Artisan Blog

4 Effective Meeting Formats

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Although many in-person meetings are still held in offices or conference rooms, try leaving the office behind where possible to promote flexible thinking and energized collaboration.  Managers are creating playful and unconventional environments to help their teams think differently.

Some innovative companies have found that fresh and powerful insights can emerge when they challenge conventional notions of how meetings are conducted and bring people together by holding different meeting formats.

Here are four meeting formats that startups and large corporations have used to bring colleagues together in new and refreshing ways. If you want to treat your team to a dash of the unexpected, give one of these meetings a try!

Walking Meetings

With the popularity of standing desks and on-site gyms, it is clear that creative professionals and companies prize fitness and physical activity. Incorporating exercise into routine activities has been proven to increase creativity.

Walking meetings are a part of this trend. Instead of sitting in a conference room or office, many teams have found that moving their muscles, getting their hearts pumping, getting fresh air and experiencing a change of scenery can be more fun and productive. Harvard Business Review has some best practices for walking meetings

Active Meetings

If everyone in your group is up for breaking a sweat, you might try a meeting that entails additional physical activity.

In Fast Company, Stephanie Vozza shares unusual meeting formats from twelve cutting-edge companies. For example, Genera Games, holds meetings on the basketball court. Such a meeting can drive nimble thinking, allow players to indulge their competitive streaks, and, in the case of Genera, helps put employees in the mindset of the mobile gamers who use their products.

Creative Meetings

At Plum Organics, team members are encouraged to hit the books - coloring books. As they meet and discuss business matters, they engage "right-brained" thought by using paper, colored pencils, and crayons to jog neurons that aren't often in play in such settings.

According to Innovation Director Jen Brush, as featured in Vozza’s piece, an activity such as coloring promotes active listening, an important workplace skill that suffers when employees are "multitasking on something like email."

Brush holds coloring meetings every Thursday and says they have been an important factor in developing new products.

Gamified Meetings

Another example in Vozza's article is Darrell Ghert, a VP at the Inqusium division of Cvent. In the past, the quality of Ghert's meetings suffered from chronic lateness - some team members consistently showed up ten minutes behind schedule. This problem was a stubborn fixture of the office culture, not something he could fix by making threats.

Rather than getting frustrated, Ghert came up with a fun idea to help team members modify their behavior. Anyone who is late to one of his meetings is now required to sing. "We’ve heard the national anthem, happy birthday, and nursery rhymes," he says. However, these performances have become more rare, as almost everyone now shows up on time.

This sort of gamification is a step beyond the traditional rewards and demerits of the workplace - it is a system that improves processes while also itself serving as an example of creative thinking and problem-solving.

At Artisan Creative, we are deeply engaged with the changing culture of the workplace and want to help our world-class creative talent and clients do their best work, take advantage of new opportunities, and mine crucial insights that can change the world. Contact us today to learn more.

We are celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 438th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Generating Sticky Ideas

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Some think of creative inspiration as that elusive moment of epihany when the lightning bolt of clarity suddenly strikes. If you're a creative professional or entrepreneur, you know that you can't rely on such breakthroughs to happen simply when you need them to.

That's why many of the tried and true books in the creative industry focus on proven, repeatable formulas for generating effective ideas at any time, even when you're not feeling like Leonardo Da Vinci.

One such book is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath. Drawing from backgrounds in science, marketing, and folklore, the Heath brothers set out to find patterns among "sticky ideas," concepts that catch on, spread, and "stick" in the collective memory of an audience. Released in 2007, this book has become an essential read in the advertising/marketing trades and beyond; its ideas have proven remarkably prescient in fields from pop culture to politics to online memes.

The Heaths boil down the essence of a sticky idea to six core principles, which they describe in their "SUCCESs" model. You can use this formula to generate your own ideas and to test them for "stickiness," no matter what sort of creative work you're doing.

