Jack Palance did one-arm push-ups. I do design.
Mr. Palance was no ordinary actor. He was the real deal, a real strong-arm who upon winning an Oscar got down on one arm.
Now, a word about strong design.
Owning Photoshop does not make anyone a designer. Playing around* with Fortune 500 Companies does. I skillfully filter brand clutter and emboss corporate communication. My name is Sam and I am the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer.
*Agency expertise includes Exxon Mobil, Hewlett-Packard, Honda, MasterCard, Microsoft and Verizon Wireless. Connect with me at LinkedIn for additional details and recommendations.
Marketers, publishers and agencies across the globe have sampled the design and illustration of the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer. You will find that I am equally strong in graphic design production as I am with art direction. Whatever your creative team needs, I am always eager to lend a hand.
8Fish | Altoids.com | Acura | Ancestry.com | Creating Keepsakes Magazine | Design of Today | DYMO | Exxon Mobil | FranklinCovey | Fritz & Andre | Hewlett-Packard | Honda | ICON Health & Fitness | Mammoth Records | Martha Felt Group | MasterCard | McCann Erickson | Microsoft | New West Magazine | Next Door Creative | NIC | OneWorld Magazine | Plantronics | Play Magazine | Printelligent | Rastar | Ray Gun Magazine | Salon.com | Salt Lake Magazine | Simple Scrapbooks Magazine | Stampin’ Up! | Sum Media | Vanguard Media | VeriSign | Verizon Wireless | YOUR BUSINESS BELONGS HERE.
As a commitment to design strong, I am offering FREE banner ad design for new clients. What can I do today to help get your next creative project off the ground?”
— Sam Ashley, Freelance Graphic Designer, Riverton, UT
Look Mom, No Hands
Whenever you are the one of the world greats, you will face naysayers. For instance, while there are many good designers, there can only be one World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer. That’s me and others are not happy about it.
They like to taunt, “You may be great now, but what if you were handcuffed to a tree and couldn’t break free to consult with a new client on marketing creative? Or, what if you were surfing into shore for a big presentation and a shark ate your design arm? How great would you be then?”
In the first example, I would reschedule. In the second case, I would halt the bleeding and then focus on talking about design concepts and big ideas–no arm required. Where weaker world powers struggle with two arms to make fonts and colors look good, the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer can help brands bite through market clutter with his hand tied behind his back.
Two eyes to size up your competition.
Two ears to listen and understand your marketing position.
A throat to cough up clear messaging.
Finally, one wicked arm to whip up some strong creative.
MOM: What are your thoughts on 99designs, Logoworks, MarketSplash and Vistaprint?
SAM: I like some of their work. Where I spend time understanding my clients and doing consistent repeat work, they churn and burn through thousands of requests each week. For simpler, stand-alone design work, they offer a viable solution. However, to stand out in today’s market, you may be better oft to partner up with a strong designer who will take the time to get to know you and your business. If you still feel the need to be treated like you’re parked in the drive-thru, go out for a burger and fries.
MOM: How much do you charge?
SAM: My hourly rate is $75. Having said that, I do have one client that pays below that because we have worked together for many years and they call me frequently. There is always flexibility where there is a good fit. Call me for details on how I will work tirelessly on your behalf; the value I deliver goes beyond my hourly rate and that is not just because we are related.
MOM: What is it like being the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer?
SAM: It is a heavy responsibility; not something that I thought would ever happen in my lifetime. However, at the start of each day, I still have to put my shirt on one sleeve at a time before I sit down to design strong.
After living on their own for years, I could not persuade my illustrations to move back home with me. They do enjoy visitors, though, if you care to drop by.
After finishing college, the first job I landed was in customer service downtown in Chicago. I single-handedly answered phones, looked up information and input orders. Not what I aspired to but I made the most of it.
On lunch break, I was checking out design magazines and getting to know the in-house graphic designer who was creating catalogues and magazines. It looked a lot better than what I was doing. When my supervisor started questioning why I couldn’t type faster with one arm, I knew it was time for the change. I gave my notice and entered the design world.
I did not instantly transform into the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer. I ate and slept design for many years. I paid my dues but, at the same time, I have had the good fortune of working with many great creatives and amazing clients. After 15 years of clicking and dragging, my super strong design powers are feeling pretty good now. As far as my typing skills, not so much.
