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Resourceful Designer - Resources to help streamline your graphic design and web design business.

Offering resources to help streamline your home based graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing!
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Now displaying: July, 2016
Jul 29, 2016
Naming Your Graphic Design Business - RD041

Trouble naming your graphic design business?

Forget colours, forget logos, forget layouts, one of the hardest things you will face when starting out on your own, is naming your graphic design business.

Colours can be changed, logos can be updated, layouts can be tweaked, but your business name is something that will endure for the life of your business.

That's why it's so important to get it right the first time.

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast I go over the PROs and CONs of working under your own name vs. coming up with a unique business name. I talk about a lot of different considerations and problems that could arise when naming your graphic design business. I hope you find this episode helpful.

Here are a few of the things I covered in the podcast.

Naming your graphic design business with your own name

PROs

  • It makes you look more affordable
  • It makes you feel more transparent and approachable
  • People remember you and not a business
  • Your name is recognisable to people who know you
  • No worries about trademarks

CONs

  • Makes you seem less experienced
  • Can make you seem too approachable
  • Companies may treat you like an employee instead of a business contractor
  • Harder to grow or sell your business.

Naming your graphic design business with a business name

PROs

  • People are willing to accept higher prices from a business
  • It makes you seem more established
  • Allows for easier future growth
  • Easier to sell your business.

CONs

  • Less personal than using your own name
  • People automatically think you're more expensive
  • People don't remember your name
  • Can run into trademark or other legal issues.

Problems that could arise

Besides the PROs and CONs of naming your graphic design business with your name or a business name, there are other problems to consider.

  • Names that are hard to spell or pronounce
  • Common names; if they're too common you may get lost in the crowd.
  • Famous names; people may not take you seriously
  • Maiden names; may confuse people
  • Names with alternate meanings such as Wood, Steel, Silk.
  • Be wary of abbreviations and confusing acronyms

Inventing words when naming your graphic design business

  • Invented names don't mean anything so they are harder to remember.
  • Combining partner names may cause problems should the partnership ever end.

Other considerations when naming your graphic design business

  • Are there multiple ways to spell the name which could confuse people?
  • Are there silent letters that people might not notice?
  • Does the name or pronunciation have other meanings internationally?
  • Is the name future proof? (will it still be a good name 20 years from now?)
  • Is the name regional and will it impact clients decisions?

More things to consider

  • Is the name available? Do a registry and trademark search.
  • Are domain names and social media names available to match the business name?

Finally...

This is more my personal preference so take it as you will. But trying to get cute by changing the spelling of real words isn't always a good idea. Adding "Grafix" or something similar to your business name will just confuse people.

Don't forget...

There's nothing wrong with having a business registered under a business name and also running a side business under your own name. Some designers create multiple businesses in various niches to target certain clients.

Flaunt My Design has a fun questionnaire to help you determine what type of name to choose when naming your graphic design business.

Did I anything?

Did I miss anything when it comes to naming your graphic design business? If so please leave me a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

The podcast was a bit long this week so I didn't answer any questions. If you have something you would like to ask please submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

Resource of the week namechk.com

Use Namechk.com to see if your desired username or vanity url is still available at dozens of popular Social Networking and Social Bookmarking websites. Promote your brand consistently by registering a username that is still available on the majority of the most popular sites. Find the best username with Namechk.

Subscribe to the podcast

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Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

Jul 23, 2016
Showing Courtesy Between Graphic Designers - RD040

Do you show courtesy for whoever will work on your files once you're done?

Chances are while you're busy working away on your client's latest design project the last thing on your mind is who might one day be working on your files. Or what will happen when you need to open these same files a year or two from now.

Don't worry, I don't think about it either. However, I do take it into consideration the convenience of properly organised files and how much easier they are to work with. So should you.

In this week's podcast episode, I talk about simple things you can do while creating your files that will make it easier for yourself or perhaps another designer to someday down the road work with your files.

I go in depth on this topic but here are some of the points I cover.

Use the right tool

Take into consideration what kind of project you're working on and what application you will design it in. Adobe Photoshop is great for manipulating images but not so good at laying out type. Look at your design toolbox and choose the right tool for the job.

Courtesy when creating vector files

When creating vector files, be it in Adobe Illustrator or some similar software, learn to use groups and layers properly and make sure you label them for easy referencing. Nothing is more frustrating than opening a file with hundreds of layers named "layer 1, layer 2, etc." or finding similar or related objects in the file that are not grouped.

