Design Domination

Design Domination
Mindset, Marketing and Mentoring for Freelancers

From Designer to Brand Strategist With Melinda Livsey
May 20 • 37 min
#63 Hear the challenges that led Melinda Livsey, The Futur co-host, to go from designer to brand strategist, why she no longer does design work, how she builds trust with clients, questions she always asks during a consultation that position her as an…
Motivating Mural Design With Debbie Clapper
May 6 • 26 min
#62 Find out why muralist Debbie Clapper transitioned her career from graphic design to fine art, how she pursued her passion and how it changed her life. If you’ve ever thought of pursuing fine art as a career choice, you definitely don’t want to miss…
Logo Lessons With Ian Paget of Logo Geek
Apr 22 • 52 min
Ian Paget of Logo Geek joins me to talk about his logo design process, how to set yourself apart from other logo designers, how he presents his work, how to get less pushback from a client on your designs, books he recommends, the tools he uses and more.
Overlays and Plugins Aren’t the Answer to Accessibility
Apr 8 • 21 min
#60 Website accessibility overlays and plugins aren’t the answer to accessibility and ADA compliance, despite being touted as an easy, automated solution for web designers and developers and their clients. They present a plethora of problems.
Managing Your Freelance Business During the COVID-19 Crisis
Mar 25 • 13 min
#59 It’s vital to know how to manage your freelance business during the COVID-19 crisis, and any crisis for that matter. We need to learn from this and stay level headed, focused and innovative to help our clients and our own businesses.
Business Breakthroughs With Brand Doctor Henry Kaminski Jr.
Mar 11 • 26 min
The Brand Doctor Henry Kaminski Jr. joins me to talk about how he leveled up his business and stopped competing on price. He also shares business breakthroughs about branding, focus and values.
Overlooked Places Graphic Designers Can Find Clients
Feb 19 • 7 min
Find out several overlooked places graphic designers can find clients—online and offline—that can help you based on your industry and clientele. Are you overlooking any of them?
Protect Your Freelance Business From Catastrophe
Feb 5 • 15 min
#56 Find out ways to protect your freelance business and income from catastrophe—disability, long-term illness, an emergency, disaster, theft, liability issues—and how to minimize their effects.
Designing Digital Products-Tom Ross-Design Cuts
Jan 22 • 37 min
#55 Tom Ross of Design Cuts and I talk about digital products—figuring out what to sell (fonts, templates, etc.), how to price it, their submission process and more. Get tips to help you get an edge on your competition in the creative products marketplace.
Stop “Should-ing” All Over Yourself—Set Goals
Jan 8 • 16 min
#54 We’re always told we should set goals to be successful. But do you avoid setting them because you don’t see the point or you’re afraid you won’t achieve them? Do you ever look back and think, “I should have done this or that”? Learn how to set goals.
Design With Accessibility in Mind
Dec 18, 2019 • 20 min
#53 Most designers don’t think about accessibility. It affects branding, design, documents, websites. It’s a great way to differentiate yourself from other designers while helping your clients reach more people and legally protecting them.
17 Essential Elements for an Effective Portfolio Website
Dec 4, 2019 • 22 min
#52 Your website needs to be an effective marketing tool to help you get clients. You want to be top of mind when someone needs a designer. Here are 17 essential elements for an effective portfolio website, so you get found and leave a positive impression.
Boost Value With a Brand Style Guide
Nov 13, 2019 • 16 min
#51 After designing a logo for a client, do you provide a brand style guide along with the files, so the client has guidance on how to use the logo? If not, you’re missing out on positioning yourself as an expert, adding value to your work and charging…
Confidence, Closing and Content With Mike Killen
Oct 30, 2019 • 46 min
#50 Mike Killen and I talk confidence and how it’s vital in closing the deal and why you should be selling futures, not features. Get actionable tips to use when talking to clients, including how to respond when a client says, “That’s too expensive.”
Branding and Marketing Insights With Jacob Cass
Oct 16, 2019 • 31 min
#49 Jacob Cass of Just Creative talks about his design journey, his logo design and presentation process, how to add more value with brand strategy and some amazing marketing tips. Plus, find out why he calls himself “the pink cow.”
Preparing and Packaging Logo Files - Michael Bruny-Groth
Oct 2, 2019 • 43 min
#48 Do you spend a lot of time creating logo formats? Are you unsure which ones to send to a client? Do you properly prepare logo files to prevent potential issues? Find out that and how to add value to your work from Logo Package Express Michael…
Should You Use “I” or “We”?
