Design Splat | Interviews with Awesome Designers and Creatives


Posted October 18th by Design Splat in Digital Art, Graphic Designers, Print, Web Designers

Today we have a multi talented designer being featured – Iain Fergus! I found Iain and his work through the online community Design Forums. He has a vast portfolio containing web, graphic, print and digital art!



Today we welcome Iain Fergus to Design Splat!

Tell us a bit about what you do in the design world Iain:

I provide a personal web and print design service to new and existing businesses, individuals and charities based in and around Ayrshire, and throughout the UK. As a sideline I also make and sell digital artworks created from my own photography, either as prints or on canvas.

How long have you been running your own design company and where did the idea come from?

I started Dark Flare Design in August 2007. The idea came from necessity. I graduated in 2005, moved to London for just under a year and on returning home took a part-time retail job to tide me over during my job search.

While working in my retail position I ended up doing bits and pieces of design work, and my hours kept on creeping towards full time. So that prevented the job search from really taking off. After some encouragement from some friends and family I went to the Business Gateway, did a business plan, and got  a start up grant. I never really wanted to work for anyone else anyway. My main aim was to offer an affordable alternative to the bigger agencies for smaller businesses and start ups.

How did you get into Web/Graphic/Print Design?

I guess it really started at secondary school. I always liked art, but was never that good at sketching or painting, but found I had a natural talent for Graphic Communication. The grades came easy to me, and I liked the work, so I carried it on to sixth year. I was the first (and only) pupil to take on the Advanced Higher that year and part of the coursework was designing a magazine layout, along with the usual 3D modeling and technical drawing. So I got a lot of time to play about with design programs there, and that led to me applying for a new course that was just starting at Glasgow Caledonian University. I completed a UDip in Multimedia Visualisation (with Product Design) and then a BSc(Hons) in Multimedia Technology. Throughout the two courses I was fortunate to be exposed to many areas of design, and programming, but I guess I favoured the web and graphic design elements, and stuck with them.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d hope to still be doing what I am now. I’d like to have built up a good local reputation, with a steady flow of repeat customers, and have the opportunity to work with as many start ups as possible.

When creating graphics/websites, what to you is the most important aspect: planning design or implementation? and why?

I think both are equally as important. The planning leads to the implementation, and the implementation almost never ends up the way you think it will prior to the planning. I think if you have planned something out properly the implementation will follow.

How do you rate yourself as a designer?

I’m good but not perfect. I’m better than I was 3 years ago, but not as good as I will be in 3 years. (Is that a cop out?)

In your eyes what makes a good designer?

Someone with a bit of individuality, but most importantly someone who can provide what their client is looking for. I usually prefer simplistic designs to those that are overly fussy, so someone who can meet their brief in the most straightforward way. I dislike design for the sake of it. A good designer also keeps learning.

Do you think the design industry is difficult to break into as the industry is forever growing?

Yes I guess it is, but I think it is probably more difficult breaking into a bigger agency for employment, than it is doing it for yourself. There is plenty of work out there if you are willing to go and find it. You just have to  look at the large amount of poor design there is out there.

What drives you/give you the ‘go’ to keep at it and do everything?

I love meeting new people, hearing about their businesses and ideas, and then bringing those ideas to life for them. Besides I don’t want to go back to working some boring retail or desk job. I grew up in a family business environment so I’ve never really felt comfortable being employed by anyone, even though I have held a quite a few long term employed positions. I guess I was always going to end up working for myself.

What obstacles – if any, have you encountered along the way?

Well at the very beginning I had one company try and steal a logo I designed for them without paying. But of course I found out (they had it put on their van which was silly) and luckily managed to retrieve payment. So that kind of situation does make you learn very quickly.

Does fame attract you?

No, not at all. I like my privacy.

What’s the dream ambition?

I would really love to do the album or single artwork for a band/musician I really admire. I’ve always been a big Muse fan, and their artwork is always pretty top notch, with a few exceptions. So it would be a big honour to do that.
I’d also love to be the shirt sponsor for my local football team, Ayr United. Sad but true.

Do you get bored with your job – if yes how do you overcome it and bring the passion back?

Only sometimes when a project seems to be dragging along, or if it’s a slow day. I usually take a break and go watch a film, listen to music or read. Sometimes just going out and taking a few photos can help.

Trawling the internet is also good for inspiration, but it’s sometimes best to get away from the computer. Going to the gym helps too.

Three words to describe yourself?

Critical, Excitable, Grounded.

Hobbies and other interests?

Film, TV, Music, Photography, Food. I love cooking…and coffee.

Tools of the trade?

Paper, Pencil, PC, Photoshop, Illustrator and Notepad++

Any advice for anyone out there looking to become a designer?

Just get out there and do it, there is plenty of work to be found.

As for learning the trade, there are plenty of resources to learn online. Find a designer you like who blogs, learn from them. Pick up some books.

Join a community like (alternatives available!). It’s a good social forum, with plenty of advice and information.

Even though I went down the Uni route, I don’t think I really started learning until I was on my own. So don’t let the lack of a qualification stop you.

Contact Details:

Links of websites:


Facebook Group Link:

Facebook Group Link:




Some of Iain’s Work:


JF Projects: Design and Build

Kiss and Makeup: Gift Shop (Ecommerce)

Azure Giving & Living: Gift Shop

Anne Sutherland: Jeweller

Jemma Hunter: Actress

Digital Artwork:

DF51 – Man O’ War

DF58 – Late Light Graffiti

DF68 – Burn’s Cottage Psychedelic Black

DF90 – The Birds – Orange

DF173 – Auld Kirk – Ablaze With Light

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