Freelance Designer, based in Glasgow

Specialising in branding, advertising, digital art working, typography and editorial design.

Self-Promotion

There are few careers that you need to constantly update your CV, regardless of whether you’re employed or not. In an average week, I log into LinkedIn at least a couple of times a day. I post a picture to my design Instagram once a day, like a few twitter posts from national and International Graphic Designers and Artist, like numerous Instagram posts, update my website with new work, and maybe even post a blog; if I find the time. I read several design blogs that help me keep up with current work and trends. Read one, maybe two magazines a week. All the while thinking about updating my Behance. This is tame compared to others. Sometimes I revel in this community of creatives that I’ve stumbled into, occasionally it’s arduous. It’s a requirement – and although I find it all interesting – when it becomes a requirement, it sometimes feels a little too much like work.


All being said, self-promotion as a graphic designer is imperative. 3 years ago I met Craig Black, a talented designer, and a pretty decent guy. For every achievement Craig has – and there are many – he has worked agonisingly hard for. Craig was being shortlisted for awards while he was still at college. During one of our first meetings we discussed the importance of self-promotion, as well as keeping our online professional lives and personal lives separate. His advice on the subject was to keep Facebook for yourself everything else is work. When we last spoke I congratulated him on being featured in business HQ magazine, he replied: “the key is to keep shouting until someone takes notice”. As a Designer getting noticed is crucial to the future of your career, will you get hired if you don’t promote yourself? Maybe. But the odds will be lower. No one likes low odds. In a saturated industry, the only way to get noticed is to at least wave your arms a little. So on that note, here is a list of some of my favourite Graphic Designers on Instagram.

Poster Design

Half and half

These guys are so good I want to squeal with joy when I see their work.

The poster Project

Right out of Glasgow, this is a great place to see varied styles and ideas.

Swiss posters

Does what it says. I’m a massive fan of Scandinavian design.

Typography

Craig Black

Great exploration of type, always trying new things and styles. Representing Glasgow across the globe.

Ian barnard

Hand lettering and digital artist, it’s great to see such beautiful work coming from the UK.

Anthony Burrill

Widely known for his ‘Work hard & be nice to people’ poster. Minimal and clean, a nice contrast to the hand letterers.

Jessica Hische

Jessica doesn’t actually post that often but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her work is unreal, the letterpress work, in particular, is a thing of beauty.

 

Digital illustration

michele marconi

Simon Prades

This guy never fails to stop me in my scrolls.

Design pages

These are a great way to get a good stream of varied work. And as an added bonus if you use their hashtag in your relevant work, you have a chance of getting work featured.

Digital Art

The Design Tip

Typography

Type matters

Typespire

A bit of everything

designspiration

 

Get out there and soak up this creative world we live in.

 

 

4 comments on “Self-Promotion”

  1. Samuel F. says:

    Let me offer a counterpoint.

    First above all, I am not a freelance Graphic Designer, nor do I aim to be. Secondly I am not a great graphic designer. I am able to do very sharp and efficient designs, yet I will never be excellent. Always above average, sometimes (hopefully) above good, but I don’t & can’t consider myself excellent.

    I was surprised by your list of daily activities, because that is merely something I do. I have my list of 6-7 website I browse every morning and that’s about it. As an example, I don’t use Linkedin, and facebook is my main communication plateform. I don’t use twitter and barely use intagram for graphic design. My behance is somewhat abandonned. If what you do is tame compared to others, what I do comes down to nothing when it comes to self-promotion.

    And I think the reason behind that is a point I expressed before. I don’t aim to be an excellent Graphic Designer. Just good, maybe above. I don’t aim for prizes, I work by passion, I work for myself, try to make everything I touch designed and thoroughly thought.

    Exactly as you said, It is too much work, at least for me. though, I thing is clear. Should I have to look for another job, should I work for creative people, as in ‘ a digital agency’ or something like that, it is highly possible that my daily dose of inspiration, documentation, slef promotion and research would increase.

    The reason why I am writing all this is to testify of the immense variety of designers out there. You and I are a very different breed of designers. and you might very well disagree with me on the following, and I will welcome this difference of opinion.

    Designers: Stop worrying about the market being saturated, stop worrying about being recognised, about getting rewards, or being heard. Stop feeling the need to justify your quality as a designer by quoting and listing all of your inspiration. Do things for yourself, and yourself only. Document yourself, and mostly not on graphic design. Be emotionally and culturally intelligent. Being able to list all the excellent designers you know and follow on a daily basis, being able to like X instagram post of X & Y famous agencies will not make you progress. Do things for yourself without looking for anyone’s approval. And, in my very subjective opinion, that is the way to a peacefull and successful life as creative.

    But once again, this is the very subjective opinion of a designer who chose not to race, not to compete, not make myself sick about missed opportunities or failed job interviews, but enjoy what working for my own personnal develoment at my own pace, lead me to do, and god damn. After only 10 years of career, I did some pretty cool stuff.

    Thank you for the opportunity of discussing this topic with you, I look forward to your answer.

    Samuel F.

    1. admin says:

      This in an interesting view. However, I think you misunderstood a large portion of this post.

      I’m not sure which point to address first. I’ll start with your opinion that you’re not a great Graphic Designer. Every job I undertake I want to to be amazing, I want my current work to be better that my last, Why? because I believe the key to being a happy creative, is progression. Ambition drives me to do better, not for anyone else, but for me. I want to know that I gave it my all, and I couldn’t have done better, I want to challenge myself everyday. So as you said, we are very different Designers.

      The list of things I do isn’t solely for promotion, I like to keep on top of events, I like to look at the work colleagues and friends are doing. One of the points I was making with this is to compare the creative industries to another career, where there is little crossover between personal interests and professional development. I think only someone that has been employed for a few years would dismiss the importance of keeping up to date to current affairs. When you’ve been in a room with 100 people that all want the same job as you, you look at things differently.

      As for your opinion that I was listing people on Instagram to justify myself in some way, that’s many things, but mainly absurd. People that read this have an appreciation for beautiful things. I was hoping to bring them more beauty to their daily scrolls.

      I’m aware that designers come in all shapes and sizes. My voice is one of many, and what’s important to me, differs from others. But how boring would it be if we were all alike.

      Keep on designing Samuel F.

  2. Benedetto says:

    Good post Nicola – enjoyed it… Although I like to consider myself a one-man marketing machine 🙂 I think the comment “the key is to keep shouting until someone takes notice” should be tempered with be very, very good as well.

    Watching Steve Jobs present FaceTime in the following video… (1hr, 28mins at https://youtu.be/j0L3LDabve8) shows one of the masters display showmanship, warming a crowd, humour – an absolute masterclass
    In sales/promotion. He could only do that because his product was absolutely first class. Just chucking that into the mix 🙂

    1. Nicola says:

      Thank you, Benedetto.

      I completely agree with you. I think one thing about being open about the work you produce is that it causes you to selfcritise; ‘Is this work good enough, does it represent me, have I achieved what I set out to’. If you answer no to these questions – especially if they are self-initiated projects – you should start asking yourself why.

      Thanks for the link. once again I agree. I think when you know what you have is good, you come to the table with absolute confidence. You don’t need to oversell the product, it almosts sells itself. But if you put something amazing in a dark room and no one will ever know it exists.It’s a beautiful balancing act.

      Thanks again for your input.

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