This year's annual has just launched. Click here to download a free copy!
Last year's Annual is over here, it feels great to have done two in a row.
Posted at 14:04 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Is it just me or is it getting harder and harder to do an agency Christmas card?
It's a well known fact that designing a design agency Christmas card is the hardest brief going. But nowadays it just seems so unnecessary? I've long been in favour of not doing one, but I was talked out of it because others say that we do print stuff and we should use this opportunity to show off our print stuff. That's a valid business reason and I can buy into that.
However, opinion seems to be turning. Certainly elaborate paper cards are out. Business e-cards are the most miserable greeting known to man. So maybe next year we won't do one. We'll see.
This year, we were pondering all these dilemma's when Alex said, "Is it just me, or does everyone's Nan give out tea towels at Christmas?"
We knew we were on to a winner. Every year Alex's Nan gives all the females in the family a special festive tea towel. Which is a brilliant idea.
And so in honour of Alex's Nan please see our Christmas tea towel; screen printed in house, designed with a slight lyrical twist, and sent to friends up and down the land. One may even land on your desk this week.
Posted at 19:16 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Lots of people ask me, "How do I get a job in the design industry?". Normally I answer, "Sorry, I haven't got a clue. Sorry."
Sometimes people ask me, "How do I get a job at The Design Conspiracy?". Normally I answer, "Sorry, We don't have any jobs at the moment. Sorry."
But we've just taken on Alex, who's a brilliant designer, and I thought I'd explain how and why we employed him because it sort of answers both questions.
We first heard of Alex in 2004. A client of ours rang and said they'd seen someone talking about us in a D&AD thing. It turns out it was the D&AD Talent Pool website. Alex had been short listed in the London 2012 Bid logo competition and because of this he'd been interviewed by the guys at Talent Pool.
We found the interview and when he was asked what his influences were he'd said, Henry Moore, Mother and us. Yes, us. We were a bit shocked by this (in 2004 there were 3 of us in one room) so we invited him in for a cup of tea.
We loved his work and we really liked him, but we didn't have any jobs going.
He / we kept in touch. Sometimes he would ring and ask if we needed any help. He helped us out during holidays and even at weekends. He came to all the parties.
When we moved into our new studio he sent us this moving in card. By now there were 7 of us.
Tom, Kingsley and Paul.
And of course me.
Good isn't it? So when we finally needed another designer there was only ever going to be one choice.
Next time, when someone asks me how they get a job in the design industry I'm just going to point them at this post.
(By the way we're currently looking for a Business Development Manager and some freelance junior web developers. If you fit the bill drop me a line, ben at the design conspiracy dot com.)
Round here we give everything a job number. That job number starts with a CON. So when Tom was looking to put some decals on his newly sprayed single speeder we gave it the job number CON-903 and, well, you can see the rest above.
Posted at 12:05 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
We're called The Design Conspiracy (in case you don't know anything about us have a look at our website here) and we're looking for a Business Development Manager.
Let's get one thing out of the way up front. Your job is about selling. There, I've said it. Horrible word. Selling.
That's your number one priority and we'll give you clear direction and sales targets. But we don't just want numbers. We don't want rubbish projects to make our figures look good. We want you to identify clients and projects that would fit well with our ethos and then facilitate those relationships.
We want you to understand, know and love design. We're going to ask you about this, so you'll need to know the difference between Peter Saville and Peter Sellers.
We want you to use your initiative and seek out opportunities rather than just following the crowd.
We want you to be energetic, tough, fun, lively and able to muck in. We want you to be organised, to love people and presenting. You will often be the first experience people have of The Design Conspiracy and so you'll need to embody all that the company stands for.
If we're being honest it's not all fun and glamour. We're a small company, we care about what we do immensely and we'll argue all night long about why something should be just so. We're very business focused and we have a very clear idea of what we want you to achieve and how we want to measure that.
In return we'll offer you a key role within a fast growing and exciting company. We're relaxed and flexible and you'll get to work with exciting brands such as 3 and adidas. We'll pay you a good salary (every month), we finish at 4pm on a Friday, you'll get a bonus on your birthday and you'll enjoy our Free Company Fruit Policy.
Send your CV to me (email@example.com) or give me a call on 020 7405 0875 for a chat or a coffee, confidentiality guaranteed.
Posted at 12:19 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
For years we have talked about setting up a little online shop.
We've tried a few things in the past and we tried this last year. But now, because lots of people have emailed me wanting to buy copies of this card and because we often get asked about the cards shown below and because Anne promised me it was dead easy we're going to set up a little online shop.
In the spirit of 'desktop research' I thought I'd upload some of our most popular greetings cards and ask if you consider buying one. All you have to do is drop a yes or a no in the comments. If we get some interest we'll set up the shop and you can buy them for real. That sounds like a fun game, doesn't it?
Here are the cards. Obviously they will all be printed dead nice on fancy paper and come with envelopes etc.
First up; I Asked Banksy To Sign Your Birthday Card.
Here's F**k Birthdays, part of the very popular F**k series.
And last but not least, The Copywriter's Birthday Card.
Posted at 17:32 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of), Just Me Doing Stuff | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)
Ask anyone why they blog and inevitably the expression "it's a good place for sharing half thoughts" will come up.
So here's a half thought.
