We or I - What are your opinions?



I am putting my own site together to offer website services, I'll be working from home and alone unless I need to pass work on to a third party that is beyond my capabilities and was wondering whether it would be best to be up front from the off and not use the 'Royal We' on the site.

I have seen that some designers have a pic of themselves and their site's URL is their name which is to personal for me and on the opposite side, I have seen sites that are setup as a professional business with offices and employees when there is just the one person working from their bedroom.

I feel that I would prefer to be honest so that customers know that I'm a sole trader but also don't want to go sticking my name over the web or put people off.

What do you do and why does this work for you?


I had the same choice to make when I was setting my own site up. Do I have a quirky name? Do I refer to myself as a team of people to make myself seem bigger than what I was? What helped me make my decision was that I realised I actually found it irritating when I discovered that someone who referred to themselves as a "we" and was actually an "I". For example, when planning my wedding, my photographer referred to himself as a "we", giving the impression he worked as part of a bigger team. Then when I chased him 6 months down the line to find out why my photos were taking so long, he revealed he was actually a one man band and was finding it hard to manage the workload.

I also decided not to go down the route of having a quirky name as is it not your own name you want people to get to know and recognise and associate with good design and professionalism? My policy is honesty is the best one. As soon as your clients find out you are hiding behind a false idea, then maybe they will doubt your integrity of everything else.

So why not go with your own name and using I for now. Then when you build up a successful business to the point of having to take on more staff more often, then give yourself a name and refer to yourself as we?
I'm re-working the Bleed Ink stance at the moment and despite the fact that myself and my fiance both work on various projects, its all moving to 'I'. Partly because quite often customers will only deal with one of us and partly because it gives the company a more personal and approachable feel which is important when you're trying to build a business in a small town.
It's completely up to you and half of the responses on here will say 'go for it. pretend you're bigger than you are' to attract bigger clients. Other responses will say the opposite. It also depends at which stage of your career you're at. If you're new, then you might need the helping hand of being seen as more than one man to get that first contract.

Personally, more people in my niche of our industry know me/my name and so when I set up my company I chose to use that, rather than hiding behind something 'globally generic' and new, and run the risk of throwing away reputation/association with who is actually doing the work.

I've been doing this a long time and use 'we' as I do use third parties to help on particular projects. Feedback from the work on my site and the small write ups on each project, has been 'oh I'm not sure I'll be able afford you because you must be a big company and the scale of clients you work(ed) for, but I do like project X' - but without the varied/well-know clients my website would never have been found and you would never have made the first call.

('Carphone Warehouse' was initially a couple of blokes in a shed who wanted to project a bigger image. What's the biggest 'shed' out there? A warehouse...that'll do and so their name was born.)

If offering a personal service created by you is your 'angle' then great - do what's best for you.

There are lots of undergraduates on here who are more than happy to use their name and stick 'design' at the end of it and start peddling their wares. It's not until you read their sites that they haven't finished their course yet. (That's not to say that having a qualification means you're a better designer than one without, but that's a whole other subject, but the internet does have a convenient way of making one's 'shop window' appear bigger/better/more professional etc. than it possibly is, merely through a slick-looking website.)

If you're thinking 'big' then form a company with a 'global' name and work hard to turn it from 'I' to 'we' if you feel more comfortable. Alternatively, be a one man band with a global name and use 'I'. Or, if using your name is too personal use the global name - though it then leaves you with using 'we' because there is no figure head.

There's no real right or wrong, just people's interpretations. Don't worry what other designers do/say - they're not using your services!

Good luck! :)
I don't really think it matters unless your motivation is deceit. For what it's worth, I'm a one man show and quite upfront about it but I'm not averse to talking about my company as an entity in its own right when it feels like the thing to do.
Thank's for the input it has helped.

I was a little on the fence but feel more confident in choosing to be honest and up front about working on my own. There are going to be times when I pass work on to a third party and I want my About section to be very clear on what I do, so companies know before making any decisions. The same goes for my Portfolio section, until I have a real customer with a real site I designed, it will be empty. I have seen sites that have images of sites they are saying they have created but on investigation that doesn't seem to be the case.

I've got no dreams or ambitions of having a big company :)

Paul, as for there being no rights or wrongs just interpretations, this is how I see life!

Thanks again
I always have the debate on Twitter, my username is @CannyCreative, but I want to be approachable and personable, which is why I use my own face as my avatar. I don't want to hide behind a company logo or whatever, so I never know if I should have two Twitter accounts or whatever, it's all confusing ground.

Ideally in the future, I do want to expand my company, which I guess is when I'll create seperate social networking accounts, one for me, one for the company etc.

It's a tricky situation, but like everyone else said, no right or wrong answers.
...There are going to be times when I pass work on to a third party and I want my About section to be very clear on what I do, so companies know before making any decisions...

This is (or can be) an important point: I run a couple of contracts with companies that forbid the use of third party suppliers.
I'm having this exact same debate with myself right now. Up until now I've been using 'I', but now that I'm rebranding to help boost business and go after larger clients and hopefully grow my one-man-band into an actual studio I'm thinking of switching to 'We'.

Good point Dave L on the third party bit - I'm having that issue with a pitch at the moment - client loves my work and the proposal, not keen on the fact that I'll have to outsource the coding for one part of the project. Some will bend on it if you can prove its worth the risk - others will just flat refuse to eliminate the risk all together.
Man, I've been wrestling back and forth with this beast for the past two years and I can never be satisfied. In the end I've used a mixture of both (hear me out) and for the moment I'm pretty happy. When I talk about Hunting Town (my studio) I use we, as in "we're really happy with how this project turned out", but or the about page I introduce myself and speak about Hunting Town as something I have created.

So something like "When I founded Hunting Town I put in this rule about how to treat clients, so now when we get a client in, they're always very happy with us". This way I can be personal and still appear like a big firm.
I use 'we' because there's 2 of us in the company, but 'I' if I want the credit :icon_wink:.

However, you can legitimately use 'we' if you are unfortunate enough to provide a home to parasitic intestinal worms :puke: