Design insights & tutorials.

Getting Into Graphic Design: Q & A with William Beachy

Go Media receives countless inquiries into the nature of the design business from students all over the world. This posts shares a recent round of Q & A with Go Media president William Beachy.

Who was your mentor and what was the most important thing they taught you?

I never really had a mentor. I truly wish I did, and I would highly recommend finding one to anyone starting out in the design industry or business.

It’s MUCH easier to have someone there by your side with the experience to point out mistakes and give advice. Unfortunately, I had to fall flat on my face several hundred times as I learned each lesson one at a time.

I do read a lot of biographies and business books. So, I think these were my pseudo-mentors.

What are some good ways to network effectively in the Graphic Design/Illustration field?

First, you have everything in your power to put yourself “out there” build a website, join design sites like Behance and Deviant Art, volunteer your services to design posters that will get exposure, join design organizations like AIGA, attend conventions and events like Weapons of Mass Creation.

Once you’ve gotten out there, you just need to be outgoing and friendly. Show people your work. And again, BE NICE. Nobody likes a snobby conceited artist. Have a genuine interest in the artists around you.

What are a few ways I could properly market myself and my skills?

Well, everything listed above would be step one. Next, hit up your friends and family. They are always a good place to get started. I would distribute postcards all over my city/state.

If necessary do voluntary design work for the exposure. And referrals have ALWAYS been the number one source of new leads, so always always always do a fantastic job for your customers!

Which skills have you observed to be the most sought after in this field?

That’s easy. Web development is the absolute most important skill in this industry right now. Over the past three years our print-to-web ratio has gone from 50-50 to 10-90.

We get nine web projects in the door for every print project. Flash animation and After Effects is also growing in demand. I know designers love print-work, but if you want to be on the leading edge of the demand curve – learn everything you can about the web. In particular, study the leading content management systems and design requirements for mobile devices.

What are the qualities you look for in a business partner?

Honesty, work ethic, no ego and a take action personality.

What has been the highest position you have held?

This is it — President of Go Media! But don’t let the title fool you. I still do all the grunt work too – I design, manage, sell and even clean our office fish tank!

What were the biggest challenges you have faced?

2009 was a fairly brutal year. The economic collapse really hit our business hard. We were forced to lay off a few employees and do a little reorganizing of our priorities. But really, every year presents its own challenges.

One challenge that most young entrepreneurs don’t anticipate is growing pains. What happens when you suddenly experience a burst of success and try to expand? There is a whole host of problems that come along with growing.

Looking back, what are a few things you wish someone told you, when you were just starting out?

Well, truthfully I’m a little hard-headed. Even if someone told me: “Don’t do that Bill, you’re going to hurt yourself.” I probably would have done it anyway and learned my lesson that way.

With this mentality in mind, my advice to people that are just getting started is: Just do it. Don’t wait. Don’t sit around second-guessing everything. Don’t worry that you may mess something up – because YOU WILL.

So, just get right to it and start making those mistakes! The sooner you fail, the faster you learn. The faster you learn, the sooner you succeed. Don’t let anyone tell you that it cannot be done. There is this great poem by Edgar Guest titled “It Couldn’t Be Done”. Look it up. Live by it.

If I were applying for an internship, how could I set myself apart from all the other designers? What would you look for?

First, you need to have an extremely well designed resume and cover letter. Second, your portfolio needs to be good enough for consideration. Finally, you need to tenaciously pursue us; send letters, call, show up on our doorstep, send us flowers, shovel our sidewalks, whatever.

You need to leave your ego at the door and show that your heart is 100% invested in Go Media.

About the Author, William Beachy

I grew up in Cleveland Hts. Ohio and was drawing constantly. As a child I took art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and eventually became known as the "class artist." I graduated from The Ohio State University's department of Industrial Design. I have always tried to blend my passion for illustration with Graphic Design. Go Media was the culmination of my interests for both business and art. I'm trying to build a company that is equally considerate of our designers AND our clients.
Discover More by William Beachy


We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • Richard Ball

    At the start of a project you should firstly do your research and then research again. Think of an innovative way of promoting yourself, I begun my own campaign by submitting helpful tutorial allowing me to network with others and sharing ideas. You will get tons of links back to your business’ web site if it is a quality tutorial. Plus, you will distinguish yourself as an expert in that field.

  • Itransition

    It seems that virtual arts are more business than art..

  • Ivan Longland

    Over the years, for me, one of the great sides of graphic design is your involvement and insight into many types of businesses, often your input is needed at the very beginning of a business start-up, an exciting and positive period for the owners.

    Try hard, throw your heart into each job, lose the ego and be friendly is my advise….. Word of mouth (referrals) are the best new business generators….

  • Simon H.

    Thanks for the great insights.

  • Peach

    Great read! Very inspiring.

  • enrolled agent course

    This article would surely provide relevant information for students and those curious about the design industry. Great article!

  • Gabriel Shaze

    If there's anything Im taking away from this post, its this

    '…my advice to people that are just getting started is: Just do it. Don’t wait. Don’t sit around second-guessing everything. Don’t worry that you may mess something up – because YOU WILL'

    Sometimes I always want to get my designs perfectly and not being able to accomplish this at times throws me back.
    Thanks for the insight

  • Mandeep Khunkhuna

    It can be really hard to finish university and try and put yourself out there, but as Gabriel pointed out from the post you have to 'just do it'. After I finished university I made sure that I stayed in contact with the people in the industry that I knew so that they could give me advice and a direction. Sometimes networking and 'who you know' can give you that name for yourself in the design world. I would also highly recommend creating your own website (if you have these skills), if not then there are many free portfolio websites that you can use to display tour work online. This is a great way to get noticed and also if you are looking for work then most potential employers will ask if they can view your portfolio.

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  • benstokes1

    Thank you for your information – I agree with the qualitys of – Honesty, work ethic, no ego and a take action personality for a business parner.

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