Don’t Be Afraid You’ll Miss A Note Tooting Your Own Horn!

I am a member of the ‘Graphic Illustration Professionals’ group on Linkedin.com. The following question was asked “I love design, but hate self promotion. What are some fields that maximize a designers’ creative passion, without spending so much time trying to get noticed?”. Here was my response to the person that asked. This may help you if you are an Entrepreneur/Freelancer.

I think a lot of professionals face that issue because of the fear of looking as though you are greater than everyone else thinks you are, but the truth is if you’re not acknowledging that the work you do as a designer is great work, then sometimes people are not going to be noticing you.

I will be the first to admit that while humility is a wonderful characteristic to have, there is nothing wrong in highlighting to people that you are pretty good at what you do. If you look at some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world you will see that they spend millions on marketing telling everybody just how great and wonderful they are and that their product and company is the leader and number one in this industry/sector or space.

With that being said, there are still several approaches to getting noticed and one of those is to be seen as an ‘expert’ in your field. Give advice for free unless your hired. Become an “industry leader”. This could be done via your own blog (WordPress for e.g.). When people see that they can look to you for design advice, they will also begin to look at your work. Ask for testimonials from clients and have them sing your praises. Get referrals; that allows you to be exposed to others who may like your work. Share interesting articles via Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. It is also advantageous to comment on other designers work. All the best man!

Is it Worth Getting a Degree in Graphic Design?

I think education is always a great platform to have. I’ve been designing for the last nine years in the field of graphic designing. Outside of that I am also an Urban Planner so my education would be in that area. Everything in planning involves design and planning and I can see how that has influenced my ideation process.

Most of what I have learned has been learning while doing. In my own life I try to read as much as I can and I also like to pull ideas apart especially when I see something I really admire and I stop and think for a quick moment “How did they do that?!” I’ve also spent some of my time speaking with more experienced and far more successful Graphic Designers to see what I can garner from them technically and professionally.

After starting and running my own graphic design business for the last two years, I do feel that I would love to be exposed to more content but in a structured programme, so I would love to be in a classroom setting learning more about design. At this stage though, I don’t foresee wanting to spend three or four years to earn a degree.

At the end of the day, I think everyone’s genesis into the world of Design is very different, and we all need to find and make our own path. The most important deciding factor for me is knowing that I have the IMAGINATION to be creative and sometimes no amount of formal education can actualise that.

The ‘Free’ In Freelance Graphic Designer Doesn’t Mean ‘Voluntary’?

Graphic Designers are often underrated for the value we bring to any venture. The prospective clients some times fail to understand how much work is involved in conceptualisation, design and digitisation.  This results in a devaluing of how much a particular graphic design project may be worth; ergo being asked to “work for FREE”.

I think with any opportunity, you have to evaluate what taking on a specific project is going to mean for you in the short, medium and long-term.

I’ve done work with several non-profits with noteworthy projects that have included outreach to children through sports or creating local economic development within varying communities and each one has been a different experience. Some of these projects have led to other spinoff opportunities such as networking, free publicity and meeting prospective clients and admirers of a specific design you may have done.

Give advice for free, but limit the advice (not unless they’re going to hire you). At the end of the day, you can work for free, but never sell yourself short. Always ask for something in return. Bartering never gets outdated.

Here’s a Quick Way to Name a Graphic Design Business or Any Other

The other day I responded to a question via LinkedIn on “What is a better strategy, using your name as a solitary (graphic) designer, or using a company name like (such and such designs) how does this impact on getting new clients?”

Here was my response written below:

Personally I think using either your name or using a graphic design company name works well. I suppose what you have to look at is where you want to take your company in the short, medium and long-term and make your choice based on your goals and aspirations. I think too that you can bring in your personality into your (graphic design) business name by using your name as the inspiration.

Read: 7 Valuable Tips to Perfectly Name Your New Startup

In my case, by using my initials ‘P.H.R.’ as the inspiration, I was able to create a name that said what my company did and what it was about, so in the end I came up with ‘phresh Ideas & Designs’. The first three letters in ‘phresh’ are my initials.

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Though the response was to a graphic designer, the approach is still applicable in naming any startup or company. Good luck!