Sep 18, 2019 • 11 min
#47 Do you struggle with whether to refer to your freelancing business as “I” or “we”? Are you misrepresenting yourself if you use “we”? Will potential clients prefer just you or a team? Will you not get larger projects if you use “I”? Hear the pros and…
6 Reasons Freelance Designers Should Screen Prospective Clients
Sep 4, 2019 • 11 min
#46 Many graphic designers are so excited when a prospect contacts them, they miss a crucial step: evaluating the prospect. Having a vetting process is vital to avoid problem clients. Here are 6 reasons freelance designers should screen prospective…
14 Reasons Graphic Designers Are Seen as Order Takers
Aug 21, 2019 • 19 min
#45 There are a lot of differences in mindset and behavior between graphic designers who are perceived as order takers and those who are perceived as experts. Here are 14 reasons graphic designers are seen as order takers instead of as experts.
9 Ways Recurring Revenue Hurts Your Business – David C. Baker
Aug 7, 2019 • 39 min
#44 Monthly recurring revenue is all the rage these days. But what most freelancers and agencies don’t realize is that it can cause problems. David C. Baker of the 2Bobs podcast joins me to talk about 9 ways recurring revenue actually hurts your business.
10 Ways a Design Mentor Can Help You
Jul 31, 2019 • 4 min
#43 There are many ways to learn and improve your skills. But you may not even know what you need help with or you may be focusing on the wrong thing. That’s where one-on-one design mentoring can help. Here are 10 ways a design mentor can help you.
Power, Positioning & Pricing for Creatives With Blair Enns
Jul 24, 2019 • 46 min
#42 Blair Enns of Win Without Pitching and I discuss pricing, taking back your power in the client-designer relationship, how not to sell, mindset issues and much more. Also, find out what the “flip” is and why it’s vital in the client-designer…
5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Respond to Clients Right Away
Jul 10, 2019 • 5 min
#41 Is your MO to respond immediately to calls, e-mails and texts from clients? Stop! You’re not helping yourself or your client by being so fast to reply. In this Creative Brief episode, I cover 5 reasons freelance designers shouldn’t respond to clients…
Nail a Niche with Stephanie Campanella
Jul 3, 2019 • 30 min
#40 A lot of designers have heard about niching but are hesitant to do it. Stephanie Campanella, who’s built several profitable niched-based businesses, talks about why she niched her business, how she did it, and the benefits of niching.
18 Things to Check Before Preparing Design Proofs
Jun 19, 2019 • 7 min
#39 Designers have to pay attention to details. Clients don’t want to babysit, and you don’t want to feel like they’re looking over your shoulder. Find out what to check before sending design proofs to keep your work sharp and have you looking like an…
3 Reasons to Charge for Native Design Files
Jun 12, 2019 • 17 min
#38 Native design files are a designer’s secret recipe, yet some designers hand them over free of charge. But, unless it’s a work for hire, you have every right to charge for these files. Find out why clients want them, why you should charge for them and…
Creative Brief: 7 Things Designers Can Do During Dry Spells
Jun 5, 2019 • 4 min
#37 In this Creative Brief episode, I get into 7 things graphic designers can do during dry spells. These efforts could help you win more work now or in the future. Some of these are more active, some are more passive, and some you can do on an ongoing…
Tax Write-Offs Freelance Designers Might Miss
May 29, 2019 • 17 min
#36 Paul Koullick from Keeper joins me to talk about tax write-offs that freelance graphic designers might miss. Find out if you’re forgetting any of them and find out what you need to know about estimated taxes.
Creative Brief: 45 Ways to Get Design Inspiration
May 22, 2019 • 5 min
#35 Ever get stuck in a creative rut? No more! Here are 45 ways to get design inspiration whether it’s for a logo, typographic, print or web design project.
Crafting a Custom Package Solution
May 8, 2019 • 19 min
#34 Guest Amy Celona talks about how she crafted a custom web design package, how it solves her audience’s problems and how she made it profitable. She also talks about how she gets little pushback with design changes and saves time on proposals.
Creative Brief: Proofreader Marks
May 1, 2019 • 1 min
#33 This Creative Brief episode is about proofreaders’ marks—what they mean to graphic designers and how to decode them if and when you get them from a client, proofreader or editor.
6 Types of Problem Clients and How to Fire Them
Apr 24, 2019 • 18 min
#32 Your freelance business does not need to feel like a circus. But you do need to be the ringleader. Here are 6 types of problem clients and how to fire them. I’ll also talk about when it’s not you, not them, who is the reason for the breakup.
