Following on from part #1.
21/ How much time did you spend on your favourite piece of work? — Dustin Andrew
I couldn't choose just one, but there are a few that definitely aren't favourites. One should've lasted three or four months, but 18 months had passed before I was paid the balance. That taught me not to let a client change my working terms. The terms are there for a good reason, and when you give permission to change the fundamentals of how you work, it creates a mindset where you've already ceded control of the process before the project begins. Unprofessional — we're hired to design, not to be micromanaged.
22/ Where do you get your inspiration? — Viara Trendafilova
Sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing. Getting out and experiencing life is important, because there's only so much you can sense when you're sat in a room. I try to stay curious about the little things that familiarity makes us forget. That's a bit vague, and probably unhelpful, so I'll point you toward this piece of advice from Bob Gill, relating directly to design projects and how to get yourself out of a rut.
23/ What style of design will be most popular in the future?
— Michał Piwowarczyk
An enduring identity design is simple enough to remember after a quick glance, yet with enough detail to differentiate. That’s what I work toward.
24/ Did you have a specific client or project at the beginning of your career that led to more clients? If yes, how did you get that very first client? — Frederik
My first client stayed with me for 18 months, which meant I could pay the bills and still have time to find other work. I stumbled through those early years, picking up new projects wherever I could, not having the intelligence or experience to say no to some ultimately poor client relationships. The projects I took on were hit and miss in terms of an outcome I was proud of, and there was no steady stream, so I can’t overstate the importance of bringing my old employer on board as I set up shop.
25/ How often should you re-brand/evolve your own identity? — Ed
Whenever you’ve learned enough to understand that what you have is no longer suitable or as good as it can be.
My first business card
26/ What do you do in your spare time that relates to graphic design? — Djordje Cupic
I do what most people do — spend time with family, friends, watch films, exercise. I have my work, then I have other things, and that separation’s important. “All work and no play...”
27/ Is there a state of ‘being a good designer’? — Dreszczyk
You'll need to rephrase that one, Dreszcyk.
28/ What design trends do you consider the most timeless in design? — Benoit Taillefer
If a timeless trend isn’t an oxymoron, here's a fitting Dieter Rams reference.
29/ Is it right to ask a client if they know anyone who's potentially looking for design work? — Karl Gilmore
If you need to ask, you probably shouldn't. Delight your clients and they'll be your best salespeople without any prompts.
30/ I know not all work is interesting. The results might be but the process might not. How do you approach such boring tasks? How do you stay passionate while working on a something that’s important but uninteresting? — Chaitanya Venneti
I agree to work with clients if I’m interested in what they do. That said, we’ll all work on projects that look incredible at the start, only to find something change midway through, and the process becomes strained. But we’re hired to do come up with ideas, and as professionals we should give it everything we can until the job’s done.
31/ After two years working in a design company as an account executive, it’s difficult to help the designers in my team to have a great brainstorming meeting to uncover ideas for each project. Can you give me some advice about the creative process in an agency? — Han Khuat
Having not spent much time in a design agency I’m not a good person to ask, but I’ve been in brainstorming meetings and they always seemed forced. For me, a meeting is where questions are asked and answered, not where the best ideas are formed. Instead of taking designers to a meeting room, why not take them to the client’s place of business? Or give time to create something at their desks then sit with them individually. But don't force it.
32/ What's your best experience with a client? And what would be the project of your dreams? — Voytek
I'm not sure about the best, but here's a good one. I finished a client project a couple of months back. This week I got an email from one of my client’s new employees whose job involved working with the identity design I put in place. She said my work made her happier that she decided to accept the job. That made my day.
An ideal project? Currency. Someone asks, “What do you design?” Then I pull a few coins from my pocket. The work of Matt Dent is a stellar example.
UK coin design, by Matt Dent
33/ When hiring a new associate fresh out of design school, what is the first thing you look for in a portfolio? — Arthur Fields
I’ve not hired a designer. If I decide to, I’ll look for good ideas. Technical proficiency can be picked up along the way, but if the idea isn’t right, no amount of gloss will make a project a success.
34/ What’s the best advice you’ve been given? — Gemma Ellen
I finished my second book with a relevant paragraph.
“Let's say our lives span a maximum of 100 years. If 33 are taken up with sleep, 10 years in childhood, and 20 years lost in old age, that leaves just 37 years to create something meaningful. Don't waste that time with sorrow, complaints, or unnecessary negativity. We create our best work when we're in a positive frame of mind. We have no idea if, after death, we'll ever experience anything again, so most importantly, enjoy your profession, appreciate your surroundings, and love using design to make things better.”
35/ How do you deal with people who underestimate you in terms of your work and pricing? How do you make people realise that if you don’t have a big setup or agency it doesn’t mean that you have to sell your work cheap? — Vikas
It’s difficult in the early stages of business. You’re much more likely to attract higher paying projects if you’ve already completed a few. So how do you get those first ones? There’s been a continual progression in my ability to do my job, and in the value clients place on my work. That said, I still receive enquiries from people who want cheap design. It’s a matter of prioritising my time to deal with the clients whose valuation matches (or exceeds) my own. If months of self-promotion go by and there’s no interest in my services, it’s probably a sign I’m charging more than I’m worth, and my pricing should be lowered until I improve.
36/ Time management... how you do it? Customers, books, etc. And how many people are on your team? — Angel Reyes
I use Google Calendar and its email reminders for events, calls, or meetings, but day-to-day it’s more a matter of putting my clients first, blogs second, and everything else afterward.
Just me, in a room on my own. There are things I miss about an office environment, but I’m in a good place and can’t complain. Get in touch if you're ever in town and we'll go for a drink of your choice.
37/ How do you tackle a lack of inspiration when it comes to logo design? You know, when you only loop your original idea, and it’s no good. — Peter
Sometimes I’ll spend too long at my desk and I need to get outside, even just for a walk. That break from technology and from sitting still can help me think differently.
On a walk through Clandeboye Estate
Here's an interesting image from Boston.com (below).
38/ Is extreme simplicity and minimalism a trend, or the core of good design? — Lou Ruiz
Good design is a focus on what's essential. That doesn't necessarily mean minimal. Think of the use of pattern in design. Repetition can be complex in appearance, but lots of strong identity work incorporates patterns.
Function Engineering identity, by Sagmeister & Walsh
39/ How can you be sure you’re being original? I am always worried my idea isn’t my idea, that I may be accidentally repeating something I have seen somewhere. — Kellie Bridges
You can’t, so it’s important to include an indemnity clause in your terms. Your client may choose to hire a trademark lawyer. That’s bringing a completely different profession into the mix, one you shouldn’t be expected to specialise in.
40/ What’s the best methodology to design logos for small companies that prefer make their corporate projects in a bureau? — Emilio
I think you’re talking about selling your skills over those of a larger design studio. The size of your business can be a selling point if you explain how there’s no one in the middle — a client talks to you, and you do the design. Your conversations aren’t passed to someone else. It’s your work in your portfolio, so your potential client is able to see exactly what you’ve created.
I hope that was of some use. In case you missed it, here's the first part.