Interview with Will Paterson

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

I had a friend in school that would create amazing YouTube banners in Photoshop. I loved what he created and wanted to do this myself. So from the age of 16 I started learning through limited videos online, books and blogs. 

When I was at a tech college studying business administration all I knew I wanted to do was start a business. I could play the guitar, I could do some weird circus skills stuff – basically, I could do anything that you weren’t taught at school. 

Two years into my three year course at college I wanted to get out and do something. Although I was a novice, I was passionate about design. So I left college a year early (to the distress of my family and tutors) and taught myself design full time in the bedroom of my parents house. 

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

I started by learning. I would sit in my bedroom on my slow laptop with Photoshop CS, and simply recreate what others were making. 

The biggest hurdle for me was continuing what I was doing, knowing the risk of messing up my early years. I had no room for failure. Looking back on it now, it would’ve been awful. All I knew was that I was made to design, so I’m going to learn this craft and start sharing what I’ve done online. 

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

Reputation. 

If you’re known for your successful work and personality, the clients will come to you. 

Sharing your design work and process online is how you do this. When I started to share my work – even for fake projects – I started gaining clients. 

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

I don’t. 

As our agency specialises in brand identity we want to be able to work with the client once and for everything we’ve created to be enough for at least the next 25 years of their companies existence. 

We don’t do general design work, we communicate with other agencies that can help them with this in the long run.  

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

When I first started, yes. I remember two cases which were annoying but not the end of the world. 

Today we have solicitors and paperwork. Clients know what will happen if we don’t get paid on time, and I know what will happen if I don’t meet the expectations written in the SOW. 

6. What does your typical work day look like?

I get up at around 9 am, head to the office with Naomi which is around a 15 minute drive. I make coffee. I start designing until I feel like finishing for the day. 

If we’re on set for videos, I may spend longer in the office. We don’t care when we finish, as long as the predetermined tasks have been completed. 

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

The world of design is full of comparison. Don’t compare you, your work, or your process with anyone else.

Do what works for you.

Connect with
Will Paterson

Will Paterson is a Logo Designer and Hand Lettering Artist specialising in Logotype Design. You have probably seen him on YouTube or Instagram where he shares his knowledge and experience to the wider design community. Will is also the Author of Calligraphy In 15.

Interview published on: Jul 27, 2021

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