"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Ask the Expert" With Designer David Lange

Image Credit: David Lange

Hi, David. Welcome! Can you share with my readers a little about who you are and your professional background?

I am a self taught graphic designer, artist & illustrator. I've always gravitated towards creative pastimes ever since I was young, but have been working professionally as a designer for the past 7 years both as a freelancer and for various agencies.

Describe a typical day.

Having just taken the position of Senior Graphic Designer at a marketing agency, my responsibilities as both designer and creative director include designing collateral and web pages as well as developing and refining our design and development process. A typical day consists of a little of both. There are usually a handful of design projects in my queue, but my focus right now is facilitating the web design process across various compartmentalized departments.

I see on your site that you also specialize in branding. What are some of the most common mistakes you witness with creative artists and entrepreneurs, when it comes to branding efforts?

A lack of consistency in brand strategy and presentation is probably the biggest. It's tempting and easy to follow impulse but erratic branding dilutes your message and the unique value of your offering. It also hinders brand retention and trust among your audience. This usually occurs because there are no brand standards in place, because they haven't walked the company in question through some type of branding process.

How would you describe your approach to working with writers and businesses seeking graphic design services? In other words, what's your U.S.P.?

My USP is the cross section between my passion as an artist and my hyper analytical instincts. I'm obsessed with making brands beautiful and am an advocate of being truly passionate about your personal brand, but I also appreciate the need to understand the "pain" driving the interest and desire for a particular product or service. I like to at least consider whatever data is available to understand the mindset of the customer and the particular buying process they go through.

Do you charge by the hour or by the project?

I try to stay as flexible as possible to avoid the creative process feeling restricted by cost. I usually quote most anything, but smaller projects are more typically the ones I'm comfortable working on for a flat fee. Larger projects are usually looking at a quoted range with just enough room to accommodate all the various unforeseeables.

A lot of writers are opting to publish ebooks these days. Are covers for ebooks different than hardcopy versions? Or are the design elements pretty much the same? 

The principle would be roughly the same but print is more demanding and restrictive. Print typically has more specifications involved that relate to the output (margin, bleed, print-marks, preferred format, color...). Anything that stays in the digital space is typically a little easier to deal with.

What should freelancers look for in terms of hiring a graphic designer or illustrator?

A portfolio of quality work, relevant to the type of design you're hiring them for. The freelance market is mostly driven by cost though. Design is a complex discipline that's cheapened in the eyes of the average consumer by a lot of temptingly cheap options. Good designers know their worth so be prepared to pay for quality. Going the cheap route can be okay for some things but there are a lot of unseen pitfalls for those basing their decisions on price alone.

Any other special talent or unusual hobby?

I enjoy the films of Andrei Tarkovsky.

What quote or expression do you live by?

I have quite a few that I like, maybe not one in particular. If I had to choose one for the moment: "Work hard in silence, let success be your noise."

Nice. I like that one, David.

How can we reach you?




  1. Appreciate your insight and advice, David. I think your perspective offers much for writers.

    Jen, enjoyed the interview! Thanks for hosting David this week. :)

  2. Dave is an awesome designer and a great person to work with. Nice interview!

  3. Dave, certainly knows what he's talking about. I enjoyed this column and his tips. Thanks for hosting.

    1. Thanks, Lin. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  4. Jen--Thanks for showcasing Dave. I really like his favorite quote about working hard in silence...

  5. Hi Jennifer and David - good to read more about your expertise - I particularly liked the 'branding' part - something I've taken on board ...

    I had to look up Andrei Tarkovsky - but interesting film-maker whom I don't know ... but you've introduced me to him ..

    Thanks and cheers to you both - Hilary

    1. Cheers to you as well, Hilary. Enjoy your day. :-)

    2. Thank you Hilary. Branding is simpler than we make it sometimes. Consistency and clarity are two of the most important things to keep in mind. Focus on value, stick to your message, and communicate it in ways that speaks to the need of your audience. It's worth walking yourself through a basic brand creative brief as well.

    3. As for Tarkovsky, I'd start with Mirror :)

  6. I love that quote, too. Thanks for adding to the mix. :-)

  7. What a nice peek into your world, David. I also love the quote! I echo the thank you's.

  8. Coming here from Karen's blog. Must have missed this interview when I was sick. I appreciate what David says in his responses. Thank you, Jennifer, for having him as your guest.