How to get More Design Work from Existing Clients

finding more design work - golden egg

Have you ever thought how much easier it would be to get more work from your existing design clients than trying to look for new ones?

Everyone always says when your quiet give your existing clients a ring just to see if they have any design work for you. I guess you could be lucky and call at just the right time but I have another idea you could try.

I have been doing a couple of internet marketing courses recently and hearing all this talk of upselling (selling something more expensive or extra that was originally being purchased) and realised that when I went to a meeting with one of my clients the other day that was exactly what I had done.

I went to see my client who wanted a little A5 leaflet designing as she was trying to promote her business locally (it’s a local only business). I suggested what about creating some very local keyword targeted mini websites (the competition would be low for this) to drive extra business to her main web site. I also put another potential idea to her that could make her business accessible to non local people that she was interested in. Now none of these ideas were me thinking about finding extra work, but were purely because I was trying to think of otherways she could market her business. I walked out of the meeting not only with the A5 leaflet but also with some simple mini wordpress websites to create and the potential to be part of another project.

Why not try this:

Take one of your regular clients and think of new ways they could genuinely reach more potential customers – 

  • Do some keyword research on their market to find out what people are really looking for
  • Do they have a blog? Could it help create business
  • Do they have a twitter page – how could this help them reach new people
  • Do they receive much traffic to their website – how could you help them achieve more – could you create some highly targeted via mini sites, a squidoo lens, upload some imagery to Flickr
  • Suggest things they could do themselves (or offer to do it for them for a small fee) – add themselves to google local, submit articles to article directories, find directories they could list themselves in. Although if they do these things themselves you don’t make any money – you will gain goodwill and show them that you are actively interested in their success. Of course if they make more money they will have more to spend on design (hopefully with you)

The next time you have a meeting with them suggest one or two of these ideas and see how it goes.

Would love to hear if anyone else has tried this technique.

Graphic Design Self Promotion – Graphic Design Book Review

Graphic Design Self PromotionGraphic design self promotion is always a tricky thing so anything that helps is always welcome. I was recently given a copy of a new ebook called 10 Steps to Powerful Online Self Promotion for Creatives written by Alex Mathers. I have to admit I was a bit sceptical about this, as a year or two ago I was given another book on the same subject which was very basic and declined to review it. Fortunately though this book is excellent and exceeded my expectations.

I have been doing a lot of reading up on social networking (I have pile of books) and to be honest I could have thrown them away and just read this one. What is good about this book is it is targeted directly at a creative person and so tells you the things you really need to know.

The book walks you through many different ways of doing graphic design self promotion online – including creating online graphic design portfolios, setting up your designer’s twitter step by step (I need to do this myself), creating your designer’s facebook and fan page. The book however does go far beyond this with methods you may not have even considered and should have ideas for both the novice and more experienced designer.

There are so many ideas in this book you could gradually implement an idea or two a week and soon build up both your credibility and list of potential graphic and web design clients.

The book will be released on 10th March, but Alex is currently also given away some free tips on creative and graphic self promotion if you join his mailing list.

I actually had a go at creating a little Youtube video animation for the book, to try out Photoshop CS3 animation timeline its my first attempt and I had a few problems with quality but here it is…

Free Online Software for Managing your Freelance Design Jobs

I have always been a big fan of lists and schedules for organising my freelance design work. Whenever I get a new design job in, I type it/or write it on to my job list and plan out the rest of my week. I recently found a piece of free online software that is really easy to use called Teux Deux which lets you plan out your week by listing all your design jobs day by day. You can then move them around as necessary, add to them and delete them. It’s a simple idea but very effective.

I have made a screen cast (be gentle with me it’s my first) below to show you its simplicity.

What is the Average Graphic Designer Wage?

Wallet: Average Graphic Designer WageThis is a common question that people ask and I get a few people emailing me about this too. The trouble is no-one wants to tell you it’s a taboo question to talk about wages. I remember when I started out freelancing I was fairly lucky as I had previously hired freelance designers (when the company got busy) and knew the kind of going rates that I could charge. One way to find out average design wages is to look at the jobs section of design magazines or design recruitment websites.

Post Updated (September 5 2010)
The blog that I had previously linked to is no longer available so instead you can find examples of possible designer wages on these blog posts:
How much does a graphic designer earn
Salary Track
Creative Pool

Also please take a look at my design resources page where Lauren from Creative Curio has created a freelance rates calculator.

Corporate Brochure Designs for Norwegian Company

A while ago I was contacted  through my website by the Managing Director of a Norwegian company called Auto-Maskin. Although the company is Norwegian where most of the staff are based, the Managing Director (British) was actually based locally to me. Auto-Maskin is a company that produces monitoring systems for the marine industry amongst others. After an initial meeting, and providing quotes for various elements I was given the project to design the new corporate brochure.

The Managing Director briefed me in person and I was pleased to find he had also collected samples of the corporate brochure designs of his competitors and told me what he liked and disliked about each of them. This is incredibly helpful as it gives you a real visual “feel” of what the company is looking for.

I started by brainstorming with mind maps and then sketching ideas, I worked through the ideas that I thought were best and started working these up on the computer.

Option 1
The logo for Auto-Maskin has an “O” which has been made into an on switch and I decided to make it look as though a finger had activated the button to show all the features of the system.

Option 2
Using imagery of a circuit board I combined this with a crashing wave to convey the idea of controlling the oceans.

Option 3
Using the shape of the “a” from Auto-Maskin as a picture holder I formed a layout showing the product and ships it is used in, with an abstract wave effect at the base.

The final corporate brochure design was based on option one with the introduction of the circuit board from two.

Following on from this I produced screen savers, range brochures, product sheets, adverts and an exhibition design based on the same theme.

Want to Learn a Traditional Craft and Be on TV?

I was sent an email regarding a tv company who are making a tv series about traditional crafts. They are looking for people who would be interested in learning a new craft to take part. As many readers are art and design people I thought it might be something you would be interested in. Their press release and contact details are shown below.

TV Production company RICOCHET are making a new 6 part series on traditional and contemporary crafts for a major broadcaster this summer. The series will feature episodes on six different types of craft; Greenwood, Thatching, Stonemasonry, Weaving, Stained Glass and Metal Work.
RICOCHET have enlisted some of the UK’s top Mastercraftsmen from a variety of disciplines who will each mentor 3 eager trainees on an intensive training course. If you’re interested and passionate about learning the traditional skills of the blacksmith, have a passion for wood or any of the other skills listed above then contact the Mastercrafts team at RICOCHET on 01273 224 800 or email

RICOCHET are the makers of factual and documentary programming for all the major broadcasters both in the UK and US. They have produced series such as “No Going Back”, “Supernanny” and “Born To Be Different”. More recent work includes the Bafta nominated ‘Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts’ for BBC3 and ‘The Real Swiss Family Robinson’ for BBC1.