Interview with Designer and Blogger Henry Jones

I recently had the opportunity to interview freelance designer and blogger Henry Jones. Most of you are probably familiar with Henry’s blog Web Design Ledger, and he also launched Card Observer, a gallery of business card designs, a few months ago. Also, last year Henry sold his previous design blog, Design Reviver. Take a few minutes and get to know a little bit more about Henry.

Henry Jones
Henry Jones

How did you get your start as a designer?

I think I inherited my passion for design from my mother, who was a high school art teacher. This gave me an interest in art from a very young age. I was also introduced to computers at a young age when my Dad bought us an Apple IIc. (How many of you remember that one?) Later I attended college at East Tennessee State University, which at the time, had one of the top rated 3D animation programs in the country. So, to make a long story short, 3D work eventually introduced me to Flash which then led me into web design.

Henrys Workspace
Henry's Workspace

Can you tell us a little bit about your current career and what you’re doing?

I have been freelancing and blogging full time for just over a year and I have loved every minute of it. Right now my time is divided between client work and running Web Design Ledger and Card Observer.

Card Observer
Card Observer

What led you to sell Design Reviver last year?

I started Design Reviver originally as a way to promote my services. Without knowing anything about blogging, it was sites like yours and others that gave me the inspiration to actually do it. Once I had the site up and going, my readership started to grow, and so did the pressure to keep a steady posting schedule. This began to interfere with my client work, which led to the difficult decision to sell the site. After doing some research on SitePoint to determine a value for Design Reviver, I posted it on their MarketPlace with a “Buy It Now” price of $40,000. It literally sold overnight. I only mention the selling price because I think it will inspire people, and I think it proves that money can be made from blogging.

Design Reviver
Design Reviver

After selling Design Reviver, what wa your motivation to start Web Design Ledger?

Once Design Reviver was no longer mine, I started to miss all of the fun stuff that comes with running a blog: like watching your readership grow, creating content that people find useful, and networking with other bloggers. I kind of felt as if the blogosphere was leaving me behind. I had to get back into it. After learning how to better balance my client work load, the later part of 2008 presented a good opportunity to give it another shot.

Web Design Ledger
Web Design Ledger

Web Design Ledger has a unique theme design that stands out from other blogs. What was your inspiration/motivation with that design?

I did want it to stand out from other blogs. But I didn’t want to be different without a purpose. I wanted to promote reader participation. So, I designed the entire middle column to showcase recent comments. After all, who doesn’t like to see their name in lights…or in over sized speech bubbles?

I also knew that being creative would probably land me on most of the popular CSS galleries. This can be a huge jump start for a blog,
especially a design oriented blog. It puts your site in front of thousands of people, who just happen to be your target audience. You would have to pay quite a bit of money for that kind of advertising.

Can you tell us a little bit about your typical day?

I normally start work at 8 am in my home office and spend about 1 hour doing the usual admin stuff, such as approving comments and replying
to emails. From that point on, I work on client work with the occasional break to play with my 3 year old son. I try to stop working when my daughter gets home from school around 3:30 pm. Then at night, after the rest of the family goes to bed, I spend a couple of hours writing blog posts.

We Love WP
We Love WP

What is one interesting fact about you that our readers will not know?

My passion for building things goes beyond web sites. In the past 4 years, my wife and I have built 2 houses. This was the other reason for selling Design Reviver. Building a house can also take up a lot of your free time.

Henrys House
Henry's House

As a freelancer, where you do find most of your clients?

All but one of my clients have found me either through my portfolio or my blogs. This has truly been a blessing since I’ve had to put no time and effort into finding new work.

Good Widgets
Good Widgets
Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design, a popular design blog.
  1. April 3, 2009

    Finding work for a freelance is not an issue these days, but off course you need the skills and must have a good portfolio, client will automatically knock your door

  2. April 3, 2009

    Glad to know more about John! Like his work.

    Actually, I don’t see any mention about his WP Gallery – WeLoveWp. It is true it was also sold for $9k?

    Keep up the good work both of you John&Steven 😉

  3. April 3, 2009

    @Steven – It was a pleasure doing this interview with you. Thanks for the opportunity.

    @Pavel – I only designed and coded I was not the owner, but I do believe the previous owner did sell. Not sure of the price though.

  4. April 3, 2009

    Good work Henry!! Congrats on the interview and your success.

  5. Pingback: Link Love :: 04.04.09 |

  6. April 5, 2009

    Thanks for posting this interview. I am hoping to jump into the full-time freelance world soon and need all the inspiration that I can get to help push me in the direction of my passions. It’s always great to read about others who’ve done so and are successful.

  7. April 6, 2009

    Good interview, it’s always nice to learn more about the people behind these web sites that I’m always reading through.

    Henry, you’re definitely right about inspiring with the price of Design Reviver. I love designing new sites, but money is always a great motivator. Not to mention, developing the quality content for readers is great for everyone and that’s what really drives the value up.

  8. June 10, 2009

    Great interview,i find it really inspiring and interesting to learn, how and why people are successful within the graphics world.

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