Aha People: Isaac Gube, Co-Founder and Chief Editor, Design Instruct

A design lover, a photographer and face behind DesignInstruct, Isaac Gube is an interesting person with us today amongst our Aha People. He is usually associated with design, art and illustration and follows his instinct to capture the best in photography. His online property Design Instruct features articles for professional designers and digital artists. Read further to know more about him.

You can find him on twitter, facebook and flickr

1) Isaac, kindly introduce yourself to Aha readers and familiarize us with your regular day at work.

I’m Isaac Gube. I am the Editor-in-chief and co-founder of designinstruct. I am also a professional photographer when I’m not working on Design Instruct. A typical day starts with emails and correspondence. Then I’ll spend the rest of the day writing and editing articles for Design Instruct or editing my photos. The night is when I really come alive.


2) How long have you been blogging and how (or why) did you start DesignInstruct?

We started Design Instruct in 2010. It was conceived from our love of Design, the creative arts and our desire to contribute to the creative community in a positive and meaningful way. Our other blog, SixRevisions  (a web design and web development resource) was a huge hit and we wanted to branch out to other areas of interest to us. Design Instruct seemed to be the next evolutionary step for us.

3) Tell us about the biggest mistake you have made as a designer / photographer / entrepreneur.

I think the biggest mistake you can make as a creative professional is letting your ideas get too big that they paralyze you. I’m sure a lot of people can understand that. I like to call it creative lag. It happens when you have an amazing idea and you see it so clearly and so vividly that you lose sight of all the little things needed in order to make it happen. Then when you actually start working on your idea and you hit a roadblock, you realize “holy crap! This is going to be impossible!” You then get discouraged because of the lag between your creativity and your physical/mental ability to make it happen.

One way to avoid creative lag, I’ve found, is to tackle a big idea in phases. Write down or sketch your big idea on a piece of paper and carefully break it down into functional, modular pieces that build off of each phase of the project. It’s like building a house one functional room at a time versus building an entire house in one session. If you build your idea one small functional piece at a time, even if it takes you a long time to reach your final phase, you’ve still achieved small improvements towards the larger scope of your final vision. The key is to not let your idea stall. Always keep even a small part of it running.

4) Tell us about the success of Design Instruct eBooks. How many downloads did it manage to get?

The Design Instruct eBooks was a pilot project that we worked on to learn about our capabilities as content creators and it was our first foray into eCommerce. The eBooks were phase one of a larger more ambitious project of incorporating an eCommerce component to Design Instruct. It was as successful as we thought it was going to be and we learned a lot about our business. We’re definitely looking forward to our next eCommerce project which we hope will make a huge impact on the creative community.

5) List out the 5 most popular posts at DesignInstruct?

Sketchbook Secrets: 50 Beautiful Sketchbook Scans

Make Watercolor and Marker Style Portraits with Illustrator

Make a Soft Grunge Product Ad Design in Photoshop

How to Color Inked Line Art in Photoshop

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop

6) What is the SEO strategy behind DesignInstruct? What are your views on guest blogging?

The SEO strategy of Design Instruct really boils down to one question: “What do people like?” We’re not trying to cheat our traffic numbers. We’re not trying to fool people into coming to Design Instruct only to be disappointed with what they find. Our goal, from day 1, has always been to produce amazing content that creative people will want to read and interact with. If an article or a tutorial isn’t doing so well, then we know we’ve failed as editors and content creators, not as SEO masters. I know that may seem a bit idealistic especially with SEO companies pushing to manipulate search results but it has worked for us so far and we keep gaining new loyal readers. Also, if Design Instruct produces really great hits and people keep linking to our content, we don’t want to look back and say it was because of our SEO. We want to be able to say that it was because we produced really good content.

That being said, we definitely have some practices in place when it comes to SEO. For instance, as much as possible, we try to match our publishing schedule with what we feel is relevant to our audience but there’s no real science behind it. Again, we like to keep our ears to the ground and produce content that we think people might want to read. At the end of the day, I am a creative professional just like a lot of the readers of Design Instruct. If I don’t like it, the readers won’t like it either.

When it comes to guest blogging, My partner, Jacob, editor-in-chief of Six Revisions  http://ahadaily.com/jacob-gube-designer-developer-sixrevisions.html is a prolific guest blogger on many sites and is a well-respected voice in his field.

7) How do you manage to maintain sync between design and photography?

Design and photography are two related fields. They’re both visual. They work on similar principles of composition and balance and color theory. The only real difference between design and photography is the methods of their creation. Whereas a designer might use a pencil and paper as their tools, I use a camera as my tool. The level of skill required to do good work is the same in both fields they just require slightly different skills.

In many design schools, photography is a component of most areas of study. I think it’s because it teaches very similar principles to students.

8) Name 5 designers from your list that you follow and respect for their work.

My criteria for great design work is when someone’s ideas are so natural that when others copy or emulate their style, they don’t even know they’re doing it. A great design idea seems so natural that you think you came up with it.

David Carson created designs that will always remind me of my childhood and was really where I got my sense of what was “cool” when I was younger. Of course I didn’t know it was him creating those designs.

Stefan Sagmeister is the kind of artist I think all young designers aspire to be whether they know it or not. He’s successful. He seems to produce work that he likes. He’s artistic. His work is meaningful.

If you work with typography today, whether you know it or not, you want to be just like Herb Lubalin.

Massimo Vignelli, if you think working with Helvetica is cool or you love minimalist designs, you have this man to thank. He’s been doing it since the 1950’s.

At one point in my life, I had formed a very real obsession with a chair. I still have dreams about it. The chair was designed by Charles and Ray Eames.

9) Which 5 design blogs and design resources sites each you visit at least once during a day?

SixRevisions, web design articles, news and tutorials

DesignInstruct, design tutorials, tips, and tricks for designers, beginner to advanced.

Behance, top online portfolios by creative professionals across industries

Dribble, show and tell for designers

DeviantArt, community of artists and those devoted to art

10) List out any 5 random blogs from where you gain inspiration.

Vice, online den of investigative journalism, and enlightening documentaries.

Youtube, sharing videos

Pitchfork, essential guide to independent music and beyond

Billboard, Daily music news, charts, music downloads, and artist features

11) Suggest us 5 topics that you would like to see at Ahadaily in our upcoming posts.


Young Designers

Case studies

user driven design


12) Lastly, whom do you want us to interview next and why do you think he deserves to be amongst “Aha People”?

I think you should interview Miguel Cardona. He was one of our first contributors to Design Instruct and he’s a tremendous artist. He is the owner of the blog www.sketchbooked.com where he showcases his design projects.

Thanks Isaac for taking out time and talking to our readers here. We wish you more eyeballs at DesignInstruct so we continue to take inspiration from you. Cheers.