The Designer’s Guide To

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A guide to help new designers promote their work. Advice provided by international industry professionals, edited and curated by Richard Baird.

Print promotion – Call for entries

Since I started designing I’ve always have had set of goals I really wanted to achieve, one of these was to have work featured in a book. I spent a lot of time looking for submission requests from publishers such as Harper, Index and Rockport so I thought it might be good opportunity to pull together a list of the sites I’ve used.

Crescent Hill

This site also functions for ‘Collins Design’ and ‘Harper Collins’ publications

Submission Cost: Free

I’ve had work featured in two books through this site, ‘Logolicious’ and ‘The Big Book of Packaging’ both really nice but these took a long time to get published. With an international distribution and the free entries it’s definitely worth taking the time to submit your work.

Logolounge

Submission Cost: Paid – $100 Annually

This is one of the most popular logo series and makes an appearance in a lot of book stores and design agencies internationally. Submitting work to this site is via a paid annual subscription of $100 for unlimited uploads. I managed to get one logo featured in both volumes 6 and 7 after submitting over 40 logos. This was no doubt due to the quality of my work at the time but this is a high profile book and receives a lot of submissions. They have expanded their range to include a master series so the chances of being featured have increased and is worth the cost if you are confident about your work.

You can read my review of volume 6 here.

Design and Design

Submission Cost: Free

365 pieces of work makes up the Design and Design series with one piece of work selected per day making it into the book and the front page of their website. There is also a business card publication that also excepts entries via this site. I’ve featured in both books the quality is continually high and I haven’t made any subsequent editions. It’s free and easy to upload to so it’s worth submitting work when you get the time.

LogoNest

Submission Cost: $29.00 Annual Membership

Prior to the introduction of the annual membership fee I had a couple of logos published in volume one of this series, the book was nice but suffered a few print issues but will no-doubt be sorted for volume 2. As this is a paid site with a low production run it’s worth considering whether the exposure (likely to be limited to other designers) is worth the fee. I personally enjoy this series, the work is by designers I;m familiar with a proud to have work published next to and is a good, affordable first publication to aim for.

You can read my review of the book here.

I Heart Logos

Submission Cost: $10.00 Per Submission

I Heart Logos is another paid site but on a per logo basis so it’s worth considering which are your best pieces. As a contributor you are given the opportunity to vote on the published designs so even if you’re not featured there’s still the chance to participate. Like Logonest the production run is low and predominantly snapped up by the featured designers but is affordable and a good book to aim for when you are starting out.

You can read my review of the book here.

Zeixs

Submission Cost: Free

I haven’t had any work published by Zeixs but it’s free and the small compact books are nicely put together and internationally shipped so it’s worth registering.

Further resources: blog-omotives

If you are a new designer and have a limited budget try to pick out your best work and submit to books with a free, low annual fee or on a per submission basis, this will help you to understand which pieces are more popular before spending money on the expensive sites. Don’t submit all your work, sometimes the piece you’re least proud of my end up being published. Remember, patience is paramount, book publishing takes a lot of the time.

If you have any links to sites calling for entries you would like to share please add these in the comment section below.

Provided by @richbaird

Promote in moderation

Don’t bombard your clients, readers and followers with newsletters, tweets or shots. Think about what you want to achieve before sending or posting work and try to keep track of your interactions while keeping them interesting and valuable. You don’t want people to get tired of you canvassing and over doing the commenting (I’ve seen streams of ‘I like it’ from single individuals across multiple projects on Logopond). Think about who you are targeting and what their particular interests are, if necessary create newsletters split into specialisations with links to your website to read more.

Provided by @richbaird

Digital promotion – Blogging

I set up a blog about 6 months ago writing branding and packaging reviews. I’ve found that it provided me with an increased stream of traffic to my personal website. These also tended to be better quality clients spending time researching the design industry so that they could fully understand their own project requirements and the processes and prices involved.

There are a lot of design inspiration blogs out there duplicating content from other sites, if you are going to set up a similar blog try to be niche, look for the exclusive and try to add something new to each post. Original, consistent and frequent content is essential for a successful blog.

Make sure you are passionate about what you write about, blogging can be very time-consuming if you intend to do it properly. Reply to comments, ask questions and aim to build a returning readership.

Be patient, you won’t get a massive volume of traffic instantly, don’t force your blog on Twitterers or over promote.

Provided by @richbaird

Word of mouth

After you’ve completed a project and the client is satisfied, ask for referrals and a testimonial. These are quite frequently forgotten after a busy and intense project but this kind of prompt can help to encourage you client to communicate their positive experience to others in the business community. Testimonials are a great way to stand out but make sure that these are qualified with a client name and website link, if possible try to include a photo, this will help to give the impression that these are genuine quotes.

