Hello, my beautiful creatives!
Let’s talk about showcasing your work. I’m speaking to designers, photographers, illustrators, artists and visual creators – a picture paints a thousand words and you are perfectly positioned to take full advantage of that.
How can you entice the right people to jump at the chance to work with you and buy from you? How do you showcase your work for maximum impact?
My No1 tip is to use mock-ups.
Mockups are everywhere! You’ll have seen images of a logo on the side of a building or a painting hung in a beautiful interior. These aren’t real photos taken in real locations. They are mock ups using software such as Photoshop or on websites with mock up scenes pre-created for you. A picture really does paint a thousand words, so when you’re showcasing your work, you need to mock it up.
I’ve got three scenarios where you need to mock up your artwork to step up to the next level when showcasing your work.
The first one is when you’re promoting your work online.
I’m talking about marketing and showcasing your work so that people can see what you do and how your work looks in various contexts when used.
You don’t need a fancy copy when you’re a visual creative, because people make emotional decisions about what they see and how it makes them feel.
Seeing a strong and appealing mock up of your work will encourage them to think, “Yes, I want to work with you” or “Yes, I want to buy from you.”
So mock things up!
For example, if you’re designing book covers, mock it up onto a book, put it into a scene where you might find a book. Or create the book setting and environment that reflects the design and vibe of the story or content.
People want to see how it relates to them when they look at your work. Don’t just put up a logo on a white background and say, “Look at my new logo design”. That’s boring and unrelatable.
Mock it up!
2. WEBSITE PORTFOLIO
When you’re creating your website portfolio page, don’t just slam lots of isolated designs on there without them being in context.
Mock them up.
Hang your painting on a wall. Put your book cover design on a book sitting on a coffee table. Put label designs on packaging or bottles. Add logos to shop front signage, demonstrate how a logo or slogan might look on t-shirts.
There’s also homewares, branded goods, or digital environments. If you’re doing digital work, there are mock-up Facebook pages. Showcase the work inside your website in a way that people can relate to it.
3. CLIENT REVIEWS
The first 2 pertain to marketing your work to potential clients. This one is internal: when doing review & revision rounds of client work. Throughout any project, you need to show them your work in progress, so they can review it and suggest revisions before moving on to the next stage in the design process.
Don’t just send your designs or your creative work in the body text of an email. People will struggle to make a decision or give you useful feedback.
Bring it to life!
This is what I do with my own art & design business: I create a Review PDF for my clients. For example, if I’m doing my brand design work, at each review round I create a PDF with all the current stage logo concepts or brand asset designs in there. One page per designs, just on a white background. Then on the next page, an example of the design mocked up in a suitable context.
Even if your designs are never going to be used on a t-shirt, or on a mug, or on a street billboard, just mock it up anyway, because people will be able to relate to that much better.
And you’ll get a better quality response from the client in the feedback, which makes your life much easier!
The benefits of mock ups
Using mock-ups really brings your work to life and it increases the perceived value of your work. It allows you to increase your prices, and to position yourself better in your marketplace, to be seen as the expert. Showcasing your work in this way elevates your work to the next level.
I’ve been an artist and a designer for 22+ years, and I know that I’ve made some hideous mistakes with presenting my work. I have in the past just send emails with my work and asked “What do you think of this design?”
This was such a disaster because people really don’t know how to make the decision on that.
And since moving to using mock ups a few years ago, I now charge more. Coincidence?!
These days there is no excuse not to be able to do this quite easily. You can buy ready-made templates online or in marketplaces. The files you buy and uplaod into Photoshop use Smart Objects, which makes swapping your design into the mockup a doddle. These .psd files with Smart Objects take care of the shadows, perspective, surface texture, among other things. So, it looks like remarkable real to life.
There are some free open-source, websites that have mock-ups and are ready-made to go. You just have to upload your image into it and the software takes care of it all for you. This is a great option for non-designers e who don’t use the Abode suite of software.
BONUS: TIME-SAVING TIP
Here’s a time-saving tip!
Using Adobe InDesign, I have created templated documents for my reviews. I can just place my mock-ups or designs into them and then export them as print or interactive PDF’s that I can send that to my clients. They look professional and smart.
It also means I can control how I present my work and lead them through the designs in a way that will encourage the feedback I am seeking. Curated review documents are so much better than randomly shoving tons of design in a client’s face and then expect them to make informed decisions.
Using these pre-created InDesign templates, I’m not constantly reinventing how to present my work to my clients. It’s all ready-to-go as a template which saves time and minimises stress.
To wrap it up, I hope you now have a better understanding of the power of mocking up your design work to elevate it to the next level so that you feel proud of your work.
Finally, it will encourage your clients to really see what you’re capable of at a much higher level. You can charge more and it allows your business to reach the next level.