Ask yourself if your idea meets the following descriptions, as the most "stickiest" of ideas tend to be:

1. Simple

To win the minds and hearts of an audience, get right to the point. "The man who chases two rabbits catches neither," says one Confucian proverb, and if you make a complicated argument with several different key points, your audience is unlikely to remember any of them. Your ideas must be simple, useful, and profound. Practice cutting away all that essential fat on your ideas, until they're lean, strong, and unforgettable.

2. Unexpected

The most memorable ideas disrupt norms or break predictable patterns. You can use counterintuitive and surprising ideas to roust people out of their trances, making them laugh, think, or take action.

Consider the iconic tagline from the rental company Avis: “We’re number two, so we try harder.” In this campaign, the company grabs attention by confessing a weakness - it has a long way to go to catch up with Hertz, the industry leader - and inverts it into a strength. Audiences expect companies to puff themselves up; they don’t expect them to admit to weakness, or to explain how it actually makes them stronger. With its sincerity, self-deprecation, and use of the unexpected, this Avis campaign ‘stuck’ for 50 years.

3. Concrete

A concrete idea is specific, vivid, and visceral. It has mass, weight, and impact. In a world accustomed to the lofty abstractions of academic and corporate jargon, a concrete idea will stand out. Practice communicating your ideas in pictures, sounds, and feelings, and take advantage of the human mind's natural affinity for information that appeals to the senses.

4. Credible

You may not be a doctor (or even play one on television), however you should be able to support your ideas with a sense of trusted authority. Celebrity endorsements and personal stories work because when trusted public figures are willing to stake their reputations on something, those who trust and admire them will approach it with confidence. If you can't get the Surgeon General to endorse your product, you can show it in action, present case studies, or cite striking statistics and details to enhance your credibility.

5. Emotional

An appeal to a person's pride, fear, anger, or compassion is usually more effective than trying to convince them with logic. To quote Jonathan Swift, "you cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into." Even the most rational and sophisticated people can only override their core emotions with great difficulty.

6. Stories

Timeless storytelling structures such as "the hero's journey" are still used by Hollywood screenwriters because they work. They can hook an audience's attention and appeal to shared and deeply held values. They work just as well for advertisers and creative professionals. Storytelling can even help build a better portfolio - instead of piecing together a collection of projects, embrace an internal structure and communicate a story of how you've evolved and what you've learned from your experience.

Creativity is a science and an art, and it can be learned. Contact Artisan Creative, and we'll provide resources to put you on the creative fast track and provide access to opportunities to improve your work and build your career.

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoyed the 430th issue of our weekly a.blog. You can find more articles here.


7 Sites to Get You Creatively Connected

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 427th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Design is a field of study, it’s a career path, it’s also a way of life and a way of looking at the world. Design can be inspiration, collaboration, thinking differently and seeing things others don’t.

However, if you are a freelancer working by yourself and without a team to bounce ideas off of—where do you go to get inspiration or find collaborators?

Online communities such as Dribbble or Behance, make it easier than ever to find excellent, cutting-edge visual design and to connect with other like-minded designers and artists. In this blog, we’re going to focus on a few sites that are more about the larger ideas that shape the design world, and the community that inhabits it. This is where we go for design inspiration beyond the aesthetic.

Creative Mornings

Creative Mornings, created by Tina Roth Eisenberg, is a series of talks by creative leaders in cities around the world. The talks start early and are almost always filled to capacity. Over the years, Creative Mornings has expanded to encompass a podcast, a smart and funny email newsletter, and a tight-knit, enthusiastic community that helps professionals in all creative fields get more from their lives and careers. Their website includes an archive of talks for countless hours of inspiration.

PSFK

A consultancy that drives innovation in retail, advertising, and design, PSFK also maintains a long-running active, and addictive blog. It’s a go-to for quick hits on global creative events, bizarre and controversial marketing campaigns, glimpses of potentially world-changing technologies and innovations. PSFK is always good for a reminder that we are all part of this weird and wonderful carnival of creativity.

