Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Fran from Suffolk in England. She is a designer who helps people with visual identities.
We had a really great conversation, because she has a really great philosophy around design, the importance of design, and the importance of putting your best face forward. All the impact that imagery and the choices you make for your logo, and every piece of communication you use in your company.
I believe that design really makes a difference. Just look at how we react to things that are beautiful. We want things. We want companies to be attractive, just like we want people to be attractive, and in this conversation, we talked about the idea of how we can identify and put a tangible element to design, a quantitative element. What is the return on great design?
We also talked about how, as a solopreneur, in a smaller community with a business she wants to maintain at just a certain level that keeps her busy, and allows her to have a great family life, we talked about some really great, simple strategies to execute to keep that flow of business coming.
All while we're having the big philosophical discussions about return on design.
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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 103
Dean: Hello Fran.
Dean: Is that Francie? Is that how I say your name.
Fran: Yes. I'm very happy for you to call me just Fran. It makes things easier.
Dean: Fran? Okay, perfect. Welcome.
Fran: Well, thank you very much for having me, Dean. I'm so excited about this.
Dean: I am, too. Where are you calling in from? You're in London?
Fran: No, I'm in Suffolk, which is around about 17 miles northeast of London. It's quite a rural part of England.
Dean: Oh, nice.
Dean: I'm excited to have a great conversation with you because I think that what you do is one of the very important things, so we'll have a nice conversation about it. Why don't you fill me in on what you're up to and then we can jump off from there.
Fran: I'm a visual identity designer, so I've got my own graphic design business, but I'm niche-ing down in that I specialize in brand identity design only. I'm mainly working with clients in the wellness and wellbeing industry and health and beauty. I'm trying to rein in a little bit the number of industries that I'm working in. They're mainly solopreneurs, one-man bands, or small business owners. They're mainly some great people who have some really fantastic ideas. I usually pick and choose very carefully with who I work with because I find it very important for my work to feel very enthusiastic about what my clients do because that leads to really good work and for really good working relationships as well.
Dean: That's great. When you talk about visual identity, what would be a typical engagement for you? Is it somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, we're starting this.” Is it usually a startup, or is it a “We want a refresh”, and how long do you work with that? What kind of-
Fran: It's both, really. I tend to work with startups and also with those businesses that have been one year in, two years in, three years in and they've finally figured out what they want to do, and they need to refresh their identity to really truly show the world what it is they're about. It depends, but I'm one of those designers that doesn't do overnight turnarounds so I'm really taking my time with my clients to first of all really get to know them, them personally and their business, in a lot of detail, and really trying to figure out what it is they not just want but actually what they need. Sometimes what they want is not actually what they need. That's sometimes quite interesting to figure that out with the clients. There are some light bulb moments there. Yeah, it can take up to four weeks, eight weeks but that would be a couple of projects running parallel at a time.
Dean: You're doing primarily the logos or are you're helping somebody get their whole visual identity for their company?
Fran: Exactly. I'm really trying to make people aware that I'm not just a logo designer. Of course, logo design is part of what I offer, but I call it design of a visual identity toolkit, and that is a logo system, that is a color scheme, that is a typography, layout, and then I work with my clients on their deliverables as well for print and online. That's really-
Dean: You help them set up their style guide so that their internal team can execute under the parameters that you set. You help them set up the blueprint for it.
Dean: I was going to ask you what do you think is the most important thing about that? I think that if we just have the conversation that most entrepreneurs probably look at the logo as it's good enough, or it looks good, or what do you think and pass it around to each other, or their spouse, or their team members and want to put to vote. What do you guys think about this one? Or, they'll go on 99designs or on Fiverr and get some options and “Yeah, I like this one.” Then, they choose that. That's probably the way that most logos end up getting done. You can really see the difference in the companies that really take a design intention with their business. I'm interested to see how you talk about the ... We'll call it the return on design. How is what you're talking about different or more beneficial than going to Fiverr or going to 99designs, which is what most people do? What is the faulty thinking that people have there?
Fran: Well, they are prize shoppers. They're just pride shoppers. I think the problem these days is that there's a huge part of people that see design as a commodity these days because as you say it is so readily and cheaply available from Fiverr. They know how design software works and they just knock it out themselves and think they save an awful lot of money. There are actually people out there that feel that investing in a proper bespoke solution that has been done by a professional designer actually adds value and is a great investment. There are those people out there, and this is why I'm so excited to be speaking to you today is how to find those people, how to sift them out of the crowd to really have a consistent stream of great inquiries from I call them great clients. Those that understand the value good design adds and don't grumble about the pricing connected to that.
