The Freelance Creative

A Q&A With One of Contently’s Go-To Graphic Designers

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Did you know that people are 30 times more likely to read content that includes design elements than they are to engage with text-only articles? That could be one reason why publishers that use infographics generate 12 times more traffic than those that don’t.

For content marketers, dabbling in graphic design to supplement written content is a quick and easy way to enter the world of multimedia—and these projects don’t have to break the bank. But first, you need to find the right designer.

That just might be Niege Borges. Niege is a Brazilian illustrator and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. She creates visual projects for web and social media for many of our clients at Contently, and her own client roster includes impressive names like Instagram, Apple, TikTok, Nike, and Sephora.

We caught up with Niege to learn a bit more about her best practices and work style.

When creating content, how do you decide which topics to focus on and what format to use? How about style and tone?

Niege: It usually depends on who the audience is and what formats they consume. The content also drives the format: A specific story might work better as an animation versus a static infographic, for example. Sometimes clients already know where the visuals will live, so we mostly have to focus on how to make the content work best in that channel.

“The content drives the format.”

As for style and tone, it again depends on the client I’m working with, the story we want to tell, and who the audience is. If the client doesn’t have a visual style guide for me to follow, I try to help them to understand what style is likely to work best for the content piece they’re looking to create.

Design projects can change direction quickly. How do you adapt to spontaneous changes?

Niege: Since I’m on the design side of things, most of the time I get to start by building a good foundation—including concepts, sketches, and wireframes. Only once we have all those things approved do I start finalizing the assets. This usually guarantees there’s not too much reworking and that any requests for changes are manageable.

What advice would you give someone thinking of becoming a creative freelancer?

Niege: Don’t postpone putting yourself out there, even if you don’t feel completely ready—there will hardly ever be a “perfect” time. Also, understanding your own aesthetic and voice is really helpful, and it’s also a good way to stand out from the crowd.

Are there any brands/campaigns that you look to for inspiration?

Niege: It depends on the project I’m working on. I have several references saved on my social media accounts. I usually get inspired by the way that a certain brand tells a visual story, or by the different ways they communicate ideas. When it comes to content formats that tend to stick out, I like videos that tell “behind-the-scenes” stories. Those are usually very popular and fun to watch.

Where do you get your content marketing news?

Niege: I’m a fan of FastCo Design, and I also follow a lot of brands on Instagram.

Take a look at Niege’s full portfolio on Contently to see examples of her work. While you’re at it, be sure to subscribe to Contently’s blogs, The Content Strategist and The Freelance Creative, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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