Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Design Drought

It seems as though designing comes in waves. Maybe it is just me? There are times where I have so much to do that I can barely find the time to do it all and on the other hand there are times where I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel to find things to do! I just can't seem to find a way to make things consistent. What are your tips and tricks for keeping steady business? I know a lot of people use social media outlets to drum up business. Anymore it seems that there are thousands of people to choose from when it comes to looking for services on social media. As I said before, people are going to jump at the cheapest avenue so it leaves the good quality designers with slim picking! What do you do? How do you cope with the designing drought??

- Jacob Reno

Friday, April 22, 2016

Paying In to a design contest??

Let me ask you a fairly simple question. Does it make sense to pay into a design contest as a designer?
I was just contacted by an individual asking me if I'd like to participate in a contest to design a logo for a local band. The winner of the contest would receive a $100 cash reward. Sounds like a decent deal right? So I bit. I told him I was interested. He began to tell me some of the rules and regulations. The one that caught my attention was the minor detail that there are going to be 5 designers and they must each submit 2-3 logo designs. Anybody that has designed a professional looking logo knows how long it is going to take to submit 2-3 good quality logos. Each designer must pay $20 to take part in the contest and the winning designer will be rewarded the $100 cash payment. Let me say that again. EACH DESIGNER MUST PAY $20 TO TAKE PART IN THE CONTEST. Now... I'm no rocket scientist, just a designer with a little common sense, but doesn't it seem fishy that I would be required to pay a fee to design 2-3 logo designs so that they could pick the best one and then take MY money plus the other three designers money and give it to the winning designer? Or in other words, why should I pay $20 so this band can get a free logo?
I can see the motive behind this contest where the band would like to get the community involved and run a contest to get a great logo, but don't make the designer pay!!! Give out a $100 cash prize to the best design of anyone that wants or knows how to design!!!
Maybe it is just me but this sounds a little weird! Thoughts??

- Jacob Reno

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Price of Design

The other day I was scrolling through a photography group on Facebook. There was a certain person who asked a question inquiring about what one should pay to have a logo designed. She said that she was quoted somewhere around $150 for a simple design. She could not understand why it would cost so much for such a simple design. Oh boy did she start quite the heated conversation about the price of graphic design. She had all kinds of remarks stating what I have stated before. "You get what you pay for"! People where getting angry with her wondering why she would even ask such a question. Seeing that she was an up and coming photographer they assumed she should know the value of ones time. So. . . I sent her a pm. I told her that all designers are different. You will not find two designers that charge the same price for the same thing. Some are an hourly rate while others charge a flat price. There are all kinds of factors that come with designing a logo. Revisions being one of them. This is where the hourly rate gets expensive where as a set price usually gets you 2 revisions. I gave her my hourly rate and the files that she would receive and she was very grateful that I wasn't over the top expensive. I live by the rule that I am not out to get rich off of one person. But I've also got to look out for me and my family! I can guarantee you that I am cheaper than most designers out there and I can also guarantee you that my work is equally as professional! With that information she entrusted me with her business logo and turned me loose. I came up with a simple design and to both of us it was perfect. To think that others would charge $150 for this amazes me. But, it also makes me sit back and wonder if maybe I am to cheap.
Over the last couple of days I have wondered if the fact that I do keep my prices affordable is the reason that I don't get a ton of business. Do people look at my prices and think that I don't know what I am doing because graphic design is supposed to be expensive? What do you think?

- Jacob Reno

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Big Break

They say that everybody has a big break in their business ventures. Well. . . I'm still waiting! It seems as though business comes and goes in waves. There are some months that I hardly get any and there are others where I am swamped! I need it to be consistent. My life goal is to own my own business that gets enough monthly income to sustain my family. Right now it's enough to have a little play money! Here is a question for all of you successful business owners. At what point in time did you go all in and devote all your time to your business?

