Thursday, 29 October 2009

Finding clients will be the main battle of your career...

So Graham came too talk a little bit about self promotion. This lecture had to be one of the most motivating and useful lectures of this year. I came home thinking how I wanted to promote myself in the design industry. What my message is as a 'designer' and how and what I was to do to get myself noticed. Graham started the lecture with a couple of quotes; 

'Self promotion is the one aspect of design that cannot be taught', I can see where Graham is coming from on this one. Self promotion is so personal to yourself, and the message you are trying to put across is something that has to be personal to you.

'You are really out on a limb and on your own with this one, and the pitfalls are numerous: should it be funny or serious?' I see this as definatly something to think about, when in many situations you only have a business card to communicate with a perspective client. Im all for humour in work and I think a lot of the time people take a lot of things just too seriously but I think that there’s a fine line that needs to be acknowledged between being too funny and a serious worker in terms of getting the job done quickly and effectively. I need to start thinking about where my own boundaries lie.

Graham outlined the need for self promotion in the competitive and fast pace area of graphic design. He said that the ways of getting yourself noticed are Identity, portfolio, Websites and printed literature, All of which I really need to work on. He also stressed the idea of going the extra mile, don’t stop at designing a business card, make the compliment slips, the letterheads, the little stickers you put on the envelope fit in with the identity you are trying to create. This is in parts showing that you are a serious designer who doesn't leave anything unconsidered.

Graham spoke of and showed images of the identity he designed for 'Via' design company. I unfortunately cant find any images of there work or identity on the internet to show you, but I really loved it. He had used his surroundings within the via office to create something visually appealing yet personal to the company. From the font of the logo to the pattern on the back of the letters and the colours and imagery chosen for the compliment slips. Everything linked together which looked really considered, when actually it was the financial struggles which inspired the designs in the first place. 

Graham had some helpful tips, and it was good to have someone talk in such an honest and frank way. One of the tips was to always leave a compliments slip when sending out work because its the extra details which is what graphic design is all about. 

Graham mentioned the importance of having a business card, not to mention always having a selection on you. Give them too everyone. Even make them unique by having a number of options of colour and stock to provoke conversation with the possible client requesting your card. Graham showed us his business cards which were printed on all different coloured papers, as were his compliments slips and letterheads.

The main message throughout the lecture which I found really hit home and has been helpful in my thought pattern, is that its all about the message you are trying to give out. What do I want say as designer about myself or the work I am creating? This was not only helpful in my ideas for self promotion but also in my project work which I am finding difficult to conceptualise. Graphic design is about communicating to an audience and as a designer I need to think deeply about what it is I want to communicate. 

'Finding clients will be the main battle of your career, not only to find clients to start your career, but to be constantly finding clients to keep you going.'

To keep clients coming, your work needs to stand out from the crowd, and if its only your promotional work that is being seen it needs to be different from everyone else's. Graham told us about the 'gifts' he sent to clients while at via to remind them of his and the companies ongoing work in design. The most popular being the ruler guide and also the calenders. He made a very good point, 'people like it when you send them something nice!' 

It was made clear to me that my work needs to stand out from the crowd, thats what people are looking for from the creative industry, it was good for a successful designer to reiterate that too us. 

Some more of Grahams top tips:

Keep people informed of your work (i.e. blog)

Be different and interesting.

Get your personality in there.

Be there to machine proof prints.

Get on flickr and behance.

Make the effort.

Make things personal.

Make your portfolio fit your identity.

Do great work to get noticed.

Overall I found Grahams lecture so helpful. It has really motivated me to start thinking about where I want to go as a designer and the ways in which I could 'promote' myself. It was definatly a thought provoking lecture and one of my favorites. I definatly want to start designing my business card, postcards and maybe start producing limited edition prints to get myself noticed. I cant wait to get cracking, and thought Graham was inspiration to us all.

Grahams Business card.

Identity work for 'The Lab'.

Identity workfor 'Belyfeel'.

Identity work for 'Interval'.

Identity work for 'Loose Collective'.

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