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!“
Looking back on 2012, I would have to say that I accomplished a lot. I don’t think I have one regret. After nine whole years of back-and-forthing on creating a t-shirt collection I finally set out and did just that and while volume was never important, validation sure was. It was a great feeling seeing and hearing people’s reactions to each graphic t-shirt inspired by Jamaica.
I created a total of six new logo designs for a very eclectic group of clients both in Jamaica and in the United States in beauty, PR, sports, conversation, recycling, fashion and education. Not too shabby.
To top things off I created three informational brochures and some business cards. One of the most memorable graphic design have to have been a wedding package for some friends of mine for their special day in January.
I got really pulled into tweeting and ensuring that my Facebook business page was always current and sharing articles, blog and overall content worth exchanging. It’s allowed me to connect with a lot of people and like-minded professionals as well. LinkedIn was another factor that contributed to my successful year because now I found a platform that encourages you to give advice to others just like yourself i.e. Graphic Designers Lounge.
My now website [built on a free Google platform] has also been a pretty big accomplishment as now customers can send me requests and or inquires. Pretty snazzy! Sure beats Wix.com.
I’m enthusiastic about what God has to offer me in 2013 and I’ll be ensuring I do my part by putting in the work required.
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.
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.
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.
Though the response was to a graphic designer, the approach is still applicable in naming any startup or company. Good luck!
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:
Believe in your ideas
Be fearless and take the dive!
Fail fast and fail cheap. Learn quickly!
Network as much as you can
Find mentors who will guide you
Surround yourself with positive and productive people
Ask for help if you need it
Read! A LOT!
Allow God to inspire you
Work for free sometimes if it’s a noteworthy cause in your eyes
Give advice for free all the time, unless you’re otherwise hired
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.
I admire Richard Branson as the CEO of the Virgin Group and Steve Jobs as one of the greatest visionaries in the world of technology of the Apple Inc.
I like Sir Richard Branson for his approach in branding everything that falls under the Virgin brand from Virgin Airlines to Virgin Trains to Virgin Money and the ultra famous Virgin Mobile. All simple and practical names. I applied that concept to the phresh Ideas and Designs brand.
I also liked Steve Jobs’ approach to the Apple brand. His return to the company when it was at its worse, led him to revamp Apple by reducing the many products they had been building to just a handful of great products ergo the dawn of the Apple iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc. I also borrowed Jobs’ model on products and services and applied it to my business.
There is a lot to be learned from these guys and there is always something you can adopt and apply to your own business and personal life. Branson’s approach has always been “Screw it! Let’s do it!” and Jobs’ outlook has always been centered on pursuing one’s passion. A free spirit and a visionary.
On a side note, the name ‘Virgin’ always gets me and it comes with a really good back-story, not to mention its fitting logo and colour recognised anywhere and literally has its presence everywhere in the world. As for Steve Jobs, nothing more needs to be said than “iSalute you”.
Since I started this business it has been quite the journey. I have learned a lot about failure but more importantly I have tasted success. Knowing for yourself how one of your ideas will play itself out is an indescribable feeling and there is no greater sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when you have gotten a taste of success.
One of the most important lessons I have taught myself is to fail fast and fail cheap. It allows you the opportunity to reduce the learning curve and bounce back financially. My most recent venture into the world of graphic t-shirts have given me this valuable lesson that I plan to take with me throughout the rest of my life.