A List Apart

Digging beneath its simple and humble design into its archive of articles, it quickly becomes obvious how influential A List Apart has been on the past few years of web design. Between its blog and series of books, it has showcased the writing of numerous luminaries in UX, Information Architecture, Design, Development, and more. For challenging and informative “long reads” on a range of topics in digital design, A List Apart merits regular reading and revisiting.

99u

99u is an expansive educational site owned by Adobe, with content addressing all the aspects, challenges, and joys of the creative business. It features a comprehensive event calendar, interviews with the most intriguing and successful minds in advertising and design, think-pieces that upend conventional wisdom and point in new directions, and a mission to help creatives do better work, be more effective citizens, and help commerce and society move forward.

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings isn’t about design per se - it’s about, well, everything. In her ongoing attempt to understand the sweep of culture, philosophy, science, creativity, and the human experience, Maria Popova has honed a remarkable penchant for connecting different ideas to each other. The joy of Brain Pickings comes from falling into a digital rabbit hole, bouncing from a piece on privacy to a profile of eccentric scientists to the lost illustrations of Ralph Steadman, electrifying the parts of the brain that take joy in unusual patterns.

AIGA

One of design industry’s oldest and largest professional organizations for design—25,000 members strong, this community is a great resource for learning, collaboration, and community! Look for a local chapter and attend events, read blogs and meet other creatives in your community

Artisan Creative’s Resource page

We’ve compiled a running list of professional organizations, portfolio sites, and freelancer resources to help you connect with other creatives. Our blogs page has over 400 articles on interviewing, freelancing, time management and much more. And our open jobs page connects you with open roles.

The best content starts conversations. Did we miss one of your favorites above? Let us know in the comments!

Creating New Habits For Success

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 426th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Sometimes, there's simply no substitute for hard work. Behavioral change that is meaningful is hard to do, and transition only gains traction when the right goals and structure are in place. If goals include developing healthy or productive new habits for success, then the mantra "work smarter, not harder" must resonate.

Willpower is a perishable resource, as it's not the most efficient or sustainable means of establishing a new habit. Set yourself up for success with the following concrete, time-tested strategies:

1. Use SMART Goals

Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Let’s say you’re considering a career change. How can you make this a SMART goal?

Get specific. If your local newspaper ran a story about you hitting your goal, what would it say? Make it measurable. What quantifiable benchmarks do you plan to hit? Is your goal achievable? Are you comfortable rearranging your life and allocating your resources to make this career change happen? How relevant will your new role be in 3-5 years? Does this new career make use of your existing talents and experience, and will the day-to-day realities of it make you happy? How much time will it take to make this transition?

After answering these tough questions and achieving clarity on what you’re doing, you now have a workable plan of action.

2. Make a Timeline

Making your goals time-bound is arguably the most important step toward staying accountable. It takes advantage of our habitual inclination to organize our work on a schedule.

Depending on what you want to accomplish, you may want to make a five-year plan, or decide how on you want to spend the next month. When pursuing any goal, remember that deadlines are lifelines, and that you can prime yourself to get things done by making specific time commitments and planning to deliver on time every time.

For more long-term goals, set short-term benchmarks to make sure you are on track, and check in with yourself every so often to see how you are doing. If you want to become a full-time creative freelancer in two years, plan to have a strong online portfolio in a month, take on your first client in 90 days, and so on. If you miss a smaller goal, you will have plenty of time to determine what went wrong and get yourself back on track.

There are countless apps and software programs designed to help you stick to a defined timetable. Remember the Milk, Basecamp, and Google Calendar are some of the simplest and most popular. Experiment with a few tools until you find one that works for you.

3. Have an Accountability Partner

Everything in life is more meaningful when we share it with others, and reaching your goals is easier when you aren’t going it alone. Find someone with similar objectives, starting at a similar level, and make a plan to connect regularly, motivate each other, keep each other on track, offer honest feedback, and celebrate your victories.

