June 24, 2014

Context is key

A valuable lesson on dealing with design clients, from Chermayeff & Geismar’s 2011 book Identify.

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April 3, 2014

A few Adobe alternatives

I doubt any of these can do as much as the Adobe option (except Quark), but they might do as much as you need, and it's something I'm asked about now and again.

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March 7, 2014

On negotiating your design salary

A chapter from Ted Leonhardt’s new book Nail It: Stories for Designers on Negotiating with Confidence — a collection of true stories about designers getting the salaries they deserve.

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February 24, 2014

Brand naming resources

It’s easy to think anyone can come up with a good name, but it’s more complicated than that.

“An idea can come from anywhere, but getting buy in and seeing it through is tough. In fact, naming can be one of the hardest parts of a branding project.”

From a naming handbook by Wolff Olins. Via @gradiate.

A naming handbook

These naming specialists are listed at the end.

With a few relevant books.

Another that seems worth picking up.

Some online pieces.

And when you have your shortlist, check availability.

October 31, 2013

LiveSurface Context

LiveSurface Context is an Adobe Illustrator plugin by Brooklyn-based Josh Distler that renders your flat artwork to a wide range of contextual photos.

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May 23, 2013

Paul Jarvis shares good advice for designers

Designer and writer Paul Jarvis has a useful website. Here are some posts and resources of interest, and some thoughts I agreed with.

Paul Jarvis book cover artwork

Paul talks about how to build an audience from scratch. Many of you are, or once were in this situation. If I found myself transported back to when I became self-employed eight years ago, this is close to the advice I'd give the younger me.

It's important to say no from time to time.

"Saying no sometimes means I get a feeling that the client could be tricky to work with, or not jive with how I work. It’s ok to turn down projects I have a feeling might not go well, because chances are they won’t. And if they don’t, it’ll end up costing more to do the work than if I had just said no first. Not everyone is a perfect fit, and I’m certainly not a perfect fit for everyone."

There's a page comparing ebook sales on Amazon versus other platforms. Mailchimp is listed as the favoured email list management tool. I recently signed up with preferred AWeber. More on that later. (Update: read how I increased subscribers by 1,000% using AWeber.)

Work better. Good productivity tips.

Solid thoughts on how to succeed at anything (posted on the Medium platform — worth a visit for the unfamiliar).

"Pay your dues and if you want something, earn it by doing everything you can while expecting nothing. Acting like you’ve put in your time and now deserve more than someone else will get you nowhere but thought of as an ass pretty fast."

A quick bio: He's a "practicing yogi, touring musician, has a tattoo (or two), and is a non-preachy vegan." He currently lives in the woods, on the coast of Vancouver Island, with his wife Lisa and pet rats Ohna’ and Awe:ri.

Paul Jarvis

Catch him on Twitter.

April 9, 2013

Fontfabric free fonts

The Kabel font

I like the look of some of these free fonts.

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January 25, 2013

Interactive mind maps

To help my thoughts at the start of a project I'll usually create a few word-maps (or mind-maps). Sometimes I'll use a thesaurus if there are particular words I want to focus on.

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August 9, 2012

“Nobody bought the cheapest option.”

People were offered 2 kinds of beer: premium beer for $2.50 and bargain beer for $1.80. Around 80% chose the more expensive beer.

Now a third beer was introduced, a super bargain beer for $1.60 in addition to the previous two. Now 80% bought the $1.80 beer and the rest $2.50 beer. Nobody bought the cheapest option.

Three beer bottlesBeer bottle photo by jovike

Third time around, they removed the $1.60 beer and replaced with a super premium $3.40 beer. Most people chose the $2.50 beer, a small number $1.80 beer and around 10% opted for the most expensive $3.40 beer. Some people will always buy the most expensive option, no matter the price.

You can influence people’s choice by offering different options. Old school sales people also say that offering different price point options will make people choose between your plans, instead of choosing whether to buy your product or not.

How to test it: Try offering 3 packages, and if there is something you really want to sell, make it the middle option.

Excerpted from pricing experiments you might not know, but can learn from.

The story is referenced in William Poundstone's 2011 book Priceless: the myth of fair value (and how to take advantage of it). Via the 11 ways that consumers are hopeless at math, on The Atlantic.

June 17, 2012

USB microphone recommendation

I've been looking for a good microphone (for video calls, podcasts, etc.).

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May 29, 2012

What employers look for #5

Design employment advice contributed by Blair Thomson of Exeter-based Believe in, interspersed with a little of the studio's work.

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February 20, 2012

When designing a book cover…

...even if it’s likely to be a one-off, it can a good idea (and potentially easier to sell to a client or publisher) to treat the cover design like the first in a series, because you never know where it might lead.

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January 5, 2012

Be Bold 101

Be Bold 101

A snippet from Be Bold 101, by Nicholas Bate. Some stellar advice.

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December 15, 2011

Thoughts on the designer / client relationship

"If I go to see the doctor, I accept that the doctor has trained, has skill, has experience, is concentrating on one aspect of me. I've asked them to do that. What I don't do is what bad graphic design clients do. I don't lean over the doctor's shoulder and say, 'Could we make that pill a bit larger?'"
— Quentin Newark, Atelier Works

"A good client has the responsibility to carefully choose the designer that they're going to work on the project with, and when they get that job right it makes your job a lot easier."
— Luke Pearson, PearsonLloyd

"I'm not sure there is such a thing as a perfect client because people are messy, just like I don't think there's such a thing as a perfect agency or a perfect consultancy or a perfect advisor."
— Rita Clifton, Interbrand

"You make your client a good client or a bad client. After you've worked with clients over the years you know how to handle them, from a selfish point-of-view to get the best out of them, but also, to give them the best."
— Edward Barber, BarberOsgerby

"Most clients come to us with no real idea of what identity they're trying to achieve. They'll often come to us thinking that what they need is a new logo, that going forwards all their problems will be solved by this new logo, and our response to them would normally be, 'Who do you think you are? How does your audience see you? How would you like your audience to be seeing you?'"
— Neville Brody

Full transcript.

Related, from the archives: Handling the client approach.

David Airey
Brand identity design

Independent since 2005
Website hosted by Fused

13 Gransha Park, Bangor
Northern Ireland
BT20 4XT