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AIGA Raleigh
I’ve never considered myself to be a sales person, so attending AIGA Raleigh‘s recent lunch & learn event was a really good idea for me to help increase my skill set. The guest speaker was Dave Fellman, and listening to everything that he had to say helped me tremendously. The audience was engaged and asked some great questions, and Dave’s responses were filled with real world stories that were easy to relate to.

Dave talked about having courage and confidence in your ability, and building trust with your potential customer. I found that building that trust is the most important part about selling your services. You have to make sure that the person you are selling to is confident in your ability to deliver what they need.

Wear Your Selling Hat With Confidence was not only educational, but also inspiring and motivational. Next time I come face to face with a potential client I will have the confidence to sell my services. Keep these events coming AIGA Raleigh


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In a career that requires you to be a creative problem solver, it’s always good to be able to step out and breathe a little bit. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending another local AIGA event with a co-worker during normal work hours. It was great to be able to back away from the computer screen that we’re typically glued to and just sit, listen, learn, eat, and mingle with other creatives. AIGA Raleigh’s Homegrown Lunch & Learn series has proven to be a great refresher for a creative mind, being both informative and fun. The Web Designer’s Tool Kit presentation with Mindy Wagner of Viget was no exception.

Mindy provided many helpful insights on web design, showing Viget’s streamlined and successful workflow to an intruiged crowd at Sitti in downtown Raleigh. She took us through their process of Kickoffs, Mood Boards, Comps, and Style Guides explaining their intricacies relating directly to real projects they worked on. Mindy discussed building trust with clients, testing the waters with mood boards, etc. all while answering questions from inquiring minds in the audience.

It was quite a treat to be able to see another creative firm’s web design process from start to finish. All in all, it was a valuable experience, and I, as well as, the rest of the team at Burning Oak Studios, look forward to attending other events in this series.

Follow Mindy on twitter : @graphicsgirl

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I recently had the pleasure of attending another local AIGA sponsored event on NCSU’s campus. This event was yet another in the Design & Business lecture series, and David C. Baker of ReCourses.com was the speaker. Though the topic was on designer-client relationships in a down economy, I feel like I walked away from this lecture learning just as much about big picture client relationships in general and some great management insight.

David C. Baker

As I arrived, I was handed a very large packet of information along with a Recourses business card, and then seated in the lecture hall. The lecture opened with remarks from AIGA Raleigh president Matthew Munoz and Woody Holliman of Flywheel Design in Durham, NC. David opened with a comical plug for his business/website, as well as his book Managing Right For the First Time. After looking into his book online, I’ve come to find out that it is a must for anyone in the creative industry, not just managers. Excerpts from the preface, introduction and first chapter can be found here. David proceeded with the lecture by going along with the lengthy packet of info we were given upon arrival.

David discussed some very important issues at the beginning that helped set the tone for the rest of the lecture. One thing to keep in mind when working with clients is whether or not it is a good match up to work with a particular group. “Working for the Right Clients in the First Place” was stressed, and with good reason. I felt that this was the most important point made in the lecture. As a creative agency, you can’t just accept work with anyone. It has to be determined whether or not it will be a good fit to work together, and if it will benefit both parties. A creative firm must retain that “ability to say no.” In order to do this, the firm must always keep their capacity to do work below their opportunity as David illustrated.

Another important point that was made involved recognizing different types of clients, and being able to adapt when necessary to different circumstances as needed. In dealing with client relationships, communication is key. David highlighted this point by talking about different management personalities and how they can affect relationships with clients.

Overall, I think that David’s lecture was very insightful. I thoroughly enjoyed attending, and feel like I was able to take away some helpful/practical ideas & concepts to put to use in real world situations.

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Recently, I had the pleasure of attending another AIGA Raleigh event at Porter’s Tavern. This event was called How to Speak Business (Without Really Trying), and was hosted by Woody Holliman of Flywheel Design in Durham, and Patrick O’Neil of Railinc. The discussion centered around design & business lingo, focusing on topics like recognizing types of clients, questions to ask them, and useful concepts/empty buzzwords. The speakers were open to taking many questions, and for the audience to also share stories about clients in the past, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This was a nice experience to get to hear some of these real world stories and relate them to our own experiences. Below you can see a picture of me there.

AIGA Lunch & Learn - Bradley

The Recognizing Different Types of Clients section really hit home for us. The types of clients consisted of the Design Virgin, Divorcee, Bargain Hunter, Napkin Sketcher, Design Blind, and Speculator. I have to say that at one point or another, I’ve come across all of these and their definitions were quite accurate. There are always going to be clients who don’t understand exactly what it is that designers do, and it is our job to educate them as we work together.

The Questions to Ask Your Clients section was also pretty informative. It consisted of the typical questions you should ask your client in the design process in order to come up with a healthy solution. It was nothing new, but a definite reminder to be as thorough as possible in talking with your clients about their project and to do as much research as you can for the best outcome.

What I took away from this lunch & learn is basically this: You have to know exactly who you are working with, and how to communicate with them effectively to also accomplish great design, and in the process make both parties happy and successful. I look forward to attending more great AIGA Raleigh events, so please keep em coming guys!

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Recently I had the pleasure of attending a local AIGA Raleigh event with a presentation from Abe Crystal of More Better Labs. The presentation was titled “Focus & Empathy.”

AIGA Lunch & Learn

Abe started the lecture off by talking about the user experience, which is what determines if an experience, whether it be with a product, service, event, presentation, etc., is successful or not. In turn explaining that good design = a clear and understandable message and great user experience. Abe then proceeded to show examples of good and bad user experiences by juxtaposing certain websites. The bad ones showed cluttered messes of information that were hard to navigate through, and the good ones showcased slick designs with easy navigation that communicated everything they needed to.

Another interesting thing Abe brought up were the statistics for companies with similar products & services. When he showed us the good vs. bad user experiences, he would also include financial information about the company, and the companies that had the clear & understandable “good” user experiences always seemed to be more successful financially.


Abe went on to discuss FOCUS in relation to strategy and defining the mantra & key experience principles of an organization. Showing examples of companies with a variety of missions within their mission statement, when instead, things could be simplified into a “mantra,” or small phrase that encompasses things in an easy to understand way.


The next topic was relating EMPATHY to research. It seems, in some companies, when products or services seem to be doing well, the user is then forgotten. A mediocre product or service could be selling well, but a great one that the users fully enjoy will perform much better. A very important point was brought up here. You need to be able to define your user group(s), and also be able to know how to communicate with them effectively. Reach out to your users/consumers/customers, find out what works and what doesn’t. This way you will know what can make your products/services better and everyone will be happier.

We found this to be a helpful and informative lecture and want to thank Abe Crystal of More Better Labs, as well as AIGA Raleigh for making it happen.

*Also, on a side note, I finally attended The Designer’s Eye, another AIGA Raleigh event. This event is held the third Thursday of every month (now at Morning Times), and it was a fun small gathering to basically talk about creativity. I went with a co-worker, and we met the host Jason Rizzo, who was a pleasure to talk to. I would suggest to anyone in a creative field to go sometime just to check it out, and talk about things that are inspiring to one another. AIGA Raleigh Events