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Conversations with Phalen Reed

Today we’d like to introduce you to Phalen Reed.

Hi Phalen, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I graduated from art school with a degree in graphic design in 2010. At that time, our instructors were encouraging graduates to pursue web design opportunities (as they were all the hype). Unsure of my true path, I was grateful to land two internships followed by a web designer role at a local startup. After a year and a half, it was clear that my heart wasn’t in it so I looked into other opportunities. Which led me to an in-house graphic design role at a local distillery creating modern and innovative label and package design solutions for their various beverage brands. It was a match made in heaven! Three and a half years (and 100+ label designs later) my workload was shifting in an unknown direction and thus another job hunt began. After a handful of interviews and job offers, I was still struggling to find the proper fit.

Over the last few years, I had been accepting freelance work. I even enrolled in a couple of online courses to learn about how to establish and navigate your own design business or studio.

My husband was the one who encouraged me to take this moment to truly focus on starting my own business. With next to zero clients, an extremely outdated portfolio website, and no office space, I put in my two weeks notice the following day and hoped for the best. Thankfully, I secured a long-term client right out of the gate and started to gather more clients over time via referrals. This slow build-up worked out well as it gave me time to update my portfolio website, meet local creatives doing the same thing as myself and establish a client onboarding process. It’s been almost seven years since my design studio was born and haven’t looked back!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
With every new project or client, there’s always something new to learn. Maybe that’s a better way to communicate, a slight amendment to the design contract or you’ve simply discovered an easier way to present your design(s). I’m constantly updating my processes to keep my clients happy and make the design process as fluid as possible.

It took me a long time to value my business as a real, profitable business. This is insane because my design experience surpasses a decade! It was built up in my mind that I had to be making six figures or have the experience of working with large brands before I could be considered a “real” business (hint: you don’t). Once I rediscovered my value, my identity struggle was over.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My design studio specializes in developing thoughtful brand and package design solutions for small businesses. I have packaging experience ranging from consumer goods and beverages to fashion and home goods. My skill set also extends to include print and web design as well as social media and marketing content.

People know me best for my clean approach to design with playful color palettes and clever type combinations.

My clients receive a personalized experience from someone who has over a decade of experience in the field of graphic design with both in-house and agency experience. I’ve served clients locally and from all over the country. I’m able to use my wide and expanding range of skills to help them achieve their design dreams faster and with more intention.

I enjoy working with clients who are creative and passionate about their product or service and are looking to connect with their audiences in an authentic way. If you are someone who is obsessed with color, thoughtful design, or simply loves little details that make brands truly great, we might be a perfect match.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
The graphic design industry is extremely collaborative and supportive. I’m so fortunate to be in a variety of groups where all creative disciplines are included. Within these groups, anyone can ask questions (client or project related) and/or share recommendations or client leads. My hope is that the creative community will continue to educate, inspire and thrive.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Phalen Reed Office Lifestyle Imagery: Bill Hickey Photography
UV Vodka Cocktails Imagery: Bill Hickey Photography
Morleys Maple Syrup: Video still by AirReel Media
City of Saints Coffee: Unpacking Coffee

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