For graphic designers, working from home or at a coffee shop can be limiting. Unlike most professionals, graphic designers thrive when the atmosphere and ambiance of their workspace reflects and inspires their inner creative.
Graphic designers also need coworking spaces that provide opportunities to network and collaborate with other business professionals and the community (through workshops and after-hours networking). This is where most of their business stems.
Here are some coworking space must-have features graphic designers should seek when choosing the right workspace to set up shop:
An Inspiring Atmosphere
When you visit a coworking space, how does it make you feel? Do the aesthetics inspire you? It’s easy to come to a coworking space that’s vibrant, youthful feeling, and inspiring. How are the workspaces? Are they randomly set up or purposefully planned throughout the space? Are the wall colors cheery? How about art on the walls? Is the lounge area hip? Are there games for decompression and fun? Look for a coworking space that feels more playful than stuffy.
Availability of Resources
A coworking space should provide adequate resources that allow you to focus on your job. These resources can be desks of adequate size, conference tables for spreading out your project materials on, AV equipment for making presentation, white boards for concepting and brainstorming, conference calling telephones, reliable wi-fi, storage space, and more. You’ll want office space or a desk that can provide good natural lighting, as well. Having a kitchen where refreshments are available is an added perk.
As a graphic designer, networking is the most important part of growing and sustaining your business. Nearly every business you encounter has the potential to be a client. While you can make get clients from home or at the coffee shop with some effort, working from a coworking space makes it infinitely easier to meet new business owners and expand your referral network. Time spent seeing people on a daily basis and cultivating those trust-based relationships will lead to referrals for your business.
Note: When seeking a referral, instead of asking for a “referral” ask for an introduction. Say, “Hey Mike, would introduce me to the lawn care guy you were meeting with yesterday? I think I can help solve some of his advertising problems” This approach makes it easy for Mike to say, “Yes” and make a warm connection to his client on your behalf.
Other networking opportunities exist in the form of happy hour events, workshops, and open houses put on by the coworking facility. If you have a dedicated desk, consider leaving out flyers, rack cards, or business cards that can be taken in your absence.
Collaborative Partnership Opportunities
Similar to networking, you can collaborate easier with other coworkers in your space. If Mike the web designer has a client who needs a logo or graphics specifically useful for the website he’s building, you can work together to serve his client and you both benefit. The converse is also true. If you create a logo, business cards, and advertising material for a client, you can introduce your client to Mike for a website. Collaboration builds goodwill between coworkers and allows you both to always be on the lookout for new business that you can work on together.
For graphic designers, coworking presents a wealth of opportunities to help inspire and grow your business. Consider moving your business from your home or the local coffee shop to a coworking facility. Be sure to ask about the roster of professionals who use and lease the space to make sure it’s a suitable fit, not too competitive (other graphic designers), and it feels right to you.