In a climate where it is becoming progressively harder to financially back your ideas as a creative, individuals are turning to social media and other online platforms to push themselves digitally. So, if you’re a keen creative with a desire to take the plunge and invest in budget friendly ways to develop your skillset, grow your online reach, and improve your personal brand, keep on reading.
BRANDING is a key aspect in taking your work to the next level. Your personal branding allows you to hone in on your own style and showcasing this consistency throughout your social media platforms allows you to be distinct and easily recognisable to potential clients and consumers.
Considering an overall theme, colour palette and tone of voice can help to develop your brand identity. From your choice of typography to elements of your logo, this helps the consumer to identify your brand. Ideally, the aim it to create a unique and personal approach so that your target audience can identify and resonate with you.
As well as design, nailing your brand’s tone of voice will ensure your brand is authentic and recognisable. Your tone of voice can be formal or informal, playful or professional, quirky or conventional.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a great practice to understand and gain knowledge on as it helps to increase the quantity and quality of traffic that passes through your website. In time, and when practised effectively, SEO allows your website to receive a higher rate of traffic and therefore results in more exposure and possible clients. This can then be tracked in your website’s analytics.
To enhance the success of practising SEO, a clean website and personal domain go hand in hand. Ensuring you have an easy to navigate website is key. To do this, it is beneficial to undergo a little bit of industry research. Have a look at other websites, maybe those of brands you like, other individuals who are in your field, and have a look at how they display their content.
Personally, I think it’s great to have your most eye-catching work at the forefront of your website on your landing page. This allows you to instantly catch the visitor’s interest and be intrigued to continue to flick through your website.
COURSES can be found online which will help you to develop your skillset through a variety of different tutorials.
There are multiple online platforms that offer free tutorials. One of the most well-known being Adobe’s Creative Cloud. They have a library of short videos available on their website which showcase step by step tutorials on how to create using their programmes, in this, you can filter through the library, sorting by tutorials that are suitable for beginners or experienced creatives. The library includes tutorials such as how to create animated GIFs in Photoshop and how to make 3D lettering in Illustrator and caters to creatives in lots of different fields.
Of course, in a lot of cases, YouTube is your best friend. YouTube has a huge library of free content and features countless step-by-step tutorials on how to use a variety of different platforms.
If however, you are still struggling to find what you’re looking to learn, there are also a wide library of online platforms that include tutorials for a monthly subscription price or offer a free trial before you commit to purchasing a monthly subscription.This includes platforms such as Skillshare, HubSpot, and Daisie all offer free trials that range from a 7-day trial to one month free.
PORTFOLIO REVIEWS can be an extremely helpful way to receive professional advice. Organisations across the UK offer portfolio reviews as a service to allow creatives to receive constructive feedback on their work.
Photographers may benefit from a short session with The Photographers’ Gallery. They host a monthly online portfolio review where one date of the month consists of bookable 20 minute slots to have a member of their gallery staff review your portfolio and receive feedback. This service is £25.00, (as of the date this blog post is written), but they also offer a couple of bursary places for UK-based photographers for each date too which can be applied for online.
Another option to have your portfolio reviewed is to contact companies and brands directly. For example, as a Graphic Designer or Illustrator you could reach out to an individual whose work really inspires you. You could contact them enquiring if they would be able to review your portfolio and offer any constructive criticism to refine your portfolio. This could be reaching out to professionals on any platform, from Instagram to LinkedIn. You could also contact any previous teachers, lecturers, or professors who may be familiar with your work and be able to deliver feedback on your progression.
FUNDING is also a possibility to gain financial help with an idea for a project you may have planned. If you have an innovative idea for a project but need assistance with a budget there are a few funding organisations online, such as The Arts Council, which can assist with funding when you undergo a proposal application.
The Arts Council are one of the leading creative funding organisations in the UK. When reviewing applications, they like to see proposals that feature an idea that will leave a positive impact on communities. They look out for applications that benefit the public and those who have less access to the arts. Therefore, it is usually a good idea to include plans of an educational add-on, such as a workshop, in your proposal. The Arts Council also favour applications that show proof that you can manage your budget so it is always beneficial to provide evidence and a budget plan.
Fundraising platforms such as Kickstarter, which is a fund-raising platform solely for creative projects, and GoFundMe are also great ways to gain funding for projects. Whereas with The Arts Council you are pitching and applying for a grant from a council, with Kickstarter and GoFundMe you are pitching to individuals for direct donations.
On these platforms your aim is to gain the public’s interest with your project and ideas and request them to donate if they would like your ideas to go ahead. In return you can offer the backers a reward that they will receive if the project meets its target goal. KickStarter and GoFundMe are both credible platforms that have a very high success rate in projects gaining funding and reaching their goals.
This is just a short collection of budget friendly ideas to get your creative brand on the right foot. Want to learn more? Keep an eye out for our future blogs!