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Who you know is just as important as what you know. So why not try to know as many people as possible? That’s exactly what networking is all about, making connections.
Meeting new industry contacts that can provide guidance, advice, information, and career opportunities. Building a strong network will take time, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run.
To help graphic designers make improve their professional connections, this article will focus on some exciting graphic design networking events that will help make connections, find jobs, and make more money, including:
- Projekt Mkt | Vintage Poster Market | Clapton E5.
- The Birmingham Design Festival.
- Unfolding connections.
- Networking sites for graphic designers.
On top of the information about these networking events, we’ll also outline some simple tips that will help you make the most out of every networking event. Tips like these:
- Think about your goals and outcomes.
- Meet new people.
- Collect business cards.
- Follow up.
- Enjoy yourself.
If you’d like some more general advice about starting up as a self-employed graphic designer, check out our article, “How to start freelance graphic design work”.
Projekt Mkt | Vintage Poster Market | Clapton E5
Project Mkt is a pop-up event featuring ten leading poster dealers from all over the UK, showcasing a broad range of designs, styles, and subject matter.
While vintage posters might sound a little niche at first glance, it’ll definitely attract all kinds of people with a love of design.
The event is based in London, from the 12th – 14th November. You can find more details on their website.
The Birmingham Design Festival
This is a huge event spanning ten days (10 Jun – 19 Jun 2022).
It will have a variety of workshops, talks, exhibitions, demonstrations, and screenings gathered into three Design Districts (Graphic, Digital, & Product).
The installations will be hosted in a mixture of modern and historic venues across Birmingham, showcasing both innovation and history together.
For more details, check out their website.
Unfolding Connections is a recurring series of lectures hosted by the Chelsea College of Arts. All the lectures are by designers and other practitioners working in design who expand and challenge traditional definitions of the discipline.
They have upcoming events for graphic designers throughout the year, including:
- Unfolding connections: Protest Stencil.
- Unfolding connections: Nour Tabet.
- Unfolding connections: Maya Moumne.
Networking sites for graphic designers
So far, we’ve mentioned some big upcoming graphic design networking events, but there are always plenty more on their way.
To help you stay in the loop, and maybe even organise your own events, you should check out these websites:
Sites like these are a great base of operations, through which you can find out about events, make new connections, and find interesting content about graphic design.
Think about your goals and outcomes.
If you’re trying to find jobs, then wandering into networking events blind is not a good idea.
Set yourself certain targets before you arrive, such as:
- Meet a certain number of people.
- Set a certain number of appointments.
- Collect a certain number of contacts.
- Reconnect with particular contacts.
You should research the event thoroughly beforehand. Find out who will be featured, and their schedules, so you know exactly who you’re aiming to talk to and when they’ll be available.
Meet new people
New people are going to be the route to new customers and clients, so try to expand your network by building as many new relationships as you can.
For this reason, arriving with people that you already know can actually be a danger. It’s easy to stay with the people you came with instead of talking to new people.
Building relationships isn’t just about saying hello to as many people as possible. It’s important to make meaningful connections that will lead to more meetings in the future.
Make sure to ask plenty of questions, and listen to their responses so you can find shared values and interests.
At the end of the day, people like doing business with other people, so putting in some extra effort to make human connections will go a long way.
Collect business cards
While you should be handing out business cards, if you have them, it’s probably more important to collect them from other people.
It’s easy to forget about a business card or just throw it away. No matter how many cards you hand out, they could all end up in the bin or the bottom of a purse.
On the other hand, when you have the business cards, you have control over the next steps.
Once you’ve made those important new connections, following up on them is crucial. First off, it’ll prevent people forgetting you, but it also shows you’ve got initiative and you keep your word.
You can follow up by connecting with new contacts on social media, over the phone, over email, or text message. Maybe don’t do it all at once so you don’t come across as overly eager. Just try them one by one until you can set up a meeting.
After you’ve set up a meeting, you can discuss new work.
As we mentioned before, business really takes place between people, so try to relax and be yourself.
People respond well to confidence and authenticity. Don’t waste your time pretending to be what you think others want to see. Just engage with people on a human level. It’s the best way to lay a strong foundation for a future relationship.
Make your bookkeeping easier with accounting software
If everything goes well at your networking events, it should lead to more clients for your business, meaning more complicated bookkeeping. Luckily, any business owner can use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier.
Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are.
You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward!
Find out more here.