So, you want to know a little bit more about the person behind the designs?
Well, this is me, I’m Nic, pictured on the left with my girlfriend, Gefsy (pronounced Yefsy – she’s Greek). This section should give you a bit of an insight into my life, what drives me, where I get inspiration from and why I love to design. I’ve also added some information about the nature of Freelance work and why you should consider using a freelancer, like myself, over a design agency.
I was born and raised in a small village near the City of York in North Yorkshire, England. My creative streak emerged at a very young age, maybe something to do with being left handed. I’ve always had an interest in the creative and graphic side of things. I always seemed to be able to express myself through graphic means rather than plain text. If my school homework needed a diagram, I’d more than likely spend way too long on the diagram, the colours and getting it looking technically right than I would on the actual text.
I guess my real appreciation for art and design came at the same time as my appreciation for a certain kind of musical genre (which is still with me today). From the age of around 12 or 13, I became captivated by hard rock and then heavy metal. I’m still a huge metal fan and that will never die. Apart from the music, I was drawn to the amazing album cover art and strong band logos. I’d spend hours sketching, trying to recreate the artwork, and at the same time improving my techniques and appreciation for the artists who created them. And this was all way before computers.
I remember one particular ‘discussion’ with my art teacher at collage, who was showing slides of Renaissance art and must have noticed my slightly bored look, he said I had no appreciation for real art. At which point I produced an Iron Maiden album and my reply was
Isn’t real art simply something that pleases the eye, something that creates inspiration and something that you personally appreciate the look of and the imagination and skill that has gone into creating it?
To which I had a round of applause from the class.
»Fast forward a few years and I landed a job at a graphic design studio and my first real insight into the graphics industry. It was a small agency with young designers who all had their own work stations, large drafting tables, desks full of pens, rulers, magic markers and whole plethora of other graphic art tools. The one thing that was missing, yep….computers. They still designed the old way, using Letraset sheets for type, matching Pantone colour swatches and using a repro camera for product shots. But this agency was branching out, and that’s where I came in. Three brand new, state of the art Apple Macintosh II computers where still in their boxes in a special room. They were embracing new technology and new ideas and they wanted someone to be their new Desk Top Publisher. I settled in immediately and loved the work. I was send on an official Apple/Adobe training course to become proficient in the software and computers and I was knocking out advertisements, sticker designs, you name it and I did it. It was really fun and new. The design bug was well and truly in me then and it’s never left.
»Fast forward again and I found myself wanting to travel, so in 1991, at the age of 19, I decided to go to Australia. I didn’t know much about the country, only what I had read in books and had seen on TV (remember, there was no mainstream internet back in ’91). It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had the best time, had my eyes opened and saw a whole new world open up. Before I left for Australia, I developed an interest in photography, so the year long trip enhanced my interest in that area. Photography and design, to me seem to go hand in hand.
»Fast forward again to the present, having gained tonnes more experience in both design and photography, plus having had the chance to travel further, from New York to Norway and extensively throughout Europe (including a drive from Denmark to Greece), I’m now living in Halkidiki, Greece, where I’ve been for the past 10 years. Over the years living here, I’ve been able to concentrated solely on my design skills and passion for photography to a point where both were gaining recognition.
I started my own website for tourists visiting this region of Greece, offering both information and as a portal for the many hotels and smaller accommodation to advertise, this grew into designing websites and providing a photography service as a full package. I’ve had photographs published by various media outlets from brochures to books. All was going great until the financial crisis hit and work slowly started to dry up. I decided to fall back on my graphics background and enter the world of Freelancing through a few well known websites. This took off quickly as did my skills and techniques. Which brings me right up to the reason for this website. Over the last few years on the freelancing sites, I’ve found myself doing more and more work independent of those sites, word has passed around, my work has been seen by a wider audience, many of which were asking to see more examples of my work. So this showcase/portfolio site was born really out of necessity more than anything else.
I had fun building it, like I do all websites. I enjoyed creating the logo and all the graphics and finally seeing it go live.
So, where do I go from here?
Onwards and upwards, I continue to develop my skills and techniques, continue to embrace new innovations and keep up with the latest trends in design.
NB – This bio was supposed to be a small piece, I had no idea where to start and I hate writing about myself, but I guess I got into the flow!
Agency or Freelancer?
So, what are the benefits of choosing a freelancer to design your new logo, your website or your business stationary?
If you’re a small company or a start-up, the traditional agency may not be a viable approach, mainly to do with cost, the alternative may have more benefits than your realise.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the main benefits of choosing a freelancer over going down the more mainstream agency route.
1. The cost
As a freelancer I don’t have anywhere near the overheads of an established agency. I don’t rent office space and I don’t have staff.
As a freelancer, I generally only have a couple of projects on the go at any one time, which means the focus is on your project and yours only. With an agency, it’s very easy for your project to become, just another project that perhaps doesn’t get the amount of attention it deserves. Added to that, agencies have at least one ‘priority’ client who expects more time and effort be put into their larger projects than the smaller clients, with the obvious knock on effects.
With me, your project is important, no matter the size, unlike an agency, there’s no risk that your project will have a lower priority than another, that’s not how we work. Every project is as important as another.
Don’t be fooled by thinking the Freelance business is easy, it’s not. I work many irregular hours, way into the night, weekends and public holidays, which is way more than the 5 days a week an agency works. You have a much better chance of having your project finished quickly with a freelancer than an agency.
Freelancers must be multi talented, it’s no good if I can design your logo or website but lack the skill of communication. The ability to listen, to advise and to implement.
If you’ve ever hired an agency in the past, have you ever actually talked to the designer who was working on your project?
Probably not, your day to day communication will have been with an account manager who then passes on the info to the designer/developer, who in turn passes back info to the account manager and eventually gets back to you. In this situation, small but critical bits of info may be missed and misinterpreted, adding to delays and frustration.
Communicating directly with the freelancer gives you the confidence that the info you give is actually be heard and implemented correctly
5. Deal Direct
Dealing directly with me, the person who is actually working on your project will shorten the time to the completion of your project.
With no chain of communication involved, the project can be started without delay and can run smoothly straight rather than falling into the inbox of a designer in an agency who may have numerous other jobs that they need to clear by the end of their working day.
6. Cut out the middle man
Believe it not, but agencies often call in freelances to work on projects that they don’t have the in-house resources or time to complete. You end up with the same work as you would have if you’d gone direct, but will have paid a much larger sum. Why not consider removing the extra cost.
7. Lasting relationship built on trust
Last but definitely not least is the relationship you will build with the right freelancer. That relationship is built on trust and respect. More often than not, you will return for more and more work. We remember that small project we did for you 2 years ago, we probably know your business inside out from past projects. You know you can rely on us at anytime, we’re a small remote part of your team, ready to work when called upon.
I hope this list shines a light on the many benefits of making use of the growing number of freelancers out there who do great work. So now, are you ready to HIRE ME?