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Entries in graphic design (92)


World Cup Bracket System

Are you keeping track of the 2010 World Cup? I'm not a sports fan but I would be if there were more posters like this one! It's designed to help you figure out who will play whom next and how they will all advance. For a limited time, you can download and print the full 30x20" version from Meja Design and pencil in the winners. Go USA!


No, thanks!

Clients from Hell

I've heard that before, word for word. Needless to say I didn't fall for it and I ended up bargaining for more hours and more money.

If you're a freelancer or any other type of independent contractor I'm sure you'll find endless hours of painful hilarity on Clients from Hell.


Setting goals for your freelancing career

Because I work for myself and by myself I don't often see a lot of progress in my business. The hours of work blend into days that turn into weeks that eventually become months of work and I forget what I did last January. I forget that I landed two new clients or that I designed a great logo. And I also don't have any idea what I want to do next. I find myself waiting for the next client email to tell me what's happening this week instead of taking charge of the projects and marking them off as accomplishments. I lose track of the progress being made when actually there have been noticeable advances that I can be proud of. After years of working like this I now realize that as a freelance graphic designer it's critical for me to set goals and focus on making the goals a reality. If I'm not working toward anything then what's the point of working?

Goals help me lay out the needs of my business in small, achievable steps. I don't want to overwhelm myself or my workload by setting unrealistic goals, I just want something to help me see what I've done and what I still want to strive for. At the beginning of each month I take a few minutes to answer these three questions:

1.What were the big accomplishments from last month?

2. What slipped last month that you’d like to either let go of or pick up this month?

3. What are your goals for the month?

Question one helps me reflect on my business and by typing the answers I can physically see what I've done. Things like, maybe I had set out to design one logo for the month and managed to land three logo contracts. Reviewing your accomplishments is a great way to get a positive lift for the day and to help you remember why you do what you do.

In question two it's time to evaluate your business and your practices. Did you lose track of your to-do list last month? If so, then it's time to get your list back on track or maybe you need to consider a new way of managing your tasks. Think about how you can improve your daily life.

And for question three think about what you want to achieve. What are the things that you've been putting aside? Maybe you need to brush up on your Photoshop skills, so set at least one goal to learn four new Photoshop tricks. That's one a week, you can do that! Maybe you want to want to earn more money, set a goal to find a new client.

Copy and paste these three questions wherever you will see them most frequently. I keep them in Basecamp right next to my tasks. I can refer to them often and think about what I still need to work on before the end of the month. By the time a new month comes around you should be able to check off all three goals and write them down as last month's accomplishments. By getting your goals out of your head and out in the open you give yourself something to strive for. Make your list today and start working toward your goals. It feels good!


Product Packaging: Yarn Label for Coffee Beenz

Coffee Beenz Yarn Label

A few months ago I talked about my design process for a new yarn label design, and today I got samples! The yarn, Coffee Beenz by Plymouth Yarn Company has a rich color palette and soft hand. The label has warm tones that work well with each of the colors of the yarn. I'm excited to whip something up, maybe a latte?


How do I work with a graphic designer?

I'm going to revolutionize the industry with my idea!

Congratulations! You've got an idea for a company. You've registered the name and set up the business with your county. You may have even bought the domain name. But what happens next? Now it's time to talk to a graphic designer about creating a visual look for your business. A company is more than just a name on a business card. You need to create an identity for your company to set it apart from the competition and that's where a graphic designer comes into the fold. Graphic designers specialize in developing corporate identity packages.

But graphic designers kinda scare me.

Don't be scared. We're gentle folks that just want to help you and we're very hospitable, if you take the right steps. Finding a graphic designer is like finding a good doctor. Ask your friends. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, odds are a few of the people you socialize with do too. See who they know, who they liked, who they've used. You'll never know until you ask.

Get the designer's phone number, email address or website. If you have their web address then do some homework. Take the time to look at their previous work. Most graphic designers have a thorough online portfolio. -- Here's an aside: We graphic designers are a proud bunch, we love to talk about our work and show our portfolio to the world. And we want your logo to be our next portfolio piece. -- If you see some things you like then it's time to contact the designer. Send an email and see if you can arrange a meeting or some time to talk on the phone. You can talk to the designer to get a feel for their personality and how they conduct business before you decide to work on a project with them. Make sure you like them and that you like talking to them.

OK, I found a designer that I like, but now what?

It's time to talk money. It's a scary subject, but you're entering into a business contract here so don't be scared. Figure out your budget and how much you can reasonably afford right now. Now talk to the designer. Do they charge per project or by the hour? A reputable designer will tell you their rates and discuss different options with you. Maybe you can only afford a logo and business cards right now and that's OK. Or maybe you're ready to get going on an entire package, the designer will work with you to get the most you can get right now.

I'm excited, when can I see my logo?

Whoh! Hold on a second. A logo is a process, we need to have another conversation first! We know you're excited, we're excited too, but you have to let us in on the secret. What's your business about? What do you do/create/build/sell? Who is your target market? Are you looking to market your product to other businesses? Dog owners? Children? Who is your competition? What is your style? Do modern logos appeal to you? Your answers will help the designer create the best logo they can for your business. Now give the designer some time and space to think about your logo. Let them work through the creative process. In a couple of days the designer should resurface and show you three or four different logo proposals.

I like parts of a few of the logo designs. How do I get the finished look I want?

Talk it over with your designer. We don't expect you to love every logo and we planned on making a few changes. Tell us what you love and what you don't. Designers want to create something you love and that your proud to show off.

Now take that logo, get out there, and start selling! And please don't forget to tell your entrepreneurial friends about your great graphic designer, Heather Ink!

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