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Blog posts tagged graphic designer

Does your graphic designer give you what you need?

December 23, 2010 by Fiona Humberstone

I was talking to a potential client today who is tearing her hair out because she’s had a new website designed which she knows isn’t quite hitting the mark, but she can’t quite put her finger on why.

After a brief conversation we identified the issues: insipid stock photography; clunky use of fonts; and a less than inspiring layout.

“To be fair to the designer,” she said, “I wasn’t really quite sure what I was looking for, so I probably haven’t given him a very good brief.”

“That’s not your job!” I wanted to scream.

This poor lady was beating herself up because she’d failed to choose the right stock photos and failed to tell her designer exactly what she wanted. As a result, the design work was less than impressive.

Your job as a client is to give your designer the answers to the questions they ask you. I sincerely believe it’s not your job to tell them what you want and where, just get them to “construct” your vision. If you do that, you’ll get back, at best, what you wanted. You probably won’t get what your business needs.

So what do you really need?

When I meet with a client on any project we don’t discuss colours, fonts or layouts. I ask the client about their objectives, business and clients. We talk about goals for this piece of marketing literature and we get to grips with the messages they want to communicate. We might also talk about brand identity (if they have one) and about the impression they want to create.

At no point do I expect the client to tell me how they want the piece of design to look. And I actively discourage any client from creating a mockup.

What’s the point? You work with a creative, insightful and intuitive designer to add value to your business. You shouldn’t be expected to provide a steer on the design – that’s what you’re paying us for. Sure you need to give a decent brief – but it’s down to the designer (or account manager in my company) to ask insightful questions and draw the right information out of you.

You know what results your business needs. And if you can relay that information to a graphic designer you trust, they will be able to provide you with the collateral you need to achieve that result.

Now I appreciate that this level of design doesn’t come cheap. But it’s worth investing in for peace of mind, the value it’ll add to your business and the fact that you can get on with doing what you do best and leave the design work to the experts.

So next time you brief a designer, listen carefully to the questions they ask you. Do they reassure you that they really understand your needs and really care about the result you’re looking for or are they just trying to please you by giving you what you want?

Fiona Humberstone, Flourish design & marketing

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Ten sites for selling your wares

April 28, 2010 by Emma Jones

Whether you’re selling your knowledge or products crafted by your own hands, there are online platforms to help you reach an audience of customers and make sales. Here is my top ten:

Business services  If you’re an IT contractor, graphic designer, business coach or expert translator, these sites might help you:

  • Peopleperhour.com – more than 45,000 freelancers use this site to source work and new clients. As the freelance, you respond to job opportunities, pitch for work and receive payment, all via www.peopleperhour.com
  • Business Smiths – companies needing anything from business plans to web design head to www.businesssmiths.co.uk to find experts who can help.
  • Wooshii – a new kid on the block, this site has been created for creatives who produce video and rich media. Companies upload their projects to www.wooshii.com and Wooshii-registered creatives respond with their best offer.
  • Lingo24.com – for linguists, Lingo24.com can become your business development tool as work is sourced on your behalf. Clients include multinational companies and government bodies and Lingo24.com services these clients with a workforce of thousands of freelance translators spread across the globe.

Personal services If health, beauty and wellbeing is more your thing, here’s where to head:

  • Return to Glory – London’s largest home massage and mobile beauty company, the site is a displaying ground for beauticians and health experts who deliver treatments in the client’s own home. Visit www.returntoglory.co.uk
  • Wahanda – welcome to the world of therapists, stylists, practitioners and trainers. They gather at wahanda.com as customers come looking, ready to order their services.

Handmade crafts There is a growing number of sites for the artisan and handmade community. Here are just three of them:

  • Etsy – the mother of all craft sites. Since the company launched in June 2005, more than 250,000 sellers from around the world have opened up Etsy shops.
  • Notonthehighstreet.com - this site offers personalised gifts and other delights you won’t find on the high street. At the end of 2009, the company reported 1,500 craft designers using the site with sales of £6.4m. Visit www.notonthehighstreet.com

Manufacturing

  • Alibaba.com – through this site you can make your niche manufacturing dreams come true by sourcing production in China and then selling the finished item. Visit www.alibaba.com 

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation, the home business website, and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’. Her next book, ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’, will be published in May 2010.

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