End of Module Self Evaluation

Posted: Friday, 23 April 2010 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

After delivering my presentation yesterday, I feel much more confident about the business side of the industry, which was of stark contrast to the beginning of the module. I definitely think that the module was worthwhile, however, I think we will only feel the real benefits next year. For me, I feel I still have a long way to go before attempting to start a business.

The most difficult thing for me to master was the PEST analysis. I still haven't got my head around it fully and I certainly haven't used it effectively enough and I should have seeked advice on it instead of trying to muddle along.

The lectures were certainly useful, and gave me an overall view of laws, marketing, budgeting, etc. I feel that these core skills will now help me in my practice, not necessarily to create a business but to offer my freelance services aside the course. I know how to create documents such as invoices, and where to seek advice to help protect my intellectual property.

I felt I put enough effort in to justify success but perhaps I could have done more to satisfy my high standards. In the end I did what was asked of me rather than taking the structure of the module and making it my own with a view to develop a meaningful business opportunity.

Much needed research

Posted: Wednesday, 31 March 2010 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

I wanted to look more closely at the business side of graphic design as a means for gaining understanding for this module but also with the mindset of this knowledge being transferable to the PPD module. I was lucky enough to a find a really great book in the library dedicated to freelance graphic design, so I took it out along with a copy of the principles of marketing.

The marketing book is so heavy on out of context theory so I am using it as pick up to find out more about specific marketing methods as appose to a marketing bible. I can look back over that book when I need too.

Anyway, the design book appeals much more and has some really useful information in it, importantly relating directly to what I am going into as a professional. Having this direct link has enabled me to get to grips with the enterprise module and now I have started to see where everything links. Before, I was a little unclear but thankfully this book has helped greatly.

I have photocopied some pages and made some notes based on what I found out too. I have also started to note down some sort of structure for the presentation part of the module, and I think I am beginning to get it, which is a relief.



Daily Rates

Posted: Sunday, 21 February 2010 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

I am in the process of getting to grips with the copious amounts of charges that one has to entail when setting up a business. It is literally a mine field. These figures were not exactly plucked from obscurity but the accuracy of some the rental and insurance costs had to suffer.

This is my first attempt. I may change these once I have some feedback from Bridget.

Martin Parr Talk

Posted: Sunday, 31 January 2010 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

As part of the IP week I went along to the Martin Parr talk. Although I didn't know alot about Photography this was the only event of interest to me from the list of events covered. (I had attended the enterprise talk on intellectual property and pricing my services, and was advised not to attend other talks of the same subject).

The talk itself was informative as I was not familiar with his work before the talk, and was interested to see some of the examples he had for us. Purely in a business sense, I found that he was part of a online agency named magnum, where the rights to his photography was sold to anyone who wanted to use it. He used this as his main source of income as well as being commissioned to do various projects.

The talk was short and focussed purely on the artistic side and so I didn't get much of the business side out of it but I am now a fan of his work at least.

Business plan

Posted: Friday, 22 January 2010 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

Below is a business plan from Lloyds TSB. I have began answering some of the questions and I plan to have this as something on-going. I can't, for example, give any details as to costs or loans I would need at this point.



[Name] Adam Townend

Current banking arrangements
Bank name: [Bank]
Branch name: [Branch]
Sort code: [xx-xx-xx]

Contact details
Telephone: [Telephone]
Mobile: [mobile]
Fax: [Fax]
Email: [email address]

[Date] 22/01/10

The business idea

Business name
The proposed name for the business is [name] Creative Cave

Business idea
The business idea is [describe idea] to offer my graphic design services to the music industry as a freelancer.

Key success factors
[Describe the background to the business idea, and the reasons why you believe the business will be successful. For example, whether similar businesses already exist in your area, what your advantage over them will be, or if this is an original product / service which no other businesses in your local area already offer.]

They are no immediate competitors to my business and I believe I can assist a selection of both independent and larger clients (record labels) due to the flexibility I have on working hours and lack of overheads at this point. My main advantage over other businesses will be this flexibility.

Location of business
The business will be based at [my home / workshop premises / shop premises / office premises / other] my home until the business has a secure financial base to enable me to move into an out of town studio premises. The premises will allow me to have more inhouse meetings and briefings, and will also give my clients more confidence in what I am trying to achieve and also gain an understanding of what I do.

Target market
[Describe the type of customer which your business is aimed at, and the geographic area in which your business will operate. Also describe why you believe customers will be attracted to your particular business over any other businesses or products that may already exist.] My target would initially be smaller independent local record companies which will help me gain knowlegde about what is required whilst trading, and also build up a portfolio as well as a good reputation. This will enable me to pitch for the bigger projects with mainstream labels both nationally and internationally.

