Marketing Plan for designers. ( Architect, Graphic designer and Artist)
Architects, graphic designers and artists have one thing in common -their works are mostly visual. In other words, the end works or the production of people in the field of art, or architecture are usually one we can behold and appreciate. And while their works may not be for the aesthetic value or for viewing pleasure alone, it nonetheless doesn’t take away the fact that their works are usually what we can see.
The fact that the works of these groups of people are usually easy to see – in that before you give an artist or an architect or a graphic designer a work, it is very easy for you to see his past works and judge for yourself if he’s the best man to handle a work you have in mind – often leads to the assumption that it’s easy for the works to sell themselves without the artist putting in much or concentrated effort. Although it is not a lie, it isn’t still an outright truth that is why today, a lot of graphic designers, artists, and architects remain almost unknown with little clientele despite being very talented. The reason is as a result of poor marketing strategies.
Marketing strategies, in any business, deal with maximising available channels and means to sell your product, and yourself, eventually. In the business of art and architecture, there is a great need to employ effective business strategies otherwise one could have a good painting on an easel for years and no one would see it, not to talk of buying it.
The following includes a number of strategies and marketing plan for designers to employ to get the best out of art or architectural business. Although the two might seem different, they are closely related
1. Know your strengths
As an artist or an architect, what is your strength? Do you specialise in sculpture? Or painting? Even if you paint, is your best medium watercolour? Or pastel? Or you prefer painting on canvas rather than strawboards? As with architecture too, what’s your fancy? Perhaps you prefer landscape architecture? Or your interest lies with interior
architecture? Or your style is influenced by Victorian or Romanesque periods?
You should take it all into consideration, and try to find out which best suits you. Understand that Art and architecture are 2 very broad fields, and you can’t simply master it all. Not everyone can be Michelangelo. Just find that which you can do best, and excel in it. Find a niche, and make it your forte. As it is that which you can do best that people would be interested in.
2. Be consistent.
After discovering your strength, the next important thing is to be consistent in it. For one thing, people do not appreciate artists or architects who haven’t worked on too many projects. They see it as a big turn off. I mean, if you are that good as you present yourself to be, why don’t you have many works to your name? A very good way to remedy this is to take on personal projects. Do works on your own. Take on personal paintings. Create architectural designs of your imagination. The beauty of this is that it increases your prowess and makes you master your craft more because as they say, practice makes perfect. Also works your self commision may catch someone’s eye and
they may decide to buy it, or ask you to design something similar for them. It’s a win-win situation!
Perhaps the most important thing every artist or architect should have in mind is to have a sort of portfolio of his works. One good thing to note is that no work is trash, rather than throw away a drawing or a design which you feel is bad, keep it. You can draw inspiration from it tomorrow. Besides, some times, we tend to judge ourselves the most.
A work of yours which you see as trash is what another individual would praise to the high heavens. So keep good track of your works both self-commissioned and projects given by others. It also makes you see how far you have progressed and improved and see where to make changes. This digital age has made things so simple, that you do not
have to have physical or original copies of all your works. Just take very good snapshots and store them to a dedicated folder or create portfolios on alketecture . One key advantage of a portfolio is that you can present it to anyone, especially those willing to give you a job or a contract, as seeing your past works would convince them of your skills and dexterity. P.S it’s never too late to start one.
4. Social Media
The advent of social media has made life so easy, especially in the area of business, so that one no longer needs to set up a shop or a studio for people to contact you. You can simply take advantage of any of the social media platforms (I would personally recommend Instagram but to each their own) and sell your business. All you need do is to create an account and leave other means to contact you like your phone numbers, emails, or even the address of your studio if you have one. One super advantage of social media is that it increases your reach. You can be in one part of the world and have people from other continents give you works to do without physically meeting them. Just upload your best works (or any works at all) to your social media accounts. Take very good pictures of them. And update regularly. While it’s good to have a number of social media accounts, it’s also best, early on, to find that which suits you best. A number of social media platforms I’d recommend include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pixabay, Flickr, Picasa etc.
