Interview with Martina Flor

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

I guess I grew into it while studying graphic design. Getting started was relatively intuitive to me, I was 18 after all, what did I know? I just thought that working in something visual, that involved working with my hands and brain felt good to me. 

Then, once into art school, in realised what design actually was and started to see a value in it. The projects were fun, the community and working environment during my studies was fun. You know, you can listen to music while you prepare your final project, and be in a room with 5 other people, and chat while doing it. 

But it wasn’t until I actually started to work as a designer that I realised what design was about. And that there was a myriad of things I could do within the discipline. 

And so, it took me the next 5/7 years to figure out what I wanted to do as a designer, and later in niched down into letter design and lettering. 

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

The biggest hurdle to overcame when I started my own studio was my own mindset around what I could achieve as a designer. We have heard and learned that there’s no money in art and design, and that we won’t make enough. 

These were the things that I had to reframe to create a reality for myself. 

Nowadays, overcoming that mindset is a big part of the work I do in mentoring other designers and artists. It’s perhaps the most meaningful task that I’be carried on throughout my career as a designer and educator. 

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

Reaching out to them in a compelling way. Of course I also put a lot of hours into preparing my portfolio and my personal brand so that when I finally called their attention, they would actually see value in my profile and the work I did. I also put myself out there and accepted every speaking gig and article that came my way. That was also excellent practice to learn how to sell my work.

I’ve always been very intentional and consistent in reaching out to clients. I would make lists of dream clients or collaborations, then do my research, find that one person that I needed to get in touch with, and come up with a way to reach out to them in a novel way. 

Even in my most busy moments, I keep in doing client reach out. I believe that you should never give success for granted, you have to be consistent and show up.

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

I believe that they don’t only get good results but also they have a great experience working with me. I have clear, transparent processes, and I’m receptive of feedback.

I don’t only do that with clients but also with students. I run my own online classroom and my team and I put a lot of thought into the content but also the student journey. I’m capable of showing my students what’s possible for them, things that they might not be able to see themselves, and they experience a transformation. 

I think that in the service as well as in the education industry you have to always keep in mind that you’re working with people, and besides getting results they want to be treated good, feel seen and have a good experience. If you put effort and thought into getting your customers the results they want and provide them with a great experience, they’ll come back for more. 

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

I haven’t experienced that often. First I make sure that there’s an advance payment in place before I start to work, and that already sets the tone for the collaboration. If the invoice is not paid in time, I send a friendly reminder.

Nowadays, I have someone handling that for me, which makes the process go smoothly. 

6. What does your typical work day look like?

I used to have a pretty fixed routine which I’m trying to break more often now. I currently work 25 hours a week top, that are distributed more or less evenly. 

At the moment, an hour of my day goes into writing. I’m working on a new book and I try to keep up with a consistent schedule to see results. 

After, I have a check in with my team and respond to whatever they may need from me to move forward with their tasks.

A lot of my day goes into coming up with content ideas, planing course upgrades for my academy and developing the vision for my business. Whereas in the past I was more hands on, drawing and designing, I now enjoy more of thinking, writing and planing. 

I workout in the afternoon before I come back home to spend the afternoon with my two and five year old children. 

I’ve worked my way into the life and routine that works great for me and the lifestyle I want to have, and I’m in the moment of my life where I finally have reached that sweet spot. Freakin love it! 

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

Never settle for what you grew up believing was possible for you as a designer and creative, even less for what other people said you are able to achieve. It’s in the nature of our discipline to be able to change the way things are, to show a new perspective on problems and paradigms.

The same way you can rewrite your story and limiting beliefs. Whatever you want to do is possible if you believe it is and work towards it.

Connect with
Martina Flor

Martina Flor on Instagram
Martina Flor on Twitter
Martina Floor on Facebook
Martina Flor Studio

Martina Flor combines her talents as both a designer and an illustrator in the drawing of letters. In 2010, she moved to Berlin and successfully launched her studio for lettering and custom typography.

Since then she has worked with several high profile clients, been on stage at dozens of design conferences, written books, won awards, and taught thousands of aspiring freelance lettering designers to hone their craft, become hand-lettering masters, and expand their business.

With her unique approach to both teaching and lettering design, Martina has impacted the work and businesses of thousands of brands and creatives all over the world. She is a passionate speaker and author who loves what she does and enjoys sharing what she knows with the community.

Interview published on: Aug 30, 2021

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