Dean: How much of a premium would you say, just so I have a context for this here, compared to working with you, how much do you charge typically to go through this process with people? What's the price point?
Fran: My starting point is around the 1000 pound mark. That basically includes your proper toolkit, as I've just explained, and at least two smallish deliverables, and anything else that comes on top of that like if it's a brochure of multiple pages, then that needs to be budgeted extra. It's round about the 1000 pound mark.
Dean: Where does that fit in the realm of what would be the top market pricing that people would pay for visual identity?
Fran: Well, I think if you go to Fiverr, or they're even local in my area. We've got a lot of young budding designers who charge maybe 50 pounds for it, but that's purely a logo, so you can see the difference in price and you can see why people scratch their head and say, “Why do you charge 1000 when he can do it for 50 quid? What's the big difference?” The explaining starts, and I've actually started to give talks at networking events and to run some little workshops and master classes to really explain what a consistent visual identity to help build your brand actually means, what needs to happen and what needs to be designed in order to achieve that. There's usually those people that come along, they nod, and at the end they come over to you and they say, “You know what? Now I do understand.” It is really nice to see that, but I would like this to happen on a bigger scale, obviously.
Dean: What would be the staple of some of the ideas that you might share that would be the most convincing argument for 1000 pound identity package versus a 100 pound logo that somebody could do? From a practical standpoint, people say that to you, what do you point to as evidence that 1000 pounds is a better investment than the 100 pounds or any lower price? Do you talk about it in terms of the investment of it? Or, how do you think about it?
Fran: Well, I think about it in terms of what I offer more than those websites, and that's the truly personal approach and that I really sit down with my clients and help them work through their brand strategy to start with, help them to understand far better what they need to achieve design wise to put themselves on the map. We come up with a solution that basically distills the essence the story about their values and visual that to really speak to clients and cut through the noise of the marketplace. I think it's also the style of design that I offer because every designer has a different style. Everyone has their own little handwriting. I think it's my quality style of work that people really appreciate and say, “I see what you've done there. I can tell from the identity what this business is about. I can see the level of clients they're trying to attract from what you've done for them.” I think it's truly personal approach in really trying to get into the mindset and story of my clients' businesses that sets me apart from websites like Fiverr.
Dean: It's very interesting because it's one of those intangibles. Every conversation that I have, because I'm a big believer in design ... You think about every great business that you can name, or seems to be revered or admired or have a positive outcome, tends to be very nicely designed.
Dean: It comes down to it that it's encompassed into everything of it, not just in the logo itself.
Fran: That's exactly it. That's why I'm saying to people I'm not a logo designer. If you want to work with me, then we're basically creating the entire space of your brand.
Dean: Do you have ongoing relationships with people?
Fran: Yes. I have a nice core base of clients that I did a brand identity for, and who keep coming back for more work or some regular work. Most of those relationships are ongoing, which is really nice.
Dean: I'm wondering about this whole idea of bringing design into everything. It goes even down to the thought choices and the spacing-
Fran: Oh, don't get me started on that bean.
Dean: That's really overall how you present yourself. It's almost like a singer or a band or an actor would hire a stylist to choose the clothes and the way they present themselves. So many things. It's like the logo is just used so poorly. I've been lucky to have been surrounded by really great designers in my world, in my life. One of them showed me a style guide for Skype. The Skype style guide. It was pages and pages. It was a whole manual, their style manual of how the font and the ratio and the elements, and how and when to use it, where and the specific colors that are in it. Just everything about it is so meticulously thought through.
Fran: Exactly. It's quite interesting that you mention typefaces because I'm a big advocate of first of all finding typefaces for my clients that are really supportive of the personality of their brand. I tell them to even use them in invoices because it's the same as colors, and it's this repeated exposure. Especially typefaces because they are carrying the message of the brand. They are the most constant element used of the toolkit in everything they do. It doesn't stop there. It's sometimes having a set of icons or some illustrations or a graphic in the colors that have been composed for the brand. It's coherently using that across all of the communication channels. That's what visual identity is. It's not just taking a logo and basically sticking it on everything they do, but jumble up typefaces, use pink one day, green the next. It doesn't work like that. That's basically what I'm working out with my clients. I'm preaching to them only to use the elements that we've put together. This is the toolkit of design elements for their brand.