If you want to make rapid progress in growing your business or career, reach out to Artisan Creative today. We have a broad network of creative talent and top-shelf clients, and the experience to help you navigate the modern workplace and understand the principles that govern it.


Tips for Developing Your Design Portfolio

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 425th issue of our weekly a.blog.

When seeking to fill a creative role, hiring managers often request a portfolio that shows the body of work a designer has successfully compiled over the years. However, if you are beginning your creative career or looking to break into a new vertical within creative, you may have to think of news ways to add relevant samples to your portfolio.

It may seem like a Catch-22: the only way to gain experience is to already have it.

Here are several options to develop your design portfolio further, gain more experience or try a new vertical:

Ask Friends & Family

Look within your network. Ask your friends and family for referrals to other small businesses and colleagues. Who do they know who can benefit from your creative expertise and may not have the resources to go to a design firm or agency?

Explore Personal Projects

Have you ever wanted to re-brand a favorite product? Have you ever said, I would love to work for that brand? How would you tackle an assignment if you were to land a project with a favorite company? Here’s your opportunity to take creative license and give your favorite brand a new look! (Note: Make sure you are clear in your portfolio that this was a personal project or add a special section for exploratory work to your portfolio.) 

Consider Non-Profit work

Accepting pro bono work for a non-profit or for a cause you are passionate about is a good way to build experience in a new vertical. Many nonprofits and community organizations need the skills and savvy of creative professionals to get their message out, although they may not have the budget to do so. This creates ample opportunities to take on exciting and challenging projects that look great on your resume, in your portfolio and give you an opportunity to strengthen your community.

This also enables you to try out different ideas, discover what type of work you enjoy, and hone your unique voice and vision. Because of the unique marketing challenges they face, nonprofit organizations provide creative professionals the opportunity to develop some truly remarkable and memorable projects.

As a creative professional, you have the power to change the way people think. If you want to harness that power for good, pro bono work for a non-profit may give you the opportunity to do just that.

As a job seeker, you have heard many times about the importance of a personal brand or a meaningful story that ties together your work. By taking on pro bono or passion project opportunities, you can explore the issues that matter to you.

How to Get Started

Opportunities for pro bono creative work are everywhere, look around and ask. Contact organizations you admire and, if they are receptive, pitch your ideas to them directly. Or, you can go through the Taproot Foundation, which helps creatives and nonprofits find each other. (It's like Artisan Creative, for the nonprofit world.)

And, of course, we are here to help you define your goals, build your skills, gain clarity on your mission, and seek out all sorts of professional opportunities. Contact us today to learn more.

 

Building Your Network

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 423rd issue of our weekly a.blog.

To build a network, you want to be simultaneously interested in the people around you, the things they do and need, and the ideas that drive them. Great minds are, in fact, very interested in other people!

Here are some guiding principles to help you build a new network—or expand an existing one—of people who can help you along your personal and professional journey.

Set Your Intention

Before you set out to do anything, put some thought into what you're looking for in creating new connections. Set a clear intention, and use that intention to guide your behavior.

Make sure your goals are realistic, attainable, and thoughtful. Start with a goal that's easy to hit and build from there. For example, if you're attending a conference with the goal of learning something new, add an additional goal of meeting 2-3 new people within your industry during your time there.

 

Setting the right intention will guide all of your actions when building your network.

 

Do Your Research

Part of setting your intention is determining who you want to add to your network. Perhaps there's a specific company you want to work for or a specific person you'd like to call on for advice. What types of professionals do you envision as your mentors and collaborators?

With your intention established, begin your research. Where do these people congregate to share their ideas and experiences? Are they online on Linkedin groups or do they meet in person at Meetups or industry conferences? What are they passionate about and where do they access information that matters to them? Where do your own skills and interests intersect with their values and needs?

Most importantly, what specific discussions and content would potentially help the people in your network?

Add Value

Reciprocity is the principle that governs all professional relationships. You can only expect others to treat you with as much respect as you offer. Approach all networking as an opportunity to help others.

