Hi! My name is Katie Dooley and I’m a graphic designer. A lot of people ask me what a graphic designer does, and there’s a huge range from designer to designer. Me, specifically, I’m a print and brand designer. That means any pamphlet, poster, business card, label, invitation, banner, etc I can design. That’s the print side of things. Brand design is developing a logo and all the supporting pieces for a business that gives them their unique identity and place in the market.
I got into graphic design pretty naturally. I didn’t realize it was graphic design at the time, but when I was in junior high school and we were assigned a fun project like a poster or magazine I would always make sure mine looked the best and most accurate. As I got older and was looking into post-secondary school, I realized that it was actually a career I could pursue!
I love being an entrepreneur because it really allows me to do the work that I want to be doing. I love the freedom of freelance. Good designers are also life-long learners and I love getting to learn about different people in different industries. When I become part of a client’s team, I know I’ve done a good job.
If you’ve never worked with a designer before, finding one can be intimidating. There are so many options to choose from. You can hire a large marketing agency, a smaller boutique studio or a freelancer. All of these deal with different clientele and price points. A great first step is to look through their portfolio see the quality of the work they produce. Absolutely, loving their style is important, but many designers can adapt to fit your needs. Make sure you can work with whomever you pick on a deeper level. You want to know that you can collaborate with them and freely express your ideas. You also want someone that you’re okay being challenged by. So much of graphic design is education – why a certain colour, font or symbol works for the design – and it’s important that you are open to that education from your designer, even if it’s something you might not have originally picked for your brand. I am always emphasizing that design, and the communication around it, is a two-way street. I love hearing my client’s feedback, because at the end of the day, I want them to be happy.
I think having a designer in your corner when you are starting up, or growing your business is so important. Designers can be that outside set of eyes looking into your business and find different and unique ways to reach out to your target audience. There are so many little things we can help you refine that add to the customer experience. One item I actually love to design is forms! Intake forms, receipt books, invoices, proposals, etc, because I believe that even those little elements that someone might overlook, can add to or detract from the brand experience. Reinforcing your brand as often as possible is so important for visibility and differentiating yourself from your competitors.
My biggest piece of advice to someone trying to figure out their brand, or even their business is to go ahead and take the plunge! If it doesn’t work, shift it. Small shifts can make a huge difference, and will allow you to figure out what’s working and what’s not working. Maybe a postcard campaign is perfect for your business – you won’t know if you don’t try – and, if it isn’t successful? Take the opportunity to learn and adjust accordingly.
That’s me and my business in a nutshell! I’m so passionate about helping businesses reach their potential. Just like a great outfit, having a great brand can give a business the confidence it needs to go out there and kill it.