Have you got any advice for the aspiring designers out there?
I’d say get involved with something like the design forum and produce stuff even for free, find a club that needs flyers or something. But try to find something where you have quite a lot of freedom, just do stuff for free whatever you can get printed.
When your a designer people expect you to do that anyway for community groups or clubs they might have an event or a website or want some work for there social medias, or posters. Theres always stuff like that knocking about that people don’t really want to pay for. Then you can just have fun with it.
You learn a lot from doing that because you can start to see what works and what doesn’t work, and from that it doesn’t take long before you start to get people ring you up. Like it works like if you clean chimneys sweeper and your clean and don’t leave a mess when your mate needs one you’d recommend that one. It can snowball quite quickly when you find the right job but you never know when you might find that right job. I’ve nearly missed a call thinking it was a sells call and it turned out to be ten years worth of work. Quite often that will happen one time out of 25 and the other times it might be someone ringing up asking if you do business cards where its not really going to go anywhere.
But even with that you have to be even though sometimes your heart sinks a bit because they’re not going to want to pay our rate but its not there fault they’re phoning because they want to achieve something just like everyone else, they just don’t know what the route is to doing that so you try your best to guide them in the right direction to doing that while trying to extricate from the process.
But sometimes we’ll say that if you haven’t got much of a budget we will recommend them to go to UWE. Might set a little project.
Yeah we have a website where they set live briefs for us.
Well yeah that’s great, I mean because your doing extra jobs then to put in your portfolio, because thats what we would look for, I wouldn’t really even ask what you got for your degree would just ask to see your portfolio was like.
I was never asked to have my degree seen.
Especially as we work for ourselves now, but I would be much more interested in seeing your work and talking to you as a person seeing if we’d get on with you making sure theres no typos in the work because actually thats quite important if you let work go out and it’s wrong with clients that just wouldn’t wash off.
No clients going to want that thought it says a lot about you that you can’t be bothered to read it. That advice is all we ever did. The clients got more high profile we started with the Arnolfini and did work for them and at the time they didn’t really have that much money but still had a lot to do so doing catalogues and stuff for them. Through them we got public art south west that was a bit of fee paint work and that was some good work, then the architecture centre that was another one did there initial corporate identity.
So one job led onto another in a way?
Yeah and the job for the government Jon said about earlier we got that from a postcard that we put up in a printers, they saw a postcard with our number on it.
A lot of people just like our name to be honest we’ve had that a few times where people rang up because they liked our name.
It is quite an interesting name though! Is there a reason that you chose it?
No not really!
It’s nothing really except the fact that we didn’t just want to be someone and someone associates.
As it’s such a different name I guess it makes you stand out?
Well at the time it did in particular but now theres a lot of different names but at the time it did really help us.
So that one person seeing that postcard elevated us to another level of getting quite a bit of work and regularly getting quite busy.
Like able to get a mortgage sort of level, from no where near being able to get a mortgage. From someone seeing a postcard and getting nearly 10 years worth of work.
Just taking stuff on getting it printed making sure your number is on it and getting people to talk bout you doing stuff, thats very painless networking you don’t have to go to breakfast meetings and stuff like the thought of that makes me want to run a mile, but then again I don’t want to be cold calling people, it just means your working and it makes you feel good about yourself and feel valued. If you find the right people and they like you and they recommend you, if someone recommends you the client trusts you right from the start and you don’t have to explain yourself as much.
Yeah because if someone that they trusts has recommended you they feel like they should trust you because they wouldn’t of recommended you otherwise?
But you get to the stage but sometimes you’ve got to start of a conversation and start by talking about the money but its got to be done. You just have to say that there is a value to this because sometimes you need to make sure that people are willing to pay the price for the amount of work that needs to be done. Now it’s absolutely second nature to us, and if someone doesn’t pay you just have to ring up and say can you pay me, there’s no holding back because theres a value to it. Like it’s a bit harder for students like we’re saying do things for free but you should recognise the value of it.
They have said that at uni they have recommended we shouldn’t do to much for free.
Well I think what we’re talking about is smaller charities and little clubs that you can get involved in. Like my kids are in primary school and the amount of things that I do for spring fairs and stuff like that you can’t charge them but then there’s all those parents who work for organisations that can say oh yeah I know someone.
So you kind of get your name out there with that and it spreads the word into smaller places.
But for me there is more of a value to the PTA for doing that so they can raise some money or they get plenty of people to come to the christmas tree sell or whatever.
As long as they appreciate it i goes because it’s not just some mediocre design work.
Or not just people taking advantage of your good will. I think even with some charity work, not all of the stuff that we do is for free like we try to do it for a reasonable rate but we do it on the basis that they get the maximum out of the money that they pay. The reason we do that is though because we really enjoy doing it but we can’t work all day for no money.
You still have to make a living.
Yeah they would never get anyone to work with though if that was the case though because no one will be able to do that much work for free. Therefore they would fail because they wouldn’t be able to communicate. So thats quite an interesting quite a grey area with working with charities. Like we will do some free work for smaller charities. But on the other hand we do a lot of work for bigger charities where they have a bit more value to the work where there is much more of a structure.
They probably would be the charities which may have a the money for those sorts of things.
Yeah that’s a really good example, like I said earlier about working for the Arnolfini like technically they can be classed as a charity but they can pay a little bit. Often though even with charities we do heavily discount the rate but I would tell them what it would be without the discount, to make it recognisable what the value is so that they don’t recognise us as cheap and say we’ll use them because they’re cheap.
Especially if they end up recommending you to someone who isn’t a charity they will be able to say what the full value of your work is.
It’s always good to let people know that just for your self esteem at first but also so that they feel like they’re getting a really good deal, but if they don’t know your doing that then they wont appreciate it.
Interview conducted by Kayleigh Yearsley and Jacob Webb.
They are Graphic Designers based in Bristol, it was established in 1992 by Sean Purser and Jon Ogborne. They both work as the designers and they run the business too. They try to focus on being simple. They believe that successful design comes from good relationships and this means they work with their clients closely and create a partnership to help them achieve there aims for the company and create something that works for them. Working in this way has helped them to achieve a portfolio of successful projects for a huge variety of organisations both locally and nationwide.