5. Network properly.
For some of us, we may not know how to reach a market directly because we lack the know-how. It may be that we don’t know how to locate the exact market or we don’t know how to protect our works to them. That’s where networking takes place. There are people who can help project your work to a far wider audience. This may be because they usually have the contacts and have been in the business for years. They might be a firm or just one person. You just have to know them and ask for how they can market your work. A fee might be involved, depending on the reputation of the firm/person, and the level of their reach. But there are still a lot of people and firms who can help project your work for free or a very little fee. A good place to find this is on Instagram. Pages like @the.pinklemonade, @the.bluelemonade, @artpsycho, @artlove, @fravullo, @the.whitelemonade, @thetaxcollection, @guyhepner and a lot of others post the work of artists and architects on their pages. Such pages usually have hundred of thousands of followers cut across different continents and reputation. You can simply submit your works to them and they post it along with your handle. From there you can gain large followership, plus people can also contact you to work on projects for them. Even in real life, you can try meeting up and getting acquainted with people who you see as influential and they can sell you and your work.
6. Know your market
This is very important if you’d be selling your works yourself. Understand that Art is a luxury, not a necessity. This doesn’t mean that it’s simply for the rich, but rather it’s for those who appreciate and understand the worth of work. Find these people. Most times, they are usually the rich, but not always. That’s why you should keep a sharp eye. As you may find people who are wealthy but may not want to spend a penny on a work of art. Likewise with
architecture. Some people adore designs and architectural beauty. Even though they are mostly rich, it has no bearing on financial status. That’s why you should understand who exactly you’re out for and how to sell your self to them. Perhaps you may like your works to be seen by the people of a certain country or the people of a certain religion. You must know your market and how to get across to them.
7. Exhibitions and Expos. Very important.
The importance of exhibitions and expos can’t be overemphasised to an artist or an architect. It is the most direct way of selling yourself and your work. As an artist, an exhibition presents opportunities. If your work is so good, it can be bought on the spot. Or someone who likes your painting style, or your sculpting method, may take your contact for future work. Besides, exhibitions are usually covered by T.V stations and blogs and your works may become the centre of focus, which may allow other people, not present in the exhibition, to notice you. Likewise an architect. Expos are very necessary and present just about the same opportunities an exhibition presents to an artist. Try and attend an exhibition or an expo if you can.
8. Follow Trends.
Art and architecture are fields that although the basics remain the same, they are subject to development in technology. In other words, as technologies improve, so do the means to get art or architecture done. A good way to view this is the emergence of Computer Aided Design (CAD). It has simplified processes of designing for an architect, and has helped shorten the time and makes the presentation of work neater. Normally, it is expected of any architect today to have knowledge of CAD. They are quite a number of software to help. Even beyond CAD, they are other improvements in the field of architecture that would only help to get work done faster and better for an architect. So it’s good for an architect to update himself with knowledge of such
technologies. The world of art isn’t left out. In fact, it has seen an unprecedented increase in the use of technology to achieve things that were done manually before. Like, for instance, the shift from clay figures, to digitally modelled figures. Also, artists, these days have become more creative with painting with computer systems, that some
people opt for works done on a computer rather than manaul. Also graphic designers wake up every morning to an improvement to work process. The use of software like Photoshop and Corel draw has only made things easier, and as a graphic designer, it’s necessary to update yourself with such wisdom. Following the trend is all about adapting to changes the society brings by way of science and technology so that your skills do not become obsolete, and people can always trust you to deliver on a job.
9. Educate yourself.
This is almost similar to the previous point. In today’s world, people are looking for competence, and most people think they can find it in certifications. This is not a lie. But this does not mean that those without certificates can’t do a certain thing, if not better than those with one. Art is a talent. Some people do not need to go to any school to learn how to create hyper-realistic paintings or superb sculptures. Some, on the other hand, learn these things. Still, some
with the natural talent still need to take classes, because you can never know it all. You don’t know what you can learn in a class or two, even if you’re better at your craft. It’s not a must to take arts as your first degree, still, you can have side courses in it. This is particular among graphic designers. You might want to get a contract that may say you need a degree in “so and so”. That’s why the need to always educate yourself is so important.
So those are some of the best strategies to be successful in arts or architectural business. Remember that art and architecture business is just like any other – you supply a demand. Work on making your supplies stand out, and understand your field very well, in order to make the most out of it. Architects, graphic designers and artists have one thing in common – their works are mostly visual. In other words, the end works or the production of people in the field of art, or architecture are usually one we can behold and appreciate. And while their works may not be for the aesthetic value or for viewing pleasure alone, it nonetheless doesn’t take away the fact that their works are usually what we can see.