Monday, 11 February 2013

So you want to hire a graphic designer?

Kaboom! It's a minefield – where on earth would you begin to find a graphic designer? You may well have typed 'graphic designer' into the Google search engine and Kapow! several million matches. You may try to narrow the field by adding a location but still the matches are endless. Maybe the type of project you're interested in having designed – again the matches don't necessarily help you out. So you look at the first 10, 20 pages. You venture to click on some of the links, perhaps it was the name of the website that intrigued you, but you click further through and you're left even more confused.

So it's not going to be a big surprise when I say that the best way to find a good graphic designer is by word-of mouth – a recommendation from someone you know and trust or to look at businesses whose design you like and try to find out who helped them with their design.

Then when you have a name or two, have a look at their websites. A good portfolio of work will put your mind at ease, but remember, good design is original and you shouldn't expect to see a finished version of your project. You want to get a feeling that they would work well with you towards a solution that would suit you.

I daresay the people who click into Helix Design at first are confused as to what to expect from a design consultancy. This is where I think tone is important. The best result I can hope for when someone stumbles across Helix on the web is that they feel they can call or at least email me. A conversation is the first best way of testing whether a designer and client can connect and communicate, to feel there is an easy understanding and that instruction is well perceived.

I'd also want to be prepared with a few questions.

I would be interested in asking about their process. Does the design just happen, do I get to choose from designs that are presented on the journey through a process or do I only get what I'm given?

How in control of the process am I? – if I don't like what is presented to me will the designer come back with some new alternatives? And if, as a client I continue to be unhappy, is there a clear way of cancelling the project?

Is the designer able to translate any finished design into different media? – Be it online or in print, different environments mean that any original design has to be conceived in different scales.

As you can see, there will be a lot to talk about. And a good designer will guide you through the different stages carefully, keeping you informed throughout the process while keeping the project fun, as a design project should always be. A creative journey for both designer and client alike.

If you're thinking of hiring a designer please feel free to give me a call or email me via our website:

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Do you think using Stock Photography is the best way to promote your business?

As a designer I am very able to produce compelling design on a shoe-string. Among the biggest challenges though is to design memorable messages with a limited budget for imagery. Often I'm encouraged to use stock photos provided by the client to help communicate the sometimes complex ideas the business wants to put across. But rarely do stock images compliment and reinforce the message. At best, like a whisper, the images hint at what the story is getting at but only ends up diluting and muddying the message – making for a whimsical and not at all memorable piece of marketing.

Of course there are tricks that can be employed in using non specific imagery – the images can be colour-cast to the clients corporate colours to make them appear 'on brand'. Close-ups or an interesting crop will also make the images appear more interesting. But non specific imagery is never going to carry the clout of a good marketing idea – a well thought out image that 'nails' the message and that is executed in a way that makes it obvious that it comes from and belongs to you.

So I suppose I'm advocating the need to consider creating new imagery when you're next putting together a design and marketing project. It's an investment because new photography, illustration, model making etc isn't inexpensive. But what you'll end up with is a folio of images that are specific to your business, unique and that you own. It's about being in control and having a strong and passionate feeling how your business is perceived by your customers and how your business stands up against your competition.

Designers love having ideas – the more fanciful the better – it makes the process fun and you never know where things will lead. Good communication, especially now, where standing out and appearing different is even more necessary and demands that you shouldn't settle on using less than cool images to sell your story.

Designers are often multi-talented – trust them to at least engage with you in a conversation about the creation of new and interesting imagery for your next project. And if you'd like to discuss this further email Raymond Patmore at or contact through the website:

Monday, 4 February 2013

I always give my clients more than just an attractive layout

I was at the International Spring Fair in Birmingham yesterday, and as part of what was going on decided to listen to a seminar on better communicating your business online. And yes, it seems that writing a blog, bringing attention to your business, is now an unavoidable part of how businesses develop a credible profile for themselves.

Now, I'm not particularly good at writing these things. I'm a designer, I paint and draw a lot. But I'm a good designer and my favourite kind of design – graphic design, looks best when fresh and exciting new artwork has been produced especially for it, making a project unique and a hopefully memorable piece of work.

It's this passion I bring to my clients when they ask me for something new. If there is a strong brand in place I wouldn't want to fight against it, but by being sensitive to what has gone before there are always ways of working with the brand to create a special new something which will compliment and enhance the work gone before it.

I always try to give my clients more than just an attractive layout and try to encourage them to come on the design journey with me.

It's the thing I find most interesting in my work – working with clients on their journey through our process. Their job doesn't necessarily include design or communications on a day-to-day basis, so a design project, working with a designer, may be a little daunting. But by working together we achieve the best results – out of both having a thorough understanding of the business and a creative point of view that can produce the unexpected that make projects both successful and fun to be involved in.

Now for the all important call to action – as mentioned in my recently attended seminar. If you would like to work with a fun and creative designer on a project that may well produce an unexpected and successful result please visit – for a look see and contact me. My name's Raymond Patmore.