We chat to Brisbane’s double trouble typographers Frank and Mimi, who gave us some solid career advice, talk about their routine (or lack of one) and some great tips for dealing with clients. Best quote – “The client isn’t always right, but they are always paying.” Typographers and freelancers – read on!
Tell us about where you are today and what you love about your job!
We’re at the studio, enjoying the sound of rain tapping on the roof and trickling down the windows. It’s easy to zone in on ideas when nature is creating a rhythm for you. Where to start! There is so much to love about being the yin and yang of Frank & Mimi. We love that our days start and end together, that we are challenged every week by varied and exciting briefs and that working with your best friend encourages you to do better work at every opportunity. There is a humble satisfaction in seeing our designs transform when shifted from paper to a large-scale surface. But nothing beats sharing our client’s satisfaction – it feeds our souls to see a client’s reaction to the realisation of artwork that has helped to materialise their creative endeavour. We play a unique role in the exciting beginning stages of many people’s personal projects, and feel pretty chuffed that we can be the medium between concept and reality.
What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way? Fear is inevitable, but if you can learn how to harness it and direct that energy towards conscious problem solving then you’re onto something! If it makes you nervous then it’s a challenge worth accepting.
Train your gut to work for you. Intuition is the most powerfully underestimated tool in your creative toolbox. If we don’t train it, it weakens, but in contrast to that if we spend time nurturing our instincts by trusting in our own feelings the potency grows and becomes profoundly useful.
The creative industry is made up of human beings. The industry doesn’t define you, you define the industry. Look at who’s come before you, and build on it! Rather than defining yourself by an existing title, create one! Just because people haven’t come across your style or method, doesn’t mean it’s invalid.
Vulnerability is universal. We all experience it, but acknowledging it is tough. There is a dangerous myth that vulnerability is weakness, but vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage. If you’ve got the guts to openly show up, make mistakes, reflect and develop yourself then you’re going to enjoy the beauty of working in the creative industries. To create is to make something that’s never existed before, there’s nothing more vulnerable and courageous than that!
Clarity is your best friend when dealing with clients. You can’t be too clear – with your terms, with your intentions and with your expectations. Be clear in your first meeting, bring it up in conversation, follow it up with an email, remind them in a text, and then print it off and get them to sign off on it! Every extra step counts towards saving your time and theirs in the future.
What does a typical working day include for you right now?
For us, there are no typical working days. The beauty of having a range of clients with different needs – from branding to large-scale artworks – means that we could start the work week at the desk in the studio and finish it on the side of a building! However, there are a few lil’ rituals that have snuck into the chaos, brewing a morning cup of Joe at home and watching the afternoon turn into night at the park with our dog Pete.
How do you deal with non-creative clients that don’t see your vision?
The client isn’t always right, but they are always paying. So it’s your job as a creative to decipher the right language with which to communicate with. Every human being is creative, though often people don’t know what they want until they see what they don’t want. So to avoid drawing up endless drafts, captain the ship and steer your client to a creative direction that you believe in. And you’ll need their trust for the ride, so put in the hard yards in these first moments, and those moments will reward you throughout the whole job.
Which three people in the design industry would you pick as mentors and why?
Without being specific, we would seek someone who is newer at this than we are, someone who’s at the same level of creative development, and someone who’s been doing this their whole life. There are lessons to be learnt from every creative. If someone’s newer at this than us, they have fresh eyes. If they’re at the same level it’s our responsibility to challenge each other. And with years of experience it’s our hope that with someone older we’d share stories and influence each other.