Happy Business Birthday Hello Lovely

On the 3rd April last year I began a change of working life. I left the security of a full-time job and began to look at using my design experience and education in a different way. During this year, I have been invited to speak at events, worked on a salon rebranding and got creative on a range of exciting projects including new branding, ePubs and a book launch. I have always been focused on two things: quality and trust. I have stayed true to this goal throughout the first year of business.

Here are ten observations on my first year and what I have learned.

  1. It's important to work out an accurate cost per hour or project rate that is honest for all involved. You might ask why I don't put package prices on my site, that's because each design project is very different to the other and cost has to allow for variations, scope creep and be fair to all. 
  2. Help others. I want my clients to feel they've learned something about the science and creativity of design without feeling at all patronised. 
  3. The first repeat client makes me very happy and proud.
  4. Ask questions. I'm delighted to answer any queries from projects to my background. 
  5. Learn from others. I love to meet new friends and old in the networking community (in person or online) and always come away from events with new knowledge. 
  6. Cheap design services undercut somewhere. On labour costs, talent, creativity or copyright. Something will be sacrificed to keep the price down.
  7. People will ask for free work. I have a set number of hours that I donate each year and to causes that matter to me or my family and close friends. 
  8. Designers are customers and business people too. If we see bad design, we'll wonder if businesses have cut corners elsewhere or be offended on behalf of our creative cause.
  9. Learn from the past. Page grids, type weights, negative spaces and good typography all have a place in digital design. People call this UI design but it's also about common sense and good design skills.
  10. Robert Bringhurst's Elements of Typographical Style is one of the best books on fonts.

Thanks to my great clients, partners, networking community, family and friends. I have built a lot of great relationships already, and I am looking forward to strengthening them even further. Thanks for helping to make Hello Lovely a success!

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