Category: Interesting Articles

Advice to New Designers – Part 1

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

A friend just asked me to give her graphic design friend some advice.

I’m not sure what advice to give. I teach, so I could give a semesters worth of advice if you got me going. But, not sure what to say off the bat without a specific question.

Couple of things if you’re looking for work. Most of which will sound obvious, but are good reminders…

1. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you don’t know anyone. Network, Network, Network. Get involved in the art organizations. Don’t just go to meetings, participate. Design firm owners will become your friends and probably hire you over a stranger.

2. Value yourself. Most artists don’t think they are worth anything. Your time is very valuable and so are you. A major difference between an expensive designer and a cheap one is that someone is brave enough to ask for it. The reason the industry pays so little is because designers that don’t know their worth ruin it and do work for nothing and then complain that they live at home and drive a beat up Rabbit.

3. Job negotiation is not just money. If you don’t get money, ask for vacation time or added personal days or signing bonus. Or ask to be reviewed at 3 months for the salary you want because you can prove you are worth it.

4. Show confidence in yourself and your work.

5. Always do every piece like it will be your masterpiece, next thing you know you have a kick ass portfolio. Don’t just blow off a project because it’s free or the client sucks. Every piece has potential of being great. But don’t fit the clients to your portfolio, embrace the company for who they are and design as if you work for them.

6. Don’t be afraid to mix mediums. Even if a project isn’t paying for fancy work, give them everything. Throw in some hand done illustration and mix it up.

7. Don’t look at design annuals for inspiration. You will only produce what everyone else is. Look everywhere but there.

8. Take a pro bono job here and there, but not too often. It will allow for amazing pieces and will be great PR. But this will take over your time if you do not watch out.

Well those are quick thoughts out of many more. Not sure if it’s what that designer was looking for, but that’s some advice.

I put part 1 because I figure I’ll eventually put down the other slew of thoughts I have for advice.

Good luck has very little to do with it, so Good work to you.


Do Awards Matter when reviewing a service provider?

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Every Year my company enters award competitions. We do very well, winning many awards, most of which are very industry specific.

The awards help motivate the design team and they help honor their efforts. The awards establish the company as an award winning company. The awards also help honor the clients efforts and makes them happy.

These awards are typically very expensive and this money could be spent on marketing or other sales efforts.

As a prospective buyer, does it make any difference from the purchasing perspective if a design company has awards or not and which awards those are? Does it sway your decision? Does it help establish a trust or sense of quality?

Let me know, thanks!

Selling Out?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Many of my students have made comments about selling out…They’ll refer to artists that they like who have sold illustrations or designs to corporate America as sellouts. To this I reply, “At least they sold something”.

I was inspired by this gallery exhibition of “Red Bull Art of Can”. where it’s an obvious Marketing ploy to promote Red Bull through art. However, the artwork is pretty cool! Check it out.

What good is art if it’s sitting in house somewhere instead of being hung up or printed for public purchasing. What good is talent if it’s waiting for that perfect job instead of creating something that was commissioned. I do think there are times when artists “sell-out” and represent themselves poorly for the sake of a dollar. But… Selling to corporate America or to the masses is successful business and will gain exposure for the artist and hopefully pull them out of that one room loft. Whether you like it or not, art is a business and always has been. It’s only recently that Artists have been undervaluing their work.

– Paul Kiesche

Location, Location, Location?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

How important is location when choosing a service company?

Paul Kiesche Design located in Northern New Jersey and most of our business is generated in NJ. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s Northern or Southern Jersey, as long as we are in NJ. Location seems to be a major factor in our client’s decision for choosing a design company to work with. Although, there is the other portion of our clients who are all over the US and even overseas. Location does not play a part in their decision for using a design company. They care more about quality and reputation.

Location helps, but it isn’t everything. It allows for easier, more cost effective face to face meetings and accessibility. But, with today’s communication options, there is no reason location should play such a strong role. But, because location does seem to play an important role, our marketing has become location centralized and we’re even considering creating multiple locations.

I’d like to hear other people’s feedback. What are your thoughts? How important is location when choosing a service company?

– Paul Kiesche