Don't forget to outline the fonts before passing the file on to the printer or another designer.

Courtesy when using Photoshop

Unless it's absolutely necessary, whenever giving a Photoshop file to someone, flatten the layers so you are assured that the file will remain exactly the way you designed it.

If you do need to provide layered Photoshop files you may want to rasterize the fonts and combine any layers that can be combined. And please, delete any unused or unnecessary layers from the file. It's frustrating opening a file and wondering if the hidden layers are important or not.

Courtesy when using page layout programs

A pet peeve of many designers is opening an InDesign or Quark Xpress file only to find the creator used their return key several times to create spaces between text or their space bar to indent type. Learn to use the tab key and the various options built into these programs to manipulate and position your text. It's what they were designed for.

And please, don't use multiple text boxes when one single box will do.

PDF Courtesy

I only have two points of courtesy when creating PDF files for others. One, embed the full font, not a subset. Embedding a subset means any type character that isn't in your document doesn't get included. So if someone ever needs to make a change to the document like adding the word WOW, and the original document didn't have a letter "W" in it, the new designer is out of luck.

My second point is simply, make sure your images are in the proper colour space before creating the PDF. For example, if the PDF will be used for print, ensure the image files are CMYK.

File Management

Finally, learn to use an organised file/folder structure so that nothing gets lost and it's easy to figure out what file does what. Label the client approved file as the final file. Separate working files/images from those used in the final file. And when sending files to a printer use the collect for output option to make sure nothing is missed.

Did I miss anything?

Have some courtesy for those handling your files after you. Did I miss anything in the podcast that I should have mentioned? Let me know what they are by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Tyler

I was listening to one of the recent podcast episodes. You mentioned that you are building websites for two direct competitors. How do you handle ethical dilemmas like, for example, working for competitors?

To find out what I told Tyler you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week is Prisma

Prisma transforms your photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists: Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

Jul 4, 2016

Are all your clients grouped into one basket?

This week's podcast episode comes after a conversation I had with an old classmate from college. For the purpose of this episode let's call him "Bob". During my conversation with Bob, he made mention of his boss. I immediately took note and asked him about it because I knew that Bob ran his own design business. It turns out that when Bob's three major clients all left him within a few month period he found himself unable to sustain his business. He enjoyed designing so much that he neglected the marketing and salesmanship side of the business and didn't have enough clients to fall back on. Bob had kept his design work in one basket and it came back to bite him.

That conversation led me to record this episode about diversifying your client base so that what happened to Bob doesn't happen to you.

What do you mean by basket?

In the context of this podcast, a basket is a metaphor for a demographic, industry, market segment or anywhere a client may fall into. For example, if all you do is create websites for dentists what happens when you run out of dentists in your area to design websites for. Or what happens if the dental industry creates a centralised website hub for all its dentists to use? If dentists are your only basket, then your business is in trouble.

You need to use more than one basket.

If you want to run a sustainable graphic design business you need to have a diverse client base so that if something happens to one group of clients you can continue with the rest. Hense the "more than one basket"

The way to accomplish this is to never stop selling yourself. Just because you have a few well paying clients is not an excuse to relax on your self-promotion. In fact, the opposite it true. When you're doing well is the best time to attract new work. Trust me, when you sitting in front of your computer twiddling your thumbs because you have nothing to do and no money coming in is not the time to start thinking of your marketing.

The best thing is, if you do this right, you'll never encounter any downtime at all in your business because you'll have so many clients that all you need to do is find a project from a different basket.

The trick is to find clients in different industries, different market segments and different demographics. Spreading your clients so that some are in one basket and others are in a different basket helps ease the burden should one industry collapse and you loose its business. It may hurt you financially but it won't break you.

What do you think of my basket metaphor?

Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment for this episode and let me know what you think.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Gabriel

There are many tips already given for someone wanting to break into the freelance design industry when going the self taught route such as creating self initiated design work and using that in a portfolio while continuing to learn. What about finding a design mentor when going the self taught route? Is it possible to find one and manage that relationship online or is it only possible in person? How would a self taught beginning designer persuade a mentor to teach them?

To find out what I told Gabriel you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week LibreStock.com

LibreStock is a meta search engine that scans and indexes the stock photos from 40+ different websites. They provide the biggest searchable database of free high-quality stock photos on the internet. All the photos indexed on LibreStock are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. this means you can use these pictures freely for any legal purpose.
Free for commercial & personal use, You can modify copy and distribute, No attribution required

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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