Thursday, 12 November 2009

Graham Jones Self promotion Lecture

Graham Jones is a full time graphic design tutor on the course at Manchester Met, he has taught me skills in adobe creative suite over the past two years so I'm well aware of his work specialty, I look at his latest work through Flickr and facebook on a regular basis.

He was asked to come in on the 27th October and give a talk on self promotion.
The four main areas he stresses as important are identity, portfolio, website and printed material.

Firstly giving yourself an abstract name is much more interesting and memorable than say Arron Tierney graphic designer for example.
One of his promotional pieces when he first set up the company 'Via' in the northern quarter was a stationary pack based on found objects in the building. The colour scheme was taken from two pots of paint left by the previous tenants, and a pattern on the back of letterheads was sourced from an odd looking stripy carpet they found. If you join the three different letterheads up an image would join on the front, which was a photo taken of the rafters in the office, graphic design is all about the small details.

Business cards are your primary weapon, if you give your potential clients a choice of business card you can be memorable without being annoying. The set he made when freelancing under the name Gman was available in six different colours.

Self identity should come down to even stickers on envelopes, as crazy as this may seem it adds an extra element of professionalism and presence.

The secret to being freelance is that you should be looking and getting work in even when you are busy with other work, otherwise you will end up bankrupt.

You should keep an extensive client list, and include people you may have only even spoken to not just the ones you have done work for. Keep a database of people who need graphic design work, send an email out every few weeks keeping them updated on what you have been up to, this will remind them you are active.

You have to tell clients you are available and willing to work, tell them you have done some exciting work recently and to check out your website.

Another good tool is to send out christmas gifts, office materials are always a winner if they are of use to the client.

One year Graham sent rulers out with paper sizes on, explanations of file format and colours profiles, etc so that clients would find it easier dealing with the agency. They also produced window stickers, one which said Northener in proud swish lettering and adorned with the agency name beneath for promotion.

Your identity is a way of showing not just what you do but also what you like. Your personality needs to come through.

Personalisation is essential when sending out things to clients, flatter them with your knowledge of what they do and why you would love to work with them.

One method Graham adopted was a tea token flyer, where potential clients were invited in for a free cup of tea, it was no big deal if they could not afford the services or were not interested as what is the cost of a cup of tea compared with an expensive bulky promotional packet.

An excellent example of a promotional device was by Sellsell called 'Freeday Friday'. This was a campaign for the public to take a day off work and share what they would do on that day with the online community. It had no literal relation to the agency except for that it played around their personality and was very sucessful in raising awareness of who they were.

Another nice option is to create limited editions of posters or products, clients like to think they are being given something special and singled out as important in your associates.

READ - Business Cards 3: The Art of Saying Hello

You can view Grahams work at


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