This is a guest entry from David Sorg, a long time member of Fashion-Incubator. He was inspired to write this after stumbling upon a great solution -namely graphic design while you wait. It’s a neat concept. You can watch the work being done from your computer where ever you are. I could go on as to its advantages but it’s better if David explains it to you. Thanks David!
One of the thousand hats a DE or small producer has to wear is that of Graphic Designer. The need of graphic design is nearly ubiquitous, beginning with your logo and continuing with your business cards, letterhead, business forms, website and maybe for your email too. For an apparel producer, a uniform identity may be needed for communications with outside contractors in addition to care labels, hang tags, and any other packaging that the customer or end user is going to see. At least some of the opinions about you and your company will be formed by your choices in the design of your words and images.
Fortunately, most DEs already have an interest and awareness with things visual and won’t be intimidated by graphic design, but it doesn’t mean they might not feel overwhelmed with the possibilities and the intricacies of executing their ideas. In my case, I used a variety of resources that included free, where a limited amount of design work was included in the purchase price, (an example would be a size tag from a label company), an independent designer found through a self-listing service like www.GetAFreelancer.com, and using the staff designer at my local printing company.
The problem with each option was control. Or price. Or both. With the free source, you are expected to know what you want and be satisfied with a limited number of changes. With the freelancer, part of the problem was that he was in Asia on a different day and English was not his first language. Lots of emails were exchanged; friendly, but time consuming and not always effective. The worst experience I had was using the local guy at the printer. Fortunately he was located only three blocks away but often took 2 days for the smallest of changes. Small projects would take weeks, cost hundreds of dollars, and involve dozens of trips back and forth. -And he had terrible taste. I’d go by to see the latest change and it would look horrid; he had no aesthetics at all.
That’s when I decided to buy my own copy of Adobe Illustrator (which is the program that virtually everyone uses) and learn to do it myself. Buying it was easy though expensive; learning it was another matter. There are lots of books, videos, and websites for learning AI, but I became frustrated because I didn’t really have the time for this learning curve. So I figured I’d try to find a tutor to just teach me the parts I wanted or needed to know. That’s when I stumbled upon what has turned out to be the perfect answer for me, and may be for some of you with similar needs.
I typed “Adobe Illustrator tutoring” into the Denver Craigslist and found someone advertising one-on-one lessons. Perfect. Except when the woman called back, she was in Chicago. As I expressed my disappointment she quickly explained that it didn’t matter where she was, and that her method was superior to having someone sitting next to me, sharing a computer. Instead, we link computers with a remote desktop (I had used a similar program to fix my mom’s computer on occasion) while we talked with each other on speakerphone. I thought I’d give it a try.
So Robyn began teaching me on my computer using my projects. I could take control of the mouse and keyboard, or she could; it was a seamless hand-off. Much better than sitting side-by-side at my place or driving to some class somewhere. In fact, I could attend class in my bathrobe and chew gum if I wanted. There came a time that I needed a project finished quickly. She was happy to show me how, but also offered to take over the mouse and make a few of the moves in a tenth of the time that it took for me to do it. And that was when the final solution (for me) occurred. Rather than struggle to learn a complex program that I would only occasionally need to use, I just started having Robyn do everything. It was much faster that way. And easier because I could pay attention to the way things developed right before my eyes instead of how to actually achieve the result. Would it look better bigger? It only took a moment to find out. A different color or different spacing? From the largest elements to the kerning (manipulating the spacing between letters) of individual words, it was easy and instantaneous to see or compare the results.
It’s been like having my own in-house graphics person but only paying for the time that I actually need anything done. We arrange convenient times to work together, they’ve included evenings and weekends. If I knew then what I know now, I would have skipped buying my own copy of Illustrator and saved hundreds. She (obviously) already has it on her computer along with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign (the other programs used for graphics production work) and Dreamweaver (used for Web graphics and site building) so there is no real need for owning your own version unless you want to learn and use the program on your own part-time or all of the time. You can also just turn over a project to her to work on on her own time, just like any other independent contractor.
Robyn’s services (LessonsAndTutoring) have also come with a bonus at no extra charge; good taste and a second opinion if and when I want it. So although I don’t want to sound like an infomercial for Robyn- there may be other designers out there who also work via remote desktops, she has become a great solution for almost any aspect of our business that benefits from looking good.
In his email to me, David had this to say:
In light of the most recent posts, let me say that I have no connection with Robyn or any fees. She does openly offer referral fees in the form of a free hour if referrals buy a certain number of prepaid hours from her, but I’ve told her to forget that if this post brought her any customers. She is a genuinely good person and so easy to work with that I am happy to do anything for her to promote her skills. I can’t imagine any readers being legitimately unhappy with the quality of the instruction or work.