5 golden rules of self-promotion

Whether you're a freelance artist working from home, a design student or seasoned design pro, get noticed with these top self-promo techniques that really work.

01. Know your audience

“Always think about your audience,” says the Designers Republic founder Ian Anderson. “If it’s self-promo in terms of an exhibition, then who do you want to come, and what do you want to say to those people? If it’s a single piece of self-promo that you’re sending to a potential employer or client, then what is it that those people want to see? Think about what you want to achieve.”

02. Be there

“Industry events, social gatherings, online hangouts – just be there,” advises designer Liam Blunden. “I’ve gained clients by just talking to people – they didn’t even see my work! Make sure you have a nice online portfolio. Whack the URL on some business cards with your details and hand them out. Step it up a notch by making something unique. We’re in a creative industry, so get creative!”

03. Create something of value

“If you’re going to invest your time and energy into something that you want to represent your work and keep you top of mind for more than a passing second, it makes sense to create something of value,” advises illustrator Luke Lucas. “We’re all bombarded with so much promotional junk. If you can put out something that’s too good to throw away, you’re already winning.”

04. Explore different channels

Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” adds Lucas. “Outside of the things that Jacky Winter and my other reps do through their networks, I try promote my work through a variety of channels – be it social media, SEO, advertising in various industry directories, entering awards, contributing to exhibitions and regularly updating my folio. It all counts.”

05. Have fun

“Don’t try to make something that will get you exposure, because you’ll most likely over-think it and it won’t work,” says animator James Curran. “Just create something while enjoying the process and then put it online, without trying to force people to see it. Even if it doesn’t get a lot of views, you’ve still made something that you care about.”

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 260; buy it here!

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Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.