Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Designers I would recommend

Posted on 08 February 2013 Comments

On the occasion when I have to turn away a potential client project — usually due to time constraints, but really for any reason — the client almost always responds with the question, ‘so which designers would you recommend we contact instead?’

Up until now, I feel like I’ve done a pretty bad job of answering that question. Usually it involves me searching through my sent mail for the last time I answered it, only to find that I didn’t answer it very well that time either. And that’s if I can find such an email; if I can’t, I usually cobble together a very short list of anyone that comes to mind at that particular time. In doing so, I’m doing a disservice to the client — because there are probably many more people I could recommend — and to my designer friends — because I could probably be sending a lot more work their way.

So, this post is an attempt to change that. It may see edits over time, but I’m intending it to be a place I can send clients who ask that question. One simple link. Nice and easy.

I also hope that it might become a semi-useful (albeit slightly biased) resource for anyone else out there looking for designer recommendations, especially as these recommendations are personal ones. A personal recommendation is infinitely better than a cold search around the web, isn’t it?

Disclaimer 1: Before we get to the list, I’m going to freely admit that the vast majority of the people I’m recommending here are friends; many of them close friends. To the naysayers who will inevitably moan about this blatant favouritism, I say this: of course I’m going to recommend my friends. It’s human nature. But also it indicates that I know what they’re like as people, and that can often be more important than actual design skills.

Disclaimer 2: Please note that for those designers employed by day at companies, only those who still freelance on the side have been included on the list below (which makes me a bit sad — there are many former freelancers I would’ve loved to put on this list). I’ve also omitted independent designers who create products rather than do client work. Oh, and if they’re part of a studio, they’re probably in the ‘studios’ list a bit further down.

Disclaimer 3: Feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to recommend someone for the list, but please bear in mind that I will probably only add them if they also happen to be a mutual friend or if I absolutely love their work, and can see that they’re consistently good across a number of projects.

Sound good? Right, here we go then:

Solo designers / art directors / consultants

Small-ish design (and development) studios

I’m sure I’ve missed some folks, so please expect some revisions. Either way, I hope this proves useful. I’m thinking of doing a ‘developers I would recommend’ list as well. In fact, how about illustrators, writers, speakers, etc.? If you’d like to read them, let me know.

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