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Reminding clients that brand is king, with Laurence Kite

Focusing On Brand | Freelance Designer Art Director & Animator
Kat Shepherd
Kat Shepherd
April 4, 2022
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As a creative in the design and animation industry, it’s really important to stay on top of the latest trends and what consumers are looking for from brands, something freelance designer, art director and animator, Laurence Kite knows all about. Having started his freelance career in 2015, Laurence has learned how to stay on top of his game in the industry as well as what works best for clients when working on their projects.

We spoke to Laurence about his latest social projects, what advice he’d share with anyone considering a career in the creative sector and how to balance client expectations as a designer.

Having worked as a freelancer for over six years, Laurence has worked on a fair share of creative projects;

For the last few projects executing social media campaigns thoughtfully and effectively has been paramount.

When asked what worked well and stood out, Laurence detailed three key features that helped achieve this included;

  1. Brand is king - People need to know who to associate the content with immediately.
  2. The message must be communicated in the first 1-3 seconds in order for its audience to remain interested.
  3. There must be a clear call to action that rewards audience members for watching. This may be a payoff such as competition incentives, offer links or a request to engage through mechanics native to the platform itself such as quizzes and polls.

With so many working cogs to these projects, we asked Laurence how we would take these forward into future projects to ensure the same outcomes and success from all parties;

By keeping to these three main features when approaching any social brief and if needed, explain to the client why these three ideals are so important.

When it comes to clients preparing to work with freelance creatives and designers, Laurence feels they can prepare by;

I think once they're impressed by a candidate's portfolio it is then important to put trust into that individual to do what they do best and get on with the job in hand. It’s also paramount that the briefing process is structured correctly and enough care is given to writing out each brief. Clear expectations, considered strategy and realistic timelines are all important when getting a project off to a great start.

Keeping up to date with design skills and even learning new ones to enhance his freelance remit, is something Laurence feels is very important;

As a designer or as a creative in general we always have to keep our eyes on the latest trends as well as fully explore any new features that arrive at our desks via software updates. It is also important when it comes to new trends to seek out answers and educate ourselves on how to achieve the effects or styles we are unsure of in order to bolster our skillset and prepare ourselves for any requests that may arrive down the line.

When it comes to expanding skillsets in the creative sector. Laurence strongly recommends learning a complimentary skill to set yourself apart from others in the field;

Coding is always useful when it comes to web-based animation. Another skill you should consider adding is 3D animation as even a little bit of an understanding can add an extra much-needed element to some 2D based projects.

With so many aspects of design work being subjective or open to opinion, we asked Laurence how he handles client feedback or even criticism as a designer and artwork professional. He shares;

I think communication is key. Checking in, in the early stages of a project to ensure everyone is on the right page. Creating a variety of options to establish taste and preference is also key when getting to know the expectations of a new client. Personal tastes can sometimes help to educate some clients on what is possible when perhaps they're lacking that knowledge also.

On the topic of criticism, we asked Laurence how he personally handles it from clients;

I think everyone is entitled to have an opinion and if that opinion is constructive then all the better. The design process can sometimes benefit from collaboration and we all need to embrace that. Learning from others is why we're all here and we shouldn't lose touch with that.

We then asked if there was something clients could to do in future to have a more flexible approach to design and creative work. Laurence personally feels it’s all about what part of the process the sign-off person comes in at;

Sometimes when convincing the client that a change is needed I find explaining the logic behind it helps the most. Hierarchy, legibility and colour palette are all things that I find come up the most. But I usually find the client will have more and more changes leading up to the deadline because those who are in charge of sign off are sometimes not part of the design process. When this happens, patience is key.

With so much exposure to different people and projects, Laurence shares his best advice to date for anyone else considering a career as a freelance designer, artworker or even animator;

Educate yourself. YouTube is a hive of endless information that can help you finesse your skillset and open your horizons to bigger and better opportunities. Also, stay hungry. Make the projects you want to do in your own time. Collaborate with mates and generally keep yourself busy with the things you want to see in the world. Some of the wildest self-initiated work make for the best conversation starters in an interview.

And finally, we asked Laurence how he felt being nominated as a finalist in the Freelancer Awards 2021;

When I learnt I had been shortlisted as a finalist I felt incredibly humbled and honoured as well and grateful to all the clients I've had throughout the pandemic. To achieve something like this during a time of such adversity makes it all feel worth it.

If you’re looking for help with your next creative project, why not book Laurence.

AspectEmployeeIndependent Contractor
Control and supervisionDirect control over how, when, and where to workFreedom to set their own schedules and methods
PaymentRegular wages; taxes withheld by employerPaid per project; responsible for their own taxes
BenefitsHealth insurance, retirment plans, paid leaveMust arrange their own benefits
TerminationOften requires notice and may include severanceCan usually be terminated at any time without benefits
Tools and equipmentProvided by the employerTypically use their own tools
Creative, Maker, Designer, Animator, you name it I do it. All with delicious flair for bringing to life ideas made for sharing. A quick witted mind for content ideas combined with a natural tenacity for taking on any challenge given me make a truly potent mix.
Laurence Kite, Designer | Art Director | Animator
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