I want you to know that you are enough, you don't need to prove yourself to anybody, or try to prove your value to anyone. As a working graphic designer, you are already enough. If you do want to help business owners and other people learn what value graphic designers can bring. These ways can definitely help.
Communicate in your work
What you want to do is understand that you can communicate directly to the audience of the business. And this can be done in the choices that you make in your work. This can be dictated by things like font choices, color choices, the types of illustration style that you end up utilizing in your work, all of these things and more can contribute to how you're speaking directly to your audience. Being a designer with so much experience as you, you have an understanding of a variety of illustration styles that can just blow the mind of clients and people if they had known what if they knew what kind of information you had and what capabilities you had to deliver it in your work by being able to demonstrate that you know, their audience, and what would be best for them. Another thing that you can communicate in your work is quality. This is something that is a little bit more nuanced than the illustration style, color palette and other things. But if you're able to really deliver on quality, and paying attention to things like alignment, spacing, consistency, accessibility, even all of these moments in which we provide care in our work contribute to the overall quality of our work, that would be really hard to describe to most viewers so much that they're putting their best foot forward and that they're communicating that they are a professional business, and that they are a brand of quality.
Identify opportunities to achieve your client's goals
Oftentimes, when a client reaches you, they're trying to achieve a certain goal like increased sales, increased engagement, this is about involving them a little bit into your process. What I like to do is I list out all the deliverables that are included in a project to really show the amount of work that might be required from the project that makes it a lot easier for them to understand that this isn't like magic. And there's a lot of consideration that goes into creativity. Being able to demonstrate clarity by recommending only some deliverables really helps demonstrate that you understand their goals and that you are really trying to help them achieve them and not make them buy or do anything unnecessary, that might hurt their brand or their business. Another thing that I like to be very mindful of at different milestones, what kind of feedback is necessary, maybe there is a crucial meeting that needs to happen in order for something to really move forward is can really help you and doing is being able to control feedback at crucial times, those things need to be addressed at the very beginning, so that expectations can happen and that your client knows that you're thinking through all of the possible scenarios that could happen in the course of our project. So considering all the deliverables that your client might need in the course of a campaign can really place you as a strategic partner in their business. Another thing is the proficiency in professional tools. And one that comes to mind is the Adobe Suite of creative products. Because a lot of people have access to Adobe products. And if you are to transfer the working files to them, then they have access to all of the working files and you wouldn't need to open it up. Again. There's other professional tools like Figma that invite other people to work with you directly in the application in real time. And depending on your level of comfort with communicating directly with your client. It makes for a really fun experience to be able to work together. Do you have any particular skills or values that you like to bring to a client that are very unique to you?
Decide whether you align with their values or their interests?
This can really come in the form of whether or not your personal values are aligned with the mission of the business. So this is something that as artists, as designers, we often try to kind of keep on the sidelines. But having a strong perspective on different interests and different values can really help contribute to whether or not you land a job. For example, I was contacted to do a logo for an upcoming plant shop, they decided to go with another designer. And so their partnership made sense, because they both shared the interest of plants, they both have that shared connection with plants as therapy through a pandemic. And you really can't fight something like that. So consider what kinds of interests that you are communicating to potential clients, and how that might increase or decrease your chances of getting a job.
Protect your client
Being an ethical designer, you are someone who will only provide very good design for your clients, you're only going to provide work that is original, that you have authorized rights to that you've created yourself. And you're always going to be providing your client with the best type of work, that won't get them into any sort of legal trouble when they're using it for their business or for their projects. And that is something that you can definitely communicate to them that all of your work is original, that you create this yourself. And that value is something that they really should consider in terms of understanding how much work you're putting into it, and that they have the proper rights, make sure that you're doing your homework on ownership and rights. Because the amount of rights that you do sell, someone can definitely scale and increase the ticket price of your work, especially if you are considering an exclusive buyout with a lot of different types of licensing agreements, ownership agreements that you would probably need to do your homework on, in order for you to understand what is the best choice for you and your client.
If you've done all the things, you've done your homework and they're still wanting to go with the cheapest option approach.
In this industry, there's a lot of designers, there's always going to be someone cheaper, someone faster, someone better than you in this industry.
You have to just believe that if they want to go to someone else, you can let them go. Just like any relationship, a working relationship shouldn't be one sided, where you're constantly asking or trying to convince them why they should stay. If you've already made your case and they're still not interested, then that's totally fine.
The value that comes from a solid working relationship is more than the features that they're purchasing. It's the relationship and the trust that they have with you and if they don't see that, then they're never going to see it. There will always be work for us. You just need to trust that and the market is ever growing. You do not need to be part of a market that is constantly fighting to be the cheapest option out there. Because you are providing value to these businesses, you're providing values to these brands. You're helping their audiences and you're doing all the things that will help people move forward in their life. Trust that you are a designer have value that you're constantly delivering on quality and I believe you will get the client that will value you and I will see you later.