ARRHH! How Can I Work With These Creative Graphic Designers? – Guest Post

Some of you might recognize Wes’ name. He’s a regular commenter on this blog, and some of his articles are on topics that are pretty cool to comment on as well. I don’t take a lot of guest articles on this blog, but he’s earned his way here and thus I’m pleased to offer him some time here. I’m even allowing the Australian spelling of words instead of changing them to the American version. 🙂 Please check out his blog as well.

It is not easy to start or run a business. You may have a long list of suppliers and customers you need to build relationships with. Among the people you will inevitably need to work with when starting a business is graphic designers. How on earth can you work with these creative, arty-farty types.

Your experience with graphic designers does not need to be as harrowing as you may think. In fact, not all graphic designers are ‘arty-farty’. However, I do understand the perception out there and have a few suggestions to make it easier and more enjoyable to deal with graphic designers. These include:

Create a rock-solid vision

Before approaching or hiring a graphic designer, it is best if you are clear in your own mind what your intended outcome is for any given project. It is a colossal waste of time to kick-off a graphic design project then change your mind when it’s almost complete. This can be quite costly as graphic designers will charge for modifications and authors corrections. I’m not suggesting you need to have a clear vision for the actual design or the look and feel but you need to be rock-solid in what your intended result is.

Communicate your vision clearly

Knowing exactly what you want and being able to convey this to your graphic designer can be difficult. It will help to write the vision down so you can communicate the brief clearly. It’s great to talk through the brief so it can be discussed however this can cause problems for graphic designers if that’s all you give them. It can be difficult determining what is clear direction and what is a passing thought or idea if you don’t write it down.
To make sure there is no communication gap, give your graphic designer samples of designs you like and dislike. This is a sure-fire way of speeding up the design process and being clear about what you are wanting. It can be difficult to describe in words what you are looking for visually. For example, if a colour was important to you, provide colour swatches or samples so you can communicate precisely what you are looking for.
If there are certain logos, graphics or images you want to be included in your project, prepare them before meeting with your graphic designer. This will save you both time and make the briefing easier.

Knowing your budget

You should know your budget limitations before starting a graphic design project. You may need to have an initial discussion with your graphic designer to get an idea of costings before you define your budget. If your graphic designers understand your budget restraints, they may be able to make recommendations so you get the best bang for your buck. For example if you wanted to produce a flyer that included photography, your graphic designer could suggest stock photography. Stock photography could save you quite a bit of money so you could then afford to print more flyers with the same budget. If you are not transparent and upfront with your graphic designer, you may miss these kind of opportunities.

Knowing your time-frame

This boils down to being clear in the communication process even during the primary stages of your project. Be honest, if it’s needed in a weeks time, don’t say you only have three days to give yourself ‘breathing room’. Your graphic designer may not be able to invest the time and energy into your short time frame that he/she would have with a little more time. If the deadline is critical, be really clear about that and trust your graphic designer to meet the deadline.

With the pace of business these days, we always tend to want things yesterday. For this reason we want our projects to be worked on immediately however, if this is going to impact on the quality of work being produced maybe you should reconsider your time-frame.


Wes Towers invites you to learn more about marketing, branding, graphic design and web design and how they can help in your business. Check out www.omnificdesign.com.au for more resources and free ebooks.

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Sunday Question – What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

After a week of long training posts and stuff that made you think really hard, I figured it was time to lob an easy one at you. However, once you read the rules for this one you might not think it’s all that easy.

What’s your favorite flavor? This is a much different question than what’s your favorite food, although sometimes it could come out as the same. For instance, I’ll tell you now that my favorite flavor is chocolate, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. My favorite food is hamburger, hands down. Chocolate could be considered a food, since you can buy chocolate bars, but overall chocolate is a flavor. You can have chocolate flavored ice cream, chocolate flavored pudding, etc. I’ve never heard of a hamburger flavored anything.

And that also knocks out certain types of foods. For instance Chinese, Mexican, and ethnic stuff gets disqualified because, well, it’s a type of food, not a flavor. At least I’ve never heard of Chinese or Mexican flavored pudding; yuck, that just sounds nasty! But you can obviously throw in fruit flavors without it being the fruit.

As for me, why chocolate? There are literally thousands of things that have a chocolate flavor version of themselves. I’ve found few I didn’t like. I didn’t like chocolate flavored Twizzlers, and though I’ve never seen it, I know there’s a chocolate flavored Coke out there somewhere, and that just sounds nasty. But almost everything else I can think of, if you add chocolate to it, makes it at least palatable, even if it’s the nastiest thing on the planet. For me, chocolate wins hands down.

Okay, now you have rules, and I hope this is easy; what’s your favorite flavor?

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How Far Would I Go?

