Welcome to our Community Spotlight, a series spotlighting our favorite creatives that are making their mark in the world. Today, Amanda Raines shares with us an honest interview about her creative journey and blog. Amanda talks with us about design meeting function and how being creative takes a lot of vulnerability! Read on to hear her story, we promise you’ll be encouraged.
Tell us about your blog!
Amandaraines.co is a personal blog with a mission to inspire readers through fresh ideas, new tools, and really good design.
How did you get started with your blog?
Through my creative journey, writing has always been an itch to scratch. I’ve found myself in this unique place of tension between wanting to make really beautiful things and wanting to make really meaningful things… the no-mans land between form and function. It never connected with me when people would label me “right-brained” because I have a thing for proper kerning and color theory because I also really enjoy “left-brained” concepts like content development and information architecture. My coworkers get on me about how much I fawn over the app Airtable (basically Excel’s sexy sister) – but it’s a beautiful example of functional form, making a spreadsheet this designer’s best friend. There’s this new breed of artist emerging that loves the game plan as much as the game – once I began identifying myself there, the blog became this really life-giving corner of my world. It brings a sense of balance for me – a place to work out the psychological element of such an emotive process. I think writing keeps my insides in shape. I also really like people, life and helping people like life. There have been a few influential mentors in my life that presented their work and wisdom to me as an open book to learn from… I think part of this is my way of paying that forward.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Can I share two? Being intentional about posting consistently and overthinking what people will think about what I write. I’ve been listening to a lot of Brene Brown’s work lately, and in a talk she gave at the 99u Conference, she touched on how being a creative takes a high level of vulnerability. Sometimes I back away from how transparent I’d like to be because I don’t feel like I’ve been in the industry long enough or have a wide enough portfolio to bring value to the conversation. But that’s just me beating me up, right? Art comes from inspiration, and inspiration from ideas – the creative community at large will greatly benefit from more artists who bravely share their ideas. My blog is a constant challenge to myself to show up and be seen.
What would you say has been one of your biggest “wins”?
I’m really proud of the 2017 Dream Guide. It was a project I felt I needed to do for myself and some close friends, but shortly after publishing, messages started rolling in from readers that were encouraged after interacting with the piece. It was what you push so hard for as an artist – not just people seeing the work, but feeling it, too.
Did you have any help building your website or did you do it yourself?
I’d like to thank WordPress and Station Seven for making me look like I’m good at this. During my design process, I read a couple blogs and referred to the theme documentation, but DIY is really simple with a great platform and great theme.
Any advice for others looking to start out?
Look to be a learner. Be brave and ask questions. Take notes. And if you need any help or just want to bounce ideas off each other, shoot me at note at email@example.com.