Interview with a pro – Philip Beel

Interview with a pro – Philip Beel

If you have been keeping an eye on the CSS gallery sites in the last month or so it’s very likely that you will have come across TheOdin’s portfolio. Well there is a good reason for that and that’s because it’s a very nice design. The freelance talent behind this portfolio goes by the name of Philip Beel and i am lucky enough to have had a chance to catch up with him for an interview. Be sure to have a read, there’s lots of interesting insight into the world of freelance web design.

1) Firstly, could you tell us a little about your background? How long have you been around? How did you get started? Where are you now? Etc

In 2004 I started my University studies. I was lucky enough to enrol on a course in Digital Media, where I was introduced to the art of web design, I discovered typography, graphic design, HTML and CSS. I was captivated by the possibilities, I knew that this was the industry I wanted to be a part of. Since then I have increased my skill sets, expanding into Development languages such as PHP and Javascript, it’s all been a natural progression from there really!

2) How would you describe your style?

I wouldn’t say I have a style , just a few nice tricks that I have learned over the years. I like having the freedom to switch between clean corporate styles to dirty grind house influences, it all depends on what the situation requires.

Interview with a pro – Philip Beel - Portfolio Homepage

3) Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

I follow a lot of online blogs and have some very helpful guys on twitter. I also find stumble upon a very useful tool for finding inspiration. I tend to do a lot of bookmarking and tagging with delicious, so I can always find things quickly.

4) Where do you get most of your clients? Do you advertise your services?

The majority of my clients have come from referrals. However some clients have come to me after reading my blog. I don’t tend to advertise, but I do a lot of networking with guys in the web design community. I find subcontracting work makes project progression much quicker and really helps get results.

Interview with a pro – Philip Beel - Show And Stay website

5) How do you go about the creative process? What are the early stages you go through after receiving a brief?

I would usually begin by researching. Then putting together a project proposal, which consists of technical specs, timeframes, projects stages and KPI’s. Once all this is agreed and signed off I normally start with wire-framing, then move onto screen designs, Once the client is happy I move onto the HTML and CSS and integrate any dev work as a last step before cross browser testing.

6) on the opposite side of the coin how do you plan your coding adventures? Do you have any processes you go through before writing your first snippet of code?

Im a really big fan technical specs as you may have guessed. So for every project I work on I tend to write some form of document. It may sound like a waste of time, but being able to predict all the possible issues you may encounter forces you to come up with the solutions. This makes life a lot easier when you come to write the code and its a lot more satisfying to see your idea come to life.

Interview with a pro – Philip Beel - Content Manager

7) Are you mac or pc and why?

Technically it should be OSX or Windows (those adverts were way off the mark). I am a bit of a apple fanboy though. I do all my design and development on a pro. I do have a windows laptop, however I only use it for testing IE. I would advise anyone in web to take the jump, paying the extra money is well worth it!

8) What software do you use everyday? From coding to task management to Twitter client etc.

I use Tweetdeck for twitter , Thunderbird for emails and Coda for development. I have played around with a few task management tools. But it usually ends up being either Collabtive or Basecamp depending on which client I’m working with.

Interview with a pro – Philip Beel - Demo Shop

9) If you could have dinner with any 2 web designers, who would you choose and why?

It’s a tough one, but it would probably have to be Johothan Snook and John O’nolan. Johothan Snook has always been someone I have admired. His blog is a must for anyone interested in web design and development. John O’nolan is a very talented designer and an expert in self branding. but more than that he’s not afraid to speak his mind and I have a lot of respect for him because of that.

10) I see that you spend some of your time developing JavaScript plugins. What is it that you feel you get out of building these? How do you spread the word about them?

I started out writing jQuery plugins as a bit of fun really. It was also a good chance to learn a bit more about jQuery. After I got a bit of recognition I wanted to see what else I could make that would help people out. I have been fortunate enough to win a few client contracts as a by product of their popularity, which has been brilliant.

11) Finally, do you have any advice for anyone planning to go freelance?

There are 2 important pieces of advice I give. The first is make sure you know your discipline. This is something that will only come with experience and the aptitude for continued learning. If you don’t feel 100% confident in your own abilities then neither will your clients. The second relates to the first. If you have ever heard the figure of speech ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ it has strong resonance with freelancers. You will find yourself pulled in a lot of different directions, from being an accountant, to a project manager, designer, developer and general secretary. This can become overwhelming, and this is where outsourcing comes in very handy. Knowing your own strengths and being able to hire out particular people to help in specific disciplines will dramatically reduce your workload and can work well for future job prospects.

I’d just like to say another massive thank you to Phil for giving his time to be interviewed. I hope you enjoyed reading what he had to say.

If you like this post you may also want to look at:

Interview with a pro – Fhoke

Interview With A Pro – Jacob Cass of Just Creative Design

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4 Responses to this post

  1. Quicken Websites said on October 3, 2009

    Nice post! Always good to know how other designers achieve “the heights”

  2. — Monday Morning Inspiration #16 said on October 5, 2009

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  3. Interview with a pro – Whyisbox | D-Lists said on November 5, 2009

    [...] Interview with a pro – Philip Beel [...]

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