Thursday, 10 December 2009

Graham Jones

Graham talked about ‘personal identities’ for freelance designers and stressed how it’s the one aspect of design which can’t be taught because it’s so personal and unique to each of us. It made me want to go away and make a start/gather ideas for an identity which would reflect my own personality to sell myself visually.  The key aspects of setting up a business as a freelancer or studio is a clear identity, polished portfolio, engaging website and clear written literature to promote yourself and what you do.

He began by discussing a name for a studio/freelance designer, how it should be more interesting, memorable and abstract than simply your name.

Graham talked us through the beginning of his career at a small design studio in the Northern Quarter they called ‘Via’.  They created a promotional stationary pack inspired by aspects of the studio they’d just moved in to; a striped pattern taken from the carpet, an image of rafters and colours taken from left over pots of paint were included in the designs. It’s this attention to detail I found really inspiring when he showed us how when the back of three letterheads lined up they created a flowing image. 

Graham told us how important business cards are to a designer, showing us his set he made for himself freelancing as Gman, he gave his potential clients a choice of six coloured business cards to choose from, I found this clever because it initiates a dialogue and interest immediately by allowing them to choose instead of just being handed one. Every small detail contributes to being successful because it shows you're passionate and care about what you do, little stickers on envelopes create a personalised and professional finish which differentiates design mail from junk I believe.

When freelancing it is important to keep a list of clients who need graphic design work who you can regularly contact and keep updated with what work you’ve been doing creatively which could land you some more work because they know you’re willing to take on work, creatively active and passionate in what you do.

Sending out gifts to clients is a way of getting more work if your contact details are in front of them everyday, one year Graham sent creative rulers out with information on such as paper sizes and lists of common file formats with an explanation so the clients could refer to it if they didn’t actually know the technical language etc it made communication between the designer and client easier.

I found this lecture really helpful, like a checklist of how to go about setting up on your own, how to go about it and stay successful. More lectures like this please.

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