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Essential Business Tips for Graphic Designers
WMT Section: Webmaster Tips - WMT Category: Graphics
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Keep Portfolios Current

Graphic design changes according to trends over time just like any other industry. It is important to keep a design portfolio current. This means adding new work to the portfolio and removing redundant or dated work. New portfolio pieces should be created that address the most current trends. Detecting these emerging trends involves staying engaged with clients and the industry. A current and changing portfolio can draw in new business while also bringing back older clients.

Incorporate New Tools and Techniques

New technology affects graphic design in many different ways. Graphic designers should always strive to incorporate the newest tools and techniques when performing work. New software tools can provide unique effects that make work distinctive. They can also increase efficiency by making composition, layout and publication easier. Incorporating new tools and techniques will keep the business prepared for the demands of the future.

Get As Much Exposure as Possible

Graphic designers must get as much exposure as possible through advertising and marketing in order attract work consistently. This means getting the name of the designer and some of the portfolio into many different websites and publications. Even small freelance job websites or local venues can help to generate business over time. Additionally, designers should take part in events and competitions whenever possible to increase the profile of the business. Marketing efforts should include both online and offline print strategies. The amount of exposure a graphic designer gets will directly affect the number of clients and leads generated each year.

Build a Network of Contacts and Leads

Graphic designers can get a large amount of business through word of mouth referrals. It is important to build a network of contacts and leads just for this purpose. Passing out business cards, keeping an email list or using social media can keep everyone in touch. A network of contacts could potentially refer new clients to the designer. It is also a valuable resource when trying to overcome business problems or learn about industry trends and changes.

Always Meet Deadlines

The reputation and reliability of a graphic designer is critical for success. Clients will actively avoid designers who have a poor history or reputation. Building a good reputation means always meeting deadlines. Projects should be completed on time or early for every client. Projects that have unrealistic and unachievable deadlines should be avoided or negotiated. Clients should always be contacted if an emergency affects the deadline. Keeping deadlines will make sure a graphic designer is seen as trustworthy and dependable.

Always Act Professionally

Professionalism is essential for any graphic design business. The designer and anyone associated with the company should behave and look professional when meeting with clients. All business transactions should be properly documented. Invoices and proofs should be provided to formalize different stages of the process. All communications from clients or leads should be answered promptly. Professionalism instills trust and confidence in clients.

Maintain Contact with Past Clients

A smart graphic designer will try to stay in contact with past clients. Previous clients who were happy with the work can be targeted with subtle marketing over time. This can bring the client back as a paying customer. Staying in touch with past clients also provides a communications channel that could lead to referrals and new business. Past clients should receive occasional updates about the designer including the newest work or announcements. This will remind past clients about the designer when making decisions later.

Establish and Follow Firm Business Policies

Every graphic designer should establish and follow firm business policies. Working without policies can lead to many situations where bills are not paid, money is lost and projects stretch on for longer than expected. Policies should be created regarding billing practices, project revisions, insurance and customer service. These policies should be enforced when necessary and printed clearly on documents like invoices or service contracts. This prevents clients from taking advantage of a graphic designer.
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