What is the secret of creativity? Lose an arm.”
— René Lavand, One-Handed Magician
Hello Marketing Cheapskate
Is clutter in the marketplace getting the best of your products or services?
Are you aware and able to respond in real-time to sudden marketing opportunities?
Are you so cost-conscious at running your business, you won’t spend two minutes to call for FREE marketing and design advice?
Strong marketing design is not convenient for small business owners and it never will be. So, if you want different results, now is the time to change your outlook and strategy.
Let’s talk. I will give you instant ideas to turn your communication design around. Assuming we both decide to move forward into design implementation, there is little risk on your part. As a sign of good faith, I offer a full refund if for any reason you are not completely satisfied.
Again, for the super tightwads out there, it’s time to face reality and benefit from fresh eyes on your marketing strategy. Get your business growing today. Remember, looks are FREE so there is no cost for professional advice from the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer.
I have art directed numerous editorial features. Even as the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer, I got a little worn-out lugging dozens of publications around town to strut my weighty stuff. Now they are online. Hope you enjoy the spreads more than I enjoyed the workout.
This is the best place I know to find fuerte design without paying an arm and a leg.”
— A Two-Fisted Amigo
How to Choose a Graphic Designer
Good, fast and cheap. In the past, it was hard to get all three as a design client. There was a clever saying used by graphic designers that went like this: Pick two.
If you want Good and Fast, it will NOT be Cheap.
If you want Good and Cheap, it will NOT be Fast.
If you want Fast and Cheap, it will NOT be Good.
Times have changed. Now, you can have strong design created that is all of the above and much more if you know where to look. I recommend seven criteria for picking the very best graphic designer out there. I assume you will be shopping online so consider the following to make a quick assessment.
First, is it easy to identify the designer’s name? This is basic but essential. Most relationships begin with, “Hi, my name is… ” as a way of introduction. Hiring a designer is no different because you will work together as a creative partnership. You want to learn a little about the designer to get a feel for personality and design style before picking up the phone or filling out a form. Look for a living and breathing designer and not a faceless design team or avatar.
Second, does the designer provide a mobile number? You want to work with someone who you can talk to as need be. A mobile number suggests that they are open to listening and care about your feedback. It also means they are reachable should last minute changes arise or new developments surfaces six months later. If they hide behind email or a call center, keep on looking. Access to a mobile phone number will make your life a lot easier and provide you with greater customized service.
Third, does the designer do a good job at marketing their own services? If they are the like the cobbler’s son with no shoes when it comes to self-promotion, they need to tend to their own store before offering their wares to others. Find a designer who does quality work that you admire and carries himself as a professional. Although cousin Louie may own Photoshop, let him experiment on someone else. You have marketing that needs a trusted creative advisor.
Fourth, is the designer able to work as an extension of your marketing or creative department? Sometimes you may need fresh ideas. Other times, you may already know what you want and you just need it produced and out the door as soon as possible. Find a strong designer that you can outsource overflow projects to that will support your in-house team. The key here is reliability and convenience in initiating work requests so that ongoing production can move at a moment’s notice.
Fifth, does the designer offer “no-cost” bonus services as part of the total design package? This could include a preliminary FREE consultation, rushed delivery or unlimited design revisions. It could also include FREE design concepts for business cards or on other small projects. All other factors being equal, everyone enjoys a FREE taste test or added value that does not increase costs but delivers design impact. A great designer will have something unique to offer. Sometimes, it is as simple as a discount for repeat business or referrals.
Sixth, does the designer offer a Money Back Guarantee? Work with a designer who only feels marketing bliss if you are completely satisfied. An experienced designer with happy clients is not afraid to promise a refund and stand behind his track record of success. A Money Back Guarantee means a great investment with superior service and outcome. Grab a committed designer who understands your business and works without tangling you up in corporate policies and hidden fees.
Seventh, does the designer get it done with one arm? This is the ultimate sign of strength of character. Lance Armstrong did not use training wheels or excess body parts to win the Tour de France and repeat. Michael Jordan did not use a stool to become His Airness. Look for a graphic designer that does not rely on crutches or excuses when it comes to designing strong.
This message has been brought to you by the World’s Greatest One-Armed Designer. (This title has been earned by bringing value to clients’ lives in each and every contact.) Happy marketing.
Design for strong space.
Design for strong ownership.
Design for a strong tribe.