Setting up a studio experiences, please.


New Member

I am interested in hearing peoples experiences of setting up a studio, whether it's a stand alone studio or one attached to a business like printing. I'd like to know what sort of background you have, years of experiences, clients base, type of work you do, size of your studio etc And any tips you have.

I'm hoping this will help me with a decision, about which way I should head with my career.

Thanks for you input. :icon_biggrin:

Kezz x
I have 2 and half years experience working as a full time graphic designer. I did a BA Hons in graphic design before that and worked throughout my degree free lance. I have an oppotunity as part of a printing bureau to potential grow the design studio side. I need to gather some information on it and see what other peoples experiences are and just thought this would be one source. If i'm going to do it I'll need to produce a business plan, crunch the numbers and pitch it to the business owner. On the other hand I could continue working as a sole graphic designer here and wait for a few years and go out on my own then. Or many other oppotunitys really! just bouncing some ideas around, and thought it would be good to hear other peoples experience.
I wouldn't bother teaming up with a printer unless it's a very reliable company. You will find a lot of articles about this subject if you look though this forum.
Hi guys!
Lovely thread!
So, let's go straight to the point.
I'm setting up my studio in Manchester, i live here since may but i need all this time to create my website, move my stuff from Italy, create CV, portfolio and partnerships with companies around here and first of all...THE LANGUAGE...after 6 months now i'm able to talk with people...even by phone...heehe i know sound stupid but was the most difficult thing for me.

Now things are going well, people call me or text me via my website, and using google i managed to find suppliers and partners for print, audio dubbing, etc. etc.

Now i'm working hard and i'm always busy and its hard because i'm still going back to Italy once a month for a week, and when i come back in Manchester i have to work something like 15 hour per day without a pause.

My studio is obviously a small thing, one man business...3 computers and a lot of cigarettes...

That's all for now...

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I'd say dip your feet into a bit of freelance on the side, you have the security of a job so you don't need to pack up shop and go it alone just yet. There's a stupid amount of competition out there, having said that there's always some kind of work available. You have to grab it rather than let it come to you. Going it alone you'll learn to be a sales rep, businessman, accountant, pr guy all in one! I think pitching to your manager is the way to go, it will give you a lot of practice for going alone. With the added bonus of a certain amount of financial security. I'm actually quite jealous!
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Thanks, I am very lucky its all come off the back of work experince I did while at university which came about after my dad played a game of golf so I had a good dose of luck as well as hard work and determination.

How do you find work and pitch for it, I know theres loads out there but where do you find it? and how do you sell it?
Well first you get the money, then you get the power....then....ooooh no wait wrong advice. That's for cuban gun totting drug barons, I'm sure you aren't one of those :icon_biggrin:

Well you need to figure out your target audience, then figure out who your competition is. Choose your battles. There's no point in competing with the big agencies, at least not when you are starting out. So think small to start with. It might be through friends and family at first, somebody might know somebody etc etc. And it would be better to focus on your local area, again this cuts down competition more. Then its a case of making yourself known to businesses who may want your Graphic Design. One good source is to go through the phone book of your target audience. I was told one good way to introduce yourself is via letter. It has to be extremely well presented, signed and in a hand addressed envelope. This gives is a more personal touch, and is less likely to be chucked as junk mail. Change your wording to fit the particular business you are aiming at, keep it very brief and include the benefits of hiring you (e.g cheapest in town!) and add a call to action eg. visit my website. Give it a week then follow it up with a phone call "Hi, I'm a professional freelancer, I have been introducing myself to local companies. Oh you got my letter, great....etc etc."

You get the idea. A lot of it is marketing yourself and making yourself known to people. And don't lose sight of the fact that what you provide should always be for the improvement of profit for your target business. If your target business don't see your service as profitable or advantageous to them, they won't hire you. Give them a reason to spend money on you.

Who knows, if your boss goes along with it you might even convince him to send you on a Marketing Training course!
Thank you very much for all your input, I've had a conversation with him about the marketing trainning and its a possibility for the new year. As we only set up as a large format printer at the beginning of June so we're very much building the business, its in the plan!!

Thanks again!