1. When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
My parents often tell me that when I was a kid I was always drawing. Mostly comic characters, and I would create stories around them. I think this was the first hint of me being into design and storytelling.
It was in high school where I discovered a love for Graphic Posters. Mainly propaganda posters from WW2 and pieces from the Pop Art era and I fell in love with them. I didn’t know that design could activate people into believing or even doing something, so when I found those pieces with huge political and societal undertones I was very intrigued by it.
In that same time computers, the internet and Adobe software became quite mainstream and I was obviously addicted to all of it. I was making custom fashions for my Sims characters, I joined as a designer at my school paper and I would be on Fashion Forums all day long. So when I found out that being a (digital) designer was an actual career, I decided to pursue that.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I started around 3 years ago, while I was working part time at a start up. I found out soon enough that especially in the beginning, the time and effort you invest in your company is kind of what you take out of it, so I decided to make the jump and go full time and never looked back ever since.
The biggest hurdle in my career was (and still kind of is at times) my own mind and insecurities. Especially starting out it is so easy to become discouraged seeing how “far” everyone else is. Feeling like you don’t know enough. Being ashamed of your portfolio. Thinking your skills aren’t where they need to be. Scared of presenting. Afraid of charging more. I had to go through a lot of self-sabotage to get to the place I am today and it is still something I have to work on. I now push myself into doing things a little bit before I feel like I’m ready to do so. It’s scary but it works.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
When I started out “the internet” was obviously super useful. Facebook groups with companies that look for a designer and just applying for everything. Asking my friends/network if they had anything for me. Really just reaching out and asking people for an opportunity.
Nowadays I feel like putting out content is the most successful way of getting new clients. Showing that you are active in your community, sharing your thoughts and processes and your work. 9/10 clients that reach out start by saying “Hey, I saw your post on..” or “Hey I heard you worked with…”.
Also being respectful and friendly helps a lot too. There have been situations where companies canceled projects, couldn’t afford me or for some reason just couldn’t work with me at some point in time, and I would always try to help them by referring them to other designers or at least give them some advice or tips. Even when I don’t really get anything out of it, I try my best to be helpful.
Now, months and even years later, I’m still getting referral clients from ‘that one person or company’ that I only helped or just gave advice to. Or in even cooler scenario’s, their business grows and they hire me anyway.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
I keep in touch with my clients. My workflow is semi-automated, so when a project launches and the final payment is done, 2 months later I get a reminder that I have to send them a “Hey what’s up? Still loving everything?”-type email. Sometimes you get caught up in new projects but I always do a follow up after 2 and 6 months to see if the goals we set up before the project, are actually met.
Not only is that just basic quality service, it also shows your client that you care about them, even when you’re “not getting paid to”. This way I hope to make sure to stay on top of their minds when they are looking for designers and art directors.
Also sometimes just reaching out or no good reason helps too. Or stopping by for drinks on a Friday. Or sending them a nice Christmas or Valentines Day card. Basically just show them you care.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
I’ve had some late payments yes, more in the first year. It happened more with container clients that I used to do work for throughout the year. We would become a bit too ‘friendly’ and payments would become something less important for them to send on time. I’ve learned from that.
It never happened that I didn’t get paid though. I think it helps to come across as a professional. When I’m in a meeting I think I come across as more sweet or funny but at the end of the day I do run a business. So I don’t start working before I receive the 50% downpayment. Also I let them sign a contract that says they don’t own the Intellectual Properties unless the full 100% is paid. That type of stuff helps for clients to see you as a serious business and treat you like one too.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
I am currently trying to get a bit more structure in my work days but let’s say it’s a work in process. Usually though I start my day by working out in the mornings. It gives me a sense of accomplishment early in the day and for me it stimulates productivity.
Then I bike to my office and start with 30/60 minutes of emails, Dribbble, Behance, Awwwards and Pinterest. Then I open my Notion (which has all my todo’s and planning on there) and start working. Music on, phone away, full focus.
End of the day I send out update emails and do my calls because at that point my brain is a bit fried anyway. Once a week I have my ‘meetings-day’ where I just have meetings with clients, other creatives and anything in between. I really like meeting people and it helps keep my weeks flexible and social.
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?
My biggest recommendation is probably to keep inspiration and motivation close. I follow a lot of awesome people and companies like Chris Do, Michael Janda, Ran Segall, Gary Vee etc that just post a lot content that make me remember my purpose in a way.
Also, in my design I work with pretty political topics and I would like to stress how important our role as designers is when it comes to representation. In today’s day and age, when we bring something out into the world, it lives on forever on the internet. So please make sure that when you create anything, it is made with love and respect for all types of human beings. People of Color, LGBTQ+ and so many more communities are extremely underrepresented in websites, content, branding and media and we as designers, art directors and creators have the power to (slowly, but surely) change that. Please create responsibly and always with love.
Gyor Moore celebrates positive change and impact through design and experiences. He helps brands to stimulate values like inclusivity, diversity and equality in their identity, strategy and products. With his designs he wants to make this world a little bit more beautiful. Day by day, pixel by pixel.