15 years!

Another year and I still can’t believe how fortunate I am to work as a freelance design consultant.

The last two years have been fantastic, with 32 new clients, stretching right across Europe (France, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy), and some exciting work coming in from the U.S. too. Working with: charities, manufacturing, estate agents, logistics, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and some public sector, have seen a rise in my business of 33% turnover. Not bad!

I have a great partner in the business who has introduced me to many of his clients via his Aerospace and Engineering clusters. Many of you may, or may not, know I am passionate about working with Engineering and Manufacturing clients. Another love is working with Healthcare businesses too, some of the work I am most proud of in the last year was in Healthcare. Lots and lots of lovely illustration work.

So much of what happened last year was via referrals, the absolute best way to grow a business, and full of surprises!

I have lots of plans for next year, if anyone wants to work with me or any of my partners, drop me a line (*pops champagne*).

The Importance of Planning Ahead…

…with event season coming up time to plan exhibition graphics and ‘giveaways.’

I know, you’ve just dragged the Christmas tree down from the attic (unless it’s a real one, of course), and carefully arranged all your twinkling lights – but believe me, you need to keep the exhibition season still sizzling away in your mind.

Why? Because ideally, you should be planning your exhibition a few months before it happens. “Seems a bit much!” I hear you cry. Well, let me explain:

Like anything in life, the more you ‘put in’, the more you ‘get out’. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but you know what, it’s true!

Firstly, start to think about setting yourself a realistic goal, or objective, for the exhibition. It could be, for instance, raising brand awareness or finding new leads. You can do that one sitting on the sofa after your Christmas lunch.

Don’t give yourself too many goals, as you should measure them during and after the exhibition, to see how successful the event has been, and whether it was worth the amount of money you invested in it. It is easier to do when the objectives are ‘small steps’, as they will give you a clearer picture, and something you can build on.

Next, you need to be contacting existing customers and potential prospects, whether that’s by email, phone, social media, or direct mailing, and so on. Do all of the platforms you use (and your letterheads, etc.) carry a consistent logo, colour schemes and fonts? What are you going to send them? Aha! You need flyers or brochures…and you may as well have more designed and printed ready for the exhibition stand, as you will need lots of them!

Now, you’re starting to plan ahead, aren’t you?

Your design for the stand will also need to be consistent with your company branding – note to self: all branding needs to be absolutely ‘correct’.

First things first – how much is your budget? How much do you ‘want’ to spend?

There are many types of stands out there, from pop-ups & pull-up banners to bespoke stands, choose something that suits your company vision, values and ethos, as well as your budget.

Make it as eye-catching as you can to ensure you stand out from your competitors.

We once had people queuing to get on a client’s stand that we had designed, it didn’t cost them a fortune either. Ask yourself: what would make a potential client stop and talk to me?

So, while you’re munching another mince pie this Christmas, planning ahead may sound like a huge undertaking, but it’s more than worth doing as your exhibition will run like a dream.

Health and hygiene posters

For several years I worked with the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) on their CleanYourHands campaign.

Whilst working on this campaign we had to find eye catching, ways to make staff and patients think twice about hand hygiene.

It was a very effective campaign, down to all the agencies and communications teams involved. But it was not as beautiful as these Chinese hygiene posters.

Obviously these posters were designed in a different time, the detail and styling is so relaxed, the colours muted and thoughtful. They obviously wouldn’t work today, we are bombarded with imagery so much more these days. We need posters that are more impactful. I would love to know how successful these poster designswere.