Mistletoe gift tag styled photograph

Graphic Design 101

Starting a new brand is hard. I would know all too well. It is an incredible amount of work, money, time and effort and in the end it might not work out. You have to fail and fail fast, pick yourself up and start again (and again…). There are inevitable insecurities along the way. You have to figure out your target market and make really tough decisions that might cost you along the way. As a graphic design freelancer and small business owner I know how hard it is for you to spend your hard earned money on branding and photography. This is my strength and obsession though and I adore seeing a brand come to life. More than that, I know a lot about the business and can give you very sound advice and connect you with the right people. I decided to share a few things to note when approaching someone about branding and photography:
  1. Learn to trust me. I have nine years experience and a BTech Graphic Design degree (cum laude). My CV is extensive and I promise you that I know what I am doing. I will not steer you in the wrong direction.
  1. Set up a comprehensive brief. Tell me your story and what you would want your brand to represent. Take some time to research your brand, look at designs on Pinterest to give me an idea of the direction that you want to go in and convey this all upfront. Be as specific and opinionated as you can, you are not hurting my feelings in the slightest (art school makes you immune to criticism).
  1. Choose a graphic designer wisely. Look at their portfolio and aesthetic. There are so many freelancers and we all have our own ways of doing things.
  1. Believe me I am not “expensive”. Branding takes an incredible amount of time and consideration. Our computers, programs and cameras are more expensive than you realize. We have studio, Internet, marketing, advertising and web costs just like every other business and we get taxed just the same.
  1. Printing is an exhausting and frustrating process. I have a transparent 25% mark up when dealing with printing for you. This is to cover the research, quotes, email correspondence and delivery admin. I do my best to work with printers that I trust. If things go wrong I fight tooth and nail for you to get your money back or a reprint but I have no control over printers further than that. If you are frustrated, believe me I am more so and will do everything in my power to sort it out for you.
  1. Trade exchanges are always welcome if you have something desirable to trade with. This of course does not pay the rent so it is not always a viable option but be sure to suggest it.
  1. As much as I hate to admit it, I am human. I make mistakes. I will always own up to them and fix it. That being said it is vital for you to always double-check everything that I send to you for approval. There is nothing worse than finding a spelling mistake once something has been printed. This is both of our responsibilities and if we work together we can avoid any unfortunate reprints.
  1. Websites are vital. The first thing someone does when they are interested in your brand is to go look at your website. If you don’t have a website you do not look professional. After a lot of consideration I have teamed up with a web developer to create websites for my clients and this has truly elevated the brands online presence. Have a look here: www.campbellwebworks.com.
  1. Consider an hourly rate. Come sit with me while we work to be involved in the process and manage how much time you would like spent on it. An experienced graphic designer can get a lot done in an hour.
Below is an example of what I can do in three hours. I have been contacted a few times by a talented jewelry designer but she tried doing all her branding, photography and website herself and it didn’t quite work out as she had planned. Eventually we set up a meeting and within three hours I designed a new logo for her, a website and shot a lookbook. If you are starting out this is a good place to start. You don’t have to break your budget to look more professional and can build on it from here whenever you do get money in.   Mudiwa-1 Mudiwa-2 Mudiwa-3 Mudiwa-4 Mudiwa-5   The rest is up to you. I hope this gave you a bit of insight into the process of working with a graphic designer. If you have any questions feel free to give me a shout. I am always happy to help out.   www.mariamagdalena.co.za    

branding, Graphic Design, web design

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Maria Magdalena is a Cape Town based contemporary illustrator celebrating an elegant simplicity through intricate lines of ink. Shop the current collections online or order your custom original illustration today.

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