My Landlord Won’t Accept “Great Exposure” as Rent

Lately, KOER Creative has been thriving. It gives me great joy to see new clients hire us and feel excited about the work that has been done. One of the marketing portals I still use is oddly enough, Craigslist. Now one of the issues with Craigslist is when you have small business owners, low-budget organizations, and your next door neighbor, who thinks his idea has never been done, asking you to work so you can “improve your portfolio” or get “great exposure”.

Bless their hearts.

What they don’t realize about my company is that it’s not looking to improve the portfolio or the so-called “great exposure”. I have never had a client come to me and say, “You will never believe it! I found you because I saw your work on a billboard and so I looked up the company who was advertising on the billboard, called and asked them who designed their ad.” No. That is not real life.

The prospective client assumes that I am some college kid who is just starting and am looking for a quick $10/hour and they’ll never see me again. There is a time for that…but not when it’s as something as important as a brand.

With these thoughts perculating in my mind, it just so happened that I came across a tweet, can’t remember who it was (sorry), but it read:

This is insane. My landlord won’t accept “great exposure” as rent when we all know it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative to payment.

Ah, yes. The perfect analogy to give in response to this great debacle of “great exposure”.

Now, I understand there is probably a high school or college kid who is more than happy to take the $10 an hour doing what he loves instead of working at McDonald’s or in retail (I get that). But what the inexperienced high school or college kid doesn’t realize is that in the future, this cannot be expected of him.

I guess the point of all this is simply to say, for some odd reason, graphic designer, web programmers, and creatives in general are seen as disposable entities and not respected for who they are or the practice of what they do. If a company feels $10/hour is acceptable, then they are not considering the hundreds of hours it takes to learn the software, tools, and techniques to become a viable candidate for any creative job. They are also not considering the cost of the Adobe Suite, the Mac it runs on, the internet service that is needed, or the energy creative work takes. This didn’t even mention the taxes, advertising costs, bookkeeping, and accounting that every freelancer has to deal with.

This rant is more than to bring awareness to these outlandish requests, but it’s also to reassure that when we say we cost $50/hour, $75/hour, even $100/hour, it’s fair. It may be selfish, but it’s also reality.

One of my favorite moments is when I hear a student say something like, “I want to do graphic design because then I can make my own hours and work when I want.”

If I’m feeling compassionate, I keep my mouth shut and just say a quick prayer for them. This is the same mentality that companies have and designers will always continue to accept it.

In the end, you get what you paid for.

Boost Your Social Media Interaction With These 3 Tips

Today on KOER Creative I shared a few tips that have helped boost my brand’s social media presence, organically. My three keys are the foundation of every social media campaign I have been a part of and remain consistent even through the evolution of social media. My tips will help organically boost your brand, increase interaction, produce growth and sales.

When using an image, always use a .png for the best possible quality. Make sure your visual content is appealing and professional or it may have a negative impact. Since we can use a variety of visuals to represent a brand, it is crucial to understand how your audience reacts to the content you post. Don’t abuse social media by advertising your business too often. In the same breath, don’t be the guy who talks about himself too much.

Continue reading, click here.

4 Things To Consider Before Hiring A Designer

Today I posted a little article on KOER Creative about four traits I find extremely important when considering designers for a project or job. These traits apply both to agencies and freelancers.

Great designers have to listen. They need to understand the context of the project—the purpose, the mission, and the vision. The job of the designer is create a visual representation of what is being said. Miscommunication can become costly endeavors for both parties.

To read the whole article, click here.

How I Increase Work Productivity

Navigating the waters of owning my own business has been filled with its share of headaches and joy. As I continue to learn and grow as a business owner, I have begun developing processes and strategies to make my time more efficient.

At the agency, when working on multiple client projects, my mind tends to become quickly disorganized and jumps from project to project until they’re finished. In order to provide the best services for my customers and get the best work from my team, I must be a well-organized and focused leader.

I stumbled across the solution.

Each day, I write down three goals. These goals may pertain to client projects, they may be a business task (such as managing finances, accounts, etc.), or a personal objective. These three goals set the mood for each day. When the agency gets really busy, they tend to be work-related.

This simple step to start each day pays off! The goals help me clear my mind of all the clutter and helps increase my creativity and production.

Managing the agency’s schedule can become a discombobulated mess. So we have began using the same principles when scheduling client projects. This allows the agency to be more effective and give accurate estimates of when work will be completed.

I encourage you to write your three goals each day and see how your productivity and work flow improves.

My 3 Keys to a Successful Brand

I work with a lot of brands, both in the creation and maintenance of a brand. Over the years I have learned there are three keys to unlock a successful brand story. Over at KOER Creative I shared those philosophies and how we implement them at our agency.

We work with brands on a daily basis. Over the years, we have developed a knack for understanding brands and how to develop them. Whether the brand is just beginning, looking to refresh, or just looking to grow, we have honed in on 3 simple keys that lead towards branding success.


The Evolution of KOER Creative’s Brand

Since starting KOER Creative in 2013, the agency has seen numerous changes in brand strategy and visualization. Today, I explored those changes and introduce the future as KOER Media is launched.

While in college, I found great interest in leading creative direction. I loved bringing talent and ideas that were beyond myself into a project and creating something great as a team. Although most group projects done in college are far from reality, it prepared me for an idea that would propagate within in the years to come.

Read more at Officially Launches

I am pleased to announce my newest venture (and first online store) has launched today. The shop offers graphic design resources and tools for Photoshop and Illustrator. Future plans include website tools as well.

Birthed out of a longing to create and design in a way that my jobs don’t allow, fills a void within that seeks creative expression and artistic pleasure.

The tools I am creating are tools that I need for client work. I don’t only test the tools, I use them. I am making these goods available to other designers, creatives, and entrepreneurs to help save time and money.

As new products are released, I will announce them here.