I’m excited to introduce a new series on the blog today: Freelance Dispatch! (Insert hi-hat cymbals sound.)
As the name suggests, this series is going to dive into aspects of the freelance/creative life, with topics from my own experience and insights I come across from other people and places.
I might share posts on things I’ve learned through some of my client projects, or tips from creative professionals I respect and admire. I might discuss the challenges of working in ways that are both creative and efficient (hint: they don’t always go together). I might feature different kinds of creative work spaces or the rituals of famous artists and writers.
I might even share a few secrets.
Whether you are a creative professional or not, if you’re at all interested in the creative process, creative people, or creating an unconventional life or career, my hope is that this series will be filled with useful stuff that sparks or speaks to your own creative thinking and projects.
On that note, I’m kicking things off with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of my new business card design.
I’d been wanting to get cards made for a long time, but put it off for a couple reasons:
*I’m super picky about aesthetics when it comes to things like layout/format/font/size/colour etc.—basically everything that would be needed in a card design. I knew the design process would require making a lot of decisions…and while I trust my taste, I can sometimes be indecisive about the details, which both exhausts and annoys me. (See, I am already telling you secrets. I’m actually a bit picky about most things. So much so that my mom nicknamed me ‘Pick’ as a kid. She still calls me that sometimes.:))
*I needed to find the right designer, which meant researching options, comparing portfolios, finding out pricing, etc. It’s time consuming and again, requires deciding on THE ONE…which, see above.
What I really wanted was a designer who I knew was talented and who I trusted would collaborate well. For me, this means understanding my vision, offering their own creative input, giving options, making changes graciously, and communicating in a way that’s friendly and professional. I wanted someone who truly cared about the design and would put in the effort to make it a successful project. I did some research, and ultimately went with my gut: I hired Shaun Kingerlee, a Vancouver, B.C.-based graphic designer who I had recently worked with (indirectly) on a website for a mutual client. I found Shaun really easy to communicate with on that project, which, along with his obvious talent, is one of the main reasons I hired him.
Fun fact: Shaun and I have known each other since 1988. We were both in Ms. Martin’s grade 5 class at Saanichton Elementary School, and I remember him often drawing in his sketchbook. Around the same time, I apparently told my mother I wanted to be an “author” when I grew up. So, the seeds of our career paths were already sprouting for both Shaun and I by the age of 10.
When I first reached out, Shaun responded within a day and said he’d be happy to take on the project. A fast first response goes a long way, in my opinion. Prospective clients are typically shopping around, and when a company gets back to them quickly, it shows they are genuinely interested (and bodes well for future communication). I make a point of responding within a day myself when someone contacts me for writing services, as I know they may also be contacting others. It’s such a missed opportunity if they go with someone else just because that person/company replied faster!
This is what I told Shaun at the outset: I don’t need a logo, so the design should be fairly straightforward…keeping in line with the clean look of my website, but perhaps with some element that makes it really stand out as well.
Looking back, ‘straightforward’ was probably a bit of a stretch, as we did A LOT of back and forth on this design, but it’s true that I didn’t have or need a logo.
Shaun then asked the following: Firstly, are you married to the fonts and colours used on your website? If so, can you tell me the names of the fonts? Also, what kind of quantities are you looking to have printed? Lastly, can you send me all the content you would like to have on your card?
And we were off! To the design collaboration races…which, in current day, means a lot of emailing back and forth. Thankfully, both of us were able to clearly articulate ourselves via email, which is NOT a skill that everyone has, I’ve learned.
I sent Shaun a document with answers to his questions, links to some card examples I liked on pinterest, and some of my ideas for design and content. These included:
*A two-sided card on a white background
*Using one or more of the accent colours from my website (teal and violet)
*My name in large font on front, list of specific services on the back (I provided all the wording)
*Using the font on my website or something similar…but I was open to font options
This is what Shaun came back with, first round: Continue reading