Artist Interview Series: Design By Goats
For this week's artist interview, CAN artist team Design By Goats shared their thoughts on networking, building community, and the importance of finding balance between life and career. Please join us here each week for perspectives on how our artists promote themselves and market their art. Happy reading!
Q: What marketing approaches have worked best for you and why?
A: We get most of our work from referrals and word of mouth. That being said, having a healthy and easily accessible online presence is a key part in attracting those folks and proving a trustworthiness. We focus on our website and our instagram account (designbygoats.com / @designbygoats). We’ve also had some random luck putting ourselves on local creative business lists.
Q: Does marketing yourself and your work make you feel uncomfortable?
A: Self-promotion is always a prickly dance.
Q: How do you get past that discomfort (if you do)?
A: We just keep going! Keep doing work. Keep showing work. If you do it right, the quality and consistency should shine through.
Q: How do you make money from your art (full-time job, freelance work, selling things online, in what balance, etc)?
A: We operate as a “boutique” creative agency. People pay us for branding, illustrations, digital / print design, and things of that nature. We do have an online shop with shirts, posters, swag, etc., but those ventures are usually more for fun than as money-making endeavors. Early on we found that client work was our bread and butter, which is a very different business model than making art for sale.
Q: How important is making money from your art?
A: Our livelihood depends on it!
Q: How often do you share your work and on what channels?
A: We probably post on instagram a couple of times per week. We used to attempt Facebook AND Instagram AND Twitter AND LinkedIn but that was a mistake and a formidable time suck. We think it’s best to choose one (or two if you must) channels and really focus on doing that well. Make time and dive deep! Something we still struggle with, to be honest.
But also - and this is kinda big - get out and make real relationships with real people! We’re not necessarily talking about “networking” events (barf), but social groups, professional groups, or hobbyist groups. Just find something that is your speed with people you relate with. We’re pretty active in our community which is why our professional network has grown more by doing real-life things and making friends than doing anything online. This is primarily why so much of our work comes from word of mouth and referrals. These situations are also ideal because you don’t necessarily have to sell yourself, you just have to let people know who you are and what you do. If you develop any sort of real connection with folks they will often seek you out at need.
Q: Do you share in process/finished work vs more salesy promotional content?
A: A little bit of both, really. A wise man once said, “next to love, balance is the most important thing.” It is important to us to find a balance between a genuine friendly attitude while also presenting the good shit. Social media is an opportunity to be real, even if it’s less formal. Sometimes that means showing us drawing with crayons while waiting for food at a restaurant, or sharing a stupid illustration of an ostrich that looks like Jack Nicholson. Maybe this approach isn’t for everyone, but it’s just who we are and we’re all about real connections and friendship!
Learn more about Creative Action Network artist team Design By Goats and check out all of their CAN work.
Also in News
We'd love to tell you about Annie Riker, an artist out of Asheville, North Carolina. She's a surface designer and illustrator who over the years has contributed her national park posters and sticker designs to CAN. This spring her Appalachian Trail design inspired two See America product launches, Merrell trail running shoes and Wyeth hats! Annie is a former Creative Director for the NPCA and we're so grateful that her national park expertise, love of nature, creative spirit and illustration skills landed her in our community where her work can do so much good. You can see Annie's designs online at CAN and be sure to check out her Merrell trail running shoes and Wyeth hat project, too, all helping support Earthjustice organization. We know you'll enjoy reading all about Annie!
Know who loves the outdoors and helping good causes as much as we do? Merrell! We enjoyed our first collaboration with them so much we did it again – introducing a new line of trail running shoes inspired by See America posters of our nation's most celebrated through-hikes, the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. One part inspiration and one part commemoration, the new shoe collection helps support Earthjustice organization. Integral to this project are the amazing poster designs from artists Brooke Fischer, Jonathan Scheele and Annie Riker, and we hope you really love reading the story of how this project came to be. Huge thanks to Merrell for always being down to party with us in support of a worthy organization, not once but twice!