Don’t work for free.
It’s no rare occurrence that those who work in a creative field are asked to work for free. More often than not, the people who ask you to work for nothing are the ones who can certainly afford to pay.
If you work in the creative field, the responsibility lies with you to value your own time. Don’t accept ‘exposure’ as payment.
You wouldn’t expect a locksmith or plumber to work for free (because what a great portfolio piece!); so it’s not alright for you to accept that kind of expectation from anyone else.
I think Frank Swain did a great thing rejecting the offer and exposing TED. If more of us valued our time, maybe less people would stop asking. It’s a long road, but it has to start somewhere.
A while ago now, I worked on a branding project for a Canadian bottled water company; La Pura Springs. I am run off my feet and haven’t had time to photograph this one or add it to my folio yet - I will soon! - but here’s a sneak peek at the logo and label.
I designed their company stationery and packaging, which is currently being printed over in Canada.
Learning to code.
I’m always telling myself (and whoever else will listen to me) that you really can’t be good at both design and development. The human brain just doesn’t work like that; we’re not put together that way. Today I hope to proclaim myself a liar - I am going to learn to code - and endeavour to create aesthetically pleasing sites that function well.
I have previously outsourced the development element of my work, which is costly and often causes more trouble than it’s worth.* I spend a lot of time writing lengthy briefs and even lengthier feedback for a developer that doesn’t really understand my vision for the site (which is understandable). It would save a lot of time and frustration if I could be across the whole process.
Some lovely Twitter folk have pointed me in the direction of Codecademy and A Book Apart, I’m going to start with these resources. So here goes. I’ve said (well, typed) this out loud now; in my head this means I have to make it happen.** Learning a new skill can only be a good thing, right?
See you on the other side.
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** I also want to learn how to sew, go to Copenhagen and get my wisdom teeth removed. Out in the open now, has to happen.
One of my dearest friends turned 30 yesterday, I made her some Daily Shape wine.
One of the biggest hurdles I face with my clients is trying to get them to see the value in quality printing. I can see how a gazillion business cards for nothing $ seems likes an appealing option when you’re starting a new business and you’re watching your pennies. It’s a cheap way of putting yourself out there - granted - but it’s also a good way of letting your potential customers know that you’re a corner-cutting type.
If you’re starting a new business (whatever it may be) you are asking people to have faith in what you’re doing and invest in it. At the very least, you should be willing to do the same. This doesn’t just apply to printing, it applies to every aspect of your business planning and management. In the words of Wham!, if you’re gonna do it do it right (right?).
I recently worked with a Northcote based Reiki Master on her business cards, she opted for printing of the highest quality, gold foil debossing and edging on a lovely paper stock. Of course this wasn’t the most cost effective option and the client was a little hesitant to go ahead with them, but I think the end result speaks for itself.
I’m not saying that every client needs to have gold business cards or spend their life savings on the fanciest of printing. What I am saying is that if you’re starting a new business, don’t cut corners. Thorough planning and investment makes for a more solid business and this is something that potential customers will notice.
Recently completed a logo for a Melbourne based business, Complete Body Solutions. Their services include myotherapy, remedial massage and pilates classes.
Am currently working on their business cards and website.
Image set up at www.jacinabox.com.au shortly.
New project: SEMF rebrand.
Throughout 2012, I had the pleasure of rebranding SEMF; a national engineering firm. There were many elements to this project; a new web and mobile site were created, complete with re-strategised copy; the company stationery and newsletter were overhauled; and a hefty set of Word templates were redesigned to ensure consistency across each and every department in their 8 offices.
I was lucky enough to collaborate with some talented people; Small Studio handled the development and Neha Kale worked her word magic on the copy. Working with these guys certainly made the process a lot smoother and more enjoyable.
Some of you may already be aware that I create a shape a day over at www.dailyshape.com.au. Quite recently I printed a few of those shapes and set up an online store selling a selection of prints.
You can visit the store at www.dailyshape.bigcartel.com.
I’m really enjoying taking my personal project off the screen and experimenting with different printing techniques. I started out working solely in print design, but now spend most of my time in the digital world; I certainly miss the process of selecting paper stocks, feeling nervous when your job is on the press and then holding your own (hopefully successful) work in your hands.
My plan is to use this project to educate myself about printing techniques that I’m not overly familiar with. I’m currently chatting to Dawn Press about creating a short run Risograph series, which isn’t something I’m able to utilise in my commercial work often. It’s all very tactile and enjoyable.
Keep an eye on the store for updates.
