Most graphic design blogs today can serve as a source of inspiration and creativity. I’ve recently run into a fantastic design blog covering everything from Photoshop to Typography. ilovecolors is a fantastic blog run by Elio Rivero, and I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes interview.
Just by glancing at the site’s theme you can already tell the level of professionalism on this blog, and I have to say the articles are extremely informative and well-written. Elio runs a fantastic and inspiring blog, and he’s got some great answers to how it was built and what he’s done along the way to make ilovecolors such a success.
Where did you come up with the idea for ilovecolors?
Let’s start with the name, which is actually quite funny. When I was in college, I needed a domain to display a site we had to create as the final assignment in a subject. Now, I’m not too good with names, so I just said to the hosting site, wizhosting.com: “The site I’m doing for the assignment is quite colourful, so get ilovecolors.com.ar”.
After that assignment, I thought about starting a blog to give something back to the design and web developing community. You know, we have all learned a lot from sites like yours, Tutorial9 or Designm.ag. It’s nice to have the chance to give something back. As little as it might be, it will always be useful to someone out there.
How long did it take you to create the site, from starting design to posting up a few articles? Was it a difficult task to get the blog up and running?
If I had to mention only the effective time it took, I would say one week. Since I was with other works during that time it took me almost a month. I finally uploaded the blog because I wanted to display to a client how far WordPress styling could be pushed. So far, most WordPress works I had done where quite dull. A blog or a magazine but without a heavy illustrative style. I had to finish it during one night, uploading it and load some articles I had. The client of course was delighted and I got the job.
Did you do any marketing of the blog once it was first up online? How long did it take to start growing frequent readers and a readerbase?
As soon as the blog was up with some articles, many design blogs started to feature it due to its particular graphic design. ILC has been featured in sites like WebDesignerDepot, SmashingMagazine, Hongkiat, VandelayDesign, InstantShift and others.
Why did you go with the .com.ar TLD instead of a regular .com?
Because a domain parker already had the ilovecolors registered since 1999. He asked 20,000 for it so I just said good luck selling it. Besides, nowadays a .com is not really that important as it was in the past. For example, .cn from China has millions more domains than .com domains. Domain hacks are also quite popular, like Matt Mullenwegs’ ma.tt. Other sites choose to use a more interesting domain like dontclick.it.
I think everyone wants to know about your site’s design, it’s beautiful! I have never seen a blog with such a graceful design, was the design your own work?
Indeed, the design was my own work. I’ve always have this interesting for textures, grunge, dust, retro and vintage things. I’ve never been much into a white page with black Helvetica Bold and a line. I can appreciate the beauty of it and I had to do some works in that direction, but I prefer things that look a bit more tactile, real, tangible. And of course, colors.
They have always been a special part of my life and manipulating color is an special skill when you’re becoming a designer. Think about it. When you start with design, whether it’s pursuing an academic career or self-taught, you tend to design against black, that is, no color. I’ve seen this in myself and classmates. Black is easier to control and it just gives you some security that it’s not “empty”. When you are more experienced, you start adding colors.
I had this book about watercolors, and it takes you from using Chinese ink, to use only a black watercolor to use all colors. Color has a semiotic meaning as well in social structure. Let’s leave it for another day, but just think about it: Lacoste has mainly Black or Grey clothes or colorful clothes?
Where do you get inspiration for your posts? Do you find yourself having writers block or not knowing what to write about?
I don’t know, I just write. I tend to write more when I’m on a project that involved an specific technique and information about it is scarce, not good enough or simply not the way I would like it to be.
I see you run a few ads on your blog. Do you have any monetization strategies for the future of ilovecolors?
I do this more to give something back. My main work is being a graphic designer, but it takes some time to write the posts so I had to get some coins from it. For ILC I will stick with the ads and probably will start a small shop.
What are some of your personal favorite posts on ilovecolors? Do you have a “most popular” post which has given you the most traffic?
The most popular are the articles about some interface elements tutorials using the jQuery library, like rotating tabs, sliding menus or rollovers and tooltips.
Where do you find that your blog gains the most traffic from (eg Google, social networking sites, other blogs, etc)?
They come mainly from Google, looking for some WordPress and jQuery tutorials I wrote, like adding an option to Hybrid News theme settings page and other blogs.
Do you have any future plans or updates for ilovecolors that you could share with us?
My current idea is to separate the ilovecolors blog from my own portfolio. I will be creating a more magazine-like ILC and another site dedicated to my work. Of course, they will be connected but each one will be focused on one topic. I’ve also started a blog to design or draw one thing everyday at http://365.ilovecolors.com.ar/.
If you had any advice to give to someone looking to create their own web & graphic design blog, what would it be?
Knowledge is half the battle. Then you gotta put your heart on it.