Determine the issues that challenge others in your wider network and devise creative ways to solve them. Instead of asking for favors, pitch ideas as possible solutions. Offer value without expecting anything in return, and over time you will become someone that others will want to add to their network too!

It's essential that your desire to help be genuine. Too many eager networkers try too hard to seem helpful when they're really out for themselves. This erodes both trust and patience and discourages people from willing to partner with you.

Be a Connector

If you follow these principles, you will meet more people than you are able to help on your own. As this happens, introduce them to other people in your network who are better positioned to help and may have the skills you lack.

By making effective introductions, author James Altucher has built a network that includes leaders in technology, business, and the arts, many of whom he has interviewed on his successful podcast. He describes his method as becoming a “super-connector.”

To preserve the value of your relationships, follow the rules behind another Altucher concept, "Permission Networking." That is, don't introduce two people unless you've cleared it with both of them and you know it will add value to both of their lives and careers.

Enjoy Yourself

Building a network should be an extension of your own work and life as well as add value for everyone involved. It doesn't have to involve activities that you aren't comfortable doing.

If you don't attend networking events, you can just as easily use these principles to build relationships by networking online. Author Derek Coburn jokes that "networking events are the nightclubs of the professional world"—they can be useful and fun, but they're not for everyone — and says that  "Networking 3.0" happens online.

 

You'll have an easier time building a network if you're in your element, doing what you do best, stretching yourself, and helping others in a way that also works for you.

 

Use Your Resources

You can achieve explosive growth in your networking efforts if you plug into large and existing networks, such as the one we've spent years building here at Artisan Creative. Connect with us to discover how we can all help each other thrive.

The Art of Marketing Your Skills

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 422nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

Our work landscape is changing rapidly and we have to be prepared to change with it. Whether you're looking for new freelance opportunities or a full-time job, it’s important to think like an entrepreneur.

Even if you've never thought of yourself as an entrepreneur, one who often has to be the top salesperson, the marketing expert, as well as the billing and collections agent, you can create more opportunities and open yourself up for greater success if you think of yourself as an entrepreneurial brand. That means it’s your responsibility to market yourself and flex your creative muscles in new ways to bring fresh clarity to your priorities, values, and goals.

As you become more comfortable with marketing yourself, here are some core principles to keep in mind drawn from the work of respected marketing authorities and tested in the crucible of international business.

Own Your Own Niche

Being the first one in your category is the first law of Al Reis and Jack Trout’s 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

Inventing your own category gives tremendous advantage and allows you to make the rules that your competition must follow. If you can't be the first in a broad category, claim a subcategory, and be the best to market in your own distinct niche.

For example, your focus may be web design. Although you may not be the first web designer in your city, you may still have an opportunity to focus on a specific clientele base or have an expertise in a vertical. To build your reputation in a specific niche, attend industry and networking events, study hard, learn a lot and become a subject matter expert.

Think Like a Storyteller

Even if you're not trained as a storyteller or fiction writer, you've probably loved enough films, novels, and anecdotes to intuitively appreciate the power of a good yarn.

When you describe your career trajectory, victories won, and challenges overcome, try thinking in terms of the "mono-myth" of "The Hero's Journey." Fiction writers, filmmakers, and marketers have used this structure to guide them down many different paths.

Share your story, your inspiration, your process—tell the story of why you stand out in your field and how you differentiate.

Start looking for the "Hero's Journey" structure, and you'll see it everywhere. It has shaped careers, lives, and civilizations. How can you harness the power of story telling to tell your own tale?

Be Candid

A candid approach highlights your sincerity and shows you have nothing to hide. A sense of humor or a quirky personality will resonate better with potential clients and employers with a similar sensibility. If you are clear as to who your target audience is, then it’s easier to be yourself.

Some brands have had tremendous success by poking fun at their own shortcomings. Avis struggled for years to overtake Hertz, to no avail. Finally, it increased its profile and drew a lot of new customers when it embraced the slogan, "We're #2, so we try harder."

