In today’s episode we have a very special guest: James Martin. James is an incredibly talented logo designer who has overcome many things to be the successful artist he is today. We are picking his brain so the wisdom nuggets are coming… So without further ado, let’s get into the show!

Watch some of the Honest Designers episodes here: Honest Designers Podcast Playlist. And remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular updates direct to your inbox.


Show Notes for This Episode:

[1:00] Huge “Thank You” to the listeners today!
[2:00] Tom welcomes James to the show and invites him to share how he got started.
[3:10] James shares how he fell off the rails early on and his decision to go to college.
[4:00] Digging deeper into James’s backstory.
[5:00] Transitions are never easy.
[6:00] James always knew he could do better and finally flipped the switch.
[7:00] Through the drugs, beer and girls, creativity always remained.
[8:30] The moment that pulled James into the darkness.
[9:00] James talks about abuse by his teacher at the age of 11.
[10:00] Getting out before abuse destroys.
[11:30] James believes abuse was the catalyst that started the spiral.
[12:00] James is putting the REAL back into REAL LIFE on social media.
[13:10] Tom talks about being a piss head as a teen.
[14:00] Ambition sometimes grows from wasting time early in life.
[15:00] What doesn’t break you makes you.
[16:00] James talks about the pro sports fork in the road.
[17:00] Why James decided to run far and fast from pro sports.
[18:00] Rejecting authority and working for the man.
[19:10] James absorbed knowledge from agencies to build a foundation.
[20:00] Surround yourself with these three people.
[21:00] Are you a goal getter or a habit maker?
[22:00] The value in atomic habits.
[23:00] The future will always be unknown so steer your ship based on the now.
[24:00] Be patient with today; tomorrow will be here soon enough.
[25:00] You don’t have to become everything tomorrow.
[26:00] Relax, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
[27:00] Why you can count on James like Saturday morning cartoons.
[28:00] James’s YouTube is his extended playground for in-depth design content.
[29:00] Survivorship Bias.
[30:00] You only hear the advice of those who make it.
[31:40] People are too lazy to figure out their own style.
[32:00] We have no excuses now with all the information we have available.
[33:00] People are being so so lazy and want you to spoon feed them.
[34:00] The crazy idea of responding to 1000+ DM’s.
[35:10] Sending DM’s is not an interview, people.
[36:00] Tom asks James what has worked for him to drum up work.
[37:00] When you first enter the industry, start by telling everyone.
[38:00] One of James’s first free clients has returned and spent thousands now.
[39:00] James sees his clients as friends not monetary transactions.
[40:35] Early on James got taken advantage of a lot.
[41:00] If something doesn’t feel right, don’t take the job.
[42:00] Tom felt like he became the dreaded client while working with James.
[43:00] Pride yourself on getting it right for your client.
[44:00] Free work goes out into the world and will come back to you.
[45:00] Volunteering vs being asked to do free work.
[46:00] Creating a design and delivering it for FREE.
[47:00] Say yes to everything.
[48:00] Stop being afraid of failing and just say yes.
[49:00] James does 100 out of 6000 logo requests a year.
[50:00] Nailing down your process is key to finding your success.
[51:00] Feeling bullet proof to burnout.
[52:00] Full 8-10 hour creative days.
[53:00] Bumble bee creative.
[54:00] Constant performance kills creativity.
[55:00] Balancing deadlines while working on multiple projects.
[56:00] Turning a DM into a paying design job.
[57:00] Mood boards, briefs and paper trails.
[58:00] Layout all the packages available and everything you do.
[59:00] Offering bespoke packages and agency work.
[1:00:00] Get the project on the calendar.
[1:01:00] No contracts. Great terms and conditions allow you to move on.
[1:02:00] 75% upfront and 25% upon completion.
[1:03:00] Lay your prices out and clients will know if you’re a good fit.
[1:04:00] It’s important to be in control and have no hidden agenda.
[1:05:00] People want to work with people they like.
[1:06:00] Does James ever budge on price?
[1:07:00] Have wiggle room for projects you want to work on.
[1:08:00] Difficult client tax.
[1:09:00] Giving back with good design.
[1:10:00] Tom believes this may be his favorite episode to date.
[1:11:00] James felt very comfortable sharing with Honest Designers.
[1:12:00] Find James at @madebyjames.
[1:13:00] And that’s a wrap!

Find us on iTunes, Spotify, and Instagram by searching for The Honest Designers Show.

“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