Jim Harper
Design • Branding • Strategy

Blog

Creative in an Entrepreneurial Economy

Photo - “Testing spinners at the toy store Happy Up, in Edwardsville for research.”

One of the main reasons I left a larger agency and went out on my own is I saw so many people in the last 6 years starting businesses. A new fearlessness had entered the start-up sector. While there were millions more dollars during the dot-com boom in the late 90's, there are way more individuals and 2-3 person companies ramping up now.

I turned away person after person in the conference room of my former agency than I'd ever have. Not big enough for us to take them on. It weighed on me after a while. I was sad. I've had dreams and I still have dreams to pursue. They wanted to give their companies the best possible creative, and go to our shop because we had a great design record. They were seeing us because we were part of their dream.

After turning away some really unique brands I thought we could really grow, I started this agency. My goal was to develop amazing branding, that included identity, top-level language that includes suggested fonts, colors and accompanying secondary marks, along with a basic collateral package. After that, an entry-point website that could deliver information or sell product. How could I do this at a great entry-level price? Not cheap, but more affordable than a medium-size agency could deliver?

The answer was focus.

Asking the client the right questions is paramount. And sometimes (not always), it's this simple.

What do you want to be?
What brands speak to you?
Where does your product or service live?
Who's your audience?

Those questions can bring a lot to the table. Then go immerse yourself in that world, and channel it into great design. 

There are definitely efficiencies I've learned to create to make this happen. And one of them is learning creation to production on all of the pieces to the branding kit we've developed. I got into this business because I have to make something every day. I don't care what it is. Sometimes it's a painting. Sometimes it's a brand. New dish in the kitchen. I don't care, but every day, I have to make something. It costs me sleep, and some days, it's exhausting. But I have a disorder that makes it necessary, and I haven't enjoyed what I do this much in years.

We all have dreams, and it's an honor and a privilege to help my clients build theirs.

James HarperComment