- Jacob Reno

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I was recently asked if I would design a graduation announcement for a young man that was to be graduating this year. After several exchanged texts and phone calls we had decided on what this announcement would look like.
Now, back in the day I used to take payment for designs after they were complete and the client was satisfied. Not anymore! I was burned one to many times by people that said they loved the design but once they received the invoice it wasn't so great. So I now require the payment before hand so I am not out my time.
I informed this person that I would need payment up front for the design before I could get started. She completely avoided the comment and asked when it would be done. I again told her that she would need to pay before I started. Her response was this, "you're just a local freelancer. Shouldn't these be free"? What?!?!?! Absolutely not!! I don't think I have been more frustrated and had the urge to reach through the phone and sucker punch someone!! I was floored.
I proceeded to tell her in a very calm, cool, collected way that a lot of time, effort and energy goes into graphic design and that if she was ever to get it for free than she shouldn't expect very good quality design.
She declined my services and I sent her on her way!
I am amazed at the amount of people that expect things done for free. She was expecting me to take time valuable to me and use it to make her a high quality graduation announcement. Thanks, but no thanks!
What do you think? Was I wrong to send her packing or should I have cut her a deal?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I am fortunate enough to live in a very beautiful part of the country. At my full time job I am able to wander around as I please. One of my favorite things to do is take my camera to work and go sit on the roof during sunsets. I LOVE SUNSETS!! There is nothing else that makes me feel more at peace than watching the sun set.
Isn't it funny that something so simple can bring so much joy? One of the great things about being a photographer is that you get to experience things in a different way than the average person. We photographers see things in a different way than most and that's what makes us unique.
Most people think that photographing a sunset is just another sunset. A photographer sees the colors and shadows, the horizon and landscape. There is so much more to a sunset than the sun. The beauty surrounding the sun is what is being captured! I hope you enjoy this Idaho sunset as much as I enjoyed photographing it!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Recently I was asked by a lady in the community if I would like to enter this picture in an art gallery to sell. Of course I was stoked to get my art displayed! I told her I was interested and asked the details of the gallery. She told me that it needed to be poster size printed on wrapped canvas. Okay. . . I can do that. She then told me that I couldn't charge more than $50 at the event. Hold up. . . you want me to pay almost $100 to get this thing wrapped canvas and I my want me to charge $50 for it? Don't get me wrong, I would love to get my work out there to the public but I'm not going to lose money doing it. Tell me, would you spend $100 to make $50?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Why Is It Hard To Be A Photographer?

The truth is this. . . it is not hard to be a photographer. Let me explain. With a little time and effort someone can take good pictures. So, it isn't hard to become a photographer. Now, is it hard to be a good photographer? The answer is yes. It takes a lot of time, practice, money and patience to become a good photographer. These days the good photographers are getting overlooked by the people who just claim to be photographers. These amature photographers and charging people next to nothing for family pictures, weddings, graduation announcements, birth announcements you name it. I've said it once and I'll say it again. You get what you pay for. If you go to a photographer and pay $50 for family portraits they might be good, but there not professional. Now. . . you go to a good photographer for the same family pictures and you can expect to pay $150+ , but you will notice a huge difference in the quality of the picture. Am I saying that all amature photographers are crap? Absolutely not, but you better not complain when you get your pictures back and they don't look as good as your sister Sally's family pictures that she got taken by the professional at Jacob Reno Photography and Graphic Design!! It's hard to be a good photographer in a world of amatures who claim to be professional. People settle and unfortunately money talks. The time invested in making amazing photographs isn't worth a mere $50. A good photographer spends weeks editing to perfection and you can expect to pay for their time. I would, but that's just me!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Takin it Back.

I love to design! I especially love designing birthday party invitations. It makes me feel like I've played a role in making the persons birthday special. Weird I know, but it's how I roll! One particular thing that I like doing is designing something that is themed in a different era. Recently I was tasked with designing this 50's sock hop party invite. When the lady contacted me about this all I could think about was black, pink and poodle skirts! So did she! This was a fun invite to design and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Friday, March 4, 2016


Being a graphic designer and photographer is a very rewarding profession. I get the opportunity on a daily basis to play some kind of role in someone else's life. Whether it it's taking new born pictures or designing a company logo I'm there. Too be able to take something that someone has pictured and put it in the screen to make what they think is they absolute best logo to represent something that they have worked hard to build is very rewarding. I just recently finished this logo for a lady that had been making here husbands welding hats for 12 years now. One day she decided to start selling them as a side business, she had gone quite some time without a logo because she hasn't found one that she would fall in love with. She came to me and asked if I could design something. So I did!
She fell in love!! What a great experience to be able to make someone's dream a reality!