Josh Miles (@JoshMiles) founded Miles Design, an independent graphic design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, after organically growing his freelance practice. Following some hi-profile work in a narrow sector, he’s grown his team to nine employees, taking care to build a healthy workplace culture along the way.

Miles Design team

Josh and his team at Miles Design

In this discussion, Josh shares some of the challenges for growing and maintaining a design business, as well as some of the tools and tactics he uses to keep the team in sync and doing great work.

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Show Notes & Links

  • Prescott met Josh at the Brand New Conference in San Francisco, 2011
  • Josh began as a freelancer, working with clients such as Purdue University
  • Josh knew he’d eventually be an independent designer
  • The selling side of graphic design isn’t told much in school
  • Win Without Pitching by Blair Enns on Amazon
    Win Without Pitching by Blair Enns
  • David C. Baker, Recourses
  • Miles Design is a nine-person design firm in Indianapolis, focusing on Professional Services (architecture, engineering, interior design, etc.)
  • The award-winning website for Ratio Architects
  • After about 1 year in, Josh realised the company would succeed. He needed help getting the design work done.
  • Josh is the geek within the agency
  • Tug McTighe on being a creative director
  • Failure in graphic design isn’t “failure” as such. The end of the sentence is the end of the conversation.
  • AIGA Indy Kickball League

“No one is immune from psychology. Especially psychologists.”

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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Tools

Techniques

  • Bring in people who are better than you
  • Put workplace culture first, especially if you feel it’s missing. Maybe start over.
  • Give your team permission to fail. Allow them to present their work, come what may.
  • Invent company rituals. Celebrate small stuff.
  • Test new workflows and tools
  • Follow up with clients after 3 or 6 months to track results
  • Be known for one thing and be good at it

Habits

  • Arrive in the office early. Get stuff done before the gang arrives.
  • Head out early on Fridays as a team. Decompress together.
  • Take a few hours to work solo and clear things

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About the author: Prescott Perez-Fox

Prescott Perez-Fox is a New York-based graphic designer and brand developer with 17+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.

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