If you ask any graphic designer, they’ll tell you the one thing they dread above all others is networking. No one likes going to the conventions, meet-ups or rendezvous, and then hamming it up with the competition. It’s just not fun, especially when most of us would much rather be locked in front of a computer monitor, listening to our favorite tunes while producing killer designs. Sadly, however, staying locked up in an ivory tower isn’t the way to draw business, making networking a necessity for any successful graphic designer. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few thoughts below on why (even more concretely) it’s vital that you get out and socialize, as well as how to do it in the first place. If that sounds like a ride worth taking, then dive on, Cowboy! We’re ready for you.

  1. Word-of-Mouth Is Sheer Power: We’re quite serious about this one. If you want an incredibly efficient way to net new business, there’s no more efficacious an option than word-of-mouth referral. We tend to trust people we know personally, and if someone you feel close to recommends a graphic artist with which he or she is familiar, you’ll feel more inclined to hire the designer. All of this, however, hinges on trust, as well as the audience’s knowledge of your work. To cultivate this, simply be personable, and engage your clients. Create a relatable atmosphere for them while consistently serving up top-notch designs, and the rest should work itself out. Word-of-mouth cannot be forced, and really, is only built on your honor and reputation: Stick to both, and the hard work will do itself.
  2. Collaboration is Your Friend: Secondly, it’s worth noting that design is an entirely collaborative effort. There are many levels to each step of the production process, and you—as only a graphic designer—are just one link in the chain. There are plenty of other contenders, such as the printer and marketer, that will either follow-up or precede your involvement. With that in mind, cultivate relationships with these people. Set-up a referral program in which you both agree to hook business in one another’s direction, should a client request additional services. You can’t do it all, and by offering up suggestions to your business, you may just earn yourself some extra money in the process.