Design Sur5val Series: AIGA Charlotte Fight Night

This is the first of a series of post I am preparing called “Sur5val Tips for Designers”. It is an extension of a grad design project I worked on at SCAD. The goal is to share tips from my own experiences as well as advice I have received from other designers and creative professionals. Each post will contain 5 tips on a particular topic or event. Topics will range from creative inspiration to professional development and recaps from upcoming conference and talks. I hope the tips in the posts will be useful and spark an idea or discussion. If there are any particular topics you want to see, I am happy to research and post! This week’s post is a recap on AIGA Charlotte‘s first ever Fight Night with Charlotte designers Matt Stevens and Joey Ellis.

As a designer it is important to get out of your everyday environment. What better way to do so, than hang out with other designers while listing to designers talk about design! It may seem strange to hang out with people in the same professional field, but you would be surprised at how different we are.  Since I work with a small in-house team, I try to attend local design events when I get a chance; in most cases my work besties come along. We can take back information to help us grow individually and collectively. They are a great way to network and hear from well-established and up-and-coming designers. I have been following both Matt and Joey’s work for a while. It has a strong presence in Charlotte as well as beyond the local scope. They have worked for some dream brands such as Google, Pinterest, Disney, Facebook and Nike. Charlotte’s design presence is small, but growing. It is cool to see designers knocking out amazing work for amazing brands in your town.

For the event, the two were pitted against each other through a series of questions. The responses were a mix of humor, wit and lots of great points and advice about being a designer. Below are my top 5 favorite responses from some of the categories:

1 – On Exposure:

  • Joey (J): Be unapologetic – just post. Don’t be afraid to post work in progress
  • Matt (M): Use blogs and social media to show your process. Great way for potential clients and employers to see how you work.

2 – On Pricing:

  • J: Track your time
  • M: Give yourself room to negotiate. Break down all parts of the cost and remove components to adjust pricing as needed.

3 – On Choosing Projects (Freelance):

  • J: Really read the project emails. Did they send it to just you or 100 other designers?
  • M: Use your morals and beliefs. If you have to hide it, maybe its not for you. Set a criteria list.

4 – On Project Funding:

  • M: Keep it simple. For example, t-shirts are great but you need to think about the various sizes and shipping.
  • J: Keep promoting if you have reached your funding goal before the deadline. This reminds the backers about their pledge just in case their form of payment has changed or expired.

5 – General Tips:

  • M: Get out, be social, make people aware of who you are
  • J: Always look busy

Hope these tips help! Looking forward to the next AIGA event.


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