Every once in awhile there crops up an issue that gets you thinking “if it were me how far would I go?” Sometimes it’s something that you do have to confront in some fashion and you have to ask yourself the same question.

What is it most of us want? We want to be happy; almost everything else you can mention ends up with you being happy. I want the same thing; I really want to be happy. Not that I’m in a bad mood right now, but I want to be happier.

What brings us happiness? Money is a good start. Yeah, I know the “lie” that money can’t buy you happiness. Money buys you peace of mind, or at least it does if you’re not one of those people who just can’t be satisfied with anything.

Love brings us happiness. Okay, the cynical part of me is going to say this; money helps in the love and happiness area. Don’t believe me? See how many couples that say they’re in love and get married when they don’t have money will stay happy when they realize that they need that money to sustain themselves. Add children and it’s even more overwhelming.

One more thing that brings us happiness is “stuff.” Ah, now there’s a good one. Truth be told, you don’t need a lot of money to buy stuff, as long as you’re not trying to buy too much stuff or stuff that’s too expensive for you. In my mind, a new Hyundai Santa Fe would make me as happy as a new Bentley, even though they’re thousands of dollars apart. A chocolate cake makes me as happy as having a meal at Ruth Chris Steakhouse but the difference in price is dramatic.

What’s even better than buying stuff? Getting free stuff! That costs no money at all, and often it’s unexpected. Sure, you might expect to get gifts for your birthday or for a holiday, but you don’t always know what gift you’re getting, and thus it’s a happy experience.

It’s also great when you know what you have a chance to get. Many of us play the lottery when we know how much money we have a shot at winning. In New York, we say “a dollar and a dream”. I don’t do it often, but when the money gets really high, I’m there with my “2 dollars” hoping for my dream.

How do you view contests? Well now, here’s a dilemma I’m facing at the moment. We all love winning contests if we get into them; after all, if you don’t want to win why get into it in the first place? If the thing you can win is nice enough, it’s always worth giving it a shot.

I’m in a short story contest at the moment. The story had to be 750 words or less, and I’m competing against 9 other stories. The rules were that we could ask people to vote for us if we’d like, but we all had to decide how fair it was or not.

Well, I thought about how I could ask some people without being all that overt about it. I wrote a few friends and asked them to check out the site, which story was mine, and to compare it to the other stories and if they liked my story to please vote for it. But I did say they could vote for other stories if they wanted to; after all, I wanted to be fair. Truthfully, though I like my story and think I should win, there’s another story there that I think is wonderful, and since you can vote “yes” or “no” on every story, I would always vote for that story as well as mine for the winner.

What else have I done? Well, I did mention it to a few other people, including my blogger group on Facebook. But I didn’t come right out and tell them which story was mine, though I alluded to it, and I also told them they could vote for other stories as well if they chose to do so.

A few days ago I got an email from the person running the contest; actually, all of us in the contest received the email. She was giving us a heads up as to where we might stand after half the money, since the contest runs through the end of the month. She listed the top 3 stories, and it seems I’m not in the top 3. What the hey? One of the stories in the top 3 didn’t even stay within the rules of the contest, as it’s not a complete story but only the beginning of one that’s more than 2,000 words.

So my quandary; how far would I go to try to win a gift, in this case a Kindle, which would be really cool even though I’ve never seen one in person? How much do I really want to win? How far would I go? Would I finally cross the line to selfishness and ask outright for you to go to the site and vote for my story, and tell you which story it is?

Actually, no, but not for the reason you might think. I had a post all set to, through my own version of subterfuge, ask people to go vote for me and help me win this bad boy. I wanted to take a shot; after all, if I wasn’t even in the top 3 I needed help. However, later that evening, I first got an email refunding my $3 entry fee; that was weird. Then I got an email saying that the contest was changing because one of the entrants had cheated. I knew it wasn’t me since I was really far behind so I asked the person running the contest on Twitter what was going on. She said one person was oddly so far ahead of everyone else that she knew it had to be technology that was pumping up the votes. Thus, she decided to cancel the contest as it was and ask 5 judges to make the selections instead. All votes were being thrown out, which meant I now had a legitimate shot once more; yay!!!

Whew; there you go. I didn’t have to think about crossing the boundaries, although it wouldn’t have been crossing them anyway since the rules stated we could do it. My mind is clear; I can go eat cookies now in peace, and hope the judges see my work of “art” in a different light Ah Kindle, you know you want to be here with me. 😉

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Keep Hope Alive

“I don’t believe it.”

“And that is why you fail.”

Luke Skywalker & Yoda, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

Well, those last two posts were really long, so it’s time to slow down just a little bit. You know, this has been an interesting week for me, one that immediately seemed like it wasn’t going to be all that good that blossomed into something much better. Those are great weeks, and I believe we all could use stuff like that.

