Kristine Neil (@TheKNeil) is head of branding and design company Markon Brand Design. She purchased Markon when it was an old-fashion sign company, and has since transformed it into a small creative studio, now boasting a team of three.
In our conversation, we cover the quirks and rituals used by the team at Markon, Kristine’s personal productivity habits, and the general challenges that face all busy design teams nowadays.
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- Download The Busy Creator Podcast, episode 77 (MP3, 41:52, 25.3 MB)
- Download The Busy Creator Podcast, episode 77 (OGG, 41:52, 19.9 MB)
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Show Notes & Links
- Kristine describe her work as “varied”
- Markon is a small agency focusing on branding for small- to medium-sized businesses
- Kristine purchased Markon rather than founded it. Previously, it was a sign company.
- The Markon team is now three strong — Kristine, Mike, and Jenna
“It’s a scary thing to say ‘I need some Help’.”
- Kristine started by adding contractors/freelancers before bringing in full-time employees
- Prepare to Share — an article and podcast episode about bringing additional people into your workflow
- Kristine is a systems person, admits to being slightly ADD
“Get ideas out of your head. People aren’t mind-readers.”
“Always organize things for how they’ll work in your absense.”
- Single Point of Failure — a bottleneck for decisions or skills
- Many freelancers/solo practitioners struggle to stay organised
- Kristine previously worked as a GM for a manufacturing company. This taught her systems and regimented behaviours.
“Have a system. It doesn’t have to be fancy.”
- “Meta-work” the work surrounding work such as scheduling meetings, checking email, managing your software
- Ben Elijah, previous guest on TBCP, described “Productivity Pornography”
- United We Brand by Mike Moser on Amazon
“We don’t always have the time to treat ourselves as a client.”
“We don’t just make the things. We make the ideas that make the things great.”
- Space150, design firm who redesigns their identity every 150 days
“It’s no longer acceptable to set a brand identity and let it ride for 20 years.”
- The Sunk-Cost Fallacy
- Sweat Equity
- Phase-In a brand vs. “Shadow Op” to replace everything
- Esso became Exxon seemingly overnight
- Todd Henry, twice a guest on The Busy Creator Podcast
- Kristine Neil on Twitter
- Kristine Neil on LinkedIn
- Markon Brands on Twitter
- Markon Brands on Facebook
- Markon Brands on Instagram
- Markon Brands on Pinterest
- Scrum and Agile development
- Remember The Milk for iPhone
- Google Drive
- Swiffer Duster
- Divide your whiteboard by category and by day. Slot tasks accordingly.
- Create a file-naming system that makes sense — plan ahead for others reading in the future.
- Don’t become a Single Point of Failure
- Pomodoro Technique
- Only keep the immediate future on the Board, save long-term stuff elsewhere
- Test systems to find what works best
- Get outside opinions on your brand/company, at least annually
- Use Slack to post videos and gifs — especially after a tough day at the desk
- Host “Board Meetings” with your team every morning
- Build starting documents (“templates”) when you have repetitive projects/tasks
- Audit your own brand. Be willing to walk away from your previous website.
- Create a routine strong enough so you don’t need an alarm clock
- Shut down between Christmas and New Year
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