That goes down to creating templates for Instagram tiles, for example. It works a treat. It really does.
Dean: What's interesting is that I read a book years ago that was really like a really solid headstart. It was a book by I think it was Robin Williams called The Non-Designer's Design Book. It was very thoughtful because it shared the main things, you're making 80% improvement in stuff just by realizing these principles of contrast and repetition and proximity and alignment. If you just know those things that it makes such a difference in the way that you visually present things just heading towards that design literacy. I think that there's that, but I'm wondering in terms of the ROI on it, the return on design, that seems to be where you could have some impact. I've never seen it, and I keep presenting this idea to designers to be able to at least have that argument of return on design to show that this ... Even if you equated how that might impact the bottom line, like when you look at it, a lot of times people at the early stages when there's so much money that they're spending on getting their business started or getting new people.
It's unfortunate that the time to make those decisions is probably at a time where they have the least cash and the most need for it, which is really an interesting thing because you would, I'm sure, say that the investment in design is going to pay off over the long run and harder to point to it immediately.
Fran: I think the biggest power a really fantastically brand has is to steer perception. You can help a business look a million dollars and really stand out, but obviously, and this is where you come in, it needs to be backed up by cracking marketing. Those two things work hand in hand. You can have a wonderful visual identity but if you don't back it up with some great design then it's probably not going to work for you. It's the connection between the two that makes the difference really.
Dean: Are you like a real student of the game here? Do you look at in the world examples where design has made a difference? It would be really an interesting thing to explore is to look at companies that have existed, existed, they have poor design, they made an investment in design and this is what happened. Right? That it goes up as opposed to harder to tell from the beginning what's the cost of everything. What attribution does the design get to the outcome? That it's a softer hard to tangibly measure, but I think that there's evidence of it that we seek beauty and that there are-
Fran: Oh, absolutely.
Dean: Yeah, if you can show these things in contrast. I would be on the lookout for studies that show the aesthetic advantage.
Fran: Yes, go on. Sorry.
Dean: No, that do beautiful people have an advantage over normal looking average people? I'm saying that going to that level, to connect your argument to things that are proven in psychology, in the world, that if you take a group of people who are ... Do more attractive sales people do better than less attractive sales people on the whole? I'm sure there are studies about that?
Fran: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. When I do my workshops, I do a little intro experiment. I've got usually two books with me, and one of them is a white cover with just black writing on it and the other one is a beautiful cover made out of watercolor painting in all different colors and shapes. I usually ask for a show of hands which book they would pick up in a book shop. Usually, it's always the cover that has this beautiful watercolor and painting on the front. That's basically always my step into the presentation to say that aesthetics are a language of feeling and it stirs on our emotion. Emotions drive our decisions. I think it's about 85% of our decisions are made in the subconscious minds, so design plays an important factor in that. Let's say you see that book cover, or you see, let's say, the new Formula One logo, and instantly there is a reaction. It's not a logical one. It's just a feeling you have about something. It's this gut feeling we know, and that's exactly what design achieves.
It's also when you flick through your Facebook feed, what posts really stick out to you? It's those that have some really vivid colors, or some beautiful writing on them. It's some very simple-
Dean: Instagram is made of that.
Fran: Exactly. That's very simple messaging but it plays on our subconscious and once you've got that, people then start to dissect what it is they really quite liked about it. All those big corporate companies and the global players like Nike and Apple, they've got it staffed. They know exactly how to do it. They know exactly how to compose their messages, their visual messaging in order to trigger those emotions, those reactions. That's what design achieves, but then again, as I said you can't just have a great looking logo. You need to put it in context because you want the messaging in conjunction with the design in order to build the brand basically. It's this subconscious mind that speaks to design, and that's what I'm playing at in my workshops and also when I speak to clients.
Dean: Do you have any collection or things to put a quantitative attachment to what's largely a qualitative thing? I mean, in my periphery of my memory here there was a TED talk that I remember watching about a European designer who turned around all of these local newspaper by taking a design-centric approach to the newspaper. It was a dramatic thing in the readership and the subscription and sales. It was really pretty interesting just by looking at the design of the newspaper, which usually you think of newspapers as very low design. Not designed at all, a counter to it, right? Somehow, the most successful newspapers certainly in the world have iconic design about them.
Dean: There's a certain look. The Daily Mail looks very different than the London ... What's the big newspaper in London?
Fran: The Times.
