TBMP Meets: Brand Designer, Myles Isaacs

‘M.I Designs’ founder, Myles Isaacs, had a chat with Big Music on his career as a Brand and Graphic Designer…

We had the opportunity to speak with Brand and Graphic Designer, Myles Isaacs. Myles has worked with clients in the UK and internationally and at the age of 26, has already founded his creative organisation, ‘M.I Designs‘. We had the opportunity to speak with him on his creative career and highlights so far.

Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today, Myles!

No problem at all.

We’ve had the chance to take a look at some of your work (which we love), and are curious to know…how did you get into branding?

To be honest, I would say I’ve always been a creative person from the age of around 4. I didn’t really start to take designing seriously until the age of 17. My journey started off doing work for my family, they referred me to friends, and friends turned to clients.

Alright, so what kind of people have you worked with and how many so far?

My clients literally range from hairdressers to mechanics, actors and musicians. I am also on my 91st client so far which is something I intend to build on. There was actually a really talented musician, a drummer, that I worked with a few years ago who let me have full creative control. I love music too, so that was a great first experience with a music-based client.

It’s good to know that you’ve had positive experiences so far, and also congratulations for reaching 91 clients – that’s a major achievement! We take it you’re looking to hit the big ‘100′?

Haha, most definitely!

Have you travelled overseas to work with any of your clients?

I have actually. I’ve had two billboards erected for a restaurant in Gambia. They commissioned me for some work and received a lot of compliments on how it stands out and boosts the brand of the restaurant, which was my goal when I started. I had to do a bit of research into the culture of Gambia, as well as what appeals to Gambian people. It was really cool to work abroad, put it all together and see it come alive.

It’s great to hear that you were able to challenge yourself with that particular project.

Challenging myself is how I’m able to improve, so I always aim to do that.

That’s very true. How do you go about finding clients?

It varies, to be honest with you. The most effective process for me has been word-of-mouth. I started off networking with a few people, tagging along to some business events and asking questions. Once you deliver on the first few opportunities you get, some clients will be willing to work with you again. You literally create a hub of work for yourself. If you also provide quality customer service, you attract loyal clients.

So, do you think more emphasis needs to be put on providing quality customer service?

100% – I think it should have as big an emphasis as securing your income in a business. When you’re dealing with people, you need to see what that process looks like from their end and think about how you would want to be treated if you were the customer. Business revolves around money, but we tend to forget that in order to sustain relationships with our clients, who will inevitably help us with our income and cashflow, we need to take care of them.

Communication is key at the end of the day. Do you ever work with clients with odd or unclear requests, how do you deal with that?

These situations do occasionally come up to be honest, and I would say these people generally tend to have a misconception about how the process works. Depending on how good a graphic designer is, they can make it look very easy which creates the expectation that we’re able to create everything which is requested.

If I am asked to create a logo with very limited information on what kind of logo they want, why they want it, how it relates to their business and where the logo will take them, it makes it very difficult. Another important question for designers to ask themselves is how can I ensure I get this project right?

Even though that is a very important question, maybe some graphic designers don’t believe they’ll create the wrong design.

I agree with that, but getting things wrong is a part of this industry. Learning from your mistakes is all a part of your growing process.

That is also very true! How do you manage the financial aspect of what you do, in terms of the costs of working with you?

That is always a hard one because it differs from person-to-person. Generally we’re encouraged to have a starting hourly rate and compare that with how big the job might be or how many hours may be included. If you are confident enough in your skills though, charging one fixed-rate may not be the best thing to do because it could make your brand seem less intimate and more one-dimensional. I’d personally say to let the price reflect the situation.

The Diverse Roles Ltd logo, created by M.I Designs

As we both know, branding covers various areas, so could you let our readers know what this can include?

I’ve been grateful enough to work with clients who have trusted me to create audio jingles and backing tracks. These services aren’t usually offered by a Graphic Designer alone, but branding can cover areas from TV and Radio marketing campaigns to a company’s messaging and tone-of-voice.

Is Graphic Design a part of the Branding industry?

I would definitely say so, yes. A brand is the feeling or experience that a company gives us when we engage with them and a brand’s identity usually contains visual or physical elements that help us make mental connections between the two. Graphic Design, which is the art of creating digital visual compositions, is how most of that identity is formed.
If you are able to do this and have studied at college or university level, it is likely you’ll have covered other areas such as animation, package design and even some marketing. All of these things help develop transferrable skills and broaden your horizons as a designer.

That’s useful to know. Is there a piece of work you’ve done which has stood out to you?

There was one particular client who wanted to provide an all-round experience for their customers. They held a few small trade shows across London where you could hear a recording of the founder speaking to patrons over a soundtrack on the PA systems – all of which we recorded at a studio. I also designed and printed some banners and t-shirts for them which got a lot of positive feedback. It was a huge, but fun project.

That’s good to hear and we hope the positive feedback continues to come your way.

I appreciate that, Big Music.

No problem! How has social media impacted your career so far?

Firstly, I would always recommend it because we are living in a digital-era, but I wouldn’t say I’ve had many clients from social media, however I do need to be much more active on my social platforms. My main promotional tools so far have been my website and word-of-mouth.

What advice would you give to those interested in Branding and Graphic Design?

You need to have persistence because there will be times when you feel like what you’re doing isn’t working. It will be very easy for you to stop and give up, but you need to stay in there if it’s truly your passion.

You also have to be very open-minded. When I started out, it was very easy for me to attach my ego to my work, but when you are offering a service like this to somebody else, they are trusting you to take care of their brand, so you need to be trustworthy, reliable and versatile to deliver what your clients want.

Those are two key points. There are so many examples where people cannot stick to a brief because of their ego.

Business-wise, there is a thin line because some clients don’t necessarily know what they want, so that’s when communication is key. It is very important to have good communication skills as a creative person, because if you can’t translate your client’s needs into your design, you’re not really doing your bit as a designer.

I would also say to not be scared of volunteering either. You don’t have to give all your time away for free, but don’t close yourself off to the opportunity to grow your network and portfolio either – both will come in handy later on in your career.

That’s really good advice. Lots of people are keen ‘get rich quick’, so volunteering may not be utilised as much as it could be.

100%

What are your plans for the future?

Right now, I’m looking to target larger businesses and work with other designers and creatives to help me deliver bigger projects in the UK and overseas. I would also love to have my own creative squad one day – like the Avengers, but with MacBooks!

Haha, we wish you nothing but success for the future Myles!

Thanks, Big Music!

It was great to chat to Myles, make sure you check out his website!

Much of Myles’ success has been down to his website and networking circle, so have a read of 5 things to consider when designing your website and how to build a contact list from scratch!