22 Questions for the Logo Geek (Ian Paget)
Ian Paget, aka The Logo Geek, has a very simple message on his homepage: “I Design Logos”. But Ian does much more, from serving on various creative juries, to being an SEO ninja, and acting as a mentor and active blogger, thought leader, and influencer, putting energy into marketing and engagement as much as creative and project execution. Ian’s never been skimpy about sharing wisdom or information…here’s the result of our chance to pick his brain.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Why graphic design?
My name’s Ian Paget. I’m a graphic designer based in Reading, UK. Three days a week I work as Creative Director for a web design agency, and the rest of the time I run my own logo design business called Logo Geek.
I feel fortunate that to some extent Graphic Design chose me. I’ve always been artistic and creative from a young age, and at the age of 20 I was unexpectedly offered an office/admin job that included the occasional poster design project, where I could use my ‘artistic skills’. Being keen to learn and develop, that role quickly became a full fledged graphic design job. That was over 10 years ago, and I’ve not stopped learning since.
2. What distinguishes your style from that of other professional designers?
I don’t feel that I have a specific style as such, but I do have a strong belief that function should always come before form, so I let the brief drive the design work. As part of my sales pitch I sell a ‘goal focussed process’ which I feel sets me apart from others.
I am a big fan of simple design, and am inspired by the work of Paul Rand and Saul Bass, so I try to let that influence my work. I don’t think it’s particularly unique, but I feel it works well.
3. How did you amass over 70K in Twitter followers?
I’ve put a lot of focus on growing an audience on twitter, and have spent time on it every day for the past 3 years.
A big part of the rapid growth has been thanks to a daily routine of posting the latest and greatest content, and building up one to one relationships with people. I try to be honest and open, and I feel people connect with that so I receive a lot of engagement from every post.
I use tools such as Buffer to schedule posts, and Crowdfire to find like-minded people, but in general I just try to just be myself, and post the latest and greatest relevant content that I personally enjoy. I keep everything relevant, and have a high level of respect for my audience.
It’s amazing what can happen when you spend a small amount of time on something every day.
“It’s amazing what can happen when you spend a small amount of time on something every day.”
4. How have you been able to benefit from being an influencer?
Being an influencer attracts opportunities. For example I was on the jury for Logo Lounge Book 9, which is something I’m very proud of. I’ve been in Net Magazine, and 99U too. I’ve been on numerous logo design and branding juries, and continue to get to know and work with some really amazing people. I’ve written for Creative Bloq, and have been interviewed by some really big design sites! It’s insane…
Being an influencer is also great for marketing purposes. A by-product of being known is that people write about you, and in return you get back-links. Google loves that, so my websites perform well for logo design related key words… that in turn means enquiries.
5. What are the negatives of being seen as an influencer?
I get a lot of emails, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. Other than that, life is pretty normal.
6. Have you been able to monetize your blog? If so, how?
I’m not too worried about monetising my blog. I do include affiliate links, but it’s not why I write. I believe that knowledge should be shared, so it’s nice to know that I’m able to help young designers learn. I also feel it looks good to potential clients – it gives confidence, and helps towards enquiries.
Good content also helps towards good Google search results, so I will keep writing solid content to encourage enquiries long-term.
7. Tell us how you get your clients.
I let them find me on search engines, so for that reason I put a lot of focus on building up my online authority.
8. Tell us about your awards and achievements, and judging roles.
For my logo design work I’ve only ever won one award, and that was a Gold in the International Visual Identity Awards a few years back. I rarely enter awards, as I’m generally reluctant to pay the entry fees, since I feel someone somewhere is making a tidy profit from it. That aside, I do like that we can celebrate great work as an industry.
I’ve been really lucky to have been involved in judging roles, which is something I’m really keen to continue doing. So far this has included Logo Lounge Book 9, Best Brand Awards, Visual Identity Awards and Transform Awards to name a few.
9. Your free eBook ‘50 Logo Design Tips from the Pros’ is very well done, packed full of great advice. How long did you research to write this book?
