Five things every new designer should know & what I wish I had known when I started my design studio three years ago. Here’s the TL:DW (too long: didn’t watch) Version. Rather watch this deep dive? Check it out on IGTV.
Your studio’s brand & website matter more than you give them credit.
Oh how I wish I had made the space and taken the time to create and invest in my own studio’s brand and website. These matter so much more than we can give them credit for when we first start designing — because who doesn’t want to spend all day every day making pretty things for dream clients? It can be hard to set aside time for ourselves in this way but the pay off is always worth it because our audience takes notice at our consistency and confidence within our own brands.
Tackling social media as a designer: Content pillars & post patterns.
When I started my studio, I was posting everyday and I was loving it. I was excited to get my work out there, connect with new people and scale my business but the one thing I didn’t have a handle on was my posting strategy… well because there wasn’t one. Take time to craft content pillars, and a posting pattern that fits best for you, and have it written out. Alter in in the future because things will change overtime with the ebbs and flows of business, but your content pillars won’t. So that when you go to create your next piece of content (whether that be and instagram post, story, blog, newsletter, etc) you can think through this format: WHO am I trying to target, WHY am I creating this content, and WHERE does it fall within the strategy I have set in place for my business?
It’s okay to make space for creating passion projects & faux portfolio pieces.
Before I heard a designer, who I looked up to, verbally say the words “Well there’s never shame in creating some faux portfolio pieces to start attracting who you want to attract” — I thought it was a crime to create a fake project just for the sake of my portfolio. It felt like it would almost be a lie, rather than truth of the matter: That working on passion projects would be a whole different source of a creative outlet. Passion projects allow space for creativity that working with clients don’t and these are an amazing playground for any new or seasoned designer. They will help you get a handle on what type of work you like working on, what you want to be producing, and who you want to be working with.
There are so many resources for designers, take advantage of them.
There have been so many times over the past few years that I’ve said to myself… “I just wish I had known this when I started designing”. One of biggest things this falls under is the amount of like minded design focused communities there are — right at your fingertips. Amazing people, podcasts, template shops all geared towards designers to help you grow & get connected. A few of my personal favorites are:
The Designed To Thrive Collective by Studio Antheia… Community, teachings, and tools.
Brand Strategy For Designers by Quill & Co. Design… Free educational workshop.
Lindsay Mariko Template Shop… Templates, tools, and bundles for designers.
The Designer Essentials Kit by Wayfarer Design Studio… Templates, tools, and bundles for designers.
Moyo Studio… Stunning mockups & scene creators to bring your work to life.
Better: The Brand Designer Podcast… An amazing resource for designers of all seasons + a resource library.
C-E-Over It Podcast… The most fun, relatable, and chill podcast for creatives & designers.
Don’t wait until it’s too late, make sure you have a solid contract to protect you.
And finally, but absolutely not the least important: have a solid contract in place. But don’t worry! There’s resources out there for you too! Do your research and find a contract shop you love, and make the investment as early as possible. So much heart ache can be saved from bad client experiences, or times where you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Have a solid contract in place that you trust and making sure every client, friend, or neighbor, you work with in a professional capacity signs a copy of it.
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