In the creative space being a recognised designer is key. But how do you go from a self-starter to sought after designer. When starting up there are multiple avenues you can go down in order to build presence.
Creating social media accounts for your business is the easiest and the cheapest way to gain exposure. Using social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can give you local and global exposure and help build a dedicated following. They can also lead to exciting opportunities that you would not normally be exposed to.
By creating a website for your business it provides you an identity client can look to. Your website can be a great tool that allows you display your portfolio, growth, achievements and successes.
But just because you have a website doesn’t mean people will automatically know who you are and how to contact you. You are still going to need to get maximum exposure. In order to ensure people are visiting your site make sure you focus on your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. By increasing your visibility of your website, it will result in more exposure for you and your business.
I would recommend Googling ‘SEO in marketing’ and ‘how SEO it works’ so that you get a better understanding on what you need to do.
BLOGGING OR PODCASTING
Blogging or podcasting has become popular in this day and age. People are interested to know what you are thinking, so take the time to write and post on your website or blog page. You don’t like writing, try Podcasting, where you can talk about your thoughts, experiences or even interview people of influence. These methods can really help you engage with like-minded people or even show your clients that you have a strong business acumen.
Though advertising can be costly it can also be worthwhile. Use your creative skills to produce an ad that will help you market your business. Whether (budget dependant) it be ads for social media, local papers, television or radio, they do have high exposure and can generate leads faster.
Ensure you have a marketing campaign in mind before hand, take the time to research like-minded business and how they advertise, be aware of the trends in the market and ensure you know your target audience. Research is very important otherwise it can become a very costly and timely exercise.
Building exposure is not easy, keeping exposure is even harder. You need to stay on top of the game always be active, don’t quit and stay ahead of the trend.
If you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to hit the like button to send me some feedback.
As creatives we expected to come up with new and fresh ideas for our clients. We find ourselves relying on designs that have either influenced us in the past or design we have seen currently that someone has already thought of.
We sometimes face road blocks when it comes to developing new ideas, so we look to others to inspire us. The key word here is ‘Inspiration’ and not ‘Duplication’, which can sometimes be a struggle when dealing with clients or trying to come up with new ideas.
The best way to approach this situation is to ask yourself. What makes you different from all the other creatives out there?
So how can you ensure you provide your client a design solution they are after?
By Communication and Clarity; by asking the client what inspires them, you get a better understanding on what solutions you can provide them but that’s where the buck stops. You use inspiration to ensure you can provide an evolution for new creative outcome that is more suitable to your clients’ need. Always remember that what might work for one client might not work for the next, there will always be adjustments.
When creating for clients, they trust that you are providing them with something original and suited to their business needs. Keep in mind that the they are going to make this public. The Liability falls on them, but the reputation falls on you. The last thing you need while you’re trying to grow your business is to have a reputation as a cowboy designer.
Cowboy Designer – Someone who cuts corners and steals ideas as their own.
If you are running short of ideas or encounter some creative road blocks, here are some things you can do:
- Create a mood board of inspiration or ideas that you like, see what you can do to improve it, breakdown, tear it apart and rebuild it.
- Go to a creative events, for example: art galleries or festivals
- Read books written by creative people
- Research top designers, blog sites or websites
- Join forums like Behance or Dribbble and create works, seek opinion and critiques.
This will not only help you improve your skill set, but can help spark new creative ideas.
There are plenty of ways for you to be creative and provide your client best design that is suited to their business needs. You just need to go out and research and ensure you are delivering the best creative work you can.
HOW MANY TIMES HAS THE CLIENT GIVEN YOU A BRIEF BACK WHICH RESEMBLES A BLANK SLATE?
Let me know if you heard this one; ‘I don’t know what I want’, Or my personal favourite ‘You have free reign to do what you want’. Then you go out, put in the time and work to produce your masterpiece for it to be criticised because it didn’t quite ‘hit the mark’.
Well…here is where a great brief comes in. If you can provide your client a brief that will help answer all your relevant and also irrelevant questions, then you will have no issues in hitting that mark the first time around, leaving room for refinement.
Here is how you do it:
1. KNOW YOUR CLIENT.
- Research your client look them up if they already exist.
- Email them or even better, meet them, have a coffee and a chat to get to know them.
2. WRITE DOWN ALL THE QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ASK THE CLIENT.
- Be Outrageous
- Be Creative
- Be Challenging.
3. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. DON’T JUST INCLUDE COMMON QUESTIONS.
- What emotion are they selling?
- What animal do they see themselves as?
- Is there a company they idealise?
The list can go on and can be as out there as you want it to be. It’s these questions that will assisting you in understanding your client
4. MAKE IT EASY.
When you submit your brief to the client, make it easy for them to fill in.
- Have open and closed questions.
A Closed example would be: Would you like this font? Yes or No
An Open example is: How does this font make you feel?
- Give the client some choices
To help narrow the process down you can provide the client with some choices to choose from, this will allow you to identify their likes and dislikes.
- Provide Examples
There are two things you can do here. You can provide examples for the client to choose from or sometimes have the client provide examples of what they like, perhaps a website, logo, colour scheme or font.
Lastly, make sure you communicate your findings and brief results with the client. Doing this will ensure you and the client not only share the same vision but will also help you clarify anything you were unsure of.
Please feel free to use these tips as a guide, to help you in creating your own client briefs.
Remember, all clients are different, so this is where researching skill comes into play.
One bonus tip for the road
CREATE A TEMPLATE.
Put the common questions in the front for example, Name, Business Size, Requirements, Demographic etc. and the add the open and close questions after, so that it can be customised according to your client
GREAT DESIGN IS ONLY AS GREAT AS THE BRIEF IT CAME FROM.