Alex Cottles
Brand+Web Designer

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Alex Cottles

Brand + Web Designer/ Founder of The Routine Creative

Richmond, Virginia

www.theroutinecreative.com
instagram @theroutinecreative
facebook
 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I craft intentional visual solutions for creative entrepreneurs and small businesses!

In layman's terms I design logos and websites. I make it my mission to take big ideas and break them down into minimal visuals that your clients and customers can understand at a glance.
 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

I have been designing from a very young age without really even knowing it. In elementary school, I was always hand lettering my classmates’ folders and name-tags. When Myspace was the preferred social networking platform, my friends would pay me (sometimes with food)  to customize their page. So when the time came I decided to attend college hoping to major in Graphic Design because it seemed like a vague enough title that could translate into a paying job. That’s when I absolutely fell in love with all things branding. Art School can be cool too because you really get to explore lots of mediums and even with trying all those new exciting things, my love affair with branding and web design never wavered. I received my Associates degree in graphic design in 2013 and have been freelancing since my senior year. I had a couple ‘design’ jobs that made me realize very quickly that the corporate world was not the place for me. Often, I was told that my style was too trendy or daring. I had to work really hard to build my confidence, get over my fear of networking and work on my craft. That’s what lead me to start my own design studio, The Routine Creative, in 2016 and I haven’t looked back since!
 

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FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

I’d say it’s less about what you lack and more about what you have to learn along the way. With every “failure” is a big fat lesson learned and I have learned tons of lessons and will continue to learn and grow. There is definitely not a lack of talent or competition in my industry.  So, I would never speak to what they “lack”, but speaking for myself,  I just try to make genuine connections with people and show that doing business is just as much about shared values as it is about the final product. 
 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I just launched the branding/website for Follower to Fan Society with Tyler J. McCall and I am currently working on branding and web design for a Brooklyn-based Pediatric Speech Therapist. Her name is Alexandra and she is just starting her business “Speakeasy BKLYN”. She is super passionate about what she does which is absolutely essential for a successful business owner. We have finalized the logo and we are currently putting the finishing touches on her website. 
 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

I like to say that my style is modern/androgynous. My sweet spot would be designs that strike a good balance. Whether it be a balance of feminine and masculine, reserved and warm or classic and modern. I never want to design something modern just to be trendy and I never want to make something feminine just because my client likes pink. Every design should have intention and should be designed for a specific audience. Although, I have been told I have clear design style, I do like to approach each and every project from a unique perspective. It’s hard to pick one project that represents this best but I say the work I did for Richmond Photobooth is a strong representation of intentional design. The overall goal of this project was to establish professionalism but also be fun and I feel like we accomplished that!
 

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WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

Yes, as a creative person I of course want to leave no creative rock unturned. However, the truth is I am doing the work I love most and I pinch myself everyday. I guess, if I had to chose one medium that I could really explore further than I already have it would be photography. I admire those who understand the intricacies and capabilities of their equipment and wish I had time to perfect that craft a bit. 
 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Marketing my business is always the toughest for me. As a creative entrepreneur you have to wear many hats and this one seems to be worn the least. I have a love/hate relationship with marketing.
 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

I would love to have a design assistant. Someone who’s just starting out who I could mentor but also learn from. Someone that shares my passion for design that I could bounce ideas off of and vice versa. 

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

Keeping it design related I would go back to when I first started freelancing and very nicely scream to myself that networking is key. Building genuine relationship with people and putting myself out there has been the greatest benefit to my business. It took me years to realize clients weren’t going to just magically find me. I wasted many days trying to blame the world around me for why I wasn’t being discovered when I should have been blaming myself.
 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I’d love to learn more about business management. Luckily, I have been navigating the waters of entrepreneurship with a supportive community of folks in the same boat, but I would love for someone to mentor me one on one about how to manage my business and reach specific goals each year.

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WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

I am looking for opportunities to connect with other passionate entrepreneurs or small businesses to help craft truly intentional visuals for their brand/website. Like I said before, passion is absolutely essential.
 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

Like I said before, passion is essential. The field you are in isn't as important to me as your excitement for the job. When you invest in me I also invest myself fully into your project. This is why a shared connection and passion for your business is key to a successful working relationship. My ideal client would also be someone that appreciates my design style and trusts me as the expert. Trust almost always equates to a smoother and more successful design in the end. 
 

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

I typically work at a fixed rate since my offerings are very specific. You can view my current packages and prices here. I do charge my hourly rate for website updates/edits after our project is complete. My hourly rate is $100/hour.
 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

The best way to get the party started would be to fill out my client inquiry form so that I know exactly what you are looking to work on together. This way I can respond with the appropriate materials to kickstart the process. 
 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

I stay creative by only working while I am feeling inspired. I work within pretty tight timelines but allowing inspiration to come naturally really helps. I also sprinkle in some time to work on personal projects to keep my mind fresh for my client work. Thanks for reading :)
 


This member profile was originally published in November 2017.