• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Finding exciting clients

Hi all,

It's been a long time since I posted and I'm now at the fortunate position where I can choose projects I work on rather than taking on everything under the sun... but I have hit a bit of a wall when it comes to clients.

I wondered if anyone has any tips for finding more exciting clients? I'm looking for unusual businesses who can offer challenging design rather than B2B corporate clients.

I have a lot of big corporate clients whose businesses don't really need anything exciting design-wise. I really want to work with people who aspire for more. Maybe designing a cafe identity, developing a fun app, branding a shoe company, festival or architects...etc.

Does anyone have any tips for finding exciting clients without just approaching them out of the blue or going to generalist networking events as I've found those approaches don't work.

Thanks :)
@scotty Sorry I should have added that I don't currently have the kind of work I want to branch out into in my portfolio as I've not done any plus it's not the type you can do self initiated really either (not without it looking that way). This is my portfolio
Festivals and charities usually have little or no funds. Look around your locality & see if there are any that are interesting and have terrible design and approach them, they'll bite your hand off! Maybe little or no cash but you'll hopefully get a creative piece out of it for the folio…also worth looking around at local funding pots, sometimes money is available for marketing (design, web etc). I do stuff for a local agricultural show and it's nice to get involved with something that goes beyond being a just for money job. Nice work by the way!


Well-Known Member
@scotty Sorry I should have added that I don't currently have the kind of work I want to branch out into in my portfolio as I've not done any plus it's not the type you can do self initiated really either (not without it looking that way). This is my portfolio

The usual question on here is "how do I get clients?" but I do get what you're saying.
You want to do the work that floats your boat?

I've worked for some pretty big hitters and quite often I've found that these tend to be more dull due to restrictive, over branding and such.
They can also be the worst clients for "design by committee" and quite often you feel like an Artworker rather than a Designer.

I wish I had a definitive answer but a lot of it is: Show the work you want to do.
My stuff is more illustrative as I like doing that but within that I do lots of different styles because I'd get bored sticking to just one.
It's hard to market myself as I can come across as a Jack Of All but the long term clients I have use me because of that.

When I have wanted to do something for a certain sector/client then in the past I've identified a list of them them and followed them on social media and such and looked and waited for an opportunity to jump in.
It can seem a bit like fishing but hey. :D

Tailoring your folio can seem a little daunting but it's doable and making it look 'not self initiated' is just a matter of smoke and mirrors.
It's pretty obvious you got the skills. ;)
@scotty Cheers for the help. I more or less want to attract big players and/or startups with funding behind them that want better design for interesting projects, not just annual reports. We've already done a lot of fun work already although it's been for other agencies as outsourced work. We're at the stage now where we are doing everything from creative right through to delivery for the agencies and they mostly guide the job from a distance and then mark it up for their client.

I know what you mean about illustration, I spent around 8 years working as an illustrator and found the illustration world is a lot more guided as you get asked to do something specific, to a style with little strategy behind it so the jobs can feel a bit more like an art-worker role- it's prescriptive but kind of nice. In design we have a bit more freedom to guide the work ourselves, especially when making an identity and then producing the rest of the brand to support it.

The only issue I face right now really is that finding people with interesting businesses to support is difficult, it's also subjective on our part as to what you'd call interesting - we call anything that's allowing us to push our skills interesting. The better jobs are usually those with better content in the first place, or the openness to allow us to craft better content.

The kind of jobs we want can't really be fabricated due to their scale, .e.g we could make up a festival or a windsurfing world tour...etc but it's going to be pretty transparent to anyone in the industry so I guess we have to go a little smaller to begin with.

I was hoping someone had done this and had an answer but I think we're going to have to be patient about it.

@bonsdes Most of the festivals we've worked with have at least a £10K budget which is reasonable enough, I think it really depends on whether they are getting value from your work and whether it's helping their growth. We've been asked to do some low budget festival stuff before and have taken it but also some high budget work with £50K+ for events so it's hit and miss depending on how valuable they see our input. I actually don't mind doing pro-bono work if the client has something interesting to promote, Wolff Olins did a nice job about a solar powered light to allow study at night in poorer countries which is the kind of thing we're looking for.