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“At 3M, I learned how a full scale marketing campaign works across many channels, from print media to digital media and everything in between and I soaked that knowledge up like a sponge.”

Colleen Eakins Design, is a one person design firm that specializes in creating effective graphic design, branding and marketing materials (online and offline) for clients all over the globe.

MO: What lessons or insights did you gain from the corporate world that you’ve been able to apply to your own business?

Colleen: Project management and real world marketing applications are some of the biggest lessons and insights that I gained from working in Corporate America. I would say that my four years working for 3M, a large global brand, gave me the most insight. While there, I was able to see firsthand, how a large brand and it’s marketing assets are managed. I also learned how to manage a project on a much larger scale than just the creative portion. At 3M, I learned how a full scale marketing campaign works across many channels, from print media to digital media and everything in between and I soaked that knowledge up like a sponge.

MO: What sets you apart from your competitors?

Colleen: What sets me apart from large design firms, is that I am small. As one individual, you get individualized attention, the same knowledgebase and skill, at a lower cost, because my overhead is a lot lower. What sets me apart from other freelancers would be my knowledgebase and that I do not just focus on creating design pieces that look good. It has to also be effective. I use my marketing expertise to determine what will help my clients’ get the results that they seek. The resulting design is not only something that looks great visually, but is also effective in accomplishing their goal.

MO: Can you expand on how Twitter has been integral to your marketing strategy?

Colleen: Twitter has been a great networking tool for me. I am an introvert, and although I am not shy, I tend to feel very awkward in large, group social settings. When I first started networking, I went the traditional route and joined networking groups, handed out business cards and I even took on a leadership role in one of the groups. However, I always felt out of place and awkward. Twitter allows me to network without feeling the social awkwardness that I felt in those group settings. It has also extended my reach to beyond my local area.

MO: If you’re feeling stuck where do you look for inspiration?

Colleen: When I am feeling stuck and in need of inspiration, I usually turn to the outdoors and exercise. Sometimes, going for a run or taking a leisurely bike ride is just the thing I need to get my creative juices going. There is just something about being outside and getting some fresh air that helps me clear my mind. When I come back, I am usually bursting with ideas. If I cannot get outside, I will turn to sites like art.com or google+ where I am following photographers and other artists, to stimulate my eyes and mind.

MO: What are some graphic design trends that you’re excited about?

Colleen: I have been noticing a resurgence in creative typography. With visual content marketing strategies on the rise thanks to social media networks like Instagram and Pinterest; I am seeing more and more “designed” picture quotes, blog post header images, and even YouTube video title screens that incorporate a mixture of different typefaces that add character, quirk and visual interest. This excites me because I have always had a strong interest in typography and printmaking. I also love the strong impact that can be made with the simplicity of just using type.

MO: If I could grant you one business related wish right now, what would you ask for?

Colleen: The ultimate, ergonomic, office set-up and a clone. Because I spend a lot of time sitting at a computer, I would love to have a desk made for my short stature. I often feel that some of my chiropractic needs are a direct result of my not-quite as ergonomic as I would like, office set-up. The clone, would make me coffee, bring me lunch and force me to take periodic breaks to stretch my back.


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