1. Copycat work
Copying someone else’s design isn’t just lazy, it’s against the law. In our work together, we might look at designs you’re drawn to—websites, a magazine ad, the sleek lines of your retro toaster—inspiration can come from anywhere and often looks nothing at all like the original. I’ll also make sure that you purchase the right resources, cite authorship, and properly embed elements to avoid copyright infringement, and I’ll work with any necessary duplicate content to ensure your site doesn’t lose search engine ranking. All projects are tailored to your specific needs.
2. An old-school ad agency
I can manage many aspects of your advertising, and won’t bill you for a big monthly retainer like an old-school agency. Some of my work is in the traditional design space of these agencies—signage, packaging, and managing the printing process (bleed, resolution, spot colors vs. process, offset vs. digital)—but much of my work is digital and includes issues old-school agencies may not be familiar with, such as GDPR compliance, scannable QR codes, mobile-first design, eye-track research, and balancing the amount of text-to-image on Facebook ads for optimum reach. I do not add the standard agency markup of 10–20 percent to the fees charged by copywriters, photographers, and other creative partners. In fact, I encourage you to talk to them directly. Many agencies also like to retain control—holding your website hostage when they’re too busy to respond to you right away. You can always use me to update your site, but you’ll also have full access, 24/7.
3. Yelling!, folderol, and frills
Rather than go overboard with gimmicks seeking attention, we’ll focus on the unique benefits of your product, service, or place. It’s what your audience cares about. Their eagerness to reach out will be the result of strong messaging that appeals to their needs—not excessive exclamation points. And nobody will be getting seasick from gratuitous motion effects. Even graphic motifs are carefully considered as part of an overall brand look and feel. Nothing is there simply for decoration or because it’s trendy, flashy, or looks cool.
4. Padded fees to pay overhead
I pay no rent for my home office. I don’t have an espresso machine, and I don’t have a lobby foosball table. You’ll find my billing is scaled proportionately. I am often in Portland, Brunswick, and Kennebunk, and will happily meet you at a local coffee shop, pub, co-working space, your office, or my home office, which is quite nice and has excellent coffee.
5. A yes man
I will always let you know if your preferred typeface is overused, illegible, or downright mocked (hello, Papyrus and Comic Sans), and I’ll give you a list of reasons to avoid a trendy design. I might suggest you change your marketing strategy or media buy. I’ll coach you on how to get a great head shot, warn you when your favorite colors might be problematic, and point out any problems with your proposed domain name. I will cheer you on, but never be obsequious. With an education in graphic design and years of marketing experience, I’ll always help you make an informed decision.