Suggested by @leonforthewin

Link backs

On-line referrals are a great way to promote your work. Constantly submit your latest pieces of work (or freebies) to popular design galleries and forums making sure that you link back to your website and contact details.

Provided by @matteodicapua

Digital Promotion – Galleries

On-line inspiration sites, galleries and communities like Dribbble and Logopond are places frequented by clients looking for designers. Make sure that all your work is well presented within the gallery windows and that they are comprehensively but relevantly tagged. This will draw in a greater number of search results from people looking for designers with specific experience or skills.

Provided by @richbaird

Print Promotion – Articles

Writing articles for publication is great way to draw together your design skills and a wider understanding of design and design practices. Write to magazine editors with ideas, you may find that the topic fits a forthcoming edition. It’s often best to pitch ideas so you can see if it’s of interest prior to spending time on writing. (This is how I managed to write for Design Week and feature in Computer Arts Projects)

Provided by @richbaird

Case studies

When you complete a project try to draw together your processes with a well written and illustrated article. These will help to promote your work as relevant, well considered and more than just a pretty final result.

Provided by @richbaird

Audience

For me there are two distinct categories to self promotion. The first and probably the most important is the one that will drive new work, this is your website, newsletters, print marketing and directories etc. Make sure that your work and communication in these locations is targeted at this audience and that it displays a unified and consistently professional approach. Be aware that written content needs to be clear and as well constructed as your design work, poor spelling and grammar can be a turn-off.

The second is the design community. By uploading and promoting your work on sites like Dribbble and participating in the commenting and critiquing of other designers work you can build a valuable on-line personality and in turn help to get you valuable feedback on your own work. Don’t over do your tweets or re-upload work over and over again because no one comments. Having a large following willing to engage with you can take a long time to foster, if you don’t get immediate feedback be patient and continue to participate.

Provided by @richbaird

Promotional activities: Networking

Meeting new people (design and non-design related) is essential to establishing valuable long term relationships with new clients, designers and service providers. You don’t have to be out-spoken to be able to effectively communicate your skills and passion. Simply be confident in your work, polite, professional and prepared to challenge yourself. Set yourself targets (5 new contacts per event) and make sure you leave a positive and lasting impression. Try to ensure your business cards are unique and distinctive, this will help new contacts remember you.

Always ensure your online portfolio is up-to-date before attending an event because you’ll be surprised how many people will have a look minutes after having a converstion with you.

Provided by @heinrichdsf

You are your most important brand

Remember, your work will promote YOU most of all, so, make sure your work is memorable.

My father once told me “is not necessarily about being the best at something, it’s who is in the minds of most potential clients that matters the most”. To do that, you need at least 3 efforts of self promotion a month in order to be remembered. What ever it is, make sure people have it clear that is you; whether it’s online, your business card, printed material or branded merchandise, just be consistent with your message.

Provided by @RudyHurtadoDsgn

Create and maintain a consistent brand message

Try to emphasize your style. Publish the work which makes you proud. Adopt a professional approach across all points of communication. Your profile picture, a correctly spelled tweet, almost everything matters in the eyes of a potential client, that is if you aim for decent projects.

Provided by @lecart

Get active on social media

One of the best ways to promote yourself as a designer is by getting actively involved in the design community via social media like Twitter and Facebook. If you know what you’re doing and you always post good interesting content then you could become an authoritative figure in the design community.

Post regularly

Create a Facebook page and sign up to Twitter. Start posting relevant and interesting links and images you come across that will be useful to your audience. If you learn something new or complete a new piece of design work post that too. Be careful not to post too much as you don’t want to overwhelm your followers and also try to keep your posts relevant and on topic.

Build your following

The easiest way to get more Twitter followers is to follow other designers. You’ll find that many of them will follow you back. Make sure you have an appropriate profile pic and background image. To get more likes on your Facebook page you could try running a competition where people need to like your page to enter. Make sure that you place your “follow” and “like” buttons on your website and blog to further increase your following.

Make friends

Talk to people and share your thoughts and experience just as you would in person. Help others with questions they have and you’ll find that they’ll help you too. The more you give online, the more you’ll receive.

Share the love on social media and soon you’ll be having so much fun learning about design and chatting with your new friends that you won’t even realize that you’re promoting yourself!

Provided by @AdhamDannaway

 

Contribute!

If you are a designer and have any advice you would like to add to this article, please submit your contribution as a comment below and remember to include your Twitter ID so I can credit your tip.

 

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