Well, I’ve given you the list of benefits and I know you’ve been waiting for baited breath for the list of Top 5 Challenges of Designing for Overseas Clients. Here they are:
- The time difference: Serving the US market from Sydney means starting my workday at 6am so I can catch the last hour of New York’s work day. Enough said.
- Fluctuating exchange rate: Dealing with a fluctuating exchange rate is a bit like trying to negotiate your way through a fun house, with the walls constantly moving and the floors dropping out from under you… especially when the exchange rate fluctuates the ugly way. I’m looking at you, insanely-high Australian dollar.
- Gaining new clients: It’s a tough sell, convincing a potential client to work with a designer based so far away. And we designers generally don’t enjoy selling ourselves in the first place, do we?
- Staying involved from afar: I find I need to work twice as hard as stateside designers in order to not drop off the industry radar. This means business travel, subscribing to every industry newsletter I can find (MediaBistro, Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, who am I forgetting?), and keeping on top of the industry changes from half a world away. On top of actually designing the books, of course.
- International payments: Here’s a fun little gem… it takes some US checks (or cheques, if you aren’t American) up to 8 weeks to clear. This, of course, is after the time it takes to actually issue the check and the postal service of 2 countries to deliver it.
Now after saying all this, I think the benefits are important outweigh the challenges. Of course, I may not be so eager to admit this at 6am…Read More...
By now, you may have seen the happy news that Tango Media has been named as a finalist in the 2010 Premier’s NSW Export Awards in the Young Exporter of the Year category. We are pretty stoked about this for two reasons. One, we work extremely hard to offer our services to local and overseas clients; and two, I love being called young.
This has me thinking quite a bit about the differences between designing solely for a local market versus designing for local AND overseas clients. I have several friends who also work in book design; some are in Australia and others are in the US, but I’m the only one I know who designs for both local and overseas clients consistently. My local market is Australia and my primary overseas market is the US. The challenges of working as an export provider of book design services are unique, but so are the benefits… I’ll focus on the benefits today and save the challenges for another time.
I’ve put together a ‘Top 5′ list of the Benefits of Designing for Overseas Clients:
- Keeping my finger on the pulse: Through my US design work, I know what is trending early on… before that trend hits the Australian market. This applies to book topics, design trends, production techniques and innovations in marketing and technology. Ultimately, this helps me to be more prepared to serve the local markets when these trends eventually hit.
- Designing for different sub-markets: One service Tango Media offers is Spanish-language design, layout and typesetting. This is very welcome and appealing to US clients, but Australia has a tiny number of Latinos and this service just isn’t needed here. By exporting this service to the US, I’m able to keep this particular skill current and not let my diseño en Español get rusty.
- Maintaining an industry presence from afar: Building and keeping a network is difficult no matter where you are, but it’s especially tough when you are living overseas as I am. Out of sight, out of mind… it’s completely true. By working with US clients, I am far away but not forgotten. I’m constantly communicating with people in the industry and I’m continuing to grow my network.
- Designing unique products: Earlier in my career, I worked for a publisher that created many book-plus products… or kits. These kits, containing a book with an accompanying item, are sold in Australia but generally are imported from other countries. So there is less opportunity to design book-plus products for Australian clients. Through exporting my design services, I am able to design them for US clients and keep my skills in this area sharp and my portfolio up-to-date.
- Being an early adapter of technology: Whether you spell it as e-books or eBooks, there is no escaping they are affecting the industry big time! As an exporter of book design services, Tango Media has been creating and distributing eBooks for US clients for a while. Now that the eBook craze is picking up in Australia, we are better prepared in offering these same services to local clients… and the local clients appreciate that we have overseas experience in eBook creation and distribution while still being local to them.
Of course, these benefits are specific to working as an exporter to the US market, as opposed to working for smaller overseas markets. Stay tuned for the list of challenges… soon to come!Read More...