It's 2017: 6 New Year's Resolutions for Graphic Designers
Happy New Year! It's 2017 and it's time to make those dreaded resolutions that you know past March, you most likely won't be keeping up with. Well as an entrepreneur and designer I am always ready to grow and build my business. I have six great resolutions that will be really beneficial to keep and they're also very rewarding.
Learn Something New:
In the last 10 years technology has evolved exponentially and that has done wonders for the design industry. Technology has made our jobs easier and it has also pushed the envelope forward allowing us to do things we could only dream about doing 30 years ago. While technology can be a great tool that pushes our craft further, it challenges us to learn the technology and it's implementation. I have tried a few different training sites but I really haven't discovered one I like as much as SkillShare. It mainly specializes in creative services (videography, photography, design and music creation) but it also has some quality classes pertaining to business management and tech. I really like that the class times can be as short as 15 minutes but most land at the 45-60 minute range. Add in the low monthly cost and it easily becomes my go to application for learning new skills. There are other options as well from Linked-In Education and Creative Live but SkillShare is definitely worth checking out, and below is a link to try it out for $1.00 a month for your first three months.
Host an Event or Class:
Learning new skills is always a great thing to keep you relevant and at the cutting edge of design trends. As designers we have a lot of knowledge already, and there are a lot of people who would pay for that knowledge and expertise. Hosting an event like an open house for local businesses or a mixer celebrating an anniversary can be great exposure for your business. It can even be a small networking and collaboration party with other creatives in the area. Networking and building awareness will inform the public about all the services that your business has to offer. A great application called Eventbrite can help you organize and market your event along with social media integration to make that event a success.
Attend Adobe Max:
Every year there is an industry event that combines learning, networking, a keynote event and live performances over the course of four days. The Adobe Max event is where creatives come together to learn about the future additions to the Adobe Creative Suite. I have been invited to two keynote events in New York City and can say that Adobe events are extremely enjoyable and informative. This year's event will be hosted by The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas from October 16th-20th. Every year's itinerary is different but they have had special giveaways and speaking engagements by the industries' top leaders. This year's speaker roster hasn't been released yet but below is a link on how you can pre-register to save $500.
Create a Robust Online Marketing Plan:
Technology has been a running theme in today's blog but it is a major part of our everyday lives. Leveraging the digital realm can be very rewarding for your business or individual reputation. Start by sitting down and planning out what your social media and content creation will be by using a calendar. Then diversify to keep things fresh and also gauge what is and isn't working. I have included a few marketing options to try to tackle this year:
Social Media Campaign
It is sort of a requirement for a business or organization to have a Facebook Page now-a-days. Not only is it a great platform to create a conversation with your target market, but it also allows you to cultivate all your other social media into one place. The extra benefit for Facebook is the ability to buy very targeted and efficient ad space for fairly cheap. For a small business or single designer it is a great alternative to traditional media. Facebook ads start at $5.00 and depending how many potential people you would like to reach, the price will go up from there. One thing to remember is that when creating ads you will want to produce the best visuals and messaging to maximize user engagement.
In terms of SEO, blogging/vlogging is a form of content creation that can be really valuable to your website. What is more enjoyable then writing about something you really love? By blogging/vlogging you can establish yourself as a master in your field of _____ (fill in the blank). This is a great way to build visibility and lets your clients and colleagues know what skills and services you have to offer.
Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat all have live streaming functionality. Now you might ask how live streaming can help your business. You can use live streaming to broadcast a Q&A session or a training class. It is a way of being relevant and in the time. It allows you to build a following and keep the video for 24 hours (Facebook has no time limit). By offering special events and valuable information on a limited run basis you can interact with your fans and potential clients in a unique way while building more awareness about your business.
Schedule Time for Important Tasks:
Running your own design business can be time consuming. From admin work, client meetings and projects to a number of other tasks that need to be completed daily or even weekly. With all of those responsibilities clogging up your to-do list there are two things that should not be overlooked:
A major part of my client acquisition is attributed to networking. I have noticed that unless I make an effort towards networking, it can get lost between my daily design work and client meetings. It is a good idea to continue networking so that your name is always out there, and you have a better chance to keep a consistent flow of acquiring clients. I am personally setting a weekly goal I intend to keep this year.
Updating Your Portfolio
Another thing to regularly update is your portfolio. Your work may initially be great, but in order to stay relevant you should be adding and adapting your portfolio more often than never. It gets easy to become complacent with a portfolio once the jobs start coming in but give yourself some time to update your portfolio and continue to remind people what makes you a great designer.
Submit Designs for Award Consideration:
Advancing your career by submitting a design for an award. If you make it as a finalist, then the recognition could mean a boost in clients. Win an award, and that can boost your career towards celebrity status. Here are a few design awards to keep an eye on:
- D&AD Awards
- The Annual GDUSA American Graphic Design Awards
- Multiple HOW Design Awards
- International Design Awards
- Creativity Awards
- AIGA Awards
There are a lot of other benefits, from your work being in the spotlight in a magazine, to actually being interviewed for an article or podcast. The publicity is invaluable and the process will be memorable. This is definitely a great resolution to keep to advance your career.
Resolve to advance your career a by doing something to better your business. Being a designer is an exciting career with amazing experiences. Most of us work project to project and stay busy in order to pay our bills, afford new equipment, or take care of our families. The one thing we have to remember is a lot of us work for ourselves because we aren't beholden to a boss and the typical nine to five. With that freedom we should definitely set time aside for ourselves and these six resolutions will help you grow as a designer. Here is to 2017 and the next step in our careers.
About Brian Anthony
Brian Anthony is the Creative Designer at Bigger Creative Agency. A comic book nerd who loves everything about design and technology. Born and raised in Brooklyn, like most New Yorkers, he isn't afraid to speak his mind. Brian is an outgoing designer who has had his work featured in USA Today, New York Fashion Week, and CES. He finds inspiration in everything and loves to throw on any tune and get to work.