I love working with graphic designers and design firms. It´s probably one of my favorite industries to work with. The creativity and sense of purpose a designer feels while helping clients create and develop his/her vision must be gratifying. I´ve had the pleasure of working with some of the more established firms in the Bay Area and have learned a great deal about what makes for a good prospect, a great meeting and terrific client for a designer. And I´d like to share what I´ve learned with you my loyal readers.
Because I´ve worked within the industry, I pride myself on knowing a little about what designers go through. I also know that"?¦
A. There are not nearly as many freelance designers out there as there once was.
B. Getting business can be hit or miss at times for those freelancers
C. More and more firms are doing everything in-house and not contracting the work out.
D. Sometimes it´s not possible to satisfy the client.
E. Getting hired depends largely on your skill, how current your work is, pricing and knowing the market you´re designing for.
F. Educating yourself on new trends is always important.
G. Designers must never rely on the one or two big accounts to stay in business.
Many designers I know are often on the brink of going under because of a lack of business and a basic understanding of marketing themselves and their services. Being an artist myself I think it´s a waste for anyone with that much talent to not get paid well and regularly for doing something their good at and love doing. The tips I offer in this segment will help you prepare to make cold calls develop business and generate sales. To those artists, I hope I can give you a little bit of a push in the right direction. Persistence does pay off but only if you´re willing to do the work. Too many artists forget about the business aspect of their work and focus only on their creativity. This practice can be deadly if you want to continue doing what you love. In other words stop thinking like a starving artist and more like a business owner.
Lesson One: Know your talent. Know your market"?¦.
If your style is more conservative than arty, focus your attention more on financial institutions, law offices, accountants. Industries that don´t want a lot of flash in their brochure but still want something a bit sophisticated. If however you like the sexier stuff and want a bit more creative freedom, then working with computer based firms, silk screeners, and other non-conservative industries may be a better fit. Personally, I feel if your portfolio reflects a fun to conservative style you´ll stand a better chance of closing a variety of clients. The conservative stuff may be boring but, it pays the bills. If your portfolio doesn´t reflect creativity and versatility, most firms will not hire you because you haven´t demonstrated a working knowledge of that industry. When hiring a new designer or design firm, regardless of the industry, prospects look for several factors and always ask the same questions"?¦
How much will this cost from concept to printing?
Does the designer know our market?
Have they done the type of design project were looking for previously ( i.e. brochure)?
Does the designer have a portfolio or samples they can leave to review?
How quickly can I make changes and is there a cost?
Does the designer handle copy writing and editing?
Which firms have they designed for within our industry?
How quickly is the turn around period for a project?
Tony Wilkins is the author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column ,please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com