Just finished a logo for a U.S based company, Kiddie Pic. The company will offer a very simple, user-friendly, photo sharing service for parents and grandparents alike.
Watch this space, website coming soon.
Daily Shape; off the screen, onto paper.
Online store will be open by November 21st.
Your eyes, this space, etc.
Today I reached day one hundred of my daily project, Daily Shape.
I’m very pleased about this. Although the shapes themselves don’t take very long to create, and some of them are a tad average, I’ve loved having something personal to spend 10 minutes on each day.
Having a daily project is something I’d recommend to every designer; it doesn’t have to be the most original or creative idea. Just something that appeals to you and takes you away from client work for a moment. When you’re working to a brief that you’re not too pleased with, it’s a real blessing to be able to step away from it and do something you love.
Reaching one hundred was my goal - it doesn’t feel like a chore yet though - so I guess I’ll just keep making a shape a day until it does. I’m not sure I’ll reach two hundred, we’ll just wait and see how it goes. I’m currently in the process of getting a few printed - watch this space - there’ll be an online store up shortly.
Thanks to all the people who have let me know they enjoy it. It’s very pleasing to know people are actually looking at it, let alone liking it!
Just finished a logo for a Melbourne based craft and jewellery maker; Doolally Designs. They create lovely handmade pieces, and also hold delightfully casual classes for those wanting to try their hand at the crafting and such.
The design sways a bit left of my usual minimal-strictly-aligned aesthetic; the business called for something a bit more playful and organic, I thought.
Becoming a social media expert.
I’ve seen a few articles floating around recently talking about how to (and not to) behave on social media. I find this a really interesting subject, so I thought I’d throw my opinions about a little.
I’m no expert on the matter of social media; I don’t think anyone is, it takes a hefty amount of time to become an ‘expert’ in something, so unless you’re counting your time on mIRC or ICQ as research… I’d probably remove that title from your email signature toot sweet. I do however spend a lot of time on social media, for my own purposes and on behalf of my clients.
I work mostly for small businesses, so some of this advice might be useless for you, say, if you’re the CEO of Coca-Cola. Also, I’m really only focussing on Twitter and Facebook in this post.
Here’s a few things I think are worth noting.
. . .
Make a plan.
Why are you on social media? What do you have to say? Who are you trying to reach? What’s your online tone going to sound like? These questions (amongst others) are things you should be asking yourself before your first post. Write yourself a plan and set some goals, it’s a handy thing to look back on down the track.
Have a point.
Unless you have something to say, say nothing at all. Tweeting about what you ate for breakfast or what shoes you’re wearing does not make for interesting reading. Make your content appealing, industry relevant and not all-about-you. It’s fine to inject a little of your personality into your posts, as long as you’re considering that everything you write is in the public eye.
Be generous. Share interesting links you find.
Interact with people in your field. Particularly those you find inspiring.
Don’t be consistently negative.
Don’t re-tweet every compliment you receive.
Check your spelling. And your grammar.
Behave. Try not to be crass, or swear too much.
Don’t post ‘selfies’. Save it for your personal Facebook account, if you must.
Understand the platform you’re using.
People behave (and expect different behaviour) on different platforms. For example, on Twitter you have 140 characters, hash-tags are (over)used and people respond well to links. Over on Facebook, you have more writing room, there are no hash-tags and people respond well to imagery. Tone is also different between the two. It’s worth looking into how other people are using each platform well and following their lead until you get the hang of it.
Make it easy.
Most platforms offer you the opportunity to link your various platforms together - so when you post something on Facebook, it goes directly to Twitter - don’t do it. As I just mentioned, different behaviour is expected on each platform and it’s just plain annoying to read half a Facebook post that Twitter’s cut short and then be directed back to Facebook to read the rest. However, resources like Buffer and Hootsuite exist to make your life easier.
. . .
Well, there’s my two cents. There’s plenty more to say about this subject and a multitude of articles all over the internet, so if you’re up for some further reading, here’s a few that I found interesting.
I am up to day ninety of my personal project Daily Shape. To be very honest, I thought I’d tire of making shapes at around day 20, I’m a little shocked at myself.
In 10 days, I’m going to pick 5 or 10 shapes to be printed using risograph, they’ll be limited edition prints and available to buy online soon(ish).
New business cards for SEMF. The entire rebrand will be complete soon, with photos up at www.jacinabox.com.au.
PMI handled the printing for this job. They’ve been nothing short wonderful throughout the process. Their patience and professionalism has really impressed me - there’s the faintest background colour on those cards, to ensure there’s no stippling (digital printing) was no small feat - they were happy to reprint proofs until it was perfect.