After working for over 20 years in the graphic design profession, Ian Henderson established his own design firm, Hendersonian Design, DBA in the summer of 2009.
Ian's knowledge of the profession informs every project he works on. The foundation to his future career was laid down at one of Canada's best art and design schools, Ontario College of Art and Design. Practical experience was gained through hands-on work with everything from designing directly on computers (then new to the graphics industry), to pre-press production and even binding books and journals himself.
Ian began working as a graphic designer soon after graduating from Ontario College of Art and Design in 1988 (in his hometown of Toronto, Canada). He originally studied Industrial Design, but in his final year took a class in graphic design and realized that this was his true passion.
After graduating, Ian worked at a trade show company and soon after that in the PR department of a large architectural firm, Zeidler Partnership Architects. Not quite satisfied with this position, Ian moved to Upstate New York in 1990 to work for a book publisher.
Desktop publishing was just making inroads into the graphics industry, and he got a chance to learn the current software on computers in the publishing department. But what turned out to be extremely valuable, and still informs his work to this day was the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the the whole publishing process. This included creating negatives, assembling them on masks to burn offset plates, and even burning and developing the plates. After the printing was done, he helped bind and trim the books and periodicals.
All this hands-on involvement gave him an in-depth knowledge of the printing process. Now when Ian works on projects, big or small, his practical experience informs his decisions. This ensures that the whole process runs smoothly from beginning all the way to the end product, saving his clients’ nerves, money, and time.
On the move
In 2003, Ian moved to San Diego, and worked for a few years at Artworx, a small design firm. He created everything from logos, business collateral, marketing materials, catalogs, and ads. It was in San Diego that he took classes in web design, and worked on his first web projects. One of the responsibilities given to Ian by his art director, was to manage a new, high-volume, fast turn-around print production account. Handling of all the logistics, communication, and production work was Ian's responsibility. He implemented steps to coordinate better with the client, achieve more efficient work flow, and reduce wasted time and interruptions. This work made him focus on what needed to be done and on executing it very rapidly, while maintaining a keen eye for detail, not letting anything slip past that was not up to a high standard.
But San Diego did not satisfy all of Ian's creative needs. So in the Spring of 2008 he moved to Portland, Oregon. Working at DiversiForm, a local print vendor for car dealerships, Ian learned a new skill: working with variable data. The company's main service was to provide customer retention products and services to dealerships. Part of that was designing and printing custom direct-mail postcards that would attract existing customers to return to their dealership for service and maintenance.
Ian learned how to design the postcards for the dealership’s needs, and merge the customer information onto the card (variable data). This technique was very economical and ecological. Since printing and addressing was done on a digital press only enough cards were printed to fulfill the client's mailing list. Less waist, less cost, less paper, better for the environment. And the results were impressive. The cards often brought in a return on investment of $10,000 to $150,000 per card (depending on the size of the mailing list of course). Many of their dealership clients were able to stay open in the failing economy without selling a single car, while others were closing up shop.
But that was not to last long. DiversiForm was sold to Reynolds and Reynolds. Ian had to move fast and decided that since few design positions were available, he would break out on his own as an independent design consultant. He signed up for an entrepreneurial course offered by the Self-Employed Academy, a branch of the IASECP. This was pivotal in establishing himself and setting him on the right track. For Ian the best part of the course and indeed the main thrust of it was understanding the major shift that had occurred in the business world and that the playing field had been leveled in favor of solo-preneurs like himself.
Ian established Hendersonsonian Design in the summer of 2009, and has been going strong ever since. His firm offers design services to small and medium sized businesses. He helps his clients attract more customers by creating strong, clear graphic communication that speaks directly to their target audience, converting them to active clients.
Hendersonian Design has relationships with a number of professionals including marketing consultants, copy writers, and web developers that enhance the services offered and the results achieved.