In week 2 of the Spring term, students were lucky enough to be able to attend a live and in-person baseline shift session and listen to a talk by Aseil Amgheib, the owner of Design Wolf Studios. She is based in London with a background in architecture, before becoming the head of a branding and design studio. In the session, she provided priceless insights into how she began her career and built her reputation.
During the Covid–19 pandemic, Aseil knew she could make it by herself so long as she networked effectively in a local area. She found local businesses within walking distance and contacted and visit as many as possible in search of work. Not all businesses who need work advertise, so it is important to seek out work as well as embrace what comes your way. She was eventually hired to design menus and other branding for a restaurant based upon the Batman villain, the Penguin. This was one of a chain of businesses all centred around batman villains. Aseil quickly became a kind of creative director for the chain.
2.Watch the business
With the project complete, it was important to hold onto these clients and find new opportunities for work. Aseil spent time in the restaurant and saw an opportunity to brand loyalty cards as well as seasonal drink menus – this would help the business franchise as well as provide Aseil with more of the work that she loved, and a stream of income.
3.Don’t get overwhelmed
Managing multiple projects requires a level of organisation and patience from the designer. Referencing and numbering files is essential as archived documents could be required at any time for portfolios or revisited projects. Aseil stays on top of her work, as the designer must always be in control of the situation and ‘let the client believe they are smarter than you are’. The easier the process is for the client, the better the outcome is for the design business.
Aseil explained that,client peace of mind massively impacts the job at hand. Being a designer is about problem solving – if you can solve your clients problems for them, they are more likely to give you repeat business and give you more money. Even if you are the best designer in the world, if you have no patience with your clients , you are not reaching your full potential, it is a service experience. A mistake Aseil made left her rushing to Paris to a printer and back to London. It was a chaotic series of events for her, but she shielded the client from the problems, and the project was ultimately a great success.
Bringing clients peace of mind requires the designer to be easy to talk to, causing no conflict. Although she describes herself as an introvert, Aseil will step up and act with confidence when the job requires and to do so. The design world is a competitive one and speed is essential, meet clients as soon as possible (suggesting meeting the next day) and adding personal touches and pleasantries go a long way with establishing a healthy relationship with the customer. Using names and addressing individuals directly reminds clients that you’re human too and adds another step in the direction of a signed contract.
“I am an introvert, but will act confident when I need to”–Aseil
By establishing a good reputation in the field, your own brand will be a more successful one. Follow up with clients every month, ask how they liked your work and get advice, maybe there will be new jobs available. By doing this, Aseil was once invited to an informal baby shower by a customer. Here she met someone who wanted to start a business and informed her she was a designer and as the original client liked Asiels work, the guest hired her on the spot. This just proves that jobs aren’t just pay checks, they can be important relationships than can boost your career. Furthermore, branding can be established online. By using Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms, the algorithm will push your creations with specific hashtags such as locations or content to more people who may be interested in your work. Aseil once created and posted a design a day for 100 days on Instagram which generated revenue and profit, as well as being pushed by algorithms to reach more people. Clients may sometimes reference these designs if they wish to hire you.
For undergraduate and MA students, this talk was a refreshing view on the modern design world. It is under appreciated that dealing with customers is a technical skill in itself and one that can be a make or break a career. The passion and confidence with which Aseil spoke was inspiring and, with a full understanding of the digital age in which we live, was a trustworthy voice. It is rare in the design field for someone to speak so confidently, even when introverted, and could give anyone the courage to speak up with a similar bravado and take control of their brand.