Creative Brief: Touch Up These Typography Typos
Apr 17, 2019 • 7 min
#31 Part of the Creative Briefs series of mini-episodes with quick graphic design tips, this episode covers commonly misused typographic marks and how to correct them.
Avoid These 12 Pricing Mistakes
Apr 10, 2019 • 30 min
#30 Do you know what to consider when pricing your graphic design work? Are you charging enough? Find out that plus 12 pricing mistakes to avoid to be more profitable. Also learn about hourly vs flat and package pricing for graphic design work.
Creative Brief: Making Your Design Mailable
Apr 3, 2019 • 3 min
#29 When designing a printed piece that will be mailed, consulting a mailpiece design analyst will help you make sure your design adheres to any necessary postal requirements or qualify for special rates.
Policing Plagiarism: What to Do When Someone Steals Your Creative Work
Mar 27, 2019 • 37 min
#28 Have you ever had your work plagiarized? Unfortunately, I have and so have other designers. So I invited attorney Matthew Johnston back to talk about copyright infringement and your rights as a designer, so you can protect your creative work.
Creative Brief: 11 Things to Check in a Print Proof
Mar 20, 2019 • 3 min
#27 Part of the Creative Briefs series of mini-episodes with quick design- and marketing-related tips, this episode is about reviewing print proofs. Here are 11 things to check in a proof from the printer to ensure your design will appear as you intended.
What to Consider Before Doing Free Graphic Design Work
Mar 12, 2019 • 16 min
#26 Some free design work such as pro bono work is good, while some, such as spec work, hurt you and the industry. You don’t have to pimp yourself out doing free work to build a design portfolio. Find out what to consider before doing any free design work.
Creative Brief: Figure Out That Font
Mar 6, 2019 • 2 min
#25 Part of the Creative Briefs series of mini-episodes with quick design- and marketing-related tips, this episode covers how to find out which fonts have been used in an image or PDF.
7 Mistakes When Presenting Design Work and Asking for Critique
Feb 26, 2019 • 19 min
#24 Here are 7 mistakes designers make when presenting design work to clients or asking for critique from other designers. Learn how to present you work so you get more respect and less pushback on your designs and find out 1 question to stop asking…
Color Convo With Pantone’s Leatrice Eiseman
Feb 13, 2019 • 47 min
#23 Graphic designers, do you pick colors arbitrarily or have trouble defending your color choices to clients? Find out from Pantone’s color expert Leatrice Eiseman how to be the expert. Learn how color affects us physiologically, how it affects design…
How Graphic Designers Can Leverage LinkedIn - Brynne Tillman
Jan 30, 2019 • 36 min
#22 Learn how, as a graphic designer, you can leverage LinkedIn so you can build relationships and attract ideal clients. Get tips on how to craft a profile that has impact and strategically network with connections from expert Brynne Tillman.
Client Relationships Are Like Dating
Jan 16, 2019 • 25 min
#21 Freelance designers, client relationships and getting clients are not that different from dating. Learn how to identify your ideal client, attract them, approach them, spot deal breakers, nurture the relationship and more.
Typeface Design and Inspiration-Fabio Duarte Martins
Jan 2, 2019 • 35 min
#20 Geek out on typography with typeface designer Fábio Duarte Martins and me, learn a bit about typeface design and discover how typeface design can be a great source of passive income.
Trademarking Logo Designs-Matt Johnston
Dec 19, 2018 • 41 min
#19 Attorney Matt Johnston and I talk about trademarking logo designs. Find out how to make sure your designs don’t infringe on an existing trademark, when and what to consider before trademarking, and the trademark process.
Lessons Learned From Bad Clients with Evelyn Powers
Dec 5, 2018 • 42 min
#18 Fellow longtime graphic designer Evelyn Powers and I talk about lessons learned from bad client experiences as freelancers, how to identify red flags with prospects and clients, and how to fire bad clients.
Talking Confidence, Bullying and Negotiation With Ted Leonhardt
Nov 21, 2018 • 31 min
#17 Ted Leonhardt and I talk about confidence (or lack thereof) and bullying and how they affect how creatives and graphic designers—especially freelancers—perceive their value, set rates and negotiate salaries.
