Why I don’t Respond to RFPs (Requests for Proposals)

A Request for Proposal looks like a reasonable thing at first glance. It seems most RFPs are put together by a group of people, typically belonging to non-profit organizations, trying to hire a designer for their project, be it a total branding package or a website. After the committee has forged their RFP, they send it out to designers in their area, asking for a proposal to work on their project.

What’s wrong with that? Continue Reading →



Designing a Book Cover

December 22, 2011 / graphic design / 1 Comment /

A lot of pressure rides on a book cover. It has to interest you, it must speak to you, it must reflect its insides, all in the hopes of getting you to pick it up, or, if you’re an online book shopper, get you to click the “read more” button. There are millions of book covers out there, how is anyone supposed to make one cover stand out from the others? How does one convey the themes of the story through the front cover of a book? Continue Reading →


The Value of Talent & Skill

Just this past summer I was requested to be an editor for a non-profit client’s new high school curriculum. Since I supported the organization’s work, and needed the money, I said I’d take a stab at a couple of pages to see a.) how long it would take for me to edit, and b.) if the organization was pleased with my work.

When I was done editing a page and a half, I checked the clock–I’d spent more than an hour on the tiny project. The client was pleased with the work I’d done, and then told me how many more pages there were to be edited, and what their budget was for the project. I crunched the numbers: to edit the body of work would average me $8 an hour. I was stunned, and told the client I couldn’t possibly work for that wage. My editing and writing skills were (and still are) worth more than such a paltry amount.

We tried negotiating for a while, but I came to the conclusion that the client didn’t understand the real value of my skill. It hadn’t just take me an hour to edit, it had taken me years to learn how to write, how words work together, and how to craft and weave stories together.

Read the rest on courtneykirchoff.com


Clean and Simple

In my years of creating designs for clients, the number one request is “we want it clean and simple.” They don’t ask for warm and inviting, dynamic and eye-catching, personable and friendly. Clean and simple is the dominating factor that they’re looking for. So I thought I’d discuss why the request is made, what it means, and how it might not be what you think. I fear that many clients believe that “clean and simple” means “quick and cheap.” That is not the case.  Continue Reading →


True Northe is moving to a Sailboat!

compassWhen I first designed this website over three years ago, it featured a compass. After some thought, I freshened it up a bit to include a sailboat, and it has remained on the header ever since. How fitting, then, that True Northe will move onto a sailboat. Coincidence? I think not.

Rest assured, this will not hinder time lines on your work. Living and working on a sailboat will be inspiring, super cool, and self-sustaining. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be working while visiting the San Juans or Vancouver, BC. Client work, your work, will still be well designed and delivered on time. You can tell everyone that your graphic designer lives and works on a sailboat. ;-)

I wrote about the reasons why I’m moving onto a sailboat, about the boat itself, and lots of other savvy things, over on my personal blog. You can read about it here.


Wonderful Whitespace

When you’re at home, sitting in your living room, what do you see? A couch, maybe a chair, coffee table, television. Each item has a place, and just as importantly, each item has its space. You space out your coffee table from your couch, your couch from your entertainment center so you can maneuver around your living room. But the free space also creates order. If your furniture were all crammed together not only would the room lose its function, it would also be cluttered.

space in a living room
Continue Reading →