Designer Spotlight: Ariel Garcia

One of our favorite parts of being a small business is getting to know the people who use our product and hearing how ProPhoto has helped them grow their own businesses. Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many ProPhoto users and designers one-on-one and you’ve become our friends and partners. You’re a smart, savvy, and crazy creative bunch–we’ve learned so much from you!

That’s why we’re creating a space to spotlight some of our users–a place where we can learn from and inspire each other and share insider knowledge, trends, tips… maybe even a few laughs. 🙂

For our first “Spotlight” interview, we chatted with Ariel Garcia, owner of The Blog Stop and a longtime ProPhoto designer. We’re big fans of Ariel’s fresh, unique, and modern aesthetic and ability to help others tell their brand story. Read on for her insight on why branding should be a top priority for every small business, where she gets her inspiration, and more!

In a sentence or two, how would you describe the services that The Blog Stop provides?

The Blog Stop is a one-stop design shop for all things blog design and branding. Our services range from custom blog design to blog template restyles to DIY blogging templates.

How did you get your start in web design?

I was tired of my 9-5 desk job and knew I wanted to spend my days working on something more creative. I had never done any kind of graphic or website design before, but I landed an assistant job at a boutique branding and web design company in Los Angeles. During the first year, I taught myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to design and build websites. Over the years, I took on more design responsibility and eventually moved into the role of Head Designer. After feeling like I’d learned all I could in that position, I ventured out on my own and started The Blog Stop.

You’re big on branding. What does branding mean to you, and why is it important for small businesses?

Good branding is what I live for! It encompasses everything you want to communicate about your business without saying a word. Without branding, your business has no personality. Your branding will be what connects with your ideal customer and helps you build an audience that will follow you anywhere! It will help you stand out in a sea of online businesses and look like an expert in your field.

What are some common mistakes you see people making when it comes to branding and web design?

I think one of the biggest mistakes I see people making when it comes to branding and web design is writing off its importance. So many businesses throw up an ugly, informational landing page without thinking about the user experience. In today’s world, we use the internet for everything. And as soon as I land on a website that’s unengaging and hard to navigate, I’m out. Spend time and effort designing your website and creating a platform that’s branded, creatively informative, and easy for someone who’s never heard of you to use and understand.

How did you learn about ProPhoto?

The first web design company I worked for used ProPhoto. I’ve since worked with many other website design platforms but ProPhoto remains my favorite!

What is one piece of advice you would give someone who’s just starting out and trying to establish their web presence?

Research! Take a look at what is out there. Discover what you like and what kind of website draws you in. Identify why you’re drawn to these websites and how you can incorporate similar qualities into your own. And if you have a budget, I’d highly recommend hiring a designer to (at the very least) design your logo. Good branding is the first step to building an online presence that attracts your dream audience.

What’s a project you’ve worked on recently that you’ve especially enjoyed?

I just started working with Leah Ashley from Living With Leah on a website refresh. Her website is a few years old and I’m really excited to design something new and fresh for her vibrant brand!

Where do you get your inspiration?

All over! I spend a lot of time browsing through Instagram and Pinterest. Both platforms are filled with so many talented and inspiring artists! I also love traveling and find so much inspiration in design trends around the world. Scandinavia and Japan have some of my favorite design aesthetics.

What are some trends you’re excited about in web design?

I love the increased used of video and user interaction! I get really excited anytime I can find a way to give the user a web experience they’ve never had when landing on a homepage.

Thanks so much for your insights, Ariel!

Check back in the coming weeks for more spotlight interviews with other professionals who use and love ProPhoto for their businesses! Is there a topic you’d like us to cover in these interviews? Let us know in the comments. And if you’d like to be featured, don’t be shy–drop us a line! 🙂

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