My retirement from hyperactivity on DesignCrowd.com lasted for about a month now and I almost bypassed my contest win. I was already in autopilot highlighting junkmail and trashing it all. But, this time the email preview on my phone looked a little different. “Design Selected,” “Payment and Files Approved!”, and “New Message” were unusual subjects for my eyes. Wow, was my heart racing. Obviously, I opened the email that said “payment”. LoL. And it was true. My eyes did not deceive me! MY FIRST CONTEST WIN!
If my fiancé were home he’d be the first to know. Instead, I called my mommy. (wink). Both were not aware of my contest submission for The Espresso Masters. Likewise I was unaware of my design being considered. It was a surprise for everyone, even my PayPal account.
My stomach felt light. My chest full of butterflies. I refreshed between email and Design Crowd account for a reality check. It’s real. I ever got a little teary eyed. This win definitely gives me a boost out of my graphic design woes. Knowing myself though I just have to be cool and humble about this win. It’s a small penny for a couple hours of work. My heart will be persistent.
This design helped me find my style and figure out a presentation that. Honestly, it’s thanks to The Espresso Master’s thorough description of what they wanted in a design that helped. I wasn’t initially invited to the contest, so I’m glad I stumbled upon it. And my purchase of the Back to Basics Index book helped me stay focused as well.
My elephant sticker design for baby showers, baby announcements baptisms, birthdays, etc. When you follow the link you can choose the text that goes above the Cutie Animal. $5.50 for a sheet of 20 stickers. I get 12% of the cost. It’s a start I guess. We’ll see how it does.
I’ve been contemplating my options for selling my digital designs. I stumbled upon zazzle.com. Here I can upload my designs to be printed on various products FOR FREE. You give the royalty percentage based on how much you think your design is worth. Above is a link to my first sticker design.
Step 1Determine your target market so you can tailor marketing efforts to client needs. Providing wedding graphic designs is different from providing design solutions for small businesses. Tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
Step 2Gather your best designs and create a professional portfolio to show during client meetings. Create sample designs as spec pieces if you don’t have previous work to show. Keep your target market in mind as you do so. Include invitations, save-the-date cards and wedding programs to brides-to-be. Include logos, business cards, brochures and letterhead designs for business owners.
Step 3Create a website or online portfolio to market your graphic designs locally and outside of your area. Use websites such as Coroflot, DeviantArt or Wobook to host an online portfolio or purchase a web domain and hosting through sites such as GoDaddy, Yahoo Small Business or BlueHost.
Step 4Design a logo to represent your graphic design business. Create business cards to promote your services. Include a brief listing of services provided, contact information and the web address of your online portfolio.
Step 5Join local business associations to introduce your designs to your community. Partner with local businesses who do not compete with your brand but whose clientele is a part of your target market.
Step 6Create a direct-mail campaign using postcards you can design yourself. Provide in these an introduction of yourself and your services, and advise recipients on how to contact you. Send these cards to members of the local business community or purchase direct-mail lists online.
Step 7Attend community events and offer to donate your graphic services. You can create a brochure, event program or logo.
I’m really enjoying my new read, Design Basics Index. I’m reflecting on past designs and planning for future designs. It mentions to just pick up the pencil and paper and draw simple shapes in relation to the space given. It got me thinking about my college elements of design class. So, I dug up my sketch book and found this exercise. The assignment I believe was to create a sequence of a shape or shapes moving, merging, or scaling. I remember having fun with this because there was no right or wrong and simple shapes do not intimidate me at all. It’s just innocent FUN! This could definitely help when you’re organizing elements of your design. Observe the negative and positive space when you finish a sequence, reflect how you feel about it, and apply it to your design. My favorite one is on the second page, second row where the star in laying down.
It’s always a good idea to go back to the basics. That’s exactly what I need during my designers block frustrations. I contemplated whether I needed a graphic design book because the Internet has so much information! But, I’m a little over reading on web all day and I wanted to flip pages. I may not be able to zoom into the pictures like I do on the iPad, but the texture and smell of a textbook I kinda miss. =P I also miss the basics of graphic design. So, I browsed through the pages of “Design Basics Index” by Jim Krause at my local Books-A-Million. I actually judged this book from it’s copyright date, 2004, and I wondered if a 2004 graphic design could be outdated by 2013. Another book I looked at that was published in 2010 was very eye catchy and maybe double the size of Design Basics. I guess that’s sort of like judging book by it’s looks, so I really read into these books; a little here and there per section, per chapter, per cover. Design Basics was the perfect fit because is has exercises scattered through the book and it was just the whole package with good and bad examples. It was about making conscious decisions and not just placing that logo in the corner just because it looks good. I needed more reason in my designs because I was kind of designing to things that looked cool. Then, I couldn’t get myself out of that initial design. That means I ran out of ideas. So, the basics will definitely refresh my brain on my community college practice. The university doesn’t let you practice all that much, which I hope changes for the better. I’m looking forward to evolving.
A few projects recently closed, so a winning design was chosen. Unfortunately, they weren’t my designs. I really yearn for that one day that I get my first bite. It’s a very stressful business I’m tell ya. Right now, I’m not handling it very well OR it could just be the rainy, thunderous Florida weather getting to me. Where’s my sunshine?
I keep trying to tell myself that my designs aren’t bad, but they’re just not what the clients are looking for. There so much for me to learn. It’s a little overwhelming. I’m not sure what kind of help I need or what exactly to study on so I get better. I know practice makes perfect, but I feel like I need to learn more…techniques, tools, styles. I definitely don’t feel cultured enough to please different clients. One of my designs was for a kids gymnastics class and my design turned out to be too mature, too corporate, if I’m using that word correctly. The winning design was totally FUN and colorful and full of life. I need to learn how to be in that state of mind when I read a clients description. To do that I think I just need to research, research, research. I’m always rushing through designs.
How long must you take you actually reflect on your designs? I reflect by getting into Photoshop and playing with everything. Tweaking here there. Changing the colors, the text, anything to get a different look. But it goes deeper than just tweaking.
I have an idea of what looks great and what doesn’t, but it’s difficult to reject your own design you’re initially proud of. It’s until your design gets feedback that you have to stare long and hard at what the heck is wrong with the design. My design below was eliminated from the contest ultimately because it wasn’t what the client was looking for, but the feedback that struck a cord was “generic.” I looked at my design and asked… Why are you generic? What is generic? Well, there are simple shapes and colors that could work for any business. It’s not a real branding logo. There’s so much I need to study when it comes to giving clients what they want and need at that. I read a couple of articles on the importance of graphic design, that’s what I binged, and it was consistent that companies want a branding image that will effect the community in a positive manner. Makes sense enough. I’d want that for my business as well. Being a graphic designer is really tough. I’ll need to study and research how to communicate effectively with every design.
Anyone have a good blog to follow? Or a good book to guide me through graphic design?