This month we were excited to catch up with Chloe Robertson – West-Sussex-based Graphic Designer/Illustrator and founder of Design By Smith.
Since we last featured Chloe here, she has been very busy working with some brilliant clients on a diverse range of creative projects. Chloe is now back to share her experiences and tips for small business success. Over to Chloe!
Tell us a bit about Design By Smith
I am a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. I help companies develop confident brands that tell their story and engage with their audience. Typical projects would be logo, branding, websites, brochures and illustration. I use a combination of design, pattern and illustration to achieve this.
What prompted your recent re-brand?
I’ve been freelancing for nine years now and have worked with many businesses on their brands but I hadn’t had a moment to work on my own until last year. It needed to better represent what I do and target who I work with. I worked collaboratively on the rebrand with Designer/Photographer Nick Robertson – and so Design by Smith was created.
First came the new name. The definition of Smith is: maker – One who makes or works at something specified. Often used in combination: a locksmith; a wordsmith. I love to work collaboratively with other freelancers on projects and the name Smith has a crafting, accessible and grounded feel to it – perfect to represent what we offer.
Then came the logo – A branded icon of a tree/feather. Tree for growth, being grounded and finding roots for my client’s brands. Also, the view from my office window is the stunning Harting Down with its iconic line of trees at the top – a daily source of inspiration for me. The feather represents creativity and flight (in business).
What type of clients do you work with?
I work with start-up companies and small businesses who want a brand they can feel confident in, make their business stronger and stay with them long-term.
What’s been your proudest moment in 2017?
Without doubt the response to the re-brand. It has been phenomenal – branding works! Since the launch I’ve had non-stop projects and all full of exciting creativity. Whether it be the illustrated brochure for Petersfield Charity FitzRoy (they let me go wild with pens on paper to tell stories of some of the people they help – See the Person not the Disability), or creative branding for The Art of Healthy Living (I adore Becky’s company story and values).
The variety of projects I have worked on over the past few months has been wonderful – from re-brands and corporate identity, to illustration and painterly patterns. I also took part in a fundraiser for Sierra Leone Hospitals that help mothers and babies which was a really heart-warming project. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love for inspirational companies.
I also had an article in Country Living’s Turn Your Hobby into a Business bookazine (Vol. 2). It’s an excellent resource about finding your confidence to start your own business. Paula from Marketing Vision Consultancy is part of the team on this edition and gave me this fabulous opportunity to share my experience of using and embracing fear as part of the creative process. It was really exciting to be able to share some advice to other potential start-ups.
And biggest challenge?
Getting the life work balance. I’ve not put my pen and brush down for a moment since the re-brand. I never want to say no to a project – they all sound so brilliant! So, it’s a juggle to manage the work load. I want to be able to give each project my all without overloading or say no to anything.
What is your top tips for anyone running their own business?
• Get great branding! Know your brand inside and out.
• Focus on what you love (it shows in your work).
• Surround yourself with supportive people who understand what it is to work for yourself. Collaborate!
What’s next for Design By Smith?
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know other small business owners this last couple of years and I think the key for me is working with others. This year I’ve teamed up with Nick and now I want to reach out more and continue to develop the brand.
Chloe has worked for 20 years in the design and illustration industry. She studied art at the London College of Printing, Winchester School of Art and Portsmouth University. She has worked for some leading names such as WHSmith, UK Greetings (in-house design manager/ illustrator for five years), The Great British Card Co, Oxfam, Card Factory, The Original Poster Company and Lupus Films. She now works from her home studio with her dog Arthur, at the foot of Harting Down, in a village between Petersfield and Chichester, in West Sussex.
Find out more about Design By Smith