Web Promotion Tips from Brand Identity Designer David Airey

by . March 15th, 2010

If you haven’t gotten around to creating yourself a website or online portfolio, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. In today’s YTD post we discuss the importance of web promotion for graphic designers with David Airey, the famous brand identity designer, blogger and internet marketer extraordinaire. His self-titled website,, draws thousands of readers a day and made headlines when the international online community rallied to support his stand against an unscrupulous domain thief. He recently published an amazing book entitled Logo Design Love and works as a self-employed graphic designer in the UK.

Interview with David Airey

Sammy: Hi David! Thanks for taking the time out to share your knowledge and experience with the readers of YTD.

David: You’re more than welcome, Sammy. Thank you for the invite.

Sammy: Let’s get right down to business. Can you tell us a little about the history of What did you envision when first launching the site and how it has evolved over time?

David: Back in 2005, I had a static online portfolio that wasn’t attracting any attention. That’s completely understandable, however, as my site was your typical MS Frontpage masterpiece, and full of fairly shoddy work, too.
You’re welcome to poke fun by witnessing my beautiful attempts here: The 30 month evolution of my online graphic design portfolio.

Sammy: Do mind listing and describing your many websites?

David: It started with — first as a static website, and then as a design blog with attached portfolio page. Then came — a collection of iconic logo designers and their background information. You can read a little more info on that one here: 35+ iconic logo designers. Afterward I decided to create a logo-specific blog, titled Logo Design Love. Choosing a name wasn’t easy, and I asked readers of what they thought: Tips for logo design website names. Had I not launched my second blog, perhaps I’d never have been offered a book deal. What I do know is the book certainly wouldn’t have been called Logo Design Love.

Logo Design Love Book by David Airey

Sammy: Do you have a favorite CMS platform such as WordPress or Drupal?

David: WordPress is definitely my favourite CMS. Not only because it’s incredibly intuitive, but there are so many useful plugins available, the support community is huge, and on top of that it’s free. There’s also the fact that I’ve never tried another option. I don’t feel the need to.

Sammy: Do your websites help you attract clients? Do you have any particular stories or examples that you can share with us?

David: My websites are my main marketing tool, and I can’t remember the last time I needed to actively search for a client. Thankfully, clients find me first. A nice example is when out of the blue I received a message through my website’s contact form that said:

I would like to explore refreshing the Canadian Yellow Pages logo and the Walking Fingers logo with you.


Yellow Pages has been my biggest client to-date.

Sammy: David, it’s obvious that you’ve achieved somewhat of a celebrity status through your web promotion, but I’m sure you had to overcome many obstacles to get there. What sort of advice would you give to a designer who is just now starting web promotion?

David: I’d never consider myself a celebrity, and I think I need to do a lot more good before even coming close, but I appreciate your thought. I can, however, offer what I believe is solid advice for those designers starting out with online promotions:

  • Launch a blog, and be prepared to spend a lot of time nurturing it
  • Don’t expect immediate results
  • Engage in the comment threads of design blogs you admire
  • Take a camera wherever you go (or at least a notepad) because everything around us is a potential blog post
  • Avoid regurgitating the same old tired lists, it’s boring
  • Express your opinion — it’s what makes you the person people want to work with
  • Use images alongside your text
  • Give credit where it’s due, and never pass off someone else’s thoughts or work as your own
  • Link to others as you want others to link to you

Sammy: You have 2 twitter accounts that I know of: @DavidAirey and @LogoDesignLove In what ways do you use twitter to promote your work and do you use any 3rd party programs to manage your multiple twitter accounts?

David: I’m one of the old-school who still uses Twitter on the web. When I started using the site I tried one of the instant-messaging style tools — one similar to Skype or Messenger — but I found it a needless distraction, and much-prefer visiting Twitter only when I find a nice link to share, or have a question to ask.
In terms of using Twitter to promote my work, all I do is reference a new blog post when I publish one (maybe once or twice each week). I see the service as just another way to communicate with people — a nice accompaniment to my blogs. Ultimately, Twitter is very immediate, in the moment, whereas thoughts expressed through a blog post have a sense of permanence that sets them apart.

Sammy: Do you use social bookmarking to promote your website? Any favorite bookmarks?

David: Not really. I used to, and back in the day I gave Digg a shot: Here’s what happens when you get on the front page of Digg. I tried StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Design Float, Design Bump, and a few others, but all these sites can suck up your day, and I think it’s more important to spend time elsewhere.

Sammy: I noticed that you link within your websites with specific anchor texts such as graphic designer or graphic design portfolio. Is it safe to say that you are a believer in Search Engine Optimization?

David: Isn’t everyone? I’m far from being an expert, but I’ve discovered a few tips along the way, such as how to reverse a Google penalty, and how to get on the first page of Google and Yahoo in 11 days. At the time of writing, a search for “graphic designer” or “graphic designers” will show me on the first page, which isn’t too shabby (although it means I’m constantly fielding interview requests from students with design assignments). I’m not doing too bad for “logo designers” and “best logo” either, thanks mainly to the launch of Logo Design Love — and perhaps the relevant keywords within the domain name.

Sammy: I’m one of the 5,000+ fans that Logo Design Love has on Facebook. Do you find that social networks are effective in promoting your work?

David: Oh, nice. Thanks for joining the Facebook group, Sammy.
I started that page upon the recommendation of my book publisher, so about three months ago. Prior to that, I didn’t take Facebook seriously for business purposes. To an extent, I still don’t, but it’s fantastic to see the additional design chat that takes place when my RSS feed automatically updates the Facebook wall. I was surprised that many people comment on Facebook, yet don’t comment on the actual blog posts I publish, so for me it’s another way to keep in touch with my peers.

Sammy: What other social websites do you recommend for online promotion?

David: None come to mind. I use Twitter and Facebook daily. No others.

Sammy: David, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. I thank you on behalf of all our readers and the team here at YTD and! Cheers!

David: It’s my pleasure, Sammy. I hope my ramblings have been of some interest to whoever made it this far.


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