Dean: The Times, yeah. You look at that, why is it that those are appealing in certain light? I'm just looking for things that you can use as a way to start the conversation that primes people's minds to thinking that design really does make a difference, and I want to get the best design that I possibly can so before you ever have the conversation about their identity work. How much of the work you do did you say is startup versus re-investment or re-design of their identities?
Fran: I think it's probably 50/50 at the moment.
Dean: Okay. I think that it would be easier to affect both cases if you were to find examples of companies that had mediocre design, did a re-brand, made a commitment to design and the effect of that on the company. There was a book several years ago called Good to Great. I don't know if you remember or heard of that book by Jim Collins. He basically found companies that were going along fine. They were doing good, but something happened and then they immediately started having so much greater growth because of this inflection moment. He researched companies like that and found the similarities, the things that made the difference. What was it that turned them from good to great? I wonder if there's that same opportunity ... Well, I know there is that same opportunity in design. I've just never seen anybody do it. Most of the time, the lament is always I hear it on one side that the designers are all trying to figure out why don't people value design? They got to pay money to get this.
The entrepreneurs who are getting it are thinking why would I pay 1000 pounds when I can get it on 99 Designs for 199 pounds or whatever. They're looking at it as an expense and not an investment.
Fran: That's a real good suggestion to have a look into that.
Dean: It just seems like that's got to be the way. That's a big thing that could help you in educating people along the way, but what is the best message that you have right now for finding new clients? Or, what is it that you were hoping that we could do on the call today aside from have a philosophical discussion about design? What's the big thing that you would love to see as a result of this?
Fran: At the moment, most of my clients are referrals, actually, which is very nice but it's very concentrated in the local area. What I would really like to do is breakthrough the borders of rural England and widen the community a little bit more. What do I need to do on my end in order to reach more of my ideal clients internationally? How do I do that? As I said, I have started doing talks and workshops and I have a newsletter, which I send out on a monthly basis. I use social media. It's not consistent enough. I'm certainly aware of that. I've got some really nice ideas on how I can create some sort of free PDF's for download to grow my mailing list, and I'm also thinking about offering a webinar maybe. Maybe turn my visual identity master class into some sort of webinar, offer it on social media and see how that goes. Those are my initial ideas.
Also, I was listening in on the podcast you did with Ben Burn, who's the copy writer you spoke to a while ago. I think you were discussing with him how to orchestrate referrals better. I think, again, this is something where I really let myself down because I have this fear of asking.
Dean: Ah. The good news is that you don't need to ask anyway. This is great. Your business, is it you? Do you have other designers that work with you? Are you a solo entrepreneur? What's your business look like?
Fran: Yes, I'm a solo entrepreneur. I'm just by myself.
Dean: Okay, great. If we could just wave a magic wand and have anything happen, what's your dream come true? Do you love where you live? Are in a beautiful countryside place that you've chosen intentionally that that's where you want to be, or are you yearning to get into the city, or to go somewhere else? What does it look for you? What are you looking for?
Fran: I'm actually quite happy where I am, I must admit.
Dean: Okay, perfect.
Fran: I enjoy the freedom that I've got, so I'm making the most of being my own boss and being in charge of my own time, which is great, but what I would really like to achieve is to up my monthly turnover. Ideally, I'd quite like to double it, and I know that for that I need to have a consistent stream of my ideal clients working on about, let's say, two to four projects a month. I think that would still give me a nice family life, but also a really good income and regular business hours. Let's put it that way.
Dean: Okay. Two to four projects a month. If we looked at it, are they mostly 1000 pound projects? Or, is it bigger things that you do or smaller things, or is that the starting point?
Fran: I'd say the 1000 pound mark is the starting point, and going up from that. Ideally, I'd like to settle on the one and a half or even 2000, but it always depends on the number of touchpoints that need to be created within the brand identity project that we're doing. I'm always quite good in bouncing off ideas with my clients. I don't like to call it upsell, but I like to put some ideas in their head what they could do in order to reach more people and be a little bit more effective in their marketing efforts. Yes, I'm always-
Dean: If you could look at that, what's the best thing that you could do for somebody? You look at those things and get a sense of the pace that you want. If you could find a consistent group of people to help, what's going to be the difference of going from 1000 pounds to 2000 pounds? Is there something that you can do for somebody for 20,000 pounds?
Fran: Wouldn't that be nice?