Skills and abilities
[Describe the particular skills, qualifications and abilities you have which will help make the business a success, including, for example, previous jobs or businesses.] I am currently studying for a BA Hons Degree in Graphic Design, where I can expand my knowledge in all areas of the industry, as well as the business side of the industry by building up a prior knowledge of where I fit within the industry. This will enable me to get a good footing in the future. Besides this I specialise in design for print. I have knowledge of all industry standard software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and After Effects. I also work with other software such as Quark Xpress and DVD Studio Pro.

Business partners
[Describe any business partners who will be involved in the business, including their skills, qualifications and experience, and the roles each of you will perform.] None

Staff and employees
[Describe the numbers and types of key staff and employees you intend to recruit, including the principal roles and positions which will need to be filled.] None

Financial resources available

Capital available from savings and investments
I am/We have savings and investments which I am/we are able to put into the business, totalling £[xx].

I/We also intend to raise additional capital of £[x] from [describe where you will raise this from].

Income from sales
I/We estimate that income from sales will be £[x] per month during the first 6 months, starting from month number [x].

In the second 6 months, I/We estimate that sales income will be £[x] per month.

[Describe the basis for these estimates.]

Grants and training support available
I/We understand that financial support may be available from the following organisations:
[list organisations].

I/We estimate that I/We will receive financial support in the first year totalling £[x].

Security available
I am/We are able to offer the following assets as potential security against any loans which I/We may require:

Estimated market value of home: £[x]
less: outstanding mortgage: £[x]
less: other loans secured on home: £[x]
Resulting estimated equity in home: £[x]

Security available from other sources:
[list other sources of security, and estimated value.]

Start-up loan
I/We estimate that I/We will require to borrow a total of £[x] from Bank of Scotland as a start-up loan. [You can omit this section if preferred, and discuss loan requirements with your Bank of Scotland Manager.]

Business expenditure and costs

Personal remuneration
I/We need to pay myself/ourselves a total of £[x] per month for the first 6 months of the business, and a total of £[x] per month for the second 6 months of the business.

Start-up costs
I/We expect to incur expenditure on the following items before opening the business:

Equipment: £[x]
Machinery: £[x]
Vehicles: £[x]
Computer System: £[x]
Fittings for Premises: £[x]
Raw Materials: £[x]
Advertising and Promotion: £[x]
Insurance Premiums: £[x]
Professional Fees: £[x]
Other [list other items]: £[x]
Total: £[x]

Running costs
I/We expect to incur the following running costs during the first 6 months of the business:

Rent on Premises: £[x]
Rates on Premises: £[x]
Gas/Electricity Usage: £[x]
Telephone Charges: £[x]
Wages (for others, not yourself): £[x]
Advertising and Promotion: £[x]
Fuel costs & Vehicle Road Tax: £[x]
Despatch Costs: £[x]
Professional Fees: £[x]
Other Items (including stationery) [list other items]: £[x]
Total: £[x]

I/We expect to incur the following running costs during the second 6 months of the business:

Rent on Premises: £[x]
Rates on Premises: £[x]
Gas/Electricity Usage: £[x]
Telephone Charges: £[x]
Wages (for others, not yourself): £[x]
Advertising and Promotion: £[x]
Fuel costs & Vehicle Road Tax: £[x]
Despatch Costs: £[x]
Professional Fees: £[x]
Other Items (including stationery) [list other items]: £[x]
Total: £[x]

I understand that Bank of Scotland does not apply any bank transaction charges during the first year of my/our new business.

Capital costs
I/We will need to finance the following items of capital equipment during the first year of the business:

Machinery: £[x]
Equipment: £[x]
Office Equipment (excluding Computer Systems): £[x]
Office Furnishings: £[x]
Computer Equipment: £[x]
Cars [list quantity]: £[x]
Commercial Vehicles [list quantity]: £[x]
Others [list others]: £[x]
Total: £[x]

Finance payments
I/We estimate that the total cost of finance payments in the first 6 months of the business will be £[x], and £[x] in the second 6 months of the business.

Costs for materials
I/We will need to purchase the following types and quantities of materials:

[list types and quantities of materials needed for manufacturing or resale.]

I/We estimate that these materials will cost approximately [x]% of the price at which we expect to be able to sell the finished products.

Business protection costs
I/We will ensure that appropriate insurance protection is arranged for the business, and estimate that the total cost of insurance premiums for the first 6 months of the business will be £[x], and in the second 6 months, £[x].

Projected cash flows

I/We have prepared cash flow projections, which are attached to this document.

Proposed position statement

Posted: Sunday, 13 December 2009 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

1) I regard my positioning in the industry as someone who intends to work more towards design for print in the music industry (particularly in the rock genre), although I would not limit myself solely to this market.

2) I have design interest in other markets such as retail and magazine work. I could see myself working in a variety of ways and this is why I believe freelancing would suit me.
3) I enjoy creating layout based work as well corporate identities geared towards print as an outcome regardless of the market.

