How to identify yourself and your ideal client
Hi there! If you read my blog on a regular basis, you’ll know that I have been producing surface pattern and illustration designs, as this is the area that I want to concentrate on for my career. I used to be a creative designer in a busy studio (you might say that most studios are busy!) and due to personal circumstances, I changed direction and went into teaching. However, whilst teaching, I really missed drawing and painting, and longed to go back into the design industry. Since leaving teaching, I have had a pretty successful career as a graphic designer, but my passion lies with surface pattern and illustration.
Over the past few years, I have been busy building my portfolio and currently have a collection that I’m really proud of. The only thing is that I have various styles. This does demonstrate that I am versatile, but I’d love to have my own ‘identity’, so that when people look at my work, they will instantly recognise that it was produced by ’emmajayne-designs’.
Today’s blog post is a bit different than usual. My hope is that it will be useful for anyone who has had a similar experience to mine, and who wishes to get back into the surface pattern/illustration profession. Whilst I work on my portfolio, I think constantly about my ‘style’ and which techniques, colours and images and so on feel comfortable in the process. I’m doing this not only for my own purposes, but for other creative people. To find out how to identify yourself and your ideal client.
How to identity yourself and your ideal client
To begin with, I concentrated on ‘me’ and scribbled down a few words that describe the type of work I like to produce, and the pieces I have created so far. Then I did the same for my ideal client.
My designs are:
Fun, young at heart, sophisticated and cheerful. They are illustrations which can be applied to a variety of products; fashion, stationery, 3D products, gifts etc., mainly aimed at the 20 – 45 year age range, I love pattern for fashion, stationery, household textiles. They are contemporary, use mixed-media, and have a painterly ‘look’ to them.
My work has a cute element, but isn’t too young and cutesy! Then again, that may change, as I’ve recently been designing stationery for babies and children. Change is allowed, and you must be accepting of that as fact, and go with it!
My ideal customers are:
People who like pattern and colour, like contemporary style, like unusual/bespoke designs, Shop at trendy/ boho outlets i.e., 2nd hand, Haute Couture, like vintage style, buy good, non-mainstream brands, have a passion for fashion, have their own, individual style – non-mainstream, hang out in trendy places like the Northern Quarter for example in Manchester, are cultural – visit cities for holidays or they’d like to know about the country on holiday, go to locally owned coffee houses for coffee and cake, have an eclectic taste in music and probably listen to Mozart on the quiet, but don’t tell anyone! Live in a studio apartment or an old house with character features, are slightly extrovert and are not afraid to express themselves aesthetically, drink foreign beers/ craft beers and try out new cocktails, visit galleries, exhibitions and museums, they are educated, professional, female, (although the designs could be adapted for men), feminine but edgy, they might be vegetarian or love gourmet burgers, enjoy cooking, ‘have a go’ type of people, they love the style of ‘Original Choice’ shoes and ‘Fly’ brands, they own eclectic furniture, and mix old & new, they shop at Habitat, Zara, Anthropologie, Afflex Palace, Vintage fairs, IKEA, online vintage stores and 2nd hand shops for fashion and furnishings and finally, they collect quirky objects such as, buttons, ornaments, fashions, brooches (nik-naks) etc…
I believe that if you have intimate knowledge about what you produce, and know exactly what your ideal client looks like, then you’ll have a far higher degree of confidence when contacting them. You will have confidence that they will be able to relate to the work you show them. You’ll know which type of agencies and companies to approach, and this will also save valuable design time! If this is an area that you’d like to more about, then check out more here.
I am still updating my portfolio on a regular basis and, as I produce more work, I add it to my pdf portfolio. My online portfolio is in the process of being updated too. It is high on my to-do list.
Producing these lists has helped me focus on ‘me’ and I keep this in mind when I’m designing. I do know that developing your own ‘style’ takes time. If you draw regularly, every day, you’ll soon come to a point when particular techniques, choice of media, colours and imagery will feel natural to you. You may have different styles to begin with, and eventually, these may merge together. It is this which will be the basis of your own, unique style; your identity. Your style is very similar to the way you form words. Everyone has their own unique style of handwriting. To read more about how to find your style, then check out here.
Have fun, and I’d love to know if you have anything you’d like to share and if you find the post useful.
Emma Jayne x