Name: Laura Ardelean
Official title: Web Designer
Growing up, Laura wanted to be a musician, a journalist, a psychologist and a videographer/photographer. She discovered the love for web design later on and today, she’s a web designer at 123ContactForm. She manages everything from landing page design, User Interface & User Experience design to online advertising visuals and video editing. We got nosy and asked her a lot of questions.
Why did you get into web design and how did you get here at 123ContactForm?
I couldn’t say it was my childhood dream, because web designing wasn’t a job when I was a kid 🙂 At 18, my plans were to get into journalism, because I was very opinionated and felt like changing the world (like any other teenager). Luckily I found out in time about a newly opened Multimedia Design department at the Art Faculty in town. It was like a spark of revelation – I knew it right then and there that was the perfect job for me.
I got into 123ContactForm at the recommendation of a former colleague from university. I was actually using the product for years, not knowing the company was making employments in town. Imagine how happy I was when they told me I was hired!
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day it your life.” – that quote pretty much sums up my relationship with work.
What is it like to be a web designer for a form building company?
One could imagine I’m designing forms all day long 🙂 Not quite. There’s no routine, because there’s always something new to do. It’s very engaging to work as a designer for a company with over 1 million users and it’s satisfying to see the immediate impact of your decisions.
What tools do you use on a daily basis? What are your favorites?
I absolutely love this free 3D modeling plugin for Photoshop, called Pixelsquid. For collaborating with the other designers and presenting ideas, we use Invision. For video editing, I find Corel VideoStudio to be a very intuitive, user friendly tool.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Around the world! Travelling is one major source of inspiration because it impacts all my senses.
Observing – I pay attention to people, finding out what their passions and lifestyles are. People will express themselves even in the most restrictive conditions. I like peeking at how people arrange their homes but not because I am interested in home decorations. A great project I found on this is “10/1” by Romanian photographer Bogdan Gîrbovan, but there are many others.
Listening to good interviews – I recommend youtubing Milton Glaser, George Lois or Bill Viola, they all have something very interesting to say.
What are the most noteworthy ethical considerations web designers have to keep in mind?
Beginner web designers should pay attention to copyright laws regarding graphic elements, anything from fonts (not all fonts you download freely offer a commercial licence) to icons. If you use Google for finding images, make sure you have prior selected labelled for reuse under the usage rights dropdown.
The free stock offer is getting larger by the minute and you can find high quality images with full usage rights. One such free stock resource I recently discovered is Pixabay.
What are the pros and cons of being a web designer?
A definite pro would be the mobility factor. Being able to work from anywhere you have a good laptop and an internet connection is a very freeing thought.
As a con, there are 2 types of opposite reactions that you get as a web designer:
One is this awe to everything that you do – Oh my god, my friend is the most talented designer in the world! and also the supposition that you can do anything, from painting to fashion design.
The other is complete disregard of the years of learning and effort put into it – You made a logo with three overlaying squares and you expect me to pay for that? or I’m taking this 2 week-Photoshop course so I can be a designer, just like you.
Needless to say both are equally annoying. 🙂
If you weren’t a web designer, what would you be?
This question is a little difficult because I am by nature quite curious and explorative. I genuinely love doing a lot of other things besides web design. To think one should have just one career in a lifetime is very limiting.
Do you have any tips for aspiring web designers?
Build a portfolio. Arm yourself with your best freestyle exercises and some work you did for an actual product. Pay attention to details – those will make the difference between you and other beginner designers.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think many young designers give up on their talent because they think good design means coming up with some completely original idea every time they put pen on paper. Big ideas don’t come from thin air. I like to say that creativity is like a muscle – the more you practice, the faster good ideas will come to you.
Use your creativity at building opportunities. Web design is very much affected by the speed with which IT technology evolves. What you learned in school won’t be enough to earn you a career. You have to be curious, bold, love novelty and be very adaptable to keep up with this field.
Check out some of Laura’s work at 123ContactForm: