How To Find Your Niche Design Style | Melanie Greenwood | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Trailer: How To Find Your Niche Design Style

    • 2. 1. My Story: How I Found My Niche Design Style

    • 3. 2. What Are You Ridiculously Good At?

    • 4. 3. What Makes You Giddy With Excitement

    • 5. 4. Love vs. Don't Love

    • 6. 5. Who Are Your Dream Clients

    • 7. 6. Design by Hand vs. Digital Platform

    • 8. 7. One Thing you can Learn To Improve your skill

    • 9. 8. Create + Share

    • 10. 9. Final thoughts and challenge

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About This Class

This course is for: Artists, Designers, Illustrators and Hand Letterers.

I have been running my own freelance design business for over 10 years and have worked with a variety of clients in the Music, Entertainment and Wine industries. Over the last few years I have began to focus on my niche design style and it has benefited my career tremendously. 

In this course, I have created a simple and effective work sheet that I will walk with you through so that you too can begin to focus on your Niche Design / Creative Art style. We are all unique as artists and by focusing we will have a better ability to determine the direction we want to continue to develop in and become known for. 

Let your style shine as you identify:

- your natural strengths and gifts

- what makes you excited

- what you love vs. don't love to work on

- Do you like to design by hand or on a computer

- what you can learn to become great in your niche

I also will share my personal story of how I discovered my niche style and how it really positively effected my business. 

I look forward to you joining my course and please feel free to ask me any questions! Also I love reviews!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Melanie Greenwood

Designer & Founder of Vision City Studio


Get ready to have some fun and represent your hometown!

I am super excited to announce my brand new course:)

Logo Design: Hometown Challenge! (The Circle Shape)

In this challenge, we are going to design a circle shaped logo representing your hometown!

I will be joining the challenge too and showing you my entire process from research, the sketching phase, to re-creation in Adobe Illustrator.

I also will be showing you how I approach adding colour and texture to the logo.

I have been designing logos for over 12 years now, so I can't wait to share my tips and tricks!

At the end of this course I encourage you to SHARE your logo with us in the project section!

Ready to get started?!

Let's go!


Mela... See full profile

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1. Trailer: How To Find Your Niche Design Style: My name is Melanie Greenwood, and I'm the designer and founder here, Vision City Studios. Over the years, my work has consisted of music, packaging, emotional pieces, logos and stationery. I've worked for a corporate clients as well as music industry clients all over the world. In recent years, I began to focus on my niche, which is what I love to create, which is black and white illustrations consisting of messages that are uplifting and inspiring. I developed Vision City Paper, which is a paper company that offers recycled art prints and greeting cards. I began to focus on this and actually began to really dry in the type of work that I love to do. So for that reason, I'm creating this course for you guys. I believe that as creatives, when we focus on our nation way, actually give ourselves the best possible platform to work with the clients that we want to work with and to work on the projects that we want to work on. I believe that becoming an expert in one thing it's so much more powerful than trying to be everything to everybody. So in this course I'm gonna go through tips and tricks that I believe will help you to narrow down to your niche. When I say narrow down, it doesn't mean do less. It actually means do more of what you love. So I invite you to join me in this course as I share with you some tips and tricks for narrowing down to your niche and beginning to focus on the work that you love. 2. 1. My Story: How I Found My Niche Design Style: Hi, guys. Welcome to the course in this first section. I thought I would be really effective if I shared a little bit of my story of how I narrowed down to my own personal needs style. I think sometimes by sharing our stories with each other, it helps us to kind of relate to one another. Maybe you are working in a variety of different styles right now, or maybe you have style that's completely different than my own. But one thing we do have in common is that we are all creatives. We all want to be successful, and we all want to work in the type of work that we love. So I want to share a tiny bit of my own story with you. My design journey, I guess you could say, began as I finished college and because I was sort of dating this musician, Um, and he later became my husband. I began to work in the world of music, so naturally I started to work on band covers, posters, skateboards, promotional pieces, shirts, stickers, anything and everything related to promoting music was what I worked on. I did that for many years and I also did modeling in my twenties, so I was kind of a model by day designer by night. And that lifestyle enabled me to also travel the world with my husband, who was a traveling, and it still is a traveling musician rock artist all over the world. So that was an awesome time for me. It came to a point, though, in my journey where I felt like people were coming to me for their own style. So it's as though everyone was coming to me and I was sort of becoming a chameleon, and I was sort of having to become what they wanted me to become creatively. Now that's also a strength, I guess you could say, as a designer, to be able to morph and change your style. However, in my personal journey, I had a desire to really find my own niece style. I really appreciated artists who I could go to their website and I could just recognize them in their work. And I felt like I didn't know if I had a recognized identity and as an artist, I really yearned for that. And so I began this sort of process of trying to discover my own style. After all these years of doing design and kind of having a similar thread through my work, I really wanted to even narrow down further. My husband and I relocated from Toronto to California, so during that shift of in that move, it actually helped me to be able to start on a clean slate. I was around a bunch of new creative people, and I was in a place in my mind where I was ready to kind of separate myself from my past work. If that makes sense, um, and not in a negative way, but just in a way of starting fresh. So I decided to release 12 art prints on etc. Etc. At that time was something that was new to me. I wasn't really even sure about it. But when I released those 12 black and white recycled art prints, what happened next was surprising and exciting. All the same time, I began to get featured on a variety of different platforms. I began to get client work coming to me. Requesting that style, I began to get licensing opportunities with national retailers. For example, land of not I began to get a licensing opportunity with them where they took some of my pieces and they actually converted them into, um, canvases for nurseries. Um, I started to get featured on things like Fab dot com in America and Europe and at that time there doing flash sale. So I began to sell like crazy. So there's a little idea of finding my own niche turned into something much greater than I ever expected. And to this day, my paper company, which is now called Vision City Paper that offers art prints and greeting cards on recycled papers, has now developed into, um, a form of my own style, where people now as clients, are coming to me, requesting that style. So the same types of clients. I still work with the wine and spirits industry I still work with, You know, a variety of people in the music and entertainment industry, record labels and things like that. However, now I find people are not coming to me with their own style. They're actually coming to me requesting my style, and they're actually sending me links to art prints or two cards or to locals. I've done that. Incorporate this style, and they're asking me to do something similar for them. So now you're maybe asking in your in your own mind, how does this relate to you as an artist, as a creative Now, wouldn't it be amazing if instead of people coming to you and asking you to convert into all these different types of styles if they actually came to you And they said, Hey, I heard that you are the person for hand lettering and I love your style and I literally just love the way your hand creates hand lettering and I want you to do this mural in my coffee shop, for example. Um, like, how cool would that be? If instead of people coming to you asking you to create their style, they be asking you to create your own? So I think that's a really cool place to be as an artist, because it enables us to really express ourselves individually, um, and to become recognised for the style that we are, we only have. That's the beauty of being an artist, that you and I were all artists. But I have my own style, and you have your own style and those style should really be celebrated and embraced. So I want to encourage you as I've shared my story. I wanted to start to think about your own story and how you can really begin to follow along the path that will really lead you to creating the work that you want to create and to be really working with the clients you want to work with. So let's go into the next section and I'll see you in there. 3. 2. What Are You Ridiculously Good At?: Hi, guys. Welcome back in this section, I want you to go ahead and print out the worksheet that I provided for you within skill share. And I want to print it out and join me back here because we're going to get into the first section in this section I want to talk about what are you ridiculously good at? That is the topic of this lecture. What is the one thing that you wake up in the morning and you can do without even like blinking? And I It's something that comes so naturally, Teoh. It is something that flows so easily. In fact, you don't even feel like its work. It actually just feels like fun to you. But you're just brilliant at it as faras art creative stuff. Some way to think about that and write down your answer. There may be more than one thing, but I want you to write these things down and maybe two or three things. But what is that thing that is You're just brilliant at that. You people recognize you at it, they ask you to do it already, and you're naturally being requested to do that. So what is that thing? I want to take a moment now and write that down. That one thing is going to become the focus of your niche kind of style that you're going to develop. So go ahead and write that down, and we will meet you in the next section. 4. 3. What Makes You Giddy With Excitement: Okay, guys, I hope you have really enjoyed working on the first question, which is what you're ridiculously good at. Now, in this section, I want you to answer the next question, which is what brings you giddy excitement when it comes to working creatively. What makes you so excited that you cannot wait to get back to your studio, to your workspace toe work on. Maybe it's You can't wait to get up to that location and to do something creative. Maybe you're a muralist, and you just cannot wait to find a white wall or, ah, chalkboard wall where you can just go crazy on and do incredible hand lettering all over the wall and create a brilliant piece. You know, you know more than any of us what would be that thing? I want you to not be afraid to write these things down. Sometimes we almost feel a bit nervous, right? Things things down because we feel like what's the point of writing these things down when I don't know how this is gonna become my day job or my creative work on a regular basis, But if we don't identify those things that we're actually not allowing ourselves to kind of have that excitement and that excitement really leads to opportunities, I believe, because if you are leaning in that style of work and you're actually kind of excited about that, it's gonna come out of you as you're talking about it as you're meeting people at parties, you know, you say what I really love to do is this, and you really begin to share with people what you are excited about. So I want to go ahead now and take the next step on your worksheet and to write down what brings you giddy excitement and that word. Giddy is such a kind of silly word. But why not be silly about it? Why not have fun with it? Why not write the thing that makes you giddy and makes you have excitement about your creative work? Write it down and I'll see you in the next section. 5. 4. Love vs. Don't Love: in this section. I want you to focus on your experiences up thus far in your creative journey. Now, all of us have had different experiences in life. Now, whether your experiences in your journey creatively have been really sure, it may be just got out of school or maybe haven't gone to school at all and you just really have desire to do creative work. Or maybe you've been in this thing for 10 20 years. You know it, really. It all comes together into this moment where you're really beginning to marry yourself down and your focus. So what I want you to do now it's a bit more of a tricky thing. I want you to write down what you do love about the experiences that you've had. So say some people might say, Well, I really do enjoy working with clients. I really do enjoy being a problem solver. I really do enjoy the challenge of, um, kind of creating identities for different brands. So those might be things that you really do love, but also on the other side. I want you to notice on the worksheet. There's kind of two different sides I want you to write down the things that you don't love about some of the experiences you've had up that thus far. So maybe things that you don't love are being under extremely tight deadlines. Maybe worked in the studio. And the things you don't love is having somebody standing over your shoulder, which, in my case, I hated that I hated having an art director standing right here, breathing over my neck, um, and telling me what to do. And kind of I felt kind like a puppet myself. That was the studio I worked. And I don't know what kind of studios you work in, but that was some of things I didn't like. So go ahead and write that stuff down right down a handful of things on each side of the list. And, um, be honest with yourself here. This might be a bit of a challenge, and I say it's a challenge because some of these were, you know, creatives could be really kind of optimistic. And really, we don't wanna speak negative or anything. I don't want you to get negative here, but I want you to definitely be honest yourself. What are some of the things you don't love about some of the experiences you've had. Write them down because those are things we're gonna avoid moving forward. Um, as you are narrowing down to your niche, So go ahead and write those things down now. 6. 5. Who Are Your Dream Clients: in this section. I wanted out to start thinking about people. Now. Niche is not just the type of work we're gonna be working in. It's also who do we want to be surrounded by as far as clients. So I want you to start thinking about the type of people you want to hang with and work with, because technically, your clients, you're gonna hang out with them. You're maybe have to go out, have drinks with them, have dinners with them. You're going to maybe have lunches or brunches with them coffees for sure. You're definitely going to be around these kind of people a lot. Maybe you are a skater, and you're into, like, skate surf culture, and you want to hang out with other people in the skate surf industry. So that would be the type of people you want to write down. So those would be the clients you'd want to work with. I want you now to think about clients who were the clients. You their dream clients. So maybe you are a, um, Hand Lederer and your dream clients are to work with some of the biggest, you know, um cafes and different cafe brands or coffee shop brands in North America. So say that that's a huge goal, right? But if you want to become the person known for working alongside of these coffee shops that are recognized nationally, maybe you want your hand lettering to be, um, to be literally going around the packaging of all their products and things like that. That's the world you want to be in. Then you need to write those people down. Who are those people do? Where do they go? Where do they hang out? I want you to start thinking about those kind of people and write those people down. So in that case, you would write people like, um, you know, creative teams associated with coffee shops, marketing teams, things like that. Um, that's the kind of demographic of people you'd want to work with. I want you to start thinking about those people for another group. It might be you wanna work in, like in my world. I work a lot within art prints and greeting cards, but a lot of times they have to do with being young and light hearted and sweet and fun, so that kind of stuff ends up a lot of times with, like, Children's rooms, nurseries. So the kind of people could actually be, you know, moms. They could be my clients. They could be people that are purchasing my products who are buying for their home for their, um, you know, Children's stores, Children's retailers. Eso That's the kind of people I tend to work with a lot of ah, lot of times I tend to work with women, um, in different companies that they're beginning, and they want to work along with me because some of my work kind of more reflects their style. So, um, those kind of things you want to be thinking about, of who you want to work with and just write those people down? 7. 