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“Appreciate the genuine, real conversation – seriously chocked full of value. Looking forward to the next episode!”

Episode 9: Standing Out As a Designer

In the busy digital world it can be really tough standing out as a designer. Today we look at the most effective ways to get noticed, whether you’re looking to attract more clients, see more engagement on social media, or simply make a name for yourself in the industry. From purple cows, to vegetable calligraphy, there’s a lot of gems in this discussion for any creative!

Show Notes for This Episode:

[1.00] The world is only getting more crowded, so how do you stand out?
[1.30] Why simply being reliable can help you to stand out
[2.30] Why standing out doesn’t need to be about the ‘sexy’ stuff
[3.30] The importance of not skipping the basics
[4.20] Lisa’s friend who was really talented, but made mistakes
[5.00] Ian’s favourite builder strikes again!
[6.00] Why consistency matters
[7.00] Dustin’s example of people putting you in ‘just one bucket’
[8.30] How niching down can be really effective to stand out
[9.00] Dustin couldn’t get any work when he first started
[9.50] Why your style can also be viewed as a memorable niche
[11.35] Showing your personality, becoming a real human person
[12.20] Why ‘Bill drinking coffee’ is better than how things used to be
[13.00] Why ‘awards’ often don’t help you to stand out
[14.00] Seth Godin’s Purple Cow theory
[15.30] Dustin’s view of how Ian stands out
[16.20] Use your weird, remarkable work to bring people into your web
[17.20] Dustin’s view of how Tom and Design Cuts stand out
[18.45] People can get intimidated about the pressure to be unique
[20.00] Standing out can pigeon hole you and limit you
[21.15] Ian drawing on objects got him great exposure
[22.00] Ian using magic in his work to make it stand out
[22.40] How mixing two mediums/skills can help you to stand out, by finding this overlap
[24.30] Being authentically yourself to stand out
[25.40] Dustin’s friend does incredible, unique work
[27.00] People buy into the ‘why’ of what you do
[28.20] Would Apple stand out as much without Steve Jobs’ history?
[29.00] Lisa doing lovely gestures for her clients, that fit with her personality
[30.15] The power of personal gestures
[31.00] Caring enough to be nice enough to stand out
[32.40] Why personal gestures are actually easier when your smaller
[33.20] Dustin’s ‘wow’ experience dealing with Zappos
[34.10] Why personal gestures can be so much fun
[35.00] Ian writing out his customer’s names after they buy something from him
[35.40] Reward your clients when they refer you
[36.50] Ian getting free donuts for a year from Krispy Kreme
[38.10] The power of word of mouth
[39.00] Experience can help you to stand out, but ensure you’re staying relevant and up to date
[40.45] Why your passion for what you do will help you to stand out
[41.50] You need to demonstrate a real fire for what you’re doing
[42.50] Ian’s tip for a firm handshake
[44.00] Why following the ‘hot new trend’ is not the best way to stand out
[45.30] There are tons of ways to stand out, but the important thing is to implement them

“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD

7 Lovely Comments from our Community:

  1. Charly Pura says:

    I’m definitely guilty of being a jack of all trades and master of some. I think it takes time to elevate oneself from just doing whatever you can to get paying clients: Whatever style they are looking for, quoting a price I know theyll pay for, saying whatever to book a client. Just to get that few bucks to keep going. But then… I have to unlearn all that for the same reason — moving forward. I am at that part of my design journey. I document some of my thoughts and uncertainties on my website so I can see how I grow through time. I hope I get to that point that I have solid grip on what my style is and have the courage to put myself in a “box” that ill be happy in.

    • sarah-jane@designcuts.com says:

      Hey Charly,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts on this.

      I think we are all a little guilty of this at some stage, so you are certainly no alone! I love the idea of the website though, what a fantastic way of keeping on track and looking back at all that you have achieved 🙂

  2. Hi guys. Great show! it’s so important to hear these things about client relationships. Do you have an example of a branding style document to hand to a client on meeting them? just something to compare what I give to my clients…which is pretty basic.

    Thanks 🙂
    Justine.

  3. Tom Ross says:

    Hey Lili! Oh wow, this is amazing, thank you so much for taking the time with this. I wasn’t familiar with Prezi, but it looks like a really cool way to make slideshows more interactive for the consumer :).

    I’m going to drop you an email about this now, as I so appreciate you designing this for us.

    And sorry about the education episode. I hope our discussion came out as balanced though, there are definitely benefits to a formal design education.

  4. Lili Popper says:

    Hey guys,

    The other day I was listening to your podcasts on a plane ride, and since I had a few hours to kill I put together a quick Prezi about your show. (If you don’t know what Prezi is, it’s like PowerPoint, but instead of having slide after slide you have one big canvas where you can show your ideas in context to each other):

    https://prezi.com/view/JfiDmGH3lkNhQZ2eG7of/

    Then today I listened to the client relations episode where you mentioned you’d like to put together a workbook kind of thing to direct starting freelancers with how to set up each section of their business. I thought this format might just be perfect for that, so I thought I’d share. The Prezi is freely explorable, you can click on any topic, then dive into the details there. Now I didn’t ass details inside each topic, but if you’re interested in using it, let me know and I’d be happy to collaborate or help out.

    Also, awesome show, I really like it (except the formal education episode.. that just made me depressed.. :’D)!

    Happy Easter!
    Lili

  5. Peter says:

    As a multi talented person, I do design work & YES be careful of “put in a box” people, sure it is good to have a company/person who likes your work, but I started in 1974 in a high school print shop.
    I have owned a dozen businesses of different kinds/fields.
    I change too fast. Past few years has been towards building a totally internet business, I travel and the business goes with me.

    As for FREE WORK, yes it works both ways, you get advertising & portfolio & feeling cheap all at the same time. Never be afraid of volunteer work, but always KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN & brain cells working.
    I do as modern as design work as I can as well as knowing my roots.
    Knowledge pays off, quick & cheap does not. Never stop learning!
    I enter different countries and have to learn what they LIKE! As well as have any customers from the past to work for as well and show off New ideas to.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Hey Peter, thanks for commenting! It sounds like you’ve had quite a career. I think change can be a great thing, it’s really just about finding what works for you. The autonomy of an internet business can certainly be liberating though!

      As we discussed in a previous episode, I think free work is only detrimental when it’s not on your terms, or someone is taking advantage of you. If you’re the one deciding to pursue it, for clear value in the form of other areas (leverage, exposure, portfolio recognition etc) then that can be highly effective.

      I hope that you keep enjoying the show, and thanks for sharing your story with us :).

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