design jobs. When we did take on design work, I always did it myself. If we outsourced anything it was usually either link-building, paid search stuff, or back-end web development, so my connections in the design industry are pretty much non-existent.

Referrals aside, I also want to absorb the cleverness of other designers. I've soaked up a ton of knowledge from folks in the online marketing industry, now it's time to learn more from the design industry. I want to steal their brain-meats, basically.

I'm going to SXSW this year and I'm hoping to meet some more designers and developers. Maybe I'll wear a giant shirt that says "talk to me, I draw vectors." If that fails I'll fall back on plan B: Slipping roofies into the SXSW punch bowl and then stuffing business cards into the mouths of unconscious designers.

Seriously though, if you see me at SXSW make sure and say hi. I talk fast and if you're lucky we might even get to chat about vector-drawn panda bears. Pretty sweet deal, eh?


New Comments disabled

Due to the high volume of spam and the fact that I barely update this blog anymore, new comments have been permanently disabled.

  • Paul writes on 19/2/08
    I am currently a web designer. I got a late start because i didn't figure this out until my second year at college. I basically want to be where your at. I know its not easy but what advice could you give someone like me? If any.
  • Matthew Inman writes on 19/2/08
    The best advice I can give you is to pursue design as both a hobby and a career. If you can get to a point where you sincerely enjoy what you're doing, you'll become more inclined to get a lot better at it.
    Also, a lot of people start out by doing freelance, and although this is certainly a great way to get your foot in the door, ultimately you're either going to want to work for yourself or another website. Freelance as a full-time job is a nightmare, in my opinion.
  • Paul writes on 19/2/08
    Thanks I appreciate the advice. I feel like my college fell down in a lot of areas, but that isn't to say that learning and figuring things out on your own isn't self fulfilling. It can at times be a pain. How did you gather all your knowledge? Was it picking peoples brains, reading books, or were you able to figure most of it out on your own?
  • Matthew Inman writes on 19/2/08
    Mostly it was just by figuring things out on my own. There's a wealth of free information on the web: tutorials, howtos, and documentation. I learn best visually, so I spent a lot of time reading docs and tinkering on my own projects.
  • Paul writes on 19/2/08
    Thanks a bunch for the help, your work is inspirational to me and I am sure to others as well.
  • Lawrence writes on 19/2/08
    Sweet, I'll see you @SXSW. You been there before? This is my first time, company is sending me. Any suggestions for the new guy?
  • Matthew Inman writes on 20/2/08
    It's my first time going to sxsw, too. I normally go to search marketing conferences, so this is a new thing for me.
  • Brad Mahaffey writes on 21/2/08
    Strike one down :)
    Good meeting you today. Lovin the blog now that I have more of a chance to browse through it. Nice work.
  • Tim Bowyer writes on 19/3/08
    Your killer five-year-olds site has the ruthlessness of genius. Suppose you're not interested in helping me make a French-English dictionary to plug into www.howjsay.com by any chance?
  • Anson Gessel writes on 19/3/08
    I know the feeling. I'm a wedding and portrait photographer in Seattle and out of roughly 97 photographers I'm the only one (that I know of) that shoots with medium format film. It really brings out my creativity, and the look/feel is unmatched.
    We should get together and chat sometime about art, business, or whatever.
    Keep up the good work!
    -One artist to another...
  • Mike writes on 18/6/08
    I'm only a few months late commenting on this post, but better late then never, eh? I just want to echo the sentiments above about taking out five year olds (I can apparently beat up lot by the way) - what a great quiz idea. I'd seen it on a forum awhile back but never noticed that you authored it, which I probably should've picked up on from all your stuff at SEOmoz.
    And since this post was about design, I just wanted to say you do excellent work! Top-notch actually!
  • Dan Black writes on 8/7/08
    eye bee won two. ghetto noamy ay?
  • Tom Ross writes on 16/7/08
    I've been designing since I was about 11, but things have really taken off in the last 1-2 years. I've been to your site a few times and love your style and professionalism. Have fun at the conference :)
  • Drake writes on 27/7/08
    If you ever just want idea's i might be able to help, i really havent done much with web design since i converted my buds band site into a starcraft clan site when they broke up but im usually full of ideas.
    and yeah i know im posting in a 5 month old blog.
  • Luca writes on 19/8/08
    I have a friend who does freelance.
    He's as professional as it gets. You should check him out.
  • Rose writes on 9/2/09
    It's definitely great to meet other designers, especially talented and successful ones like you.
    Though, we sort of already met, and I'm on here after you told me about this blog entry. Yeah, love doing things backwards!
  • MagStudios writes on 18/2/09
    Hi This is MAG Studios Provide services in Outsourcing at Website Design,Software Development,Web Development,Search Engine Optimization,Custom Software Development,Offshore Software Development etc.....
    Our Company Well known as MAG STUDIOS and The company was set up by a group of skilled and experienced IIT graduates and has been providing tailor-made solutions that exceed the clients’ expectations. Under the supervision and guidance of consultants carrying an experience of more than 30 years, our clients get the best custom software solution in the industry.
    If you have any Query Recording to Services of Company You can Contact us at
    MAG Studios
  • Business Outsourcing writes on 24/2/09
    Hi This is SK Smith i found tour blog on Website Design is very interesting and useful thanks to sharing with us.
  • Nice Article and very informative in Website Design.
  • dfantico writes on 7/4/09
    Here's my site, I do vector illustration as well, have a look :) http://conradbrean.deviantart.com/gallery/

Back to Top


About Matthew

I am no longer updating this blog, but you can follow all of my latest work over at The Oatmeal


Web Design, Art, & Other Stuff

0at 0atfailure avatar bird body_battery boozetest brand_bubble business_cards business_cards2 cadaver deadtree death_by_booze death drivl_headers drivl1 drivl2 favorite_foods filmcritic greenbeauty hamburger jimhjelm jlm linebuzz_v2 linebuzzv1 mingle2 perfectdrug readability seomoz storybids sundance synethesia tokyo_lanterns wallpaper web2_2k7 web2 zombie