Bojan Stefanovic aka Logoholik, is a logo and brand identity designer from Serbia and has bags of experience in the field. He’s kindly agreed to take part in an interview here on Brand Design Blog so we all might benefit from what he’s learnt along the way.
Q. First of all Bojan, thanks for agreeing to take part in this interview! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been involved in logo design/branding etc?
A. I started my career in graphic design in last century first as an offset machinist, cleaning press machines, advancing to one colour printing, while trying to learn some basics in prepress and DTP software. Later on I managed to master the ins and outs of prepress surroundings while my interest towards graphic design kept my spare time filled with “work” produced for my friends and family for all their little graphic design needs. It was usually a pro bono effort in those times though
About the time I managed to get my first paying job doing something more creative than plain prepress or DTP, I took the momentum and applied for graphic designer positions at several of Belgrade’s advertising agencies and graphic design studios. With a lot of hard work, passion and a little bit of luck, in four years I advanced from junior designer position all the way to Art director in several big agencies, which gave me just about the right mix of experience and skill set to back my decision to specialize in logo design/branding some ten years ago.
The next big step was to start freelancing again, utilizing the power of international markets over the interwebs.
Q. Can you take us through your design process start to finish? And also, is your process the same for every project or does it vary according to the clients wishes/the type of project/how you might be feeling that day?
A. It usually takes two weeks for me to present initial logo concepts to the client. I need a few days for initial research, then I start brainstorming ideas based on the clients brief. Then some sketching and off to Illustrator for execution. The third week is reserved for fine tuning and polishing the chosen direction.
Sometimes I deal with rush jobs (if the client wants something specific, thus research time can be skipped). Since my illustration skills aren’t so good, sometimes my turnaround times are extended, as some outsourcing can occur.
Q. Most freelancers, especially early in their career, struggle to find regular clients. Where do your clients come from these days, and where did they come from when you we’re just starting out?
There is really one simple rule – all my clients are online. If I am not there too (forums, logo inspiration sites, twitter, etc…) there is no work for me Especially a few years ago. These days it’s a bit easier since my client base is pretty large, so I can partly rely on returning clients.
Q. As an extension of the previous question, what advice do you have for people who are relatively new to freelancing on finding good clients?
Showcase your work wherever you can, utilize social networks to your advantage.
Q. Another difficult area, especially for people new to freelancing is how to value your time and what to charge for your services. How do you approach this, and what advice do you have for less experienced designers?
You have to place yourself in a league against others. Try to compare your skills with your colleagues and match their prices.
Q. Every freelancer must have experienced clients that are difficult in one-way or another e.g. Difficult to please/indecisive/keep changing their mind etc. What difficult quality have you come across in your clients, and how did you deal with it?
It is always good to keep in mind that the client decided to hire you because of your skill set (hopefully not because you were the cheapest – in that case, god help you )
Try to explain the reasoning behind your solutions and put yourself in a position where you are the expert, giving advice, not vice versa Try to set some boundaries in how far you wish to go with revision rounds or similar and stick to that.
Q. Is there any of your past projects that consider to have been a particular success for any reason, or that you’re particularly proud of, and why?
There have been a few of them in my career, the latest one is branding for VibrantDrive, it seem to be recognized all over the world, hence my client and I are very happy I am proud to announce that I will have one page in new Logolounge book dedicated to this project!
Q. For you, what is the most difficult aspect of freelancing, e.g. accounting/advertising/sales etc, and what advice do you have for other freelancers on this issue?
The toughest thing for me is finding that right mix of designer/salesman role. From my experience, successful graphic designers concentrate less about art, and way more about concrete results.
Q. When showing a client your final outcome for the fist time, what is the process and are there any techniques that you use to help ‘persuade’ the client to ‘like’ your design? E.g. Do you present just the black and white logo first? Or do you show multiple colour variations with ‘in-situ’ mock-ups (images of the logo in use e.g. on t-shirts/products/packaging etc)
Although not set in stone (it depends on how I initially judge my client’s viewpoint), I tend to go with full fledged logo presentation, backed up with a few “in action” mock-ups. If a meeting is not scheduled, I also try to add some reasoning – an depth written explanation.
Q. Finally, do you have any more advice for people new to freelancing or those considering starting out on their own?
Work hard, be passionate about your work, trust in your abilities, research, learn and adapt, use social networks to your advantage.