WANTED: A Graphic Partner, Not a Graphic Designer

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I asked Jesse McKinney, CEO of Red Aspen, to say a few things about selecting her team members for Red Aspen. She had some interesting insights about designers: 

When my partners and I launched our company, Red Aspen, we knew exactly what we wanted our company to look and feel like, but we had a problem. We didn’t know how to translate our vision on to paper.

As we met with designers we realized that simply saying words like “fun,” “upbeat” or “feminine” meant something different to everyone. We needed someone with the talent that could take our vision and turn it into a reality. We didn’t really know where to start, so we turned to the internet in search of creatives who could help us. 

In our first attempt at translating our vision we ended up working with a designer on a project that failed miserably. He didn’t really communicate with us, didn’t understand our timeline, and had a challenging time relaying his pricing. Did this person have talent? Yes. Did they have drive? Yes. On paper everything seemed great. But at the end of the day this person didn’t ask us what we wanted. Instead they created a product that was full of their influence and didn’t translate our brand values. We were devastated!

It was at this point that we realized we didn’t need just a designer, we needed a partner. Someone that would take the time to ask the questions, wasn’t afraid to fail, and would overly communicate. 

We realized that we needed someone that wouldn’t make assumptions about our brand based on their own notions. We desperately wanted this person to get into our brains, and use what they found and run with it with our corrupting our brand. We wanted someone who wasn’t afraid to text or call us with questions.

After many attempts we finally found a handful of creative partners that I can’t imagine working without. They have elevated our brand way beyond the level of design that I imagined, but remain true to our mission. And it’s because of this amazing team we now the beautiful imagery, playful copy, and meaningful photography that we dreamed of. 

If you’re an aspiring creative entrepreneur and you’re reading this, I have some advice for you straight from the brain of a business woman: 

Get to know your client.

Find out what they like, who they are, and how they operate, overly communicate, provide mock ups and don’t marry your work. Get to know your brand. Be a partner, not just a freelancer. Your clients may not know it, but that’s what they really want. Cheers!

How I know the Author


Jesse Mckinney - Founder and CEO of Red Aspen, LLC a social selling beauty company. Their mission is to inspire women to stand up, stand out, and stand together by uniting passion with purpose. Jesse found my Etsy shop and asked if I would like to do a couple of graphics for them and the rest is history. Jesse and I have been working together for over a year now and I absolutely LOVE working with her and the Red Aspen team. They are ambitious, energized, and really live up to their mission. I am a proud graphic partner of Red Aspen.