Looking back at 2008 – No Grey Creative turns 10
2017 marks 10 years for No Grey Creative. As part of the celebration I’ll be bringing you a series of blog posts with the purpose of sharing my unique business story and also with the hope that you can relate to, learn from and have a laugh at (along with me) my experiences.
I hope you enjoy looking back on 2008 with me…
Living/work situation: My unit renovation in Mentone is finished and I was all moved in. I was going to work everyday to my Dad’s house and using the dining room table as my office.
First business purchase: My already 3 year old laptop was not coping with the workload and it was apparent that I had to spend some money on a decent computer if I was ever going to get anywhere. Rolled up to Apple an purchased my first iMac, really exciting!! I was a lot more productive after that.
I needed a space to call my own: Having no where to meet clients to present my work and working from my Dad’s dining table everyday was beginning to take its tole. I moved into my first office which was located on Bay Street in Brighton. A HUGE and scary step, because now there was pressure of monthly overheads.
Best part of having that office: The space was professional looking, gave me an address to put on my business cards, I had a landline phone number with receptionist and it really helped me establish a presence in the suburb of Brighton. There was also great business opportunities amongst my fellow tenants and some of them are still clients to this day.
Worst part of having that office: For what I was getting the fees were outrageous, there were a lot of rules about trivial things like signage and it never really felt like home. More like an expensive temporary holding space before you reached something better.
Noteworthy logo design of 2008: The Facelift Windows and Doors Replacement logo! The company still use this logo today and if you are in the Bayside area you might see in on one of the many vehicles they have driving around.
Something new I did in 2008: I went to Swinburne TAFE and got my certificates in Web Design and Development and Flash Animation. In turn I published version 2 of the No Grey website and I was able to have an offering of website design and build to my clients.
No Grey got a Facebook page: Totally ahead of the times with this one. Those were the days when everything you posted was actually seen and there was not an algorithm in sight! Very different story these days. If you don’t already please follow along here.
Stand out client of 2008: In 2008 I met the lovely Kim who was the owner of About Beauty in Dingley. She responded to an ad I had placed in the local paper about my graphic design services. She was in need of a new brochure design for the salon, which I completed and it took off from there which you will see below. Kim and I continued to work together on various collateral for her salon up until she sold it a few years later. She was a pleasure to work with and I was always excited to come up with a new idea for her business.
Networking was proving to be profitable: In my 2007 post I mentioned I joined BNI. I would go on to be a member of BNI for the next 7 years and that is because it really worked for me. I learned how to talk about myself and how to talk about what I do in a clear succinct way. I developed my elevator pitch and also took full advantage of the opportunities to present to my group for 10mins about my work and how I can help businesses with their Graphic design. I started to apply my newly learned skills to my business outside of BNI – and it worked. I was converting more sales and gaining more interest than ever before.
My biggest lesson of 2008: I started taking deposits for all jobs upfront. I had some bad experiences (as we all do) with people taking advantage of my service, waiting so long after I’d finished the work to pay and also people ‘changing their mind’ once I’d done work for them and then never paying for the time I’d spent on something they’d requested. We all learn this lesson the hard way and I’m glad I learnt it early on!
Something cool: This is probably only going to appeal to software geeks and graphic designers, but myself and some fellow graphic designers got together and started a small ‘movement’ called Fark Quark. Quark was a piece of graphic design software that almost every graphic designer has had to use but hates. We made t-shirts, started a Facebook group – yes in 2008 – and attended the Desktop Magazine Create Awards in uniform. Needless to say we gained a lot of attention and applause from other creatives for our cause. Thankfully – but not due to our ‘movement’ – Adobe InDesign is now the industry standard for graphic design software and I’m happy with that. Long live Fark Quark!
The Quark logo at the time
Here’s a snap of me wearing the famous slogan at an Adobe InDesign Usergroup meet at RMIT University. I won a prize that night for it! (cant remember what it was, a copy of photoshop or something).
Some design work from 2008:
A4 brochure design for Alder Consulting
Marketing collateral for exteriors company Evanew Exteriors
Logo Design an engineering firm in Dandenong (maybe I had a thing for mustard in 2008?)