On Monday, I had a guest post that I wrote show up on Rachel Lavern’s blog Fearfully ‘n Wonderfully Made titled Motivated To Get Things Done. In that post I talked about the different reasons, both positive and negative, that motivates people to do things, get things done, and determine what outcome they want. It’s kind of like being online; you can decide to use your talents to create spam and be loathe by everyone except other spammers, or you can use your talents to try to improve your lot and everyone else’s lot in a positive direction.

I was thinking about this concept of being motivated to do better things, and I happened to remember one of the best times I was ever motivated when I was a little younger. Back in 1988, Jesse Jackson was running for president of this country, and even though he didn’t win, he was the highlight of that entire political season, which culminated in his great speech at the Democratic National Convention.

What you see below is the last 8 minutes or so of that speech, which captured the imagination of everybody and had many of us looking for ways to affect the world positively the next day. Whether you like the man or not, you have to admit that this was inspiring in some fashion. Even if you decide you just can’t do it… well, it works for me. 🙂 Keep Hope Alive!

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Why I’m Now “Mitch Mitchell”

I know the title of this post could seem confusing to some people, but to others they’re probably only now getting another introduction to who I am. My name is Mitch Mitchell; has been for, oh, at least 35 years or do. “Mitch” isn’t the first name I was born with; no, I’m not giving it, but for some people it’s not hard to find. I just don’t choose to use the name, haven’t since I was 16, but people who met me through someone else who gave them the other name tend to use it . Since I don’t like it, I just choose not to tell it to anyone, even if my main organization is called T. T. Mitchell Consulting, Inc.

For all the years I’ve been blogging I’ve always gone by Mitch. It really hadn’t occurred to me to have it being anything else. Yet, at some point near the end of last year I figured it was time to start putting my entire name into blogging. I really hadn’t thought much about it until I started writing my posts about influence. Realizing that I wanted a bigger slice of the blogging and overall internet and social media pie, and other reasons, it suddenly came to me that many people by this time might know “Mitch”, but they didn’t know “Mitch Mitchell”.

Of course, just saying that means nothing without some background. So, here’s a part of the thought process for it all, something that you might think for yourself at some point.

1. I have a lot of articles on the internet. I have my EzineArticles posts. I have articles on my S&S site. I have articles on a lot of other websites that I’m not going to list. I’m in a lot of regular magazines as well, many of them health care related, but other topics as well. I started thinking that it would be easier for people who might see some of that stuff to realize that I’m the same guy who was writing all that stuff, even if it’s across the board.

2. There’s one prominent Mitch Mitchell and one a little less prominent that I’m competing in name against. Let’s face it, I’m not going to overtake the Mitch Mitchell who used to play drums for Jimi Hendrix any time soon, deceased or not. His first name wasn’t really Mitch either, but John. There’s also a reporter for the newspaper in Fort Worth whose name I see all the time; being born in Fort Worth, that’s a strange coincidence to say the least. I think I compete with him on a regular basis; at least in the top 50 listings of the name I come up at #16 because of my business blog, and at #23 because of this blog. As a matter of fact, out of the top 50 listings only 2 of them aren’t me or the drummer, and none of them the reporter; I can live with that. 🙂

3. There’s another “Mitch”. Actually, I’ve known of Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs for many years, but our paths rarely crossed until fall of last year when we both ended up on BloggerLuv (which I’m not putting up a link for because it’s possibly gone forever, as it’s not showing up anymore for now) and started talking. Suddenly, being “Mitch” didn’t make much sense anymore with their being two of us showing up in a lot of the same places, and he’d always had his last name attached so it made sense that I do it as well.

4. For that matter, there are a lot of “Mitch’s” out there, even some female ones. Sure, my image accompanies me on most blogs, but I’ve found that if you don’t have a Typepad account your image won’t show up there. Suddenly, I’m just “Mitch” on the wind without any real recognition of who I might be. At least being listed under my full name will get me fairly quickly on a search engine; just the first name wasn’t going to cut it.

5. Of course, my business name is T. T. Mitchell, and I could have gone with that, as I did on LinkedIn. However, it’s so weird having people calling me “T. T.” there, and I’m trying to figure out if I can change it. In the long run whenever I meet people and they call me that I tell them to call me Mitch, and I realized I didn’t want to get into that kind of confusion across the board.

And there you go. It might seem like kind of a complicated process, but I’ve noticed many of you who comment here use both your first and last name, and since I have a long range goal for using my full name it makes sense for me to change over to it now. From a marketing standpoint, it seems to be a no-brainer. In my opinion, it’s much better than a keyword name any day of the week. What are your general thoughts on the subject?

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