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Velora Newsletter | December, 7th 2010


This month we bring you a new designer interview with Klein Maetschke, a graphic haberdasher as he calls himself. We will also talk a bit about the recent Velora team meetup we had a few weeks ago and introduce you to our new team member, Justin Kropp, an awesome designer and developer.

Meet Justin, the Newest Velora Team Member

Justin recently joined our team, as a front-end developer and web designer. Finding the right people to work with is one of the elements that can make the difference between a mostly successful project and something really brilliant. We are happy to have such talented and motivated team. You can learn more about Justin, as well as about our team on the Velora Studios about page.

Learn more about the Velora Meetup after the Interview..

Designer Spotlight Interview:

Klein Maetschke

Logo and Graphic Designer

Learn more about Klein Maetschke on his website:
V: Hi Klein, time is a precious resource, and providing Velora Studios with this interview is awesome. Thank you for that! So, what is your story? Tell us a bit about your background as a designer.

Klein: I started out doing merchandise designs for bands at a company called "MerchPlaza Tshirts" when I was about 14? It's been a while so I'm not sure exactly how old I was. It was fun, but I was awful. Alongside all this I started frequenting and their community and began to follow icon design. I met a few people there and they helped shape my design abilities. Namely, Henri Lliriani, Jonas Rask, Laurent Baumann, Jesse Dodds, and Tim Davies.

V: Your Free Designs for Free Apps says a lot about your work style, as well as your personality. You came up with a great idea to promote yourself and give back to the community. How did it go?

Klein: It's still going. I'm sad to say that I'm not able to crank out the work at the pace I expected I'd be able to, but I'm not any less committed. I do have a full-time job, and I also have a fairly new marriage and a house that requires tending to.

V: You seem to have found a balance between giving and gaining benefits. Tell us a little bit about the benefits of providing design services for free the way you do.

Klein: It is fun! Yes, it is a cheap marketing ploy, but I really did do it because I like good design and I want to help out people who have good ideas and are willing to share those good ideas with a broad audience. I think a well-designed, functioning product has a much better appeal than simply a functioning product. I think most developers know this but can't afford the design they usually need. On the same ticket, a well-designed product doesn't equate function. If it looks pretty but doesn't do anything, you're dead in the water. When it comes to applications, developers are helpless without designers and vice-versa as well.

V: As a designer it is important to know how to market yourself. What are your thoughts and recommendations on that?

Klein: I've always been cautioned to never give away work for free. I'm strongly against that statement. I think people are at heart, "fiscally conservative," if not cheap. So providing free things for them to grab, gets your name in their hands, and if they like the product, into their minds. It will take a while, but good exposure is second only to a good portfolio.

V: As a logo designer, what is, in your opinion, the most important but overlooked stage of the designing process?

Klein: Revisions. Clients are hell. (Except that rare one, and if you're reading this, client, its you.) All designers with any freelance, or corporate, experience understand that clients are the death of a design process. Revisions are the Achilles' heel for the process. Designers always think everything is going smoothly and then we forget about the revision part of the process.

V: In your opinion, what are the ups and downs of being a designer?

Klein: For me, its a creative outlet. If I weren't a designer professionally, I'd be drawing on the walls of my cubicle. It just so happens that I get to make money whilst doing it. The downside is people don't understand how much good design is worth. Designers are constantly belittling their value to keep a bid. I'm not freelancing full-time, so that's not an issue for me, but it is something that plagues designers as a whole. People imagine that we can slap together a project in 15 minutes and that no effort goes into it. It's a shame.

Hey, that was a great interview! Thanks Klein! We really enjoyed it.

Monthly Designer Tip

Freelancer Strategy: As the year draws to a close, it is a great time to think about what you want to accomplish next year and reevaluate your current strategy. You may want to adjust your prices, your schedule, start working on own on your own projects or a portfolio redesign. Take a look at what you accomplished this year and plan out what you can do for next year to make your business and life even better.

The Velora Meetup Weekend

We had the first Velora team meetup this year, and though we are based in Philadelphia in the U.S., the meetup happened to be in Romania. We had a great time hanging out with each other in person and sharing our thoughts and experiences. We did a little brainstorming, but mostly we had fun and enjoyed a great sunny and November weekend exploring Romania together. Team meet-ups are the fun and exciting part of working collaboratively, especially when everybody is actually located in different places around the world. 
See pictures of the meetup and more on our blog.

While we had an awesome time during the Velora Meetup Weekend, our minds started to realize a few interesting "truths" about what it takes to have a great team. So here they are:

Truth#1 You want to have solid, clear and tangible goals that reflect everybody's skills and personality. Work must be captivating because everybody is involved and everybody delivers results measured up to their skills.

Truth#2 You want to know each other really well; interaction, on many levels, brings together people who compliment each other, while also encouraging creative interactive activities, such as brainstorming and play. Enjoyment comes from getting along with people you work with, as well.

Truth#3 Understand each other's work style, preferences and character. Communication is your best friend, and when you know your teammates better you can collaborate better.

Did you enjoy this newsletter? If you did please forward and share it with your friends!
Until next time -
Be Brilliant!

The Velora Studios Team
Recent Velora Studios Blog Posts:

NEW! Experiences from the Velora Team Meetup 2010
A brief round-up of this year's Meetup. Location: Bucharest, Romania. Participants: The Velora Team. Purpose: Have fun, hang out, enjoy the moment.

Telling a Story With your Brand
Learn how to differentiate yourself from your competition by creating a story with your brand.

 Lessons in Design from Storytellers

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