If you’re like me and are a visual person then Pinterest will be for you. I was introduced to it by a fellow Graphic Designer at my previous job and I took to it right away. I often do searches on it because the many visuals that come up make it easier to choose the link most likely to answer my query. When I find something out that others might find useful too and that I may want to refer to later I post it on one of my boards. If you’d like to visit my boards and perhaps follow me there this link will take you to one I created on Design: http://www.pinterest.com/pmcreedon/design
It’s the time of year when I realize that if I want the silver to look shiny again I’d better polish it. We have accumulated a lot as most of the rest of the family on both sides have left or given it all to us, not wanting the hassle of cleaning it themselves. But I love shiny objects and it’s worth it to me to take the time to get that shine.
In business, though shiny objects refer to those ideas that get our attention to the detriment of the goals we’re striving for. If you have lots of great ideas it can happen a lot! I know in my case that it’s a real challenge. So I am working on narrowing down my focus to be the go-to graphic designer for Wealth Managers that need to publish white papers and books to demonstrate their thought leadership. I can still work with all kinds of other clients if they fit my schedule and skill set of course. However, the website, emails and other marketing I end up doing should be centered on that goal. If you fit that description please get in touch! If you aren’t in that category get in touch too and I’ll see if I can help or know someone who can.
I know you are on the web and findable on Facebook as well as other social media sites but do you have a business card? If not then consider getting one tailored to your brand so that it’s handy to give out when face to face with a client prospect or anyone you want to stay connected with.
I mention it because I have been handing mine out over the last few months and realized that I’m almost out. Before creating the final file though I made sure to get a company email address to look more professional. All the emails will still go to my mac.com address but I now feel more committed to the business I started back in 2010!
Here are examples of three I’ve designed recently for clients:
Ever find yourself going along, as usual, making plans, carrying them out, making more plans, then suddenly you hit a roadblock? It’s like the time I went to my favorite ice cream shop to buy my favorite ice cream pie and I found it had been replaced by a running shoe store! So I did the next best thing, I bought running shoes! I had a moment of frustration then a moment of clarity. It occurred to me that I really needed new sneakers and I didn’t need ice cream 🙂
It was a good decision. Later on, I hit another roadblock when a fulltime position I had been in for five years was eliminated in company-wide layoffs. That gave me the incentive to concentrate on my growing business fulltime! It was alarming in its abruptness but once I got past that I was really excited about the new life I could begin. Plus those sneakers came in handy since I get to take walks in them every day, as I make my own schedule now.
When have you ever run into roadblocks in life and had to rethink your plans? Did it alarm or frustrate you? Were you able to roll with it? How has it changed things?
I like being there for fledgling and established small companies that are at the crossroads trying to build something good. I can relate because I am working at doing that myself!
I was driving down a highway one morning recently when I saw a tractor on the grass that had been left there, probably by whoever had been cutting the grass with it. It was a distinctive green color so I thought, “that must be a John Deere tractor”. From where I was passing at a good clip, there was no way for me to know for sure what brand of tractor that was, except by the color. What a great idea for that company to have branded with that distinctive color.
With clients, I worked with at an agency, keeping color consistency for their brand was a must. Major brands know that their particular color very effectively sets them apart, either in the supermarket aisle or in ads, signage, and in the rest of their collateral.
So when I work with my clients at Pat Creedon Design, I suggest that they consider color in their branding, it can get attention as well as an immediate association with your company if used consistently over time. Their color can then help grow their small brand into a bigger one and even a trusted one over the long term!
When it comes to graphic design help for your business, why limit yourself? I recently worked on logos, handouts, flyers, invitations, PowerPoint presentations, white papers, nametags, car magnets, direct mail, email marketing campaigns, and business card designs. Not to mention a 175-page book.
Over the course of my career, I never limited myself when it came to designing whatever was needed. I got to try my hand at all kinds of graphic design projects, from tiny toothbrush package inserts to giant building-sized billboards. I’ve even designed the panels of trucks a couple of times.
Having worked successfully on all of these projects gives me a breadth of experience I can bring to my current and future clients, no matter what graphic design needs they have for their businesses.
We visited a garden over the weekend. We belong to The Garden Conservancy and so we hear about local homeowners who have opened up their gardens to the public on certain days of the year. This local garden has acres and acres of woods with all kinds of daffodils in bloom.
A couple stopped my husband and I and asked if this was created recently or over a number of years. I said that we had been coming to visit it when it was open for over ten years. It was like this then but has grown. They’ve added more trails and more daffodils over the years making it worth coming back to year after year. They were so impressed with our knowledge when we answered some more of their questions that they joked that they wanted to offer us a tip!
This garden was designed to grow, bringing serenity and awe to many. I aim to do that with graphic design for businesses I work with now and for years to come!
Today our town hosted Caffeine and Carburetors, a car show held several times a year by the local coffee shop, Zumbach’s. I’ve always loved cars and my morning coffee so I went to admire the many exotic and vintage cars throughout New Canaan, CT, where I live and work.
I invited two of my siblings and we had a really nice time wandering around, catching up, and having lunch at the local diner. We are all in our own creative businesses and so can commiserate about our ups and downs. My take on the car shows is that they bring people together as well as bring business to the coffee shop and other businesses and restaurants in town. I like the creativity of following a passion like the love of cars and using it as a way to promote one’s business. It works so well because it provides a kind of a service to car lovers. My brother says this is always the best car show around that he’s seen. He’s come a few times to see it.
In my own business, I have to be open to learning something new pretty often. It’s because opportunities come up that require a different skill than I have but that I can acquire without much effort if I want to. That brings me to this blog post on three reasons to learn something new. The first is below. The next will appear in my next two posts so stay tuned.
1. It opens up new opportunities
Like I said, sometimes I get offered a new assignment that is not something I’ve done before. So I open up my Lynda.com account and search for the courses they have on it if available. Then I start learning!
Learning by doing
I just got a job revising an ad created by another designer in a program named Sketch. It’s a program I’d learned about once and knew would be a good one to add to my skill set. I would need to get the program to do the job and luckily my client agreed to pay for half of the cost. Then I dove into the online course on it and learned enough to do the project.
Learning has career benefits
Up until 2012, I had only a beginner’s knowledge of Adobe InDesign. In a past job, I worked in QuarkXpress. That was great because it helped me land a job at a corporation’s in-house advertising department that used that program. In my business though, I knew I needed to get up to speed on InDesign, which seemed to be becoming the industry standard. So I learned it by doing all my client work in it. As it happened I was getting several projects that involved longer documents like white papers and ebooks. That helped me at the day job when they gradually switched over to InDesign. I was quickly becoming the go-to expert my co-workers relied on when they couldn’t figure something out.
Thanks in part to the way learning something new opened up opportunities for me I was able to take on the challenge of growing my business, enough to do it full time now!
(To be continued.)