Fran: Well, I'm very hopeful that this time will come. I think that maybe the way forward for me is also to have add-on products. Let's say we have the visual identity package, so we're talking logo colors and typography to start with, and then maybe have a package where we do social media banners, Instagram tiles, maybe PowerPoint templates. Maybe even templates to produce PDF's for freebies on their website, that type of thing, I think would be-
Dean: That's what I'm wondering is if there's an opportunity to build up a clientele where you have an ongoing relationship with them where you could be the thing that they couldn't afford to have you full-time on their team, but you could be their design director or their art director or their stylist.
Fran: Create some sort of retainer fee in a ways.
Dean: That's exactly what I mean. Where you could help them with the design that they need, and have them pay it out over a one year period, or an ongoing period. That if you could go to where it's 500 pounds a month, or 1000 pounds a month depending on who you're targeting, that could be a really great opportunity for you because once you establish what the visual identity is and establish the guidelines for maintaining it, you could also create all the use case catalog of the different things and go through helping them implement that identity everywhere.
Dean: That, I think, would be very helpful if you were to think about it as if there were a case where you could do design turnarounds, where somebody's who got a really great product, they've got a really great service, and their clients love them but their logo and the identity doesn't match. It gives people the wrong impression, perhaps.
Fran: Yeah, exactly.
Dean: That could be an interesting thing. What do you think about that in terms of do you believe that better design could have an impact on the bottom line for these businesses?
Fran: Absolutely, absolutely.
Dean: What we need is evidence of that. Do you have it? Is there something because I'm talking about this. I keep looking for it, but I haven't seen anybody present it yet, present that kind of evidence, but I think it would be well received. I think people would love to have that confidence that wow, that business had a great result.
Fran: There are some really good case studies where it really didn't work out after re-brand. I think the really famous are the examples of Gap and Tropicana Juice, where the customers just couldn't find Tropicana juice in the aisles anymore because the re-brand was so shocking. There are case studies on that, but it's really difficult to come up with case studies where you can really see this impact on turnover because of a redesign of a brand. I think it's certainly something that I would really quite like to ask my clients-
Dean: Explore, right.
Fran: Explore with my clients what the feedback has been on their rebrand, and if it helped them to increase turnover. I think it might be a nice little survey that I could do with my clients, maybe in return for something. That might lead to even more business for my existing clients.
Dean: Yes. That's really the thing. There's probably really great examples of companies that have been lifted by design, or aided by design. I think establishing that, because really it sounds reasonable. 1000 pounds sounds like a reasonable number. I know that there are companies that charge way more than that even for visual identities. You're saying you're in the middle portion here, right, where you're more expensive than just the “Let me slap together a logo for you” people are and what an agency might charge for the same where you're doing agency quality work. Is that your background, or have you always been an independent designer?
Fran: No, I'm actually coming from a literature and publishing background. I've done a bit of turnaround. I've always been a creative a heart. I've been employed up until three years ago, and I had a real struggle in my last business that I was employed in. I quit, and that was the most natural thing for me to turn to, and it's been really successful for me. I haven't looked back. It's been quite a journey.
Dean: I think that to get your initial thing, if you're looking at your goal of getting two to four clients a month, that what we need is to have a way to get in front of people. When you look at it right now, are you doing anything in Profit Activator 2 right now to get in front of ... Are you doing anything to generate leads to get people to raise their hand?
Fran: Well, what I do is locally, I do networking. I have some I probably call them business partners, solopreneurs like me who are specialists in their field, and we on occasion work together on projects. There is some sort of exchange of business in that regard. I'm trying very hard to gather leads via my social media channels. It's very difficult. I'm also really trying very hard to build my mailing list now because I don't know if you know, but Europe has just had the new GDPR.
Dean: Uh huh, very aware of that.
Fran: The new data protection regulations. Everyone's been updating their mailing list, and now starting to build them up again. I'm in that wave of this mailing list builders as well. I think that's key for me to go out of the realms of the locality where I live in. I think that's, for me, the list building to see if that gets me into Europe or even further afield. How to achieve that that's, for me, the big stumbling block in a way.
Dean: Right. Part of it is that it's often the easiest thing to look at constraining first while you're getting everything in play like you're saying. How big is the area where you live? What's the population kind of thing?
Fran: Our county town is about 150,000 people living here-
Dean: That's plenty.
Fran: Then, surrounding villages and everything.
