Promote yourself

‘Produce a suitable business card and PDF e-flyer or printed leaflet of promotional material to give to potential clients.

To begin with, think about what you’re offering as a designer – whether there’s a particular area of focus, interest or a general approach you can promote. Try and summarise your approach in a short statement or sentence that describes you as a designer. What examples of your work would you choose to represent this approach?

Put together a business card with your contact details and a brief outline of what you do.

Next, develop a PDF document that can be either emailed or printed and given to potential clients. This should expand on your approach as a designer and provide examples of your work. You may want to extend this project to include an online portfolio or other suitable format to showcase your work.

Outside your network of friends and family, who would you send this portfolio to? Create a mind map of potential clients. Research the kinds of design companies, organisations or sectors that support the work you’re interested in. You may want to give this a local, national or international slant’

I feel my strongest areas of design at present are web design and logos. I’d be happiest designing/updating branding for individuals or small companies that need digital, print work or both. I would be less confidant with bespoke typography compared to images as I like to draw! In the future I would like to learn more about surface design, but this will take time.

My current website name is named Strawberry Canoe. I have decided to stick with this, and its already optimised to appear on Google. It seems to be a memorable name as people always remember my email address.

The name is partly inspired by this quote

It sort of sums up my ambivalence about the creative process and creative people – I like the idea of little boats bringing goods (or treasure), it can feel like an idea just arrives from elsewhere, not from us at all. At the same time, I’m not too fond of the idea that creative people are different or special. We aren’t. Like any skill its down to practise! Most people are creative -they express it in different ways. So… I bring strawberries; lovely but not exotic. And a bit silly.

We were asked to make a pdf for our student portfolio, so I’ve produced some of my work as a pdf already. I have a really embarrassing website at the moment, and that’s where I want to focus my attention.  I’ve been promising myself it will get a major redesign. It was built before I started my degree and it shows!!  I would like to do this rather than a PDF, so Ive gone with whats most useful for me! (I hope thats OK?!)

Inspiration. I looked at various images, logos on a variety of subjects, and branding/graphic design agencies.

Beautiful line…Classy colours and elegant dynamic design

Unashamedly girly – yes!

Botanical illustration

Vintage

Typographic

Pretty!

Looking at online portfolio presentation and designers

Fable and co have a particularly stylish website. I noitced a big part of their marketing actually involved quite an in depth exploration of their own logo development. Something I could maybe bare in mind.

Toucan design. i like the monochrome with the orange accent.

I’m aiming to design the front page of my website, a new logo and some business cards. This is my brain storming session…

I didn’t know strawberries where part of the rose family.

Basic strawberry sketches

Logo ideas. I kept going til I’d scrawled about 50 little images. You can see they fall into some categories – strawberry based with a negative shape of a paddle, more ornate strawberry flourishes, strawberries twining around paddles, monogrammes…etc

I quite like more complicated logos as they are quite illustrative – but not sure this is really going to be versatile enough. Alsoits a pain if the lettering is too small on the design.

I then used Illustrator to explore possibilities…Fonts

Nope. Obviously I was just shoving letters together, but nope.

Monograms are tricky and Ive noticed some designers seem to pretty much avoid them for their potential clunky-ness and awkward negative space. But they can be graceful in more experienced hands than mine. Your eye fills in the rest of the letter, while presenting an uncluttered shape. Nice eh.

Colour ideas from colour lovers – these are sometimes a good jumping off point, but I have learnt that often they look good precisely because of the proportions they are shown in. Sometimes a promising one falls apart when you need an accent colour to become more dominant, or to use less colours.

Logo development. The leaves don’t work dropped down onto the strawberry and I tried changing from the paddle in negative space, to the canoe itself to allow a narrow finish at the bottom of the strawberry.

With and without seeds…

I wrote some copy for the home page of my website

I know very little about copywriting, but I like this website – showing what copywriting can do.

Ive also spent a lot of time aborbing marketing information via yes, Lynda.com and also April Bowles Olin, who specialises in Marketing for Creatives (I also have her ebook) I then wrote my blurb.

My brand values are about approachability – I want to put across a sense of fun and warmth but  maintain polish, with hopefully a good sense of design.

For now, my intro is very informal – I’m not sure if it’s too relaxed – but it’s certainly ‘my voice’ as based on the marketing advice I’ve been absorbing. I’m going to ask more people for feedback and see what their response is. I have read that you really don’t have to appeal to everyone, as this can be too generic, and therefore not engaging or memorable. But I don’t want to throw away all sense of professionalism either.

Contrast the tone of design firms ‘Fable and co’ and ‘Toucan’

Fable and co. Absolutely gorgeous, I love it – but  when it comes to the group photo, they don’t look particularly approachable to me?! You could buy this from a stock photo website. Bit fake?

