This much we know


Over the years experience has revealed that a subtle shift in perspective can often have a hugely positive impact. Whilst there’s still much we don’t know we wanted to share some of the things we have found to be helpful in our day to day.

Creative Process

Sometimes you are wrong

Sometimes you are wrong

We’ve all had that crushing feeling of vehemently arguing a point we know to be true only to discover that you are in fact wrong or, at the very least, the other person is also right. For the more confident among us, a little humility might help us avoid coming across like a bit of a dick and open up to other peoples ideas.

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Productivity

Originality is overrated

Originality is overrated

It doesn’t need to be a completely original idea to be exceptional. Yes, it is good to be different, but there’s no need to get hung up on finding the most amazing idea that hasn’t been done before. There are lots of companies selling the same things – the successful ones are well thought out and well designed. It’s as much about the execution as it is about the idea. You are being paid to create something that is effective, not original.

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CLient relations

Put yourself in your client's shoes

Put yourself in your client’s shoes

You know your processes, you understand the lingo, you know that extra time on a project costs more money. Make sure that your client knows all of this too. Remember that ultimately you work for them and that it’s your job to understand what they’re trying to achieve. Appreciate what is important to the client, as they may have a slightly different vision of success.

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Creative Process

Not everyone can see what's inside your head

Not everyone can see what’s inside your head

As designers, we often start visualising a solution when still chatting about initial ideas. But your client doesn’t necessarily see the same things you do. For example, it’s very difficult to look at a wireframe and imagine a polished website. Be patient, be informative and build trust with reassuring words and sketches. Find ways to get your ideas across and do what you can to help explain things clearly.

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CLient relations

Encourage your client to take risks

Encourage your client to take risks

If your client wants to stand out and be noticed in a world saturated by marketing, then it’s important that they take risks. It can be daunting for them, so see it as your mission to reassure them and encourage them to take that leap!

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CLient relations

Show your client that you care

Show your client that you care

Show that you care. If you’re not enthusiastic, if you seem to not give a damn about the project then don’t have any expectations of repeat work. The client cares about their project and they need to feel that you do to. You should bring as much enthusiasm as they do.

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CLient relations

Take the time to build relationships

Take the time to build relationships

Don’t look at a client as a single project. Taking the time to nurture your relationship with your client has lots of benefits. It will make the process easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved. It allows creativity to flow. And who knows what future business recommendations could come from a happy client?

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CLient relations

Let’s sit down and talk turkey

Let’s sit down and talk turkey

Money can often be an issue which causes relationships to break down. It’s really important both parties are clear on what the arrangement is. The price of design can vary a lot depending on the specifics. Being upfront about your budget and priorities will help ensure you find the right solution.

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Creative Process

A computer screen isn’t  the answer to every question

A computer screen isn’t the answer to every question

It’s good to step away from your computer once in a while. Staring at a screen can cause your thoughts to stagnate instead of generating ideas. Whilst your computer can help to facilitate an idea, it’s not always the right tool for every job. We like to get physical, look at books, brainstorm, take pictures, build lego, draw.

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Freelance Life

Don’t be all sizzle and no sausage

Don’t be all sizzle and no sausage

It’s better to exceed expectations than to be a massive disappointment. Ultimately, people will remember what you deliver. While it’s good to be confident, there’s nothing more embarrassing than bigging yourself up and then getting caught short.

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Creative Process

Maybe you just need to start again

Maybe you just need to start again

Sometimes it’s best to let go and start again. Don’t force an idea because you’re emotionally attached, like a limpet, to the bits you love. You can always use the assets you’re pleased with for another project in the future.

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Productivity

3 cups of coffee before lunch is probably unnecessary

3 cups of coffee before lunch is probably unnecessary

Stop procrastinating. You don’t need another cup of coffee.

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Freelance Life

It feels good to say 'no'

It feels good to say ‘no’

When you’re starting out, whether freelancing or setting up your own business, you often have to take on work you don’t really want to do. It’s not ideal, but you’ve got to pay those bills.

However, one of the best things about being your own boss is that you can say ‘no’. For me, those moments have proven to be some of the most liberating, and a real marker of progress. Easier said than done I know, but I can’t recommend enough getting your finances to a place where you have a bit of breathing room.

As the saying goes ‘a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money’. By saying no to work, you are establishing how you want to work and the values that you believe are more important than financial gain. Over time, those decisions solidify into a working culture, and define who you are and what your business is.

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Freelance Life

Enjoy it when it’s good, don’t panic when it’s not

Enjoy it when it’s good, don’t panic when it’s not

Freelance work, by its nature, fluctuates. But that doesn’t mean you have to fluctuate emotionally. After you’ve been doing it for a while, you can get to grips with the seasons of work and learn to relax when things aren’t as vibrant as you want. Use that time to enjoy your personal projects. It’s also valuable for self promotion. And, when times are good, step back and take a moment to enjoy that too, because that’s why you’re doing this.

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Productivity

It’s ok to switch off your emails for a couple of hours

It’s ok to switch off your emails for a couple of hours

Disconnect… To get your work done, you need to focus. The constant noise of emails and notifications aren’t going to help you do that. Close down your email, put your mind to work, shut out the noise.

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Work Life Balance

Long hours are overrated

Long hours are overrated

Maybe we’re just lazy, but we believe that there’s more to life than being glued to your desk. It is possible to run a successful design agency without making your team work long hours to meet deadlines. Don’t run the risk of exhausting their minds and their creativity.

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CLient relations

Don’t confuse what people ask for with what they need

Don’t confuse what people ask for with what they need

Your job as a designer is to help people achieve a set of objectives. Your skill is knowing how to do that with design. Quite often a client will set a brief with just the end result in mind but, without being obstinate, your role is to ask the right questions and figure out the best path: ‘Why do you need a website?’ ‘What do you need it to do?’ Be confident in your knowledge and abilities. Take the lead.

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Productivity

Do one thing at a time

Do one thing at a time

I think that years of swiping through images and posts on our iPhones has made us unfocused and impatient. Focusing on one task at a time is so fulfilling and, unsurprisingly, helps you to achieve so much more! Act like your mother: write a list and do one thing at a time. Put the worst things at the top of your list and do those first. It’s such a relief when they’re done.

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Freelance Life

Don’t be smug, don’t get complacent

Don’t be smug, don’t get complacent

Smug people are irritating. Doing something well doesn’t warrant cockiness. Remember that there is always room for improvement and that there are always more goals to achieve.

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CLient relations

Best not to reply to emails when you’re angry

Best not to reply to emails when you’re angry

Tempting as it is to reply, all guns blazing, to whoever might have been foolish enough to cross you, a raging argument over email seldom leads to business benefits. Also, bear in mind that email isn’t a great format for the nuances of mood or tone, so there’s a chance you just misunderstood. Either way, it might be best to step back and have a couple of jaffa cakes before letting fly with what you really think

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