4) I consider myself as an ideas generator as well someone who can develop ideas using the appropriate software.

5) My understanding of software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are strong, and I have the ability to pick up new knowledge quickly when working with software for the first time such as After Effects.

6) I want to work with a range of local, national and European based clients. I do not feel I am limited to local customers as I would use modern technologies, such as email, to communicate across borders. These clients would be both independent record labels as well as major ones.

7) I think my method of working would allow me to be more personal, so not to alienate smaller businesses but also professional enough to attract larger clients. In terms of the music industry, I could see myself designing for local bands (by designing album artwork) but then also designing for established acts for a larger audience.

8) Promoting my business online would be the most cost effective and best visual format to host a portfolio. It is vitally important to generate web traffic for my type of business as the market is saturated with easily accessible, web based design agencies.

9) I have a big interest in typographic work so I would like to collaborate with illustrators to offset any typography work I did. A lot of album covers do use a significant amount of illustrative work particularly in the rock genre, which I prefer to work for.

10) My competitors would be based both nationally and transnationally and would work for similar industries. Examples of these competitors would be ‘Tappin Gofton’ and American based agencies such as ‘Morning Breath’. Both competitors are focussed on the music industry but in different genres.

Morning Breath – Pop punk, Rock (Thursday, Queens of The Stone Age)

Tappin Gofton – Pop (Coldplay, The Feeling, Travis)

My skills
Layout (magazine, poster, flyer, letterheads)
Idea generation
Corporate Identity

Comparing my skills to that of my competitors, both cover a certain amount of these skills in one area or another. My clients (record companies) would require all of these skills in one way or another. My skills in layout design and packaging would be useful to them for CD artwork, and my skills in layout design for posters, etc would benefit them in terms of promotional material. I could also create identities for artists signed to them.

Who else is out there – how good are they?

Posted: Tuesday, 24 November 2009 | Posted by Adam Townend | 0 comments

Using the SWOT Analysis I can analyse my competitors strengths and weaknesses, and use these as opportunities for myself. Because I looked at record companies as clients in my last post, it makes sense to analyse competitors who design for record companies.

The first agency I have decided to look at is 'Tappin Gofton'. I was looking through my CD collection at works I like and googling the names of designers, and their website came up. They've done work on behalf of bands such as Coldplay and Travis, and they have a some high profile clients in Nike and Bacardi. Their portfolio is really strong as their are a variety of works, and the fact they have these high profile clients listed on the website means they have a great amount of marketability.

The website is fairly simple, and doesn't have studio shots or tours like some of the other agency websites so you tend to create your own opinion of how they work just by the work on display. Information about the business is limited but gives a good overview of the founders experience and also mentions top clients again to reinforce their success.

High Profile clients
Established market position
Over 20 years commercial experience
Award winning agency
Range of work in portfolio
Website easy to navigate

Lack of information on agency (how they work, who works for them)
Located in London (I could take advantage of the local market here)
Less of a friendly environment than other design agencies (Ripe, Open Door Design)

Although their strengths outweigh their weaknesses significantly, opportunities can still be gained from the weaknesses identified like their location. I.e because they are based in London, I can target local clients and offer a more personal service because of my location. I could also capitalise on weaknesses such as lack of info by designing content for my website to make my design ethics crystal clear so the client knows all about me.

The next agency I will analyse is 'Morning Breath' who are a transnational design agency based in New York. Again, I chose them because their work is truly inspirational. Their website has a great archive of work from all sectors including music. They too have a lot of high profile clients in the skateboarding industry and typically design for american bands and artists which fall into my favourite genre. They seem to do quite alot of illustration work, something that I don't specialise in, however they also do a lot of typography and layout work too. They work primarily for print, which is the part of the industry that I want to be involved in.

Fresh and Innovative creative solutions
Visualisation, illustration and design
Music, gaming, independent labels, advertising, publishing and clothing
Grammy award nominee
Successful gallery shows

No studio imagery
Small about us section
less interactive than other agency websites (Ripe, Open Door Design)

Again the weakness seems to be in their transparency to potential clients. Theres a mention of how they work but the client can't see how they work and where they work. The client only knows a small bit of info from the about page. However, when an agency as established as this, I imagine they can pick and choose how they work with and through producing work for the sector they operate in they will always reach similar contacts who require similar services. They evidently know their market and design in an area that suits their graphical approach.

Overall, I have found that agencies that work for top artists in the music industry often have a range of top artists as clients. Although this seems daunting, I assume that once an agency can secure 1 or 2 artists then others will follow due to contacts within a certain sector or one particular record label. Looking back at the archive of work of Morning Breath they didn't always have big bands as clients, they had to start from the bottom and get noticed.