David Cliff, York-Based Graphic Designer & Branding Consultant

April 2, 2020 4:27 pm | Published by | Leave your thoughts

Everyday People Being Awesome 


As I write this post we are in week two of the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve been heartened by how communities are coming together.  It’s a really difficult time, many self-employed people’s livelihoods have been affected and most people are worried about the future, so it feels odd to adopt a business as usual approach.  But, especially now I want to continue to support and champion some of Yorkshire’s most talented freelancers. 

Before the world went a little crazy, I had a quick catchup with David Cliff, York-Based Graphic Designer & Branding Consultant. 


You have a process called the Creative Brief Accelerator that helps clients unlock their value, can you tell me a bit more about this?

Yes of course… In order to produce effective creative work, you have to acutely understand the client’s competitive advantage. People have a lot of information about their own business locked up inside their heads, but it can be difficult to draw on the bits that you really need to know about before engaging in the design work. 

I realised I needed a universal method to extract the right kind of information from the client in order to fully understand the project’s objectives. So I developed the Creative Brief Accelerator. It’s a structured and interactive workshop that probes areas that are usually missed in a casual consultation, and uncovers valuable insight into the world of the client and their customers.

Not only does it give me a rock-solid foundation to underpin the design work, but it gives the client real clarity on their marketing message.


Which is the most enjoyable project you have worked on?

That’s got to be the brochure work I did for Prestigious Textiles. Stunning photography, minimal copy and just straightforward, classic graphic design. It’s not often you get to indulge in that. 


How do you get inspiration?

Pinterest. Only joking! I study a lot of commercial work I see out and about. Then I try to dissect it to understand how they have done what they have done. I guess I have a library of creative techniques to call upon when appropriate. 


What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?

Design isn’t something you fall into, it’s a passion. And we’ve got to remember that we’re extremely lucky to be able to practice our passion while getting paid for it. It can be very easy to overlook this. So, it’s not so much something I wish I knew before I started. More that I wish someone would keep reminding me. 


What three questions do you wish every client would ask?

Just one: “When can you start?” And then let me ask the questions! 


Which book/s have influenced your career?

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

A fairly old book now, and most of its references are a little tired and American, but you’ll come across abstracted versions of the basic principles outlined in this book time and time again in other modern self help books.

Re:work by 37 Signals

Brutally simple and right up my street. This book tells you that it’s OK to break convention and gave me huge inspiration in the early days.

Win Without Pitching by Blair Enns

A refreshing and honest manifesto on how to run an effective creative business. I have only recently come across this book but the insight here is truly wonderful.


How do you keep your skills up-to-date? 

With personal projects. I have a few side hustles that I will manicure and tweak, just because I can. I’ll test theories and techniques that sometimes make their way to commercial projects. 


What’s your favourite communication/collaboration tool?  



What is your ultimate professional goal?

I just want to keep my head down and do good work. And be known for the good work that I do. 



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