Interview Web Designer & Developer Phil Stringfellow

For our readers today we are lucky to be able to introduce web designer and developer Phil Stringfellow, otherwise known as Phil is an amazing designer and active member of the online design community, and an active supporter of social media. Phil has come from humble beginnings in design and through self teaching is beginning to develop into a designer of great potential in the future.

If you have a designer who you think we should interview and pose a few questions towards then don’t hesitate to get in touch for us to get to know them and introduce them to our readers.

Hi Phil, thanks for taking your time to be interviewed for our Design Juices community today. Firstly can you please introduce yourself to our readers, who you are? What creative fields are your involved in?

Hey all, my name is Phil and I’m a web designer and front-end developer from Liverpool, UK. I love designing websites from scratch, all the way through to the coding process and development of the site. I also design a lot for other areas as well, including print, branding and apparel.

What is your background in design? Do you have a self taught background? University educated? or Are you still on the learning curve today?

My initial background was sitting – alone – in my room learning HTML the old school way via tables and animated GIFs by dissecting websites I loved and attempting to rebuild them. This was put on the back-burner when I got a job as an Assistant Graphic Designer for a publishing company. I learnt, again the hard way, all about print design and designing advertisements, magazines layouts and brochures. It wasn’t until I come out of that job that I got back into web design, and yet again – you see a pattern here? – I learnt the hard way about designing with XHTML, CSS and now PHP and jQuery. Everything I do is completely self-taught, and proud of it.

To what extent do you personally and professional partake in social media? Is Twitter still king for you?

For me, I probably wouldn’t still be designing if it wasn’t for social media, specifically Twitter. I’ve met so many nice and friendly people on Twitter, full of advice and encouragement, especially when I’ve been down and considering quitting design. I’ll continue to use Twitter as a source of inspiration, laughs and work for many years to come hopefully.

What people would you recommended to us in your social media circle on twitter?

I would most definitely recommend three people, who constantly either inspire me or just provide me with a daily reason to visit Twitter. The first is Ste Johnson @nocknock_design, who is a great designer from Liverpool who comes up with great designs, and is also a great laugh. The second is Dan Davies @lbcdesigns who is currently living in Wales and being a sick target a pretty good web designer, despite turning me down for a job! And third is Elena Savitskaya @Elena_Savi who is an amazing designer, constantly creating awe-inspiring designs and making me just want to improve so much.

With 2010 behind us, did you learn more about yourself in the past 12 months? Do you have any highlights for us in your design career?

2010 tested me in many ways – patience, tolerance, understanding, and most of all, that it’s important to just be yourself. My highlights in my design career were the accomplishment of designing my new look website and blog after many hours hard work, and cementing my identity and brand across the Internet.

With the end of the previous year, comes the new beginnings of 2011. Do you have any big plans/events our readers should watch out for?

2011 is all about making and bigger and better. I’ll be doing this by digging in and publishing great, thoughtful content on my blog, and hopefully getting the chance to let my creative juices flow on some design projects. Everything this year is about what lies ahead – Why do you think the codename for my HTML5 WordPress theme is Future?

What kind of experience do you have in print, branding and apparel design?

I’ve only really done one branding project, apart from my own branding, and that was for my ex-employers, Gravitas Law. When I started there, all of their stationary and printed materials were different designs depending on their subject, and the only real concrete thing was the logo. So, as practice more than anything, I decided to set out the branding for the company to show how professional I could make their logo and brand. I took the chance to explore some great fonts, colours and layouts and came up with something that I hope will be adopted to improve their brand image. For more in depth detail, take a look at my portfolio section on the Guidelines.

You have a great affiliation with Liverpool and its surrounding areas, what is the city and surrounding areas like for design? Is it a positive design culture?

Liverpool is an awesome place to live – everywhere you look there’s inspiration. Whether it’s the Beatles, or Liverpool FC or the amazing waterfront, there’s always something to draw from. Personally, I love the history in and around the city, and further afield in places like the Wirral and Chester – there’s so much history, architecture, and knowledge to be found in these areas, there’s always something for someone and never disappoints.

With the blog now added to your personal site, what kind of articles should be expect to check out?

Coming in the next few weeks will be a Matrix-dedicated post as it’s my favourite film of all time, a couple of exclusive tutorials, and a brand-spanking new HTML5 WordPress theme. Subscribe to RSS feed here.

With you working hard on your own site and blog; What sites do you take inspiration from in reading on a weekly basis or simply visiting when in need of inspiration?

I visit the usual places, like Creattica, Abduzeedo, Forrst and Dribbble, but lately I’ve found a lot of inspiration from deviantART and Designers Couch – two massively community based sites where art on display is second to none, especially on designs such as web interfaces and vector art.

What kind of working environment do you have? Do you find yourself out in coffee shops? Own rented office space? or Do you have your own room to lock yourself away in?

Thanks to the new baby kicking me out of the room, I’m currently designing wherever I can get the laptop in the house, which most of time is either the dining table or on the sofa – like I am currently watching the missus playing the Wii.

Quickfire Five:

  • Blue side or Red side? Red!
  • Dalglish: Stop gap or long term plan? Long term plan, if the players book their ideas up.
  • Mac Geeks: I’m one or Irritating! I’m one, I just wish I had one. I’ll just stick to caressing my iPhone for now.
  • Photoshop or Illustrator? Photoshop all the way baby!
  • Biggest design inspiration/designer/movement – Chuck Anderson. He’s my design God!

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