Maybe this is more of a personal rant but I am asked all the time to literally do design favors for people. I don't mind this when a close friend asks me but it got me wondering if attorneys and doctors get bombarded with requests to take a case for free or check a pulse on the house.
I've been asked to do posters, t-shirt designs and even logos for free. I like the barder idea trading design for a dinner or a day at the spa but people don't realize the time it takes to come up with a concept and execute it not to mention the cost of the software to create such designs. Now, I do well as a designer but us creatives need the most robust computers and many designers prefer to work on Macs. This little machine can cost over 3 grand! The software can cost hundreds for annual upgrades. I'm just sayin'.
The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic took home best sporting event of the year from the Business Sports Journal. Why this is significant for me personally? I was the designer of the event! Designing for a Berkeley-based design firm called Moss Sports, I designed the "look" of the event. We had created the design the year before but the NHL strike of 2013 postponed the event a year. It was played at the Big House at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It was the only time in the history of the 110,000 capacity Stadium that branding was allowed. It was a sell-out crowd with a huge rating broadcast fro NBC Sports. I am proud to be involved with this event and kudos to my very special design team at Moss Sports.
A quote from Don Renzulli, Vice-President of Events at the National Hockey League:
"Last night the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic received the award for "Sports Event of the Year"! Everyone had a major part in the success of the game on January 1 and should be proud of this accomplishment. This is the second time the Winter Classic has received this award, the first for the inaugural game in 2008. Thanks to you and your staffs for all the hard work put forth in making these games a reality. The sports world is taking notice of our games which now raises the bar for all future ones.
Everyone should take pride in what we collectively have accomplished with this event. Lets keep it going, thanks again."
Check out the link to the Business Sports Journal on the award.
Zachary's Chicago Pizza put up a small profile about me on their new web site. I thought I would share this light-hearted blog posting with you.
Click here to go to the Zachary's story on Ian Ransley.
It's a funny thing how adding a frame to a piece of art makes it, well, nicer. How you present yourself to clients is another story. I'm speaking of presenting your design work to a client. It's essential to spend some time packaging your designs when presenting to a client. You may well have created a truly exceptional design that fulfils a clients brief. The last thing you want is to present the work in such a way that the client is unable to properly visualise it's final usage. You want the client to be captivated and one of the best ways of getting this across is by showing the design in context.
The response to designs presented this way is instantaneous. It leaves no doubt in a clients mind as to the end result. Presenting designs in context is particularly useful for large format work where physical proofs are out of the question e.g. billboards, shop fronts and vehicle wraps.
Better still, is to present the design on the actual building or shop front where the design is to appear (rather than mocked up on stock imagery). When taking the original design brief, ask for a site visit.
It doesn't matter how cool that poster design is or how creative that poster is if it's not presented well. I think I've almost seen it all; stacks of crinkled paper, projects mounted horribly crooked on matte boards and scrap books of color copies.
If you don't care about your own work, why should anyone else? Create an Indesign template you can use over and over with your own logo and slug line in a corner. Create a unique information bar, buy a domain name and create a website with password protection for presenting designs and concepts to clients. Think out of the box!And most of all, make sure to let your passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm out as you discuss your work. You are selling your work but you are also selling yourself!
When pitching to a potential client or delivering concepts; how many is too many? Is more better? When designing a logo I can sometimes generate up to 20 options. I'm currently designing a branding look for a major football bowl game. I have created 6 different designs but I don't plan on showing all of them. When I'm working on a design team we will have an internal meeting to decided what are our best efforts. At our firm, we have developed a questionnaire for clients to try and pull out what they are looking for before we spin our design wheels. This doesn't work most of the time because people generally don't know what they are looking for until they see it. If you show too many design options it looks like you are not confident in what you are delivering. It's even more difficult when you are working with a committee which has people with different ideas and tastes. I personally feel 2-3 options is plenty especially if it's a design pitch. Keep it simple, too many options can be confusing. Costco does not carry too many options of each product and has far fewer overall products than other stores their size. About 1/10 as many as a regular supermarket. They believe in presenting fewer, hand picked, options to their customers and have seen how it leads to more overall sales. They not only offer most products in only one size, but they usually only offer one or two flavors as well. As designers can we learn from such retailers? Absolutely.
Check out the unique way I was promoting Ian Ransley Graphic Design 20 years ago. At about the same time I decided to silkscreen my resume on t-shirts and send them out to Bay Area design firms. It did get some attention. You can check out what I have been doing lately at www.berkeleygraphicdesign.com.
You can also browse some of my other poster designs following this link to the print section of my portfolio website.
Sharable content will put you on the fast track to acquiring new Likes but do Likes translate to payable design projects? Personally I try to promote myself un many ways online. I have a personal Facebook page and a professional Facebook page called Ian Ransley Design and Illustration. Please join it. I use it to promote my work but I also us it while I am designing or to throw up several concepts to get feedback from followers. My theory is your friends are one of the best ways to get the word out you are trying to find freelance design work.
Facebook is an ever-evolving social network which offers businesses many options to market their services. But are the main users of Facebook females between the ages of 18 to 24? Is that really the audience I want? And are most people accessing Facebook from their phones? I think Facebook is still a confusing marketing platform for businesses. Like anything ensure your audience doesn't bore of your brand due to repetition. Refresh or continue to add new content as often as possible so you stay visible and more importantly, the content is interesting. I like the platform because as a graphic designer, I get critical feedback in a safe environment. What do you think about marketing on Facebook as a freelance designer?
Zachary's Chicago Pizza began in the 1980's in Oakland, CA. Funny enough, my first job after getting a degree in Design from UC Davis was working for a screen-printer who printed Zachary's Pizza t-shirts so I had a shirt before I ever had a Zachary's slice.
Zachary's has a poster contest every other years. They have been doing it for year's so each restaurant is covered in framed 36"x48' posters designed by all ages of Zachary's loving customers. I entered the first year when my older son was 7-years old. I only entered one poster that year and won 100 bucks of pizza. My son was thrilled every time we went to Zachary's to see "our" poster hanging on the wall. In 2009, I entered 3 posters. All 3 posters won, In 2011, I entered 4 posters and all 4 posters won and in 2013 again, I won 4 times. It's 2014 and I have designed 5 posters for the 2015 contest. It's not an obsession but a great way for me to put out my creative ideas in a forum I love to work in. I've used friends, my sons and even my mother as models for the posters. I don't do it for the prize or the "fame". I'm apparently not even the person who has won the most times! There is someone crazier than I am! The Berkeleyside, online-local newspaper even did an article on me.
Zachary's seems to love the posters I've designed so much they hired me to do their anniversary logo and few ads. When you go to a Zachary's check out all the great art on their walls!
Ian Ransley DESIGN
Ian Ransley is a Bay Area Graphic Designer and Illustrator who has designed some of the most popular large-scale sporting and corporate events in the world.