Jeffrey English is not your ordinary graphic designer; he owns an amazing studio and doubles up as a branding specialist. Although the studio is based in Hoboken, New Jersey, Jeffrey English receives clients from around the world. The full-service studio is equipped with sophisticated design equipment’s suited to take on the most challenging projects. On a typical day, Jeff English plans various design concepts, overseas project completions and ensures all the equipment’s installed in the studio operate efficiently.
He attributes his success to strong graphic design skills, attention to detail, creativity and flexibility. Jeff is also adept at using an array of design solutions and desktop publishing tools. Owing to his stellar record of accomplishments, he has become a highly sought graphic designer. He is a regular speaker at various design workshops and a member of several professional societies.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you?
I studied graphic design in college and really wanted to pursue the career after school. I am naturally creative and have always enjoyed working with designs and concepts. I was initially contracted to do design work before establishing my own graphic design studio.
How do you make money?
We produce a wide catalogue of items from marketing materials and apparel designs to visual identity materials. The bulk of the jobs I receive come from advertising agencies, private business and non-profit organizations. The business has benefited a lot from the creative team.
How long did it take the business to become profitable?
The business took a few months to record profit. I am glad the business is self-sustaining. Besides design, we do a sizable number of advertorial and brand strategy projects.
When starting out, did you harbor any doubts? If so, how did you handle that?
New businesses often go through a learning curve, which offers vital lessons for future operations. I am glad the initial jitters did not dampen my resolve to succeed. Having pursued graphic design in school, I was well-prepared to tackle the emerging industry challenges.
How did you get your first customer?
Landing the first customer is always something special because they signal product validation and growth prospects. I initially built a list of ideal customers and then reached out to them through LinkedIn invite, phone call and email. My first batch of customers came a few weeks later.
Other than referrals, what other marketing strategies do you use?
Finding a profitable niche in the graphic design industry takes much more than hard work. You need to study the market and discern facts from untruths. The good thing is that graphic design field is related to many other fields, so using multi-prong strategy is always desirable. Our strategy features direct mail, building a formidable portfolio that converts and loyalty program.
What is the hardest decision you’ve had to make in recent months?
Pricing is one of the most delicate things to do in the graphics design industry. Most of our projects are priced based on hourly fees and project type. Owing to the recent expansion of our offerings, we had to come up with a standardized pricing policy. It wasn’t easy at first, but we nailed it.
What do you think makes you successful?
I attribute my success to the ability to work smarter and faster. I also appreciate the importance of value addition because graphic design is all about conveying a visual message intended to invoke an action.
What do you consider your most satisfying moment in business?
Seeing a string of satisfied customers come and leave is the most satisfying thing I could ever ask. I am also happy to finally see the dividends of hard work and patience.
What does the future hold for your business? What is so exciting?
The graphic design industry is burgeoning with new opportunities. The confluence between tech-driven design and graphic abstraction will bring with it lots of interesting things. The near future is likely to be dominated by virtual reality and augmented reality. Designers can actually use the AR and VR to come up with real world solutions.
What business books have inspired you?
I can quickly point you to two very interesting books, “Logo Modernism” and “The Elements of Typographic Style” authored by Jens Muller and Robert Bringhurst respectively. In his book, Jens Muller digs deeper into the contemporary attitudes and imperatives that have shaped corporate identity. Robert is a celebrated typographer, poet and one of my favorite authors.
What recent purchase have you made? How helpful has it been?
I recently purchased a graphic drawing tablet off Amazon. The design gadget comes with pressure express key and built in 8GB MicroSD card. It also features a plethora of mainstream design software’s that I use such as Adobe Photoshop, Manga Studio and Corel Painter.