Be your best self, and be proud of it. This gives you the freedom to be comfortable and honest.

Continue Learning

When defining your unique combination of skills, keep one eye on how relevant you expect them to be in five years. In the digital world, bubbles form and burst often. Job titles may change, so build continuously on your core competencies and adapt.

Continued education is key in many industries and the creative and marketing industry is no different. Be sure to continue your learning and sharpen the tools of your trade.  Sites such as Lynda.com or General Assembly are great resources.

Continuously iterate on your own marketing message. Use methodologies such as A/B testing to refine your ideas, build on what others respond do, and discard what isn’t working.

Represent Yourself

As you blend your range of skills and experience into a coherent, memorable storyline, make sure the story reflects who you really are. Heed the advice of marketing guru Seth Godin, to "under promise and over deliver."

If you make promises you can't keep, you will find yourself in positions you aren't qualified for, or assignments you aren’t excited about.

A well-branded portfolio will continue to support your story and be a representation of your skills. The story of your creative thinking, along with a display of your most current work, your involvement in a project, and your collaboration with other team members will speak volumes. If you are unable to create a website for yourself, there are wonderful options in the marketplace such as Dribbble or  Behance.

When using social media to market your skills, make sure it’s well branded with a cohesive message woven through all channels. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram—create a unique branding voice that represents you.

Bring your own unique story to life and share it. If you need additional help marketing your skills contact Artisan Creative for representation. We work with hundreds of clients in different verticals who are looking to hire new talent. Your next assignment could be waiting!

 


14 Design Apps We Love

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 412th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Most designers try out dozens of apps before they find the ones that best suit their work habits and enhance their creativity. When love takes root between a designer and an app, it’s the beginning of a long, fruitful, and sometimes passionate relationship.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we like to share fourteen design-related apps that we can’t live without (and wouldn’t want to).

AutoDesk Sketchbook

One of the most versatile and popular drawing apps, Sketchbook includes a collection of tools that would cost hundreds in the three dimensional world!

Behance

Adobe’s portfolio showcase has become an important hub for the design community and one of the first places to spot UI trends.

Pixelmator

Pixelmator is basically a scaled-down version of Photoshop and is one of the most robust and useful free design apps around.

Pages

This simple and stylish word processing app is designed by Apple and comes with fancy templates and features. Despite significant changes between versions, Pages retains its passionate following.

Canva

Canva has become enormously popular as a means for marketing mavens and other non-designers to create eye-catching collateral of their own. With some practice, only a pro will know the difference.

Phonto

Even if you’re not a visual artist, Phonto can hone your creativity by adding cool captions to photos on the fly.

Coolors

Whether you’re new to color theory or your cat is named Pantone, this simple mix-and-match palette generator provides a quick shot of inspiration for design and branding projects.

UX Companion

This educational app provides enough definitions, examples, and in-depth resources to make anyone conversant in User Experience ideas, with a fittingly inviting and intuitive interface.

Glitch Lab

If you want to digitally garble, mangle, or otherwise mess up your photos, this is one of the most powerful toolkits for that. Join the pop art vanguard, use it for inspiration, or just have some fun between projects.

Pixite Complete

For a scant eight bucks, this suite packs six popular photo-editing apps and plenty of stylish effects to facilitate counter intuitive combinations.

Font Candy

This fashionable photo-editing app is built for quick captioning and creates assets that are ready to travel on social media.

Marvel App

Marvel is a soup-to-nuts Swiss Army knife for designing mobile apps on mobile devices.

Exify

When your iPhone photography habit is more than just a hobby, Exify has a full set of features to help you manifest your visions.

Coffitivity

While not functionally a design app, Coffitivity’s portable coffee-shop ambience will perk up your inner creative, even when you’re stuck in the office.

Tips for Reviewing a Design Portfolio

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 408th issue of our weekly a.blog.

When reviewing a design portfolio, it may seem easy to spot a good portfolio, however when you start to study the details to truly understand how the work was created, the layers can become quite complex.

