Interview with James Martin

1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

That’s a very good question and one I still don’t really know to this day. I have always been creative and “arty” and ended up “falling into” graphic design in all honesty. I went to college and did an Art Foundation – on this you do all sorts – fine art, sculpture, graphic design etc.. I always thought I was going to be a fine artist as I loved drawing so much, but, at the end of the year my tutor mentioned that my skillset was pretty well suited to being a graphic designer. It was probably then that I started to take the direction seriously.

2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?

I suppose the biggest hurdle for me was actually just “committing” to being a graphic designer… I loved everything about being a creative, the freedom to do what I want how I want, where as there were now rules to follow and other aspects that needed considering. But once I decided to give it my all it just started to happen organically.

3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?

Putting out badass work is the best advertising for me. This is something that I have always concentrated on, I make sure everything I put my hand to, whether for clients or myself, is executed to a super high quality. When the work is out in the world it does all the work for me.

4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?

This comes down building a relationships – I have always treated my clients like they are my friends. I go above and beyond for them, I offer my honest opinion when asked questions, rather than just telling them what they want to hear, but most importantly I collaborate with them. I’m not one of those designers who dictate the project, I don’t tell my clients that I am right and they are wrong. I place myself as an asset to them and I become a part of their team – I find this helps me to get the longevity I have with my clients.

5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?

Never – this just comes down to process. Fo logo and brand work I take 75% upfront and then 25% on completion. All logo files get sent over after the final payment is made. This allows me to be in total control of the money side.

6. What does your typical work day look like?

It’s always the same as I’m a stickler fo routine.

I get up at 6:30am – walk the dog at 7am – Make my coffee – in work for 8am – finish work at 6pm – then I get my evenings to spend time with my wife, dog, friends and family… I’m always thinking about work, but not always “at” work.

7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?

Find these three people:
Someone you can teach.
Someone on the same level as you.
Someone you can learn from.

This will allow you to continually better yourself – both professionally and as a human.

Connect with
James Martin

James has a new book available on Amazon.

Find him on instagram and youtube.

More strategies to boost your design career

James is a logo creator and a brand builder mainly active on instagram and is also the founder of BabyGiant Design Co.. He recently started a youtube channel where he shares video content.

Interview published on: May 10, 2020

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