Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Chat With Twitter Master & Designer Calvin Lee

If you're on Twitter, you probably already know Calvin Lee, principal and creative director of Mayhem Studios. Calvin is one of the most helpful designers on twitter. You can always depend on him to tweet/retweet an interesting article, answer questions or make a witty comment.

In this interview by Grant Friedman, owner of Colorburned Studios, decided to stray away from the usual questions about design, instead, asked questions about how Calvin became one of the biggest design tweeters out there.

Head over to Colorburned Studios and read the interview, A Chat With Twitter Master & Designer Calvin Lee.

Follow @mayhemstudios and @colorburned on Twitter.

About Grant Friedman
Grant Friedman is the creative mind behind Colorburned Studios, a freelance design studio.

Grant started his website as a means to showcase his artwork and designs as well as to share his thoughts on current design trends. Colorburned Studios offers unique design resources and tutorials to other designers who may be interested in learning some new techniques.

Grant started as a designer in 1999. Volunteering to design a e-newsletter for an organization, which he was involved with. From that moment on, he was hooked. He spent most of those early days designing websites for organizations and individuals. It wasn't long before his interest in web design spawned into a passion for design in general.

Today, his passion for design includes; graphic design, illustration as well as print and web design. Over the years, Grant has worked for a number of businesses, organizations and individuals on a number of projects, in a variety of roles.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

13 Tips You Should Know About Before Flying Solo

When starting out on your own for the first time it can be very scary, not knowing when your next pay check will be coming from. I wish I had information that was available to me back then to help ease the transition into flying solo.

I was lucky enough to work at a small marketing firm on my first job. I worked there for about two years before it went out of business but during those two years. I did learn the ins and outs of running a design firm, working with clients and print shops, prepping press ready files, juggling many projects and the business end of design.

These are thirteen tips I believe you should know about before going solo. I hope they useful and helpful to you. If you have any other tips to add, please feel free to comment below.

Be honest with yourself – Know your strengths and weaknesses. Surround yourself with good people that compliment your weaknesses. Be sure that you know your stuff; design and the process from concepts to print production to web design.

Learn from your day job – Learn everything you can before going on your own, from your day job. Like how to run a business, invoicing, billing, estimates, working with print shops, preparing print ready files, working with clients, file management, etc.

Saved your pennies – Save up some money before starting out on your own. It can be very tough getting your name out there in the beginning. Back up money, can really help you through those dry times.

Dealing with clients - Be patient with clients and educate them on your process. Never let them see you sweat. Be cool and level headed, even with the difficult ones. It’s about what you can do for them.

Be organized – Set up all your folders for each project. Place all paperwork related to the project in the folders: estimates, invoices, emails, correspondence, design, concepts, etc., so that it can be found easily. Also set up job folder on your computer for each project; concepts, layered files, text, etc.

Learn the business side – Make sure you learn about the business side of design; getting the proper licenses, permits, taxes, business forms, dealing with clients, self-promotion, getting new clients, etc., when starting a business.

Taxes – Read up and research about which taxes apply to you. Tax breaks, licenses, permits and what you can write off, etc., to insure not to get penalized by the IRS.

Branding - Brand yourself, let potential clients see you as a brand/product, a total package. Everything should look similar: logo, resume, business cards, marketing materials, signage, website, etc.

Make Connections – Make connections and network within/outside of your industry before going solo. It makes it a lot easier when you're on your own. It's who you know most of the time. You never know, who may refer you through word of mouth.

Contracts - Before you start any project or do any kind of work. Always get a signed contract and a 25%-50% deposit. A contract protects you and your client from any miscommunications. A 25%-50% deposit insures that the client is serious about working with you. Consult an attorney once you have drafted a contract, to cover all your bases.

Business Forms - When starting out in any business, it's very important having a logo, business cards or stationery, so you look professional. It's equally important having business forms that help in organizing and running of your business.

Creative Brief - It's a good idea to get some background information about your client before starting on any project. It will help to met client goals and expectations. Using a creative brief will help accomplish this.

A creative brief lays out the visual design directions to explore and the objectives of the project. Using the information on the form to make sure that we are both focused and are on the same page throughout the creative process to deliver the clients message.

Website - Make sure you have a website or a place to display your work with all your information. If you're not comfortable with building a website yourself. There are many free online web galleries you can use.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

How Do You Twitter: Mayhem Studios?

Paddy Donnelly, owner of Iampaddy, Belgium based website, chats with Calvin Lee, principal and creative director of Mayhem Studios. Self-Proclaimed Media Ho, Designer Guy and Twitter Addict. In his spare time, Stunt Doubles for the Hulk and a really Nice Guy!

Calvin Lee is one of the most retweeted users on Twitter and gives us his thoughts on his Twitter addiction and how it should be used.

Head on over to Iampaddy and read the interview, How Do You Twitter: Mayhem Studios?.

You may also follow @mayhemstudios and @paddydonnelly on Twitter.

About Paddy Donnelly
Paddy Donnelly is a web designer, illustrator, blogger and eternal student from Ballycastle, Ireland who journeys through the Internet every day looking for interesting, funny and weird stuff, like everyone else. He has been known to drop everything to partake in Internet projects, which distract him from the monotony of regular life.

His online adventures have been in a constant effort to study social media’s effects on education and the daily lives of creative individuals, while discovering the path to constructing a valuable online presence for himself in the creative web community.

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About me

  • Mayhem Studios is a small award-winning design firm located in Los Angeles, California, developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation. The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client's specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces, annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising and interactive web sites. Calvin Lee, Principal & Creative Director of Mayhem Studios is a graduate of Platt College and serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department, NO!SPEC Committee and on the Creative Latitude Management Team.
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