We asked our team of specialized creative recruiters to share their insight on how to successfully review a design portfolio. Their feedback is below.

Site Navigation

How easy is it to navigate the site? When finding your way around a portfolio (assuming it’s a personal portfolio site and not a Behance or Dribbble) think about how you are navigating through each page. What is your user experience? Do you have to click many links just to get the samples? Does the designer show consistency through the layout of their projects?

Thinking Process

What is the thought process behind the presented work? We love when designers break down a project and show various components of a piece, instead of just the final result. Case studies are a great way to see the design thinking behind the work. For example,  if you’re reviewing a portfolio for a branding designer look for logo explorations, type treatments, color applications, identity systems as well as the final product. If it’s a UX portfolio it’s helpful to see UX research, user personas and prototypes so you can see the methodology behind the final product and understand what design problem was solved. Designers are problem solvers by nature and should treat their portfolio in the same manner.

Project Involvement

Clarity on project involvement is crucial to knowing whether the skills listed on a resume match the work presented. Each project should give a clear indication of the designer’s involvement. If there is no mention of project involvement and you choose to progress to an interview ensure that you find out what their involvement was in each project.  More tips on the interview process can be found on our blog How to Hire Creatives.

Aesthetics

Art is subjective—be clear about the visual aesthetic or branding your team is looking for. A graphic designer with a highly illustrative, whimsical visual aesthetic and a graphic designer with a very corporate look may both list the same exact design skills on their resume—however their visuals will be vastly different. 

We hope these tips alleviate some challenges in navigating design portfolios. If you need expert help to help build your dream team please contact us the Artisan Creative a.team!


A Freelancer’s Guide to Expert Client Communication

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

 

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 407th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Any freelancer will know that running your own business requires a broad set of skills and the ability to wear many hats. In addition to doing your job well, you have to manage clients, invoices, new business development and a whole host of other responsibilities. To be a successful freelancer involves satisfied clients with repeat business. With this in mind, how do you please clients and how does good communication affect your business?

Establishing good communication from the start is the pathway to successful projects. By keeping an open dialogue, building rapport and ensuring mutual understanding, clients will want to continue working with you. Revisions and misunderstandings are lessened, which means everyone involved will be satisfied with the outcome.

Listening vs. Talking

Initial stages are all about the client and their needs. Most often clients are coming to you because they have a problem and they need you to solve it. This is your opportunity to listen by giving the client ample time to speak and express their vision.

Project Intake

Managing new clients can be tricky and if you’re busy or feeling stressed it’s easy to miss the all-important details. Create a standard project intake form with key questions to ask each client. Your methodical approach towards taking on a new assignment will be noticed and ensures that you’ll never forget to ask a crucial question.

A Consultative Approach

Clients are hiring you because of your expertise and they’re trusting that you will do what is best for their business. They value your input, so be confident, speak up and offer advice when it’s needed.

Never Assume

The quickest way to a misunderstanding is by making assumptions. If you’re unsure, get clarification. The old adage of “measure twice, cut once” rings true here.

Put It In Writing

If you are taking lots of calls with your clients, always follow up and summarize what you discussed. Whether it’s revisions, project scopes or fees, send a confirmation via email so everyone is on the same page. Better yet, create a project scope form, and a change order form to manage deliverables and edits.

Response Time

As a rule of thumb, aim to respond to a client within 24 hours. Set expectations and deliver to those standards. Unless you’re on instant messaging such as Skype or Slack, clients will appreciate knowing they can expect your response within a set time allocation. If you’re unable to keep to a 24-hour timeframe, let the client know your schedule and that they are a priority. Ask clients for their schedules so you’ll know when to expect feedback and revisions too.

With a few minor processes added to your freelance workflow, you can minimize misunderstandings, enhance productivity and align communication. Focusing on client satisfaction will ensure you are always successful.

What additional experiences can you share with other freelancers?

 

 



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