Monday, September 20, 2010

keeping it local | design interview

spicing it up with an interview with a local designer! read on...

Cassandra Ellis

company name:
Cassandra Ellis Studios (I know, so clever, huh?)

My services depend almost entirely on what my clients need, whatever they request I try to accomplish for them.

But if I were to list them:
Branding; logo, stationery, business cards etc.
Web Design; websites, web ads, email marketing
Marketing Materials; ads, brochures, postcards, posters, banners
3D; packaging, signage, vehicle graphics

when and how did you start your company?
It surprises me still that, it’s only been a year since I started my freelance company; it feels like so much more. I have been freelancing here and there since I graduated college, but it wasn't until I starting working for a development company that gave me the step I needed. I was given full responsibility in developing all the branding and marketing campaigns for 2 restaurants, and a Design Center. Through working on these projects, I met a number of people in the restaurant business, as well as many other business owners on the Main Line. After leaving my job at the development company, I started freelancing for a number of those contacts I had made, as well as the restaurants, Design Center and companies within the Design Center. I credit networking as the main reason that I continue to gain new clients.

how would you describe your design style?
I think I have a pretty contemporary, modern design style. Fresh colors and clean simplistic lines.

lately we've been seeing a focus on "keeping it local" as opposed to pouring money into big corporations, how do you, as a designer, play a part in this movement?
All of my clients tend to be local to the Philadelphia area, and many of them like the idea of working with someone local like themselves. Most of them started their own companies so we share that common ground, as well as a mutual knowledge of the area and the network. So not only am I local but I am also a one-woman operation, so generally I find that my clients love the personal relations and commonalities that a large corporation may not be able to provide.
My business approach tends to play up those advantages and ultimately a part in that movement.

design-wise, do you have any advise for small businesses in the area?
Website, website, website! These days it is so important to have an up to date easy to navigate website that communicates your business model, brand and message. I often find that small companies, with great service and/or product look unprofessional and amateur simply because their website appears dated or poorly done and that can greatly affect a consumers perception. People these days spend a LOT of time on the Internet and in most cases a company’s website is the first impression they can make on new customers.

what are you inspired by?
Other designers. I am always in awe of other peoples work; maybe it’s that “grass is greener” mentality. I learn so much more about my own design style and how to cultivate it, by observing what else is out there.

A couple of websites I frequent for inspiration are:

do you have a favorite font at the moment?
It may lack individuality, but I can’t get enough of Helvetica Neue. You can pair this font with almost any other; big or small it always looks fresh, clean and always makes an impression.

check out her recent work here! a big thank you to cassie for talking with me!

stay tuned for more fun interviews!