6. Design by Hand vs. Digital Platform: here's a really important question as well. Do you like to work more tangibly with your hands on projects? Or do you like to be more the person working on a computer or on a digital platform? Ah, lot of times my work combines both. So a lot of times I'll sketch out ideas that will turn into, um, you know, vectors and illustrator and things like that. So what is your style when it comes to physical materials? Do you like to get your hands dirty into paint and charcoal and chalk and watercolor pencils and pens and micron pens and sharpies? What kind of stuff do you like to work with? Or are you like, No, I don't want to have any. I don't want anything to get my hands. I'm very like all computer, you know, thought based design, for example. So you have to be the one to answer that question. Do you want to work with your hands more, or do you want to work more digitally? And if it's a mixture, write that down as well. In this next section 8. 7. One Thing you can Learn To Improve your skill: in this section. I want you to think about what can I learn to improve my skills in the work that I love? We all need to learn on an ongoing basis. There's no such thing as an arrival where we don't have to learn anymore. That's what skill shares all about. For example, like here we are. You're taking this course because you want to learn more and I take courses to I'm always learning from podcast courses, business courses, all kinds of different things, creative courses. And I really believe that we can always expand our education and our practice as a creative artist. So what is the one thing that if you learned and you became a master at it, that you would get more of your work that you love So you to write that down, I want you to choose one. I know it's gonna be like there might be five different ones, but maybe write down five and the narrow down to one, because this entire process is really about kind of de clutter your mind when it comes to work and actually focusing because the power focus is so important in life and in design and in creative work. The more we focus, the better our lifestyle will be and the better kind of type of clients will get to work with. So I want you to focus on one thing you can learn and become skilled in so that you can begin to work in your niche. 9. 8. Create + Share: guys. So now that you have this awesome worksheet which really outlines your neesh as well as a task of learning something new now, it's really time to put this into practice. So I would encourage you to now actually focus on creating art illustrations designed whatever it is you make in this niche. This is going to take a lot of discipline. It's gonna take some time. It's not gonna happen overnight, and many of you may have a day job or a type of work that you're already taking on. That may not be your favorite kind of work, but it's kind like paying the bills, whatever. That's totally cool. Like don't quit your day job or anything crazy. Not yet, Especially while you're developing yourself in this new craft or in this focused niche craft that you were making. I want you to now begin to work as much as humanly possible in this way, and not only working in that way and creating things in that way. And that might even mean creating projects that you're not even being given by clients. And maybe it's you really want to get into doing Band T shirts and becoming known for that . So maybe no bands are asking you to do T shirts. But what you could do is you could take bands that you love, and you could actually begin designing awesome T shirts for them and even approaching them with it and say, Hey, would you like to purchases design for your next tour? Whatever andan That way you're becoming recognized that you're even there that you have a style. You're recognizing your own style, and you are letting people know about it. So say you're working on projects that again. Maybe you have clients and you can kind of present these ideas to them. They may or may not go for them at first because it might be new to them. But say you don't have clients in the knee style that you want to work in. You can create projects just like with the band T shirt thing, and you can actually, um, post those projects to say you are creating a variety of hand lettering for logo design and you don't have any clients in that way yet. That's okay, so start, you know, doing really awesome hand lettering with really cool phrases that you love. Maybe lyrics. Maybe you have, Um you could do hand lettering for just beautiful words or things that really inspire you Or even the name of music artists or the name of I don't know, location, cities, anything you want. But then ultimately, you want to showcase those things. So even on your website, you can create a section that's just called that creative expression. Or it could be called, you know, having fun, or like new creative work or whatever you wanna call it our experimentation or something along those lines. And you can actually just begin to post or maybe to a block. If you have a blogger, you begin posting these new creative projects you're working on. Instagram is awesome for this Pinterest. Obviously you could post anywhere Twitter, Facebook, um, any kind of platform that's going to allow you to really showcase your style. I want you to encourage you to not hide it. But to begin to really create as much of it as you can and enjoy the process and have fun with it and to post share, um, you know, maybe have an email list, maybe share some new experimentation ideas that you're working on and just say these are the kinds of things I'm really looking to work on more of. Um, and I really enjoy this style. And I think sometimes excitement breeds excitement. So if you really excited about your own creative style that you're developing, your clients are gonna become excited. Your art fans, so to speak, are gonna become excited. Your other artists friends are gonna become excited, and they might begin to share your style, too, and just kind of show some love like I share other people's design on my instagram all the time. People that inspire me because I appreciate their style, and it's like I really would love Teoh, learn from them. So it's all kind of part of the process. So I would encourage you to create, create, create in your niche and share share share. So enjoy the process and let's go on to the next section 10. 9. Final thoughts and challenge: as you've now arrived to the end of this course, I hope that this worksheet and this whole process of really narrowing down to your niche has really helped you. I really believe in you guys. I believe now is the time for artists to be creative, to get paid well and to really develop their own style and to become known for that style. So as you were narrowing to your niece, remember, you're not narrowing down as much as in a negative way, but you're actually becoming in a position to do more of the type of work you love. So it's not about doing less. It's about doing more of what you love, so I want to encourage you and challenge you to develop your nation style.