Often, I like to speak about the importance of “connectedness”. In a past post, I described the Mark Simon matrix of “How We Get Hired” and the fact is being good is not enough, it’s about getting in the crosshairs of people who know and trust your work. This message is one that I try to send to the vendor and partner community with regard to AIGA Baltimore and its thriving community of creative people and designers. It’s also a message that the same community (all of you) should heed when it comes to connecting to your respective communities for work.
Here’s an excerpt from an email sent to me when, as the board has been preparing for Pulp, Ink & Hops, our vendor showcase and networking event, I get a call asking if I knew a vendor that could meet a specific need. Well, of course I do!! And no, not just because they are in our vendor showcase. It happens to be no coincidence that some of our partners who continually reach out to us, both in board capacities and off, are top-of-mind when certain projects arise. Such is the case.
“Thank you so much once again for your help. We are very fortunate to have an association like AIGA around – time and time again, I know I can always count on our great membership to help out with all our crazy designer needs 😉
I passed on [vendor’s] info to [contact’s company] president, [contact] (also former [local AIGA chapter] Board Member) who should be contacting him shortly. I made sure to tell [contact] to let [vendor] know that we got his info from you!”
The facts are clear. There is no understatement about how tough a era it’s been with the overhang of a large recession and its slow recovery. I’ve been in conversations with longtime vendors and community partners whom were unavailable for this year’s show because of the specific compromises the economy has made on their businesses—some who are no longer in those businesses. Those compromises, while in some cases are very specific, cast a pall over the whole atmosphere. Yet, we still must move forward, and pick up where and when we can, celebrating the process that brought us here and changing our practices to fit the new way we work.
Design and the businesses in which it circulates, are still, businesses about great skill, but then it’s also business about fit and trust. Sometimes, the best designer or printer isn’t the most skillful, sometimes the best designer is the most reliable and trustworthy. Choose to be a little of both. In an era when the crisis of confidence is often about one’s ability to pay attention, not a question of the ability itself, our ability to dial-in to our communities’ needs and help to service them pays off. Events like Pulp, Ink & Hops help to mind that gap for designers with projects and vendors looking for contacts.