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Ed. note: In tandem with the publication of his book Work for Money, Design for Love, graphic designer David Airey shares some personal ideas about winning client loyalty.
One of my biggest worries in the design business
is where the next client will come from. It was a worry when I started, and
it’s a worry seven years later—albeit to a much lesser degree. When
one approach to bringing in business doesn’t work, you need to learn from the
experience and move on to the next idea. For instance, my cold calling door-to-door
with nothing but a stack of flyers and a positive attitude was woeful. It soon
became obvious it wasn’t working.
that did work, however, was to scan through local newspapers and trade
magazines, looking for the ads with the worst design (there were plenty). I’d
cut out the ad and send it to the company who placed it, along with a mockup of
how I would make their ad look more appealing within the same space confines
and a few sentences about hiring me or buying the artwork’s copyright. In many
instances, all it took was a follow-up call to get a foot in the door and earn
some cash. The strategy led to the start of some local business relationships, too—vital
for generating word-of-mouth referrals.
yourself is about demonstrating that you have the talent, skills,
qualifications and experience to make a real difference to your potential
client’s business. Thankfully, there’s a huge array of approaches you can
employ when trying to clinch your next deal. I’m going to share just one smart idea, using this story excerpted from my latest
Kasabia of Australia-based Kish+Co understands that marketing today needs to be
savvier than traditional marketing methods, especially when it comes to keeping
relationships with existing clients flourishing: “No one wants a shitty flyer
or an average postcard,” Karishma told me. “We need more to catch our attention,
and even more still to be loyal and to love a brand. The best and often most
unloved place to start is with existing clients. We’re used to their attention;
we’re much more sugarcoated when we meet the potential new ones. That’s not
Kish+Co came up with the following solution. “For Valentine’s Day, we had
custom cupcakes made for our studio, then mapped out our existing clients, from
the outer suburbs of Melbourne and all the way back into the core of the
central business district,” explains Karishma. “One hundred cupcakes, with orange
and brown icing based on our corporate colors, individually boxed with a
Kish+Co seal were delivered. That same day we got Tweeted and Facebooked, and received
calls for new work, recovering our marketing costs for the day’s effort with
one single job. The best thing is how memorable we made our brand.”
discover that owning a small business makes you very stringent when it comes to
expenses. But, as Karishma recommends, you need to measure the results of your
marketing, whether it’s tracking hits with a pricey placement in a magazine or baking
and delivering a clever treat that costs you about $500. Such creative
endeavors are often cheaper, and they usually bring the best results.
While it costs money to turn down a project, saying “yes” to the wrong client
can be equally as costly. Drawing on stories from his recently published book, Work for Money, Design for Love, graphic designer David Airey shares some tips on how to identify and avoid problematic clients.
Section: Tools and Resources -
freelancing issues, advice
Sooner or later, the idea
of self-employment without the need to deal with clients—that is, being able
to generate passive income—is going to enter your head. This is the story of how two designers created a side project using something they loved—wood type—and made some money in the process.
Section: Tools and Resources -
typography, motivation, business strategy, letterpress, innovation
Layoffs are a fact of life in the design profession. With unemployment at 7.7 percent nationally, and with firms learning to operate leaner
in order to remain competitive in a very crowded market, I've assembled a
list of warning signs that you might be laid off, and what steps you should take to achieve the most favorable outcome.
Section: Tools and Resources
To increase participation and attendance, Figment, an annual art and cultural festival in New York City, needed a new brand identity that was both consistent and flexible enough to capture the event’s creative spirit. Enter design firm MSLK, which had a “thought” or two on how to do just that.
Section: Why Design -
branding, identity design, metrics of effectiveness, Making the Case
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