Someone asked me the other day what percentage of my day was spent doing what. Yesterday it was approximately one third general admin type stuff, one third client liaison type stuff and one third designing type stuff. If we ignore the fact that there isn't really such a thing as a typical day - that is a pretty much a typical day.
The same person then asked me what advice I would give a graduate today and the one thought I can't get rid of is that I think today graduates should be aware that if they want to get anywhere in this industry they'll have to start up on their own. Write a list of all the designers you admire; I'll bet all of them either run their own consultancy or used to, like Jonathan Ive. From Glaser and Fletcher through Ive and Saville all the way through to Eatock.
I don't mean you have to have a business degree or read the FT everyday, but just bear in the back of your mind that one day, probably, you'll have to run your own show.
Which reminds me of Iain's post about Mini CEO's. You see if we have a bunch of people who are thinking about starting up on their own, we'll then have an industry (and a pool of people) who have other skills than just designing. People who can read a balance sheet and who can present and string a sentence together and write and handle difficult clients and handle difficult staff and design stuff. And that will be a good thing.
Half thought over.
We're busy at the moment. Which is nice. The picture below is Kingsley and Guy (who was on a placement) working on a nice brief for a nice client.
Busy is good for all sorts of reasons, but one of the reasons it's good is that everyone spreads out across our little big studio. Little teams working in all the nooks and crannies. Stuff happening everywhere.
I've probably bored you to death about this before, but one of the reasons for the big studio move was to have the space to do stuff. Before we only had 5 desks. Like just five desks and some room to walk around them. In the new gaff we've got 10 desks and a meeting room and a whole floor with a few Expedits, some great chairs, a stuffed sparrow hawk and stuff like that.
It means we can take on placements, invite people round to stuff bags, have more than one meeting simultaneously, good stuff like that.
Speaking of placements, our first ever official placement scheme is going really well. They don't drink any hot drinks, they love 80's guitar bands, they can
come up with loads of ideas very quickly, they don't say a lot and the
ones that do say a lot get on better. We're really enjoying having some new people around.
Freya even made us this incredible sign. Nice isn't it?
Here's the front of our studio that's just been finished.
That lovely illustration was done by the wonderful Inky Mole who's done lots of work with us before.
We wanted something exciting, conspiratorial and that would give us some privacy on the ground floor. We also wanted something that would let people know we were open for business!
Here's some more pictures of Inky at work.
Posted at 13:56 in Graphic Design Industry Stuff, How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
1. You're all ego.
2. Has his Prius broken down? - No, his Hummer.
3. Only half a dozen mills left in this country.
4. I thought you meant me; small, sweaty and hot.
5. You need to adapt to the new generation, son.
6. Wait until June? Why? Will it be cheaper?
7. I ought to make up some words.
8. Visuals. For. The Internet.
9. I don't want to upset you. - Well don't then.
Posted at 10:49 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
"Thank you’s from clients can take all forms. Sometimes no news is a kind of thank you (it means nothing’s gone wrong)."
Great (and very true) quote from Michael Johnson.
Posted at 16:56 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
I think the title is fairly self explanatory, but to clarify; it means stuff I've done as a graphic designer or stuff we've done at work that just hasn't worked. Here goes.
1. Asked a potential client to choose what we look at in a creds meeting.
I had this brilliant idea that to stop the boredom of a standard creds / portfolio meeting we'd lay all our work out on the table and ask the potential client to choose a piece of work they liked. So we did this at a meeting with Burberry.
Cue very puzzled brand manager, "Errr, oh I don't know, erm you choose one".
Me, "No, no, no, you pick something that looks interesting".
Brand Manager, "Erm. Errr. Oh. Umm. No, you choose something..."
Me, "No, no, no, you pick something that looks interesting".
Brand Manager, "Errrr....".
We never worked with Burberry.
2. Cut a straight line.
I absolutely can not cut a straight line. Nowhere even near. At college the head of our course cut the stuff out for my college show. Now Tom or April do it.
3. Ice Cream Van.
A few years ago we were thinking about buying an ice cream van. We were going to paint it all up, all get dressed up and drive it round to clients and potential clients offices. Redo the inside so it could show all our work. And so.
That was until we had a meeting with our business advisor who said things like, "where are you going to park it?" "you're gonna turn up at my office in this smelly, dirty old diesel van..." "who's going to drive it?" "what if it's raining?" "how often are you going to use it?" and so on. It probably sounds like a half decent idea written on here, but it isn't. Trust me it isn't.
4. Mispronounced a name.
In any industry it's a good idea to have a decent relationship with journalists from the trade press. It isn't a good idea to mispronounce their name (a different way) every single time you meet them. That's one publication and one person who will never have a good, correctly pronounced word to say about me.
I used to be able to scan stuff, not very well, but I could do it. Now I wouldn't know where to start. Does Twain Acquire still exist?
Have you ever used Sage? Do you know what a nominal code is? Do you know what nominal code 5002 is? Have you ever tried putting one and a half years of accounts into Sage? Are you an accountant?
7. Shouted at someone for being late when actually I was late.
Do I need to explain that? And I mean really shouted.
8. Tried to make centred type look good.
But then no one can do that.
Posted at 07:14 in How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of), Things I've Learnt About Design | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)
Posted at 10:11 in Graphic Design Industry Stuff, How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Posted at 07:36 in Graphic Design Industry Stuff, How To Start Up A Graphic Design Consultancy (Sort Of) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)