Blogger Spotlight – Curious Design

6th April

Rachel and Marie from Curious Design

I get a great buzz from chatting with other business owners and hearing how they do things. So I’m starting a regular feature called Blogger Spotlights where I’ll be introducing you to some of my favourite Irish and International bloggers. Diversity is the name of the game. The best blogging advice I got was to look outside your industry or area of interest for inspiration!

So, first up (after my own self-interview!) is Marie from Curious Design. Marie and Rachel run this Irish company and design everything from branding to brochures and email newsletters to e-commerce. They especially love creating identities for small creative businesses. Let’s meet Marie;

The ‘Curious Design’ and ‘Curious Casa’ blogs

Hi Rachel and Marie! I love following both your blogs; your Curious Design as well as Curious Casa. Curious is a brilliant word – tell us how it sums up you two and what you do?

Thanks Aisling, we really like it too!

We thought long and hard about our name. Asking questions, researching and getting to know our clients is a big part of our design process and something we really enjoy so we wanted to reference this in our company name. Curious was a nice friendly word that felt like a good fit. We are also quite nosey!

 Branding, website and print for photographer Magda Lukas

You describe yourselves as ‘friends, work-mates, and design junkies’. Tell us a bit more about those three things!

We’ve been friends since we met on our first day of college in 2001 and collaborated and bounced ideas off each other all the time during those 4 years. After college we still shared inspiration and ideas when working for various companies, as well as brainstorming (some would say obsessing…) over our weddings, houses, and quite a few fancy dress parties. In 2011 we set up curious together. Those years of collaborating have proved invaluable, as we know how the other ticks at this stage and work very well together.

We have very similar taste and love simple modern quirky design. We occasionally drive our other halves batty showing them pictures on pinterest so curious casa is a good outlet and way of sharing cool things we have found with each other.

Branding for BFI - an organisation offering free resources for educators and bilingual/multilingual families.

When was Curious design set up and who do you most want to help?

Curious was set up in 2011. We really like working with smart enthusiastic small businesses and individuals and start ups. It’s particularly fun working with people who are just setting up as you can follow their journey from idea to fully fledged business.

I’m envious that there are two of you! It must be brilliant to share skills and bounce ideas off each other. What are the benefits of working together? And are there any downsides? Spill the beans…

Having a business partner is fantastic!

It’s great to have someone to share the load with and to bounce ideas off. Rachel has lots of experience working with print and knows all the different techniques inside out while  I studied web design and development after college and specialises in that area. We overlap a lot on projects but having different skillsets means that we can offer a broader range of services to our clients, as well as learning from each other.

The downside would be that business talk can eat into “friend time” very easily, we try our best to keep the two separate but there will always be an overlap.

 Website design and development for the Swift Satire Festival 2012

Why did you set up your Curious Design blog and were you nervous before you started?!

We started the blog to help clients get to know us a bit better and also to learn about blogging ourselves. At the time we were also launching curious so there were nerves abounding!

Have you any reservations about sharing your design process online?

No. We try to make our process as transparent as possible for our clients and anything that helps us do this is a good thing.

How do you measure how your blog helps your business?

We keep an eye on our analytics and will also usually ask clients how they heard of us. The majority of our clients are referrals but they will usually have checked out the website and blog before they get in touch. Having a little bit of our personality online helps people feel they know us a bit better before getting in contact.

Do you share the writing?

Yes, and we share the proof reading too – Rachel is good at spotting typos!

Irish Mammies t-towels
 Design of Irish Mammy “Tweet Towels”

What is the best thing about blogging for you?

We find that our blog has become a great resource for us and our clients as we have posts explaining many of the common questions we get, like the difference between a vector file and a jpeg. Connecting with like-minded people is fun too – we love comments!

What do you find hardest about it?

Finding time to blog! Like any small business we are usually busy working on client work so it’s difficult to make time to blog on top of this.

Do you have a content planner or how do you plan your posts?

How we plan depends on the type of post – if it’s part of a series we tend to plan more and have a shared folder in dropbox where we save our plan and schedule. We usually write and save posts as drafts and get the other to review them before scheduling them.

Posts inspired by a project we’ve finished or a lovely piece of design we’ve spotted tend to be less planned and more spontaneous.

 Website design and development for Ciara of Style Serendipity

Do you have a favourite on-line app, tool or resource that helps you with blogging?

We use photoshop all the time for work anyway but it is also extremely useful for resizing and cropping images.

Has blogging brought you any unexpected opportunities?

Rachel’s home was featured in the IKEA live magazine after one of the editors spotted our blog which was a fun experience.

Who inspires you in the blog world?

I (Marie) am a big fan of Gretchin Rubin from the happiness project. She has 2 best selling books on the topic of happiness both of which I really enjoyed. Her blog has played a huge part in this success and she uses it as a reference and resource for her
books.

What one tip would you give a new business blogger?

If you aren’t sure how you will come up with ideas for posts a series can be a useful format. We found the design a-z was a good structure that helped us come up with ideas.

Thanks for those curious insights Marie! I agree with your thoughts on being as transparent as possible with your clients. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging myself. Your a-z series is a winner too!

 

So, if you’re an aspiring or established blogger – what does your design brand say about you? Is your blog a pleasant place for your readers to hang out? Get in touch with Marie or Rachel if you’d like to spruce up your space!

Call Rachel and Marie on 01 453 7907
Curious Design website and blog
Twitter: @curious_design
Facebook: CuriousDesignIreland
Websites mentioned in the interview: Magda Lukas Photography, Style Serendipity, Swift Satire Festival 2012, Irish Mammy “Tweet Towels”

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