Jun 14, 2012
After the very successful article "10 Advices for Designers", I decided to come back with this new article who might be helpful for startup designers and experienced professionals of the industry.
For many artists it's quite difficult to let people know of your work. Even if your work is outstanding, it just seems that no one really notices it except your friends around you. The difference between a designer who has a lot of exposure and a designer who doesn’t, is within the character of the designer.
Today's advices are from Jennifer Cirpici (Breaking Canvas), a self-taught graphic designer and illustrator based in Netherlands, Holland
Are you social? Do you like to go to design events? Are you ready to meet new designers around you? Are you open on social media sites? Designers like to gain something when they interact with you, even if it's only advice or interesting tweets about gadgets. So to gain more exposure, change your attitude. Give something back and don't think about only gaining.
Social Network Sites and Blogs
Join social network sites like Behance, Twitter, Facebook and create your own blog. Behance.net is an excellent way to show your work. When you follow someone, they most likely will follow you back. Don't put uninteresting work of you out there, show the work you're the most proud of. Even If it's only 2 projects, it's fine. The more you comment on people's work and your name will pass by, the more likely they'll comment back.
It's all a matter about what you give is what you get back.
Twitter is a good way to interact with people and to keep people close. It's more personal than Behance. If people tweet about their work, tweet back that you like it and etc… Don't expect that people will notice your work, if you do not notice theirs. It just doesn't work that way.
Now that you are interacting with designers, you'll notice that you'll already get more exposure. The next step is to focus on a marketing plan.
It seems so serious, but a marketing plan simply helps you with finding out where you are now, and what you need to improve. It helps you with your work, your work flow, getting more clients, getting more exposure and etc…
Begin writing where you are now in your career and what you want to change. Then write on the other side, 6 months later, where you will be and what will be changed by then. Write along with it what needs to be done within that 6 months period to change. A marketing plan can be about anything, from getting more exposure to getting specific sort of clients. It helps you to put things on paper and give you a clear overview what needs to be done.
Your Own Site
Very important, don't give me that reason "I am too lazy" or "I am working on it." and etc… Don't work on it too long! A portfolio site needs to be simple, minimalistic and simply just showcasing your work. The more effects, glitters, animation, colours and gradients your portfolio site has, the more attention will go to that and not your work. Honestly, if your site is all white and it simply has 6 thumbnails of your work, above there is 'About, Contact, Blog', copyright written somewhere and social media buttons. That’s enough.
Only show the work you are the most proud of on your portfolio. You don't want to have work there from 5 years ago, keep it up to date as well.
Remember that personal work is more attractive to clients than work you have made for other clients. So the more personal projects you have on your portfolio and Behance, the more it will attract clients. The more you can show clients that you can do different kind of works, the more work you may get (logo’s, interactive websites, illustration, animation and etc…)
Promoting your work sometimes takes more time than to actually make the work. Put dedication in promoting just as much if not even more as in the making part.
Your Own Success
Don't depend on others for your own success. You have it in your own hands how successful you are going to be. Don't let other people inspire you too much. Cause if they are gone, so will your your inspiration or motivation. Come up with your own projects; don't let others think of a theme to work on. If you are a designer/illustrator, you’ll have enough imagination to figure projects out on your own if you have to.
Get out of your Comfort Zone
Never think you are there yet, don't aim for perfection either. You have a lot to learn and that's what makes everything so interesting.
The more 'mistakes' you make, the more interesting it's going to be.
Don't stay in your comfort zone. You need to work bloody hard in this industry. Throw yourself in the unknown. Try working for an agency in another country, visiting a design conference, getting to meet other designers, studying a different direction, begin working with a new program and etc… Don't be afraid of the unknown, because that'll hold you back from who you might become. You are doing it because you love it. You are a designer because you're born with this creative passion, and whatever you do, you cannot stop creating. It's just as important for you as breathing.
Time is Limited
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” by Steve Jobs