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Choosing a name for your business and things to watch out for

Choosing a name for your business is an important, fun, and sometimes very difficult task when setting up a business. Iain Cameron Design and Illustration couldn’t be more practical or dull. But my company very nearly had a whole different name, with some other very interesting connotations, that involve sex and animals. I’ll get to that story later…

News business cartoon

It is interesting to look at company names, and how they work for a business. Should it be memorable, or descriptive, or visually appealing, or trustworthy? Does it even matter? The word will take on the meaning of the brand. For some people the word ‘virgin’ implies an older man with a beard who wants to go into outer space. For others it implies Richard Branson.

Aka Spiderman

A number of freelance designer/illustrators brand themselves with a different name. They do this to stand out, be memorable, and to grab the URL (web address). Designing around a brand that isn’t actually your name is also a lot easier than designing for yourself. When starting my business I considered this a good direction to follow, but ultimately couldn’t live with the idea that other people would think I was giving myself a nickname.

Business naming cartoon

The other issue with the AKA thing, is it always implies to me some 35 year old surfer, DJ, music video director wannabe who happens to be ‘slumming it’ with Photoshop and Illustrator until his (always a he) film, sorry ‘movie career’ takes off. Sorry guys, don’t take it personally, but AKA and a one handed shuffling movement just kind of roll off the wrist…

Look at the little monkey with the letter!

Which brings me to a company with a great name. I love Mailchimp, the email marketing service provider. I love the name. It’s simple, it’s sweet, it’s warm and cuddly like a monkey that delivers emails. Their website is also very well designed which will always give me a warm glow brand wise. I have a poor memory for names, but am very good at remembering important stuff in a round about way. I once said at a meeting in a previous job, ‘why don’t we use the monkey mail company’. They knew who I meant…

Mail chimp cartoon

Dog gone it

Before I finally went with my company name being ‘My Name and what I do’. I very nearly gave it another name. I searched for weeks for a company name. I combined colours and animals, various other random words, significant words, references to song titles, bands, lyrics, clever stuff, stupid stuff, but ultimately nothing I could live with. Or someone got there first, or the URL wasn’t available.

Until I came up with ‘Bad Puppy Design’. With an image etched in my head of a sweet puppy dog with a guilty look on it’s face. And the URL was available!!

Bingo, I’d found it! But just before buying the domain name, I thought I’ll just see what’s on BadPuppy.com, might turn out to be another design company. Well apparently not. It’s one of the world’s largest gay porn websites.

Business name outing

So a lucky escape. Although from what I’m not sure. I’m not homophobic, so it’s the porn bit that is the issue. But somehow ‘gay porn’ made it even funnier. The thing is it may well have generated traffic. On telling another designer this story he replied, with his head slanted to one side, ‘but would that be the sort of traffic you were after?’. Which is a point. But if none of us wanted traffic that at some point was on their way into or out of porn sites, none of us would have any traffic… Although predictive text on Chrome made for interesting reading typing in the address.

As of right now the domain name is still available. You can have my ‘Bad Puppy Design’ company name suggestion for free!

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A new Facebook outlet for my cartoon illustration

vincent-van-gogh-cartoonI was delighted to launch a new Facebook page for my cartoon illustration work, and even more delighted to see it pick up an audience of over a thousand in a couple of weeks. Having worked as a cartoonist and illustrator on newspapers and magazines in the UK and Denmark before becoming a designer it was a part of my skills set that had to be put on hold.

As my web design and graphic design business is working well, I now have enough time to post a couple of cartoons or comics a week on the Facebook page, and the website iain.dk. I have a shop on the website, and look forward to developing some merchandise for it over the coming months. The post above on Vincent Van Gogh picked up 2700 likes through targeting a boosted post to the correct audience.

The Facebook page also becomes my main Facebook business page on Social Media as like many other designers I learned that posting design inspiration, and examples of my work created an exceptionally dull Facebook page, that even I didn’t want to like.

The page in itself won’t generate web design leads or graphic design leads, but it puts me out there as a creative person, knowledgeable about building an audience on Facebook, the shop will generate some income, and it’s a lot of fun. And if you like the page, I will be delighted to see you there.

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Barmaid formerly of the Folies Bergère

This is from my cartoon website at www.iain.dk. As a huge fan of Edouard Manet’s paintings, when I’m in London I always visit The Courtauld Institute gallery to visit Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergère. It is a sensational painting. Situated about a two minute walk from Trafalgar Square on The Strand it is also a lot quieter than the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.

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The scariest client meeting for a designer

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Of course the saying goes ‘A camel is a horse designed by a committee’. Meaning if too many people are involved in a design, without anyone being in charge of the project, bad design ensues.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_by_committee

 

 

Press and Journal

Working as a cartoonist for the Press and Journal newspaper

Willie Miller Aberdeen F.C.

Cartoon for The Press and Journal. A wee hint of Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) in the brush work.

In the early nineties I worked for Aberdeen Journals’ Press and Journal newspaper as a layouter at their Lang Stracht headquarters in Aberdeen.

I was contributing cartoons to the Aberdeen f.c. fanzine The Northern Light at the same time. I eventually plucked up the courage to submit a couple of cartoons to The Press and Journal. It was a paper that sold 110,000 copies per day, six days a week back then. Covering the area from the Shetlands down to Dundee, and over to the Western Isles. The highest selling newspaper in the area, with an estimated readership of 220,000. The subs, the chief sub, the Assistant Editors, were nice but intimidating people – you wouldn’t want to mess with them.

Four hours after nervously offering two cartoons to the Chief Sub, I was holding a still warm from the presses copy of the P&J in my hand with one of my cartoons on the front page, and another on the all important back page (the football page).

The cartoons were topical and needed to fit in with that day’s news. A sharp learning curve in, coming up with material under pressure, drawing quickly, and accepting the random nature of what others considered funny (editors and sub-editors).

The Press and Journal doesn’t sell as many copies now as when my cartoons appeared. This may or may not be a coincidence.

WordPress designer cartoon

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Cartoon design history of the RAF logo

The classic RAF logo is something of a design classic. It is simple classy and instantly recognisable. You can read about the logo (roundel) from the RAF’s site here.

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Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A by NamelessFaithlessGod on deviantART

 

Five signs you are a workaholic freelance designer

After a couple of weeks of hard work without a day off, you force yourself to take an evening off and at 9.15pm you find yourself writing and illustrating an article on ‘Five signs you are a workaholic freelance designer’, then I guess that’s me then.

1.When to relax from work, you open a copy of Computer Arts magazine ‘to unwind’.

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2. When you have design dreams in your sleep.

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3. Unable to not check your phone.

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4. When you get some time off and you go ‘finally, I can work on animation!’.

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5. When on a date in a nice restaurant you are thinking, ‘This place is nice, if I did their website it would look great on my portfolio’, how can I get the conversation on to web design?.

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