Category: Business Page 2 of 4

“You can’t tell me you’ll know it when you see it.”


If you want great work, you’ll need to embrace some simple facts.

You don’t have to be as good as everyone else

Neil Gaiman at the University of the Arts

Renowned writer and creator Neil Gaiman explains how freelancers attract new business.

Ethics in design (and who you won’t work with)

Crumpled note

What type of business would you refuse to work with on ethical grounds?

Where’s your studio?


It’d be great to learn from the business owners among you.

How do you find new clients when starting a design business?

Wall clocks showing world times

If you have a specific story you want to share with the world it’d be superb if you get in touch.

Want versus need

Paul Rand Steve Jobs

Quoted from Dave Trott’s blog where he discusses the client/designer relationship between Steve Jobs and Paul Rand.

Thoughts on the designer/client relationship

Thoughts on the designer/client relationship, courtesy of the Design Council.

“Never just say ‘no’ to an idea.”

Half empty half full

“You have to say, ‘You know what would be even better?'”

Can I legally hire unpaid interns?

Hire sign

Useful if offering internships (to stay on the right side of the law), and if seeking a placement (to ensure your chosen internship is the best possible match).

How do you deal with unpaid invoices?

Past due stamp

What percentage do you bill a client for unpaid invoices?

What is meant by the word ‘creative’?

Painted background

Only one in ten thousand will really mean, “Give me something I haven’t seen before.”

Handling the client approach

Football strategy

Here are a few things I do to streamline the back and forth when potential design clients first get in touch.

Aesop on kindness

Mouse carving

This one isn’t just appropriate for the business of design, but for life in general.

Aesop on giving critiques

Two bags

According to ancient lore, every man is born into the world with two bags suspended from his neck.

Aesop on client focus

Dog hand silhouette

Don’t spend time dreaming of future clients when you should be focusing on those you have.

Aesop on design contests

Lion stone carving

No matter how much you have, never argue with quality.

Aesop on hiring a professional

Aesop the Greek

Cutting small costs can cause great wounds.

Using Twitter in the information (overload) age

information overload

As someone who does almost 100% of my business online, a need to filter the bombardment of info ranks highly when it comes to paying the bills.

Design on the side


You might know something about root canals, but I know what I like, and that’s more important.

Too many ideas

white circle black background

Any one of these mistakes would be enough to hinder a project’s completion.

If design was an iceberg

Baffin Island iceberg, Canada

Multi-million dollar investments in contest-listing websites will inevitably prompt a more aggressive marketing push, but as long as self-respecting designers continue to differentiate themselves this won’t affect client acquisition.

Tell your story

ABC collage

You’re what makes you different. Tell your story.

“The Coca-Cola Conspiracy” and ethical design

Coca-Cola logo

Where’s the line between a focus on your career and the impact of your work on society at large?

Let respect follow your actions, not a wish for respect


Here are ten basic character traits that I remind myself of now and again, believing that if they can be adopted, the path I create will be much smoother than most.

Painted Picture 2014

painted canvas

This is my Painted Picture. It’s the shape of my business in March 2014 when I turn 35. The idea is that by putting it into words, my Picture has a stronger chance of becoming reality.

Framing your design brand

blank paper notebook

Sometimes even the most amazing designers get stuck at communicating their own message.

The disconcertion of spec


It’s bemusing to see $1.78 billion retailer JCPenney crowdsourcing its brand identity.

You don’t need a designer


“I need a logo. I know exactly what I want. I just need a designer to make it happen.”

On unpaid internships

Sewickley bridge, Pennsylvania

Would I take the opportunity again? Absolutely.

Be brilliant at the basics

three shipping containers in a dock

Don’t try to accommodate every customer.