13 Small Business Lessons You Can Learn From

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1980s to 1990s – Playing around 

For as long as I can remember, drawing, colouring and or painting was what always made me the happiest. I played with LEGO® a lot and I think everything contributed to my attraction to the world of art and design and eye for detail. I like the “big picture” of any great or good idea and I also like breaking things down to really understand it.

2000s – I discover graphic design software

In 2002 I accidentally stumbled across Corel Draw® and messed around with the software designing basic things and that became my first introduction to using actual graphic design software. One year later I saw a friend of mine using Adobe Photoshop® and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! Designing using layers to ultimately create a visual composite! Genius!

2010 – I start my own company

Ten years later I started my small design company with the goal of changing the world through design and living out my dreams. The biggest challenge was keeping the momentum while working in a full-time job and trying to ensure you manage to find a way to balance it all. Believe in yourself and people will believe in you. With that I got friends who became clients and clients who became friends. I’ve met a lot of people and it feels great when they validate your work with their excitement, satisfaction and gratitude.

2012 – Celebrating my company’s 2nd anniversary

I stuck with my four page business plan and it’s kept me on track when I was losing focus. I started logo designs and I think I’ve gotten much better at it. Always wanted to make my own t-shirt collection and I did that this year as well. All in all, I think I’ve achieved a lot.

I’ve learned a lot about starting and growing a small business and some of the most important lessons have been:

  1. Dream BIG!
  2. Believe in your ideas
  3. Be fearless and take the dive!
  4. Fail fast and fail cheap. Learn quickly!
  5. Network as much as you can
  6. Find mentors who will guide you
  7. Surround yourself with positive and productive people
  8. Ask for help if you need it
  9. Read! A LOT!
  10. Allow God to inspire you
  11. Work for free sometimes if it’s a noteworthy cause in your eyes
  12. Give advice for free all the time, unless you’re otherwise hired
  13. Constantly reinvest into your business

2014?

Well… I’ll keep you posted.

About.me™ makes for a really great find!

Recently I randomly stumbled on this website called about.me/

About.me like many platforms these days, allows you to quickly build a simple, yet visually elegant splash page that can direct visitors (traffic) to your various content from across the internet.

It gives you the flexibility of choosing backgrounds from their galleries or better yet, creating your own. Feel free to write a quick biography and add colours and fonts for that personalise touch that reflects who you are. Finally, you can add Apps and links to your About.me page that feature Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on.

With your page complete you are now able to replace all that “clutter” from your ’email signature’ with your own personal page. Here’s mine – http://about.me/Phil.Rodriques

I definitely recommend that every professional or aspiring professional create one. I’ll be the first to admit… it makes you look really good.

FIND + FOLLOW + LINK + READ = MY about.me page

My about.me customised phresh background.

phresh phashion™ unveils its new designs: nineteen62™ THE COLLECTION

On August 3rd, 2012 I unveiled the first collection under the phresh phashion™ brand aptly titled ‘nineteen62™ THE COLLECTION’. A total of 24 t-shirts have been screen printed to test the market in sizes from small (S) to extra-large (XL).

The collection features two designs: 1962 ♥ Jamaica comes “ALIVE”! and LOVE JAMAICA LIKE COOK FOOD! on black and white high-end t-shirts made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex which makes it form-fitting, breathable and comfortable to wear.

Below are the designs:

1962 ♥ Jamaica comes “ALIVE”!

This shirt celebrates the love and genesis of Jamaica as a nation. The design also captures its inspiration from reggae music and this is represented with the use of colours that include red, green and gold. The 1962 in the design marks the birth of our beloved land while the typeface or font style is a throwback to that phunky era!  The heart in 1962 is the focal point of the design and is created by the negative space when the 6 and 2 come together. It also signifies that as a country “Our hearts beat as ONE people,  with ONE love.”

LOVE JAMAICA LIKE COOK FOOD!

Ever notice that ackee looks like a heart?
This original design lavishes love on Jamaica!  The ackee being the national fruit (and one half of the famous national dish) also plays a dual role as a heart that expresses our love for Jamaica. The writing is reminiscent of a typeface or font style that existed in the 1960s, reminding us of Jamaica’s Independence as we “savour” 50 years.

Fun Fact: A Jamaican’s love of our food is never far from our hearts.

There’s no greater feeling than watching an idea go from concept to reality and this for me has been a wonderful moment to be living my dream of being a t-shirt designer who acknowledges the importance of form and function topped off with random, witty and fun designs.

This is just the beginning.