Editor's Note: Dear Bonnie welcomes your questions: DearBonnie@designobserver.com
I want to build an internet-based design studio. I recently read How To Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy and found it very interesting, but I'm worried about my ability to translate its ideas into an online design studio.
Secondly, what are the best practices for getting good clients and how do you keep good client relationships?
Interested in India
Regarding your first concern, a design studio is a design studio is a design studio. I think Shaughnessy would agree that there are not too many fundamental differences between having an office where clients can visit and not. The concerns would be more practical and emotional for you and shouldn't affect the business of graphic design. Most brick and mortar design studios also have an internet presence and I'm assuming you are also a real person who exists in the real world. In both scenarios, you simply need to do good work and maintain good relationships with clients who are right for you.
Which brings me to your next question: Good work begets good work, which is to say people who like what you do and the way you think will find you. If they don't, you can approach potential clients directly, enter competitions, and promote yourself on social media. However, nothing will happen without being able to show the world what you can do (even if they're made up projects). A strong portfolio will be your foot in the door.
Once you have clients, good relationships with them depend on honesty, flexibility, open communication, and, not to be a broken record, but good work that responds to and goes beyond their expectations. A comprehensive and straightforward contract doesn't hurt either.Dear Bonnie,What is the future of design in retail?Regards,Window dressing in Wisconsin
When I gaze into my magic 8 1/2 ball, I see a huge future for design in retail. Indubitably.
Under the threat of online shopping, the pressure will be on offline retailers to deliver compelling three dimensional shopping experiences. It's up to stores to reward visitors with meaningful, entertaining non-virtual interactions. This challenge is exciting because it means that retail designers will need to be incredibly creative for the very survival of real world shopping. Therefore it would seem to me that, if non-dot-com businesses are smart, the demand for interesting and innovative retail design will grow exponentially.