Dean: There's plenty of businesses and plenty of opportunity right there. Design is everywhere. It's really interesting that when you take this approach of if you're going to be the biggest band in the world, I'll say to people, you've got to start by being the biggest band in Suffolk, right? If you're going to be the grandest designer in the world, you got to be the best designer in Suffolk first.
Fran: Locally, yeah.
Dean: Part of that helps with focusing your thinking. Now, when you look at it, what it really comes down to now is if we're looking at that pool of the 150,000 population, how many people are entrepreneurs who have the types of business that you might be able to help or want to work with? What's that?
Fran: There's a big percentage of those, and it's a quite close knit community as well. People tend to know people.
Dean: Yeah, so you've got visible prospects. I think that what might be the first course of action, which would be a very effective thing because it would display your thinking, your stuff, is to get a list of 150 businesses like this, or people starting with all the people who know you and that you are networking with already in there, and some of the businesses that would be your ideal prospects, and sending a monthly postcard to those people. I use the World's Most Interesting Postcard as the example of doing this, but I think what would be appropriate for you is to design a postcard that could be highlighting one of your design tips or ideas or philosophies or lessons, or something. Illustrations, examples that are planting the seeds. What would be the 12 most beneficial thoughts that your ideal clients would have when they come to see you that would be the best fit for you?
Could you plant 12 seeds of they've got the right mindset, and use that as the front of the card, but then on the back of the card almost like orchestrating referrals. If you hear someone talking about this, give me a call, or email me, or text me and I'll get you a copy of this to give to them.
Fran: Oh, that's a brilliant idea.
Dean: That way you can talk about all the different things that would be things that you could help people with. It's not just identity that you help people with, right? There's all the other things as well.
Fran: Yes, in effect yeah. Absolutely.
Dean: Presencing those. What are the things that people are thinking about, but it's always about just making it easy for people to get started with you.
Fran: To find me, in a way, yeah. I like that idea of the postcards.
Dean: Yeah, because that's the kind of thing where you might budget 1000 pounds over the course of the year to do that for 150 people, but if you pick those 150 people, already including the people who are referring you already, you're already getting referrals so it's already working on some level. We're just looking to amplify that that whenever anybody is thinking or talking about design that they're going to think about you, and then we've instructed them on what to do when they have that thought. You know?
Fran: Yeah. That's excellent. That's a really good thing to do with me current clients, as well. Get a card out to them on a regular basis rather than just sending them a newsletter. Maybe offer an incentive of someway?
Dean: Offer something of value. You're not putting a bounty on them referring people. You're not going to say, “Refer me somebody, and I'll give you something.” It's you're giving them something to give to their clients. If you hear somebody thinking about doing a redesign, give me a call or text me and I'll give you a copy of my logo design checklist to give them, or my logo idea guide. An inspiration book for logos. When you're looking at the things that are going to be helpful for people thinking about a logo, you philosophically point out the main things that somebody needs to consider. You can show how typefaces make a difference, convey a message, how colors impact something or the shapes. That's really what it comes down to is the colors, the text, the shapes, the images. That's all of the tools that you have at your disposal, right? It's the combination of those in a way that is either pleasing or displeasing.
Fran: No, I've been thinking about putting some PDF's together, some worksheets, anyway. I think this is a really good tactic to distribute them in a way rather than just having the signup link on my website.
Fran: That's very proactive. I like that approach.
Dean: That's great because that kind of thing that you're doing there, there's an element to you're not alone. There's lots of designers like you who they don't want to build a big agency. They don't want to be going in to pitch projects to Coca-Cola or Virgin. They want to live where they want to live, a beautiful place. They want to have work that's stimulating and enjoyable and they want to make a contribution, right? They want to be a designer. Best thing would be if you just had the work coming to you, that would be your dream come true, right?
Fran: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
Dean: Two to four people just call you up out of the blue. That's what you really want without having to go sell or feel like you're convincing people. We just need to be helpful and build that awareness so that when those conversations happen that they think about you and they introduce you to the people that they're having those conversations with. Just awareness.
Fran: Makes total sense.
Dean: More people need to know who you are, right?
Fran: Yes. I'm doing my best, but I can do better that's for sure.
Dean: It also feels better when you know that you don't have to know all of the businesses in the world. Even as narrow as it makes sense, like you look at these businesses that you look at how much help ... You're surrounded by bad design everywhere you go at every turn.
Fran: Yes, you said that.
Dean: I'm saying it just in the world, right? You don't have to go a far afield to find people who need your help.
