This post has been several days in the making. Not for any real big reason, but more a collection of smaller ones. I’ve been busy working on projects, so #sorrynotsorry.
Last week I went to a talk at Derby University by Geoff Hill of Hill Langdell (http://www.hilllangdell.co.uk).
Geoff started off by regaling us of how he go into business, I was a little shocked to discover it wasn’t a walk in the park for him. It may sound harsh and its not meant that way at all, but it was so refreshing and inspiring to hear about a professional practice that had set backs. I think its easy to look at these big inspirational designers and their companies and see what they have, but assume too much about how they go there.
Some people would be put off by his story, at times it was pretty brutal for him, but not me. I sat through his talk drawing many similarities between my life and his – it gave me hope and helped evidence that a lot of good people were going through difficulties at the same time I was.
Geoff had some great advice for starting a graphic design company, going freelance or even starting out, simple things really but great none the less. For example why his logo is a simple signature motif. He talked of wanting to create an authentic brand, how his logo is completely reflective of his product. I Found this to be a great piece of advice and very admirable.
It made me think about my work, how I’ve worked for several very different clients and whilst they were happy with the results – I felt I had to change my style for each job. The obvious reason for me to do this was that I was grateful for the work. He continued to explain why it’s better to work like him, than the way I was working. Being honest may result in less interest in your style of work, but those that do show interest are likely to stick with you as any idea they have of your ability is honestly presented to them in your logo.
I feel this advice has come to me at the right time, I’ve been entering low end competitions for a few months now and whilst I’ve had some good feedback & the occasional honorable mention – I haven’t placed or won anything which has taken its toll in my design confidence. I know that being knocked back is all part and parcel of the job, but I think what hurt the most is that I forsook personal preferences in order to check boxes presented in the brief. This has helped me come to the conclusion that I need to deeper develop a style of my own.
Geoff has made a successful business for himself by having his own style, that’s not to say he doesn’t accept challenges – he regaled us of a story about how he put some drafts together for an animated advertisement, which he previously had no experience in. He crash-taught himself and scored the job. Reminded me a little of my last term where I selected an animation module (previously no experience) for exactly that reason.
So, I have a brief plan for developing a deeper understanding of my own style, in order to be honest to myself and any customer I may get in the future is to be more socially conscious. From here on, I want to only present my designs, both roughs and finals on a fully recycled paper with as minimal carbon footprint impact as possible.