Archive: May 2016

  1. 5 Tips on How to Get a Graphic Designer Job Through Social Media

    Leave a Comment 3 min read

    Setting out on a career in graphic design can be difficult. You have taken the time to learn your craft, but now you need to convince people to pay you to create expressive designs for them. Social media can play a big part in getting your work seen by the right people while guiding you along the right track to promote your work.

    Let’s see how 5 simple steps can help you to get closer to landing work as a graphic designer using social media.

    1. Build & Maintain your Online Design Platform

    This is the most important, and also time consuming part of the process. As a graphic designer, if you are not utilising the many tools available in the online space to showcase your talents then you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage.

    Invest the time in setting up a website, there are both paid & free options available. Your website needs to display your contact details, an introduction where you explain what it is you love about design and what inspires you, and of course, a sample of your work. WordPress or SquareSpace will do just fine.
    Get active on social media. Follow designers who inspire you, they will teach you a lot about how to network professionally. Don’t be afraid to learn from the pros.

    The range of social networks is constantly growing and each of them require their own specific approach. Not every social network will be the best fit for your services, so take them to where you can get the most value and concentrate your efforts on those sites. Behance, Instagram & Dribble are some of the most visual social media sites at present.

    2. Develop your own Style

    In order to be successful as a graphic designer you need to know what your own style is. One of the easiest rookie mistakes to make is trying to be all things to all people. We all have unique talents in specific areas and you need to focus your efforts there. While I’m not suggesting that you need to niche yourself out of the market, feel free to stamp your signature on your work.

    When you are focussing on attaining work as a designer it can be easy to neglect the important task of rejuvenating yourself. Make time to reconnect by seeing an exhibition or even just browsing through a magazine. Have fun with it, experiment with new techniques to keep your work fresh & exciting.

    ‘I’m not like most designers, who have to set sail on an exotic getaway to get inspired. Most of the time, it’s on my walk to work, or sitting in the subway and seeing something random or out of context’ – Alexander Wang

    3. Get Feedback & Recommendations

    While building up your network remember to solicit feedback at every opportunity. The more people who see your work and interact with it, the better. Though it might be intimidating at first, ask people what they think of your work. This is a wonderful opportunity, especially when you have built up a rapport with other designers. They may be able to suggest improvements, or simply provide another way of thinking about your subject.

    Always ask satisfied clients who you have a good relationship with for a testimonial for your site.

    4. Stay up to date

    It is very important to stay up to date with your industry trends. Learn from what others in the design field are discussing. You may not approve of or endorse these trends, but you need to at least know about them to inform your response to them.

    5. Be Social

    The cardinal rule of social media is to be social. It is a place to chat, swap ideas & share opinions. It should not be used as a megaphone with which to shout about your prices or offers. People do not like feeling as though they are being sold to on social media. Rather, they want to interact with you, find out about your style and see where your design objectives meet theirs. It is in this space that the real value of social media comes about.

    Though it can feel hard trying to get your new design work noticed, don’t lose heart. When you remain true to your passion you will get there in the end. Don’t give up!

    ‘Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love’ – Louis Kahn.

  2. Design Sites Eating Your Lunch? 4 Reasons Not to Panic

    Leave a Comment 4 min read

    In the same way that Uber extracts more value from the taxi business by not owning taxis, design sites like Fiverr and Upwork exploit the creative value that freelancers offer and on-sell it, without any obligations to quality or professional standards. As a freelancer, you might think you are establishing valuable connections with new clients, but in truth, both clients and freelancers are customers of the design site itself—and they set the rules.

    These sites allow clients to set whatever budget price they’re prepared to pay and freelancers to bid at whatever rate they want. The reality? Both tend to submit the lowest price possible.

    Clients do this because they see other job listings with low rates and hey, nobody wants to pay above the odds, right? Their expectations are probably quite low—using an online design marketplace is a low-risk play for them, with potential for a great result, but easy to write off if it’s less than stellar.

    For freelancers, the benefits are less apparent. Sure, you can work for anyone, anywhere in the world, but so can anyone else. So professional designers lower their rates to compete against students and the unskilled, in a bidding war where nobody wins.

    Online design marketplaces commoditize the design process. The low pay rates mean shortcuts are taken to make the work economically viable, producing low quality, derivative design products that might only be worth a ‘fiver’. The market is price-driven and doesn’t necessarily reward experience or professionalism.

    As a design professional at Activate Design in Christchurch, New Zealand, I’ve been wondering, how do we compete against this model? The answer? Don’t compete, just improve.

    Cothorne_Hotel

    In 2011, Christchurch was struck by a devastating earthquake. The city was in ruins but it was the strength of the relationships that helped us cope and rebuild. It showed me how important it was to have strong connections with others in your neighbourhood.

    What’s this got to do with design? Perhaps more than most business transactions, a design project requires a good working relationship between client and designer. As part of this relationship, we delve into quite personal information about a company—its values and ambitions. That information needs to be handled with care and respect. For design companies, your ‘neighbourhood’ is the community of clients, designers and freelancers you like and want to work with.

    Another_SVA_team

    Online design marketplaces undoubtedly cater to a sector of the design industry but I think if we focus on our clients and improving the service we deliver, we needn’t worry about the future. Clients are happy to pay well when you provide them with ideas and design products that have strength and integrity.

    So the next time someone asks “Why should I spend all this money with you?” Here are four compelling reasons why they should use a professional design service:

    1. We are design consultants — providing design expertise and advice.In an online marketplace, there is little or no opportunity to consult with the client. Contrary to popular opinion, the customer doesn’t always know best, which can lead to poor design choices.
    2. Good design, whether it’s a website, brochure or logo, requires a lot of background research about the company and the target users. Online design sites offer little opportunity to build this profile.
    3. Good ideas need to be nurtured and refined. Design is an iterative process that works best when there is a free-flowing dialogue. Online marketplaces protect their business model by putting barriers and restrictions on this conversation.
    4. Companies want a professional, enduring relationship with their design company to ensure they get an effective, consistent design solution, digital assets that are carefully managed and most importantly, a personal connection through phone contact and face-to-face meetings.

    Will online design marketplaces cannibalise market share from more traditional design businesses? It’s hard to say—in some respects they may actually serve to promote the value of good design. Forward-thinking design companies would do well to take notice of the features that attract people to these sites (e.g. results-focused marketing, online forms for submitting work requests, incorporating the latest design trends such as flat design) and incorporate them into their operations where possible.

    So will designers be rioting in the streets like the taxi drivers?

    Hopefully not —but as always, it’s up to us in the design community to speak up and make sure clients see the value in what we offer.

    Photos by Jane Ross, Angela Bethell, Jocelyn Kinghorn, Scott M Liebenson