Fran: No, absolutely. You see it everywhere all day, really.
Fran: I think what's holding me back on speaking to someone whose sort of visual identity I'll find really quite in need of improvement, let's put in the most polite way possible, I find it hard to approach those people and say, “Look, you know what you've got there is really not doing your business justice. Do you think you want to work with me to improve it?” The worst thing can happen is they turn around and say, “I love what I've got it and it works for me, so go away."
Dean: That's the thing. That's why we want to have the attraction of it where you're only attracting the people who are resonating with your message. I think if you were to do whatever fits for you, these postcards are great idea and email newsletters a great idea, you're documenting and showing your design philosophy. The great thing is that you can show everything. You can explain everything. You can tell people what you're doing, why you're making these decisions, educating them about that whole process and they still ultimately are going to need you to help them. There's no fear of giving away too much or anything. It's just that model of really documenting your approach to things, and then people will seek you out. You never have to go asking anybody to do anything. It's because you haven't been out and giving enough content out there that people seek you out that you feel like you have to go and seek people out to drum up some business. Just start giving. Just start giving the things, you know?
Fran: That makes absolute sense. It's brilliant. I like the idea of conducting that research into finding argument for the actual value of design. I think that's a great starting point and certainly something that I need to look into because I don't know if you've heard of Chris Do. He runs a business podcast, YouTube channel. They're a design studio based in Santa Monica. They're trying to educate young designers on pricing structure and how to convince clients that design does add value, but what I'm missing is exactly what you're missing as well. The argument how it actually contributes to turn over. I mean, how do you get in front of a client and make a bold claim and say I am adding value to your business. Yeah, you're absolutely right in that you need to have maybe some case studies on hand that-
Dean: That's exactly right. Who was that designer that you were talking about? How do you say that again?
Fran: The guy's called Chris Do. The design studio is called Blind. Theirs is an education channel called The Futur.
Dean: Okay. The Futur. Okay.
Fran: It's without the E at the end, so it's just...
Dean: Okay, no E. That's funny. Okay. I'll check that out. I'm all for that. I've been trying to get people to do that because I think I bridge this idea of I tend to be in a world where everything that I do with people has a direct and measurable impact on making more money. That's the outcome of us working together in my world. I'm very focused on that, that even our organizational purpose is that we help entrepreneurs make more money. That is a crystal clear thing. I love design, and I'm very design friendly, and I wish that there were more real evidence for the people who are hard line ROI people to at least get them onboard that listen, this makes sense. You're going to make more money because of having better design. Maybe you'll be the one that cracks that code.
Fran: It would be nice, but what I'll do is I'll speak to my existing clients as well to see what their experiences are because I think that would be really interesting to find out. They say things to me like people comment on how nice it looks, but to find out if it has made a real monetary difference for them would be very interesting I think.
Dean: If you can couple design with direct response with marketing then you can really show it's not just the design but the way that the actual words that you're using and the way that you present them, all the way from in store design. Yeah, so many great avenues like that.
Fran: That's such a great idea. Excellent.
Dean: Well, Fran, I really enjoyed that. That went very fast, didn't it?
Fran: Yeah, absolutely. I've just looked the clock. I can't believe it's 70 minutes.
Dean: Here we go.
Fran: This was great. Thank you so much, Dean. I think I'm going away with a lot of great ideas to put into action. I think it will be good fun to do that as well. Wonderful.
Dean: Make sure you keep me posted because when you put together one of these postcards, or put together this idea, I'd love to see what you're doing.
Fran: Yes, I will. I will keep you in the loop.
Dean: Thank you, Fran.
Fran: Thank you so much.
Dean: You have a great day in Suffolk. I will talk to you soon.
Fran: Yes, speak to you soon, Dean. Bye.
There we have it. I love talking about design. I love talking about the impact that it can have, and I really hope that Fran will be able to look into that, do some research and find examples of companies that have turned things around just with a renewed commitment to design and the style that you put out there in your communications. I mentioned when we were talking about this TED talk that I had seen that was showing the impact of design on newspapers in Europe. I don't know where that is. If anybody has a link to that, that would be great. Send it over Dean@DeanJackson.com. I'd love to see it, but it's worth looking up. I think if we did a Google search on TED talk about design of newspapers, it might show it. I think it's a good idea to look at the impact of design on your business, on what is everything that you're doing, how's that helping or slowing down the impact of getting your message out into the world? Lots to think about.
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