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Highlight Your Designs by Being Bold

Highlight Your Designs by Being Bold

Has it happened to you that you have an idea, almost a perfect design idea which you design and add to your archives later to figure out that a very similar project has already been published and a designer has already been cited. Is this designer more creative more intelligent than you? No, she is bolder.

It is told that at a given moment in time and space, there are around 150 different people that are having the same bright idea! So, it is likely that your idea is already in the minds of other 149 designers. Now, the question is, how to get a step a head of them, and how to get your name in the front space; how to highlight your design.
Highlighting a design is easy, but before that we should talk about the execution. If you have a good design idea, your execution of the idea must be equally good, give space to yourself and allocate your resources to present your design the best way possible. As a designer, you do not need to do everything; you are not a design worker, for example, you could ask a rendering or visualization company to visualize your design or ask a company to do a prototype; the more developed your project, the better.
Once you have a good execution, it is time to be bold. Do not just add it to your archives, this is nuts. What you must do is first: decide on protection, approach companies, second approach media, and try other methods.
Decide on protection first: If you have a really clever, unique and good design, and especially it is an industrial design product, you are suggested to apply for protection or patent, sometimes designs that are highly developed can be protected by copyright laws and sometimes they need to be protected by industrial design rights, think of this first because once you publish or share your design, you might loose this opportunity.
Approach companies first, but plan it well, you must give a time-frame to yourself; for two reasons: First, very interesting designs are usually more interesting because they also reflect the current status quo and trends, of course you might have a timeless piece of work, but still, it could fit the current timeframe better, so when you have a new design, the time to communicate it is now. But before presenting your designs to companies, you need to decide how much time allowance will you give to the companies? You cannot give them more than two-three months to decide at least for making a contract, because they can copy your design, change it a bit and register it. One more thing to do is to create a good presentation before talking to companies. Lets imagine that you have already approached companies, but there was not enough interest, it can happen, therefore now it is time to approach media.
By approaching media and press, you are going to be communicating to the masses, this action will add visibility to you and your designs, it has cons and pros. The con is that everyone will be able to see your design, thus could be further copied. The pro is that, in any case, if you do not show this design, someone else will and get credited. So, in the end, it is a good choice to go ahead, be bold and advertise your design before anyone could advertise a similar work.
Remember, as a designer your name is your brand value, the more known you are the better, and furthermore, you have a resource that cannot be copied; it is your inertia of creativity, that only you have, your ability to create cannot be copied, your style maybe, your works maybe, but you are the source, so let people know it by advertising your designs.
Before you approach media, you might also think to apply for some design awards, as design awards publish your designs and already communicate to a great range of people, and alternatively you could join design competitions with your unpublished design, which could actually help you earn some money too. Winning a design award or competition is harder than just designing a work, therefore it is an automated filter for the press to decide which designs to publish, keep that in mind. Another important filter is the collaboration with big brands; if you collaborate with big brands, which already filter other designers, for press, your work will be relevant. A final filter for press is that you got previously published for your other works in other publications, to do so, you must get in touch with editors directly.
Getting in touch with editors is easy, what you could do is buy some design magazines, or sector magazines that are relevant to your subject. For example if you have a great furniture design, you could buy interior design magazines. After you buy the magazine, you want to do two things. First check the magazine and see which pages feature concept or new products, find the name of the editor for this pages, and write an email directly to these editors, address their names, you could even call them but it is better to send mail first. Secondly, check the masthead section of the magazine, and contact the other editors as well, it could be interesting for an editor, and not interesting for another. Repeat this for all the magazines, first for your country, and then for other countries.
In parallel, approach the biggest design blogs, collective share platforms and and e-zines, such as mocoloco, designboom, dexigner, notcot, fffound etc, there are not many of them. Register to each of them and for each of them write a personalized mail or follow the instructions in their websites to submit your works.
You will get featured in some media and press members from other countries will want to contact you. But it works best, if you have already a blog or personal website where they could reach you. You must provide the prospective featuring editors a way to reach you. Make a good website, spend money or your time for this. The fact that you are a great industrial designer does not prove that you are also a great graphics designer, now your limits.
Always archive your publications, as it is a way to prove your credibility for your future clients too. Show off with your publications, it is relevant because if you got published, for free, it means that, if the client works for you for designing their products, the new products would also be featured in media. You should add a call to action to your website too, tell the prospective visitors that you do designs for companies, or provide a way to get a price quote.
Okay, so lets assume you get published, got a lot of new prospects and now you are busy designing for your clients, so what? Do not stop creating innovative or interesting designs, give yourself time to come up with innovative designs, use your creative juices and continue designing. The communication must be an ongoing process, keep your contacts with editors, with magazines, with blogs and continue your publication campaign.
If you got the resources, use professional services for communication, make a budget for design awards, and allocate time for joining competitions, events, conferences and be active in your community. Highlighting your design should go parallel with highlighting your own name, your own design and brand identity as a designer.
Design with love, if you only try to do designs for the masses, you will lose. The mass, is average people, average people have average sensitivity to design; please be careful; I am not saying do not design for the masses; you should design for the masses, especially if you are an industrial designer or an architect, whose products are consumed by the masses. What I am saying is that, also do designs that make people say "what the hack", "Huh", "wow".
Usually "wow" designs do not sell and companies do not produce them (with the exception of some high-end design oriented companies for example Italian designer brands), but "wow" designs do attract an audience, and "wow" designs are the only way to show your true self as a designer; when designing "wow" designs you are free of any limitations or any brief that companies would impose, there are no market restrictions and production problems. Design impossible to realize works; they will be possible in the future anyway. Your "wow" designs will attract an audience and get the attention of press, and later you can work with companies for making works that also sell for masses.
One thing to remind that you must separate your designs from art works, they are different things. Designs are expected to be functional, artworks are not. But artworks attract more attention, artistic designs attract the most attention. You must develop your portfolio in a balanced way of crazy works, and works that also appeal to masses, you must show to your audiences both that you could do great creative works, and also works that are highly functional, usable and would sell if realized.
When you do an industrial design, try always to add some sort of value to it by making it different from the rest of products, do a small gimmick, and make sure that your design is not just a commodity, a designed product must add design value.
If you are a company reading this article, I suggest you to work with designers, but most especially young ones and upcoming studios, do prototypes or limited edition series to get your name out, feature your designers names and share your design identity with them. Create a designer line, a designer portfolio, and then and only then you could be the star of any tradeshow.
Finally, create create and create, rinse and repeat, practice makes it perfect. Be unique, be bold, go forward with your crazy ideas, and share it with the public to get the attention you rightfully deserve. Good luck!

This article was added on Monday, 27th of January, 2014 at 05.26 am by author Onur Cobanli Tags: highlight design, design publicity, advertising your design. Read our copyright policy here.


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