Creative Business Convo With Cameron Foote
Nov 7, 2018 • 32 min
#16 Creative Business expert Cameron S. Foote discusses what to consider before going out on your own as a freelancer, how to present your work to get objective feedback, when to push back with a client, how to earn more respect from clients and…
A Hoppe Good Time Talking InDesign - Jason Hoppe
Oct 24, 2018 • 53 min
#15 Designer and humorous creativeLIVE instructor Jason Hoppe and I talk all about Adobe® InDesign and page layout. Learn some best practices and time-saving tips for an efficient page layout process.
Triple-threat Creative Career - Michael Auger
Oct 10, 2018 • 29 min
#14 Ever considered a full-time or part-time career as a fine artist? Hear from Michael Auger, who’s had a solid freelancing career as an illustrator, painter and graphic designer.
Graphic Design Contracts and Estimates
Sep 26, 2018 • 29 min
#13 Do you have trouble pricing your design work as a freelancer? Do you suck up out-of-scope work that you should be charging for? Learn what to include in your graphic design contracts and estimates and figure out if your projects are profitable.
Fold Some Fun Into Your Direct Mail Projects - Trish Witkowski
Sep 12, 2018 • 47 min
#12 Print designers, do you use the same folds for direct mail projects over and over because you think other types of folds cost too much or seem too complicated? Get inspiration, education and free templates from Trish Witkowski, Foldfactory.
Passive Income With Stock Images - Anne Bracker
Aug 29, 2018 • 25 min
#11 Freelance designers, have you ever considered creating stock images to generate passive income? Stock up on some tips and best practices from Anne Bracker, who’s been doing just that, so that you can make the most of your efforts.
Imposter Syndrome - Tanya Geisler
Aug 15, 2018 • 29 min
#10 Freelance designers, ever feel like an imposter? Like your work isn’t good enough? Do you lack confidence presenting your design ideas? Do you find it hard to give yourself credit where due? This stems from the imposter syndrome. Find out how it can…
Work While Doing What You Love - Robert and Alyssa Simmons
Aug 1, 2018 • 31 min
#9 Do you dream of going out on your own as a freelancer and working wherever and whenever you want, so you can enjoy a more flexible lifestyle? Robert and Alyssa Simmons talk about the freedom they’ve experienced working for themselves and pursuing their…
Improve Your Processes and Your Client’s Experience
Jul 18, 2018 • 30 min
#8 Are you getting what you need—and want—from clients? Do clients send you the wrong types of files? Does it takes a long time for clients to sign your contracts? Do you find yourself resending logo or print files for the umpteenth time? Are you…
Punch Up Your PowerPoint Proficiency - Laura M. Foley
Jul 3, 2018 • 31 min
#7 Want to increase your proficiency in presentation design? Considering a career in it? Laura Foley explains how she’s made a career out of specializing in PowerPoint design. Learn best practices when using PowerPoint and how to price PowerPoint projects.
Are You Protecting Your Design Rights and Covering Your Ass(ets)? - Matthew S. Johnston
Jun 20, 2018 • 37 min
#6 Are your design contracts helping—or hurting—you? Do clients understand your contracts? Do you? If you don’t have a solid contract, you may be unknowingly giving away your design rights or taking on liability you shouldn’t be. Even worse, if you don’t…
Are You Getting the Clients You Want? - Ilise Benun
Jun 6, 2018 • 36 min
#5 Freelance designers, are you getting the clients you want? Are you sick of prospects who can’t afford your rates? Are you always in feast or famine mode? Don’t be at the mercy of taking whatever comes to you. Get marketing tips for designers from Ilise…
Stop Competing With Fiverr
May 23, 2018 • 28 min
#4 Freelance designers, do you know why a client should hire you when they can pay $50 to Fiverr or 99Designs, or set up a Wix, Weebly or Squarespace site themselves? Learn how to set yourself apart from commoditized services, so you can command the fees…
Perfect Your Print Process
May 9, 2018 • 31 min
#3 Print designers, learn how to perfect your print process, so you can avoid costly errors and save face. Find out about proper file setup, folds, binding, paper, ink, coatings, fonts, images, how to get print bids and more.
Avoid These 10 Logo Design Mistakes
Apr 25, 2018 • 28 min
#2 Logo designers, are you making any of these 10 mistakes that many graphic designers make when creating logos? Find out what to consider when pricing a logo design. Aspiring designers will learn how to add value to their work, so they can up their game…
Introduction to Design Domination Podcast
Apr 11, 2018 • 4 min
#1 This is an introduction to the Design Domination podcast, including information about host Colleen Gratzer’s graphic design business background as well as reasons for starting this podcast to help aspiring designers and freelance designers.