design

Posts tagged with design

5 February, 2014

Being Your Own Client

A recent Twitter conversation resulted in a final tweet suggesting I write a blog post about the topic of conversation. Over the last few days I’ve been mulling over the idea and finally decided to pen to paper. The subject of that conversation? Designing your own website/branding and how hard it is.

Like many designers I am my own worst client. I can begin something on one day, happy with the direction it is heading in and then the next day want to scrap it and start over. Nothing is ever good enough. I always feel like I can do better when I’m working on something which is meant to represent me. So when I decided it was time to refresh this site at the start of the year I used a new approach which I articulated across a couple of tweets.

It is hard, but I treated myself like a client which made it a bit easier. I made sure there was a story to tell as a solution to a defined problem.

Set yourself up as a client

One of the biggest problems that I’ve come across in the past has been trying to squeeze my own design work in around the client work I have on the go. It’s meant two things.

  1. 1. I’ve never actually focused on it properly.
  2. 2. The work is never given the time and room it needs to mature.

The two points go somewhat hand in hand. Without dedicating the time I need to sit down and focus on the work properly, it’s evident that the design will never mature properly. However, actually having a proper focus for the job can mean that you don’t need quite as much time to complete things you would otherwise need.

When I sat down just after Christmas to schedule the client work I had for the next couple of months, I included myself as one of those clients. Straight away it set me up on a level footing with my clients and allowed me to come at the project with a fresher and more professional approach. It set the tone for how the project would be run and it ensured that the time needed to complete the project as effectively as possible would be allowed.

Define the problem as clearly as possible

Once the time for your project has been scheduled, it’s important to continue that professional approach when you begin the work. So often when approaching a project that is self initiated, even if it has a specific reason, we have a tendency to approach the work in a manner that is not consistent to the way we would treat a normal client.

At the beginning of a client project, if I do not know exactly what the problem I’m solving is I don’t start until it has been clearly defined. If there is no clear problem, there is no clear solution.

A rough idea doesn’t count as a clear problem that needs solving. Setting off on the process of solving a rough idea will lead to a watered down and likely very trend based solution. The result might look pretty, but chances are it doesn’t communicate what it needs to, nor will it stand up against inspection or the test of time.

Having a clearly defined problem for your self initiated project will give you a constant reference point. Something you can turn back to every time you feel that nag saying “it’s not good enough” to reference against your problem and determine if it’s because the underlying concept is missing the solution, or if you need to continue to revise the solution you are developing.

Solve the problem in the same way and using the same process as you would a normal client

Once you have your clearly defined problem, continue in the same professional manner you’ve started and stick to your usual design process. If you get to a point where you think you’re nearly there, stop and consider if you would send what you’ve got to a client for them to review. If you wouldn’t, you’re not there yet. Keep to those same high standards you set for your clients in the work you are producing for yourself.

Work hard to meet your deadline

In the past, when working on things for myself, I’ve always avoided setting a deadline for myself. I’ve never been able to get out of my head that it’s something that I’ve made up and doesn’t need to be met in the same way that a clients deadline needs to be met. In setting myself up as a client I did away with that attitude. With the work scheduled in amongst my other client work, it was important I stuck to that schedule as best I could in the same way that I would a client. Going over would impact the work for other clients, and would mean I had dropped my professional standard, something no freelancer can afford to do.

The bottom line

Most importantly, when approaching your self initiated project. Keep yourself professional. Work to the same standards as you would for your clients, treat yourself as you would your clients, and stick to your process.

7 January, 2014
20 December, 2013

A Typographic Verse

Tidying up some of the files on my Mac this afternoon I stumbled on a piece of typography I developed for a project that didn’t get used. Since it seems a waste to leave sitting on my Mac and not see the light of day I thought it’d be nice to share it here, hope you like it!

Romans-15v13

18 December, 2013
2 December, 2013
27 November, 2013
25 November, 2013
14 November, 2013
13 November, 2013
11 November, 2013
7 November, 2013
6 November, 2013
5 November, 2013
4 November, 2013
3 November, 2013

Portfolio

Well after launching a bit of a realigned version of PBcom on Friday I’m delighted to be able to say that the portfolio section has now gone live. A long with it has come a few tweaks to the main page and a good bit of understanding towards how the WordPress loop functions!

Anyway, I’ll be adding projects to the portfolio over the course of the next few days to go along with the initial ones that are already there. Please do wander over and have a look.

25 October, 2013