I loosely structured the eBook around my personal logo design process, which has evolved over time with every book I’ve read. Because of that I didn’t need to do any in-depth research prior to starting, as I had already done that as part of my career.
I was keen to make it a community effort, so a lot of the content was driven by other designers who kindly contributed.
10. What was your inspiration for your book, and your process?
I’m a big fan of online marketing, so I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts. It’s been mentioned a few times that platforms such as Twitter could one day become obsolete, and I strongly believe that will be the case. After spending three years building an audience, it’s upsetting to think one day I may need to start again from nothing… so rather than do that I’ve started looking to build up an email list so I can keep in touch with my following no matter what.
After looking into list building techniques, one suggestion is to create a lead magnet, and that’s what the free eBook is for. I just wanted to make sure it would actually add value to the design community in the process.
11. Did you employ any interesting strategies to obtain tips from very high profile designers?
I wrote a template email, and sent it to designers I know and respect. I was honest about my plans, and thankfully most people responded. I had already spoken to most of those who I contacted before, so it was very much like asking a friend for help.
12. In your own words (less than 10!) how would you define Graphic Design?
Making people’s dreams a reality.
13. What’s your creative process?
I start by asking questions. I then create a list of goals which I ask the client to approve. I work on ideas in a sketchbook, then when I have an idea formed I will start to develop in in Illustrator. I like to explore the simplest solution, so I’m actively making copies of my work and refining and improving. Once a design is complete I try to take time away so I can see the work with a fresh pair of eyes, which allows me to refine and polish.
“I start by asking questions.”
14. On average, how long does it take to complete a logo project from start to finish?
I normally work on a project over a two-week period, but in general it’s around 16 hours design work in total. This time can vary depending on the complexity of the design.
15. Name five people that are your greatest influence and/or source of inspiration.
Paul Rand – If I could take advice from one man about design, it would be Paul Rand.
Aaron Draplin – I just love his passion and enthusiasm. His personal brand is phenomenal too. Very inspiring for sure!
Michael Beirut – Someone I feel is one of the greatest living identity designers. His knowledge and advice has had a huge impact on me, and it’s freely available online.
David Airey – He’s been an inspiration for me from a young age. He’s why I’m where I am now. His books and blogs have influenced my career path, and I strongly believe they are a must for any designer.
Pat Flynn – Not a designer, but a marketing master, and genuinely nice guy. His personal brand is very real, and his approach is very open. I’ve learned a lot from Pat’s podcasts.
16. What conditions do you need in order to work to your full capacity?
This is quite hard to answer as I’m still exploring that area. In my day job I can smash through work quickly. Working from home however is quite distracting, so I have been experimenting with shared office space. In general, working in a professional surrounding, surrounded by a team, and away from distractions keeps me on the ball.
17. What three adjectives would you like the design community to use to characterize you?
This is a tough question… how about: Driven, Transparent, Objective.
18. Do you have a graphic design bucket list?
I want to write a logo design book. I’ve started it, but I keep putting it on the back burner. One day I’ll finish it off…
19. Do you have any creative side projects we would be surprised to learn about?
I’ve been involved in a lot of computer game design work. The biggest project has been an iPhone game called GooHoo, which is a stretchy blob of goo that destroys killer robots from the inside. More recently I was involved with a game from Games Workshop called Man O’War – I designed the logo, some of the menu screens and icons too.
20. If you could go back in time what would you tell your younger self?
One day Ian, you’ll finally build that time machine! :)
21. What is your favorite part of graphic design? The worst?
I can make people’s dreams a reality. It’s really exciting to share someone’s professional journey with them, and be an integral part of that.
The worst thing is dealing with people that treat you like a tool rather than a designer. Thankfully I’ve learned to weed these people out before working with them.
22. What three pieces of advice would you have for graphic designers?
1. Your portfolio matters more than your qualifications.
2. Always share your work, and show it off with pride. Tell people what makes it so good, and never make negative comments about it.
3. Start to write about your work. Most of the opportunities I’ve had the past three years have been thanks to my blog writing. Name one famous designer that hasn’t written something!
Suggestions are Welcome
If you have suggestions for me to interview other professional graphic designers, please leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thank you in advance!
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