When I graduated from University nearly eight years ago (argh! That makes me feel old!), I was eager to prove my worth to many design agencies and employers. Long hours, hard work and dealing with so many jobs all at once was very daunting. However after nearly seven years in the industry I realised there was quite a big issue with the costs of the big agencies. When I decided to set up Ink and Pixels over two years ago, I realised there was a market out there for small businesses and start up companies who couldn't afford the big prices the agencies where charging. I often speak to people who ask what I do, and how I'm any different to larger design agencies. After all, they have all the staff to deal with many issues. I explain that, in many respects, I am very similar. I have a good working relationship with a web coder who has his own business, and a copywriter who also run their own business, and I know many other skilled people in my field who I could work with on a job if it was required. If I can't provide a specific skill to my clients, I know the right people to turn to who can, people who I can also trust. I go on to explain that when people deal with Ink and Pixels, they deal with me direct. There is no middle man, no person passing on messages, and the creative process isn't being passed from pillar to post in the studio and getting diluted among staff as it goes. I have worked in agencies where 'marketing' people have gone and spoken direct to clients, and then returned with a half hearted brief for the person who is given the job to work on. This then results in working on the project, but upon speaking to the client when the end result is delivered, you realise that important factors have been missed, messages were not passed on and in many cases it can mean going back to the drawing board. And who pays for this? The client. So in some respects, the famous quote 'too many cooks spoil the broth' definitely holds true here. Don't get me wrong, having a large team of creatives all working on a project together is extremely exciting and for many clients it produces some great designs and ideas. However, if you are a small business wanting to deal with somebody direct from start to finish, then going to a good freelancer is the way forward. I have to stress though that it has to be a 'good' freelancer. Your teenage cousin Luke, who has photoshop on his PC and can maybe knock something up whilst revising for his exams and playing GTA is not a good source to go to for your business's branding work. I suppose that is why Ink and Pixels came about. I actually don't really operate as a traditional freelancer. I wanted to avoid the common preconceptions people have about being freelance. I operate in a professional studio, I have many years of experience and I don't charge excessive agency rates. I am 9 to 5, I can come and meet people, people can come to me if they need. The kettle is always on! So my advice is, if you are just starting out on an adventure by building your own business up from scratch, or you are a small company who just wants to grow a little, maybe a rebrand or a new website, then give me a call.