One of the first things I noticed after a few of the seminars at this year’s How Design Live conference was how many of the presenters used quotes in their presentations. Sometimes these were quotes from way back when, from cool important people. A lot of them were from keynote speakers and other presenters at this very conference. And that made me realize how much we, as designers and artists, look to each other for inspiration. Even the most successful people look up to someone else.
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This is where I talk about my work, my discoveries, my creative process, and the ins and outs of marketing in the arts.
Why do you hire a graphic designer? Is it because you need a thing made– a brochure, a website, a logo– and you just need somebody with the technical skills to execute it? If so, you’ve been short changing yourself.
Moving Too Fast
For the past several months, I’ve been working on the second volume of my comic strip (I published the first volume last year). This involves more than just taking the old comic strips and putting them in page layouts and getting the book printed. To make the transition from daily internet strip to a book that stands on its own, I’ve had to add content to help the narrative flow correctly. I know what the strips need to be, but when I’ve sat down to make them, I’ve felt impatient with myself. I’m working on a big book and these comics have a small role to fulfill, so I just want them done now so I can get back to the big-picture work. Taking several hours to plan, draw, scan, and finish the strips makes me crazy impatient and I give up.
I didn’t understand this feeling. Back when I was drawing the strips regularly, I would spend hours on them, no problem. So what is so different now that I can’t find the joy and patience in creation?
So you have a theatre company and you’re producing a play. Fantastic! Now you need some marketing to get people into your seats. And to create marketing, you need imagery! But where does that imagery come from?
When you produce a large, well-known play or musical, the licensing company of that show often has ready-made publicity art that you can use for a small fee. This art is usually from the original Broadway or similar big-venue production. This option can be very appealing for cash-strapped theaters because licensing that art is much cheaper and easier than hiring an illustrator or designer to create custom-made marketing artwork. But I’m here to tell you why it’s a TERRIBLE idea!
Almost every year, I volunteer for Junior Achievement’s Career Day. I go to a local high school and talk about what it’s like to be a graphic designer and what education is needed if the kids are interested. This year, though, I didn’t volunteer at a high school– I ended up giving six talks at a middle school. I had rotating classes of about 20 kids, most of which had only a vague idea about what “graphic design” is. Which is totally fair because graphic design is a huge industry with a lot of different jobs in it.
Your brand is more than just your logo or your company colors.
Your brand is everything you do, every choice you make. It is the products or events you create. It is your location. And it is how you choose to interact with the world. Is your brand aloof or outgoing? Serious or funny? Welcoming or exclusive? This personality comes out in many ways, but mostly in how you talk to your patrons or your community.
How You Interact With Your Patrons Is Your Brand
Take this recent example from Google. When a reporter emailed them to ask about something he’d heard regarding a new YouTube function (YouTube is owned by Google), the response he received was this:
To be clear, he did not receive an email that said “no comment.” He did not receive a comment along with this animated GIF. He simply received the image.