Category: Interesting Articles

A Walk Through ArtExpo

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I spent Sunday at ArtExpo in New York City. It was a very nice experience. Supposively it was 1/6 it’s size, but that is hard to believe. The show was massive. It took me quite a long time to go through it.
My neck still hurts from looking all over at all the artwork. Most every style was represented, but there was only one artist that I found in my painting style. There was some very good work that was original and high quality and probably more bad work that was unoriginal and unskilled.

I was amused by the gimmicks people used to attract consumers to their booths. Like any other business, the more people you get to see your work, the better the chances of sales. Some of it was a bit cheezy. For instance… There was a booth with blasting rap music and two blonde models. There was lots of pushy sales people spitting up all sorts of fluff about how amazing there artists were. Some interesting gimmicks were booths with musicians, unique lighting, interesting backdrops, etc.

I have not decided if I’m going to show at next year’s Expo, but I’m leaning towards yes.

Check out the photos I took of the event. Enjoy.

This was weird… I looked up and saw my name at the show, or did I?… That threw me off for a bit.

Superbowl Sales or Bust

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

One of the reasons I watch the Superbowl is the commercials. It’s not the only reason, but it’s fun for a marketing professional to witness the commercials that are paying the big bucks. I think it’s great that the Superbowl can demand such high prices for the ads, but I always wonder if it really is worth it.
I’d have to say that some good commercials during the Superbowl have influenced some purchases. Last year was a bit of a bust, but I’m hoping this year will be good.

My favorite so far is Miller’s ad campaign. Miller is advertising the fact that they will be advertising during the Superbowl. The catch is… it’s only a one second commercial. What would you do in a second that cost $100K? Will it be remembered, or will the commercials leading up to it really be remembered? Will anyone truely buy that beer over another because they saw the ad? You tell me.

Miller’s Commercial for Miller’s One Second Commercial

Design Business Interview

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

A college student recently interviewed me for her class and I thought I’d share with all of you.

1. How did this / your design firm or agency get started? What did it take and when did it begin?

The company started as a freelance business while I worked a full time job. 3 ½ years ago I quit my full–time job to commit to the company. It took everything I had. Lots of time, experience and trial and error.

2. What should a designer know (skills and technology) to get a freelance position in the field?

You must have the Basics of design and art along with good knowledge of all the leading design programs such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. It’s best to get an internship, so it shows you have some experience. There is too much risk hiring someone with no experience.

3. As a business manager or owner, what qualities do you look for in a freelance designer or production artist?

Experience so I can trust them to do a good job. Quality work that is not just repeating what has already been done. Being local is a little important so we can meet up or work internally if needed. Personality is always important as you are working side by side in a small company.

4. When dealing with clients, what are some ways the agency helps the client understand what was designed and what costs are involved?

Everything is written in a clear proposal before work is initiated so there is no missed expectations.

5. How many people does it take to run the agency or design firm?

One. But you need to know a whole lot.

6. What does the agency do to market or sell its services?

Some mailings, a website, enewsletter, networking, and more random things.

7. What size company did you start out as?

Originally, just me

8. Do you have any advice to someone wanting to start to their own design business?

Save at least 6 months salary before. Plan, Plan, Plan. And gain a lot of experience first.

9. What has been your greatest challenge in business?

Changing from a Designer to a business owner. They are very different from each other and it’s easy to underestimate what it takes to be a business owner.

Finding Freelance

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Many designers and companies choose to turn to sites like,, and others to find freelance work. Although these sites are a good concept, they don’t work. Before posting a job or looking for work there, check out this post on Linkedin.

These sites are overrun with undervaluing, underbidding designers which do not create quality answers to marketing problems. It’s also overrun with offshore designers who don’t understand local marketing and get a lot lost in translation.

The College Question

Monday, August 4th, 2008

I get lots of young creatives asking for advice about what college or type of college they should go to. How does it affect them getting a job? Do employers care?

Yes it matters. Yes the employers care.

I teach in an Associates program (2 year degree) at a community college. It’s a good program, but it only teaches about half of what you need. It’s a great start to a 4 year school. It’s like a crash course compared to a 4 year institution. Many people go to 2 year schools and get good jobs, but employers are much more interested in a 4 year degree. Business schools seem to teach even less basic courses and focus on getting you work. Many of the people in the hiring positions of companies have degrees from good 4 year schools. They know what they learned and want you to have the same education.

When hiring someone with no experience, school is one of the only things to go by. Usually the better the school’s reputation, the better the candidate is, but certainly not always. I would suggest sending your resume with a couple of samples of work if you want people to think of your work before your education. I have worked for several companies that only hire from the top 3 schools. They wouldn’t even touch a 2 year school, but that is only at the very high level. Also, once you get some work experience your education will matter less and less. It’s good to do an internship so you get some experience on your resume.

Your portfolio only matters if you can get in the door and show it. Another important thing is to do a simple website portfolio so they can see it quick and get an idea for your work. It is much more likely for them to see the online portfolio, because they don’t have to waste their time bringing you in for an interview if you are bad.

I went to a 2 year community college and then transferred to a 4 year university. Because transferring credits became difficult I went to school for a total of 5 years. I took a lot from both schools and they both heavily contributed to my success. I believe I made the right choice for me. I do not believe I could be where I am and have the level of quality I do, if I didn’t go to both schools.

Research your schools and the professors. The school is the professors so make sure they are people you respect. The better the schools reputation, the better chance you have of getting a better job. That school will also have better connections that can help you get great jobs.

Designers Unite

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Here are two industry sites that are dedicated to subjects I strongly support.

Stop Work For Hire
– Don’t give away your work. If a company wants you to sign a WFH aggreement, there is a reason and they are trying to take advantage of you.
If you do sign one, increase your price to include all uses for the design.

No Spec
– More and more clients are asking for a sample job. This is considered Speculative work and is killing our industry. I know several companies that have closed or almost closed because they spent a ton of time and money trying to get jobs doing spec work. This destroys your profit margins, compromises the design work and hurts the industry.