Toucan. Not so gorgeous – but this is away from the front page – its a blog post with a photo of actual people in it. I can imagine being in the room with them. Talking to them. There’s a balance to be had here, maybe somewhere between the two?

Back to design. I tried a few colour combinations with the paddle-and-strawberry logo. My thoughts are that if Im going to use red, it ought to relate to strawberries. The same with my logo. I know this is a bit literal, but as the name is quirky, I think that’s enough of a curve ball. I can also imagine I will always get asked ‘but its not a strawberry’, ‘but its the wrong colour’ etc and I don’t want potential clients to be nervous that I only do logos/colour schemes that are unrelated to anything logical.

Many thanks to my mum who kindly gave me feedback at this stage. She is very artistic so instantly understands negative space, and abstract forms. Her response echoed my own reservation – that this is too reminisent of the apple logo!

So I went for something more strawberry-like…

I then uploaded some mock-ups for the homepage of my website live on the web.

These designs look OK. But I messed up and really should know better! Why? Because you can only view elements of this design, not the whole thing. As you scroll down to the main text, it lacks impact and was an off putting colour!

I almost went with this version, but it needed a bit more of something. (And too many strawberries, though of course they may not be visible all at the same time on screen)

I had been thinking about adding a feature image, especially as this gives me the option to create a slideshow showcasing my work, right ‘above the fold’ on the homepage.

I do have a suitable image from when I did a photography course as part of this degree. It might be a bit cliched, but I think it should work OK…

Here’s my purple reading glasses (original image)

Experimenting with monochrome and tinting

Then I isolated the glasses, gave them a deep blue tint (to match my chosen darkest colour), and left the background as a slightly warmer shade. I think this more engaging than the pure black and white image.

I then sneaked in a script font I had my eye on from earlier (The Braggest) – I hope it doesnt jar – I like it! Im not sure if I will be told off for over embellishing. Anyway. Here’s my finished designs

My business card mockups

NB Not my actual landline, just place holder numerals

Website homepage mockup

You can also view this as a web page mock up here (jpeg only, it is not functional) which gives you a better idea of how it looks in context.

http://www.strawberrycanoe.co.uk/preview

I am planning to add images of my web design and print work to a slideshow similar to my student portfolio, but possibly just focusing on one brand. The web design could be depicted on a range of screen sizes (eg phone, tablet and laptop)  Also I gather its important to show logos in context, so I would reproduce the logo in situ (business cards, flyers, signage even mugs and vehicles to give the viewer a better picture of what their logo might encompass.

I may also attempt some ‘arty’ images of my work space on the about me page, and an actual photo of myself.

The portfolio page could show a variety of work. I’ve picked up a tip to unify the different colours and styles that occur in design projects – to use coloured overlays on photos of projects.

My market

Where do I start?? We were asked to research this, but for now I feel this is an ongoing process, not something I can summarise fully here.

Here are my thoughts:

I would prefer to attract self employed and small business owners who are somewhat established and in need of a makeover. They have out grown their initial start up website, and can see the value of upgrading. Start ups are great too, but I wouldn’t want to be trying to gentley persuade them that their clip art logo and comic sans header isn’t doing them justice, only to find that they were really not looking to invest any money beyond a free website and a £20 logo. Naturally, some people have to start businesses on a shoe string and thats very understandable – but I feel that its consequently too early for them to employ a designer, given the time and care thats needed to produce nice quality work.

My next step is to ask family and friends over the next few months to show my website (when its rebuilt) to one of their work colleagues for honest feedback. (On the principle that they won’t have met me, and will have no pressure to be nice)

There are numerous sectors but I know folk who work in a variety of jobs

Finance

Law

NHS/Private practise such as chiropodists, OT etc

Hairdressing/beauty

Life coaching

Retail

Fine Art, Textiles, Ceramics

Education (from infant to post grad)

Builders, electrician, joinery, plumber

The websites I have built so far have ranged from sheep dog training, to textile art, and equine assisted therapy. If you can generalise at all, my clients ranged from 30 – 60s, where passionate about their business – very sincere and hard working, and did not use I.T skills at work.

Asking for a response from a variety of people working in different industries might help me to firm up my marketing.

One fly in the ointment – for the duration of the degree, I’ll have very little scope to actually take on much paid work as the demands of the course are enough, due to health restrictions. Yep. Frustrating. Also, I would absolutely love to work for a design firm one day, but unless my health drastically improves, my only avenue is working freelance from home. Just so you know why Im not looking future employment outside my house!

 

For now, this is as far as I’d like to go – I’d really welcome tutor feedback, after which I will rebuild my website based on her recommendations. For the record, I confess I really like my design so far, so I hope she feels the same ; ) !

 

Logo Design Love by David Airey
Logo by Micheal Evamy
Logo Life by Ron van der Vlugt
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