Designs on her own business
Graphic designer Megan Outerbridge always imagined running her own business one day. She just did not expect it to happen quite so soon.
Ms Outerbridge, 26, owns Megan Outerbridge Design, which provides a range of creative services including print, web and digital design, logo design and branding, advertising, content creation, social-media management and multifaceted campaigns.
She graduated from Middlesex University in Britain in 2017 with a three-year bachelor’s degree in graphic design, and was working in London for Fever Design when the Covid-19 pandemic intruded on her near-term future in mid-March 2020.
Ms Outerbridge, who lived alone, secured permission from her boss to work remotely for the firm — and booked a flight home, reluctant to endure the anticipated isolation, quarantines and lockdowns on her own.
She arrived in Bermuda less than a week before the airport closed.
By August, though, Ms Outerbridge had grown tired of working UK hours remotely for Fever. She had also been furloughed by the firm for a time.
She said: “I have always wanted to start my own business here, but I had planned it for a bit later down the line.
“I wanted to carry on building my portfolio in London — the industry is amazing there — but I needed to rethink because of Covid.”
Her fortunes turned towards the end of August when a former Bermuda High School classmate, Sierra Botkin, of Startime Productions, reached out to her followers on Twitter, saying that she was looking for a graphic designer to assist with a brochure for her employer.
Ms Outerbridge said: “I am quite a shy person, quite nervous about putting myself out there, but this was the perfect opportunity — starting with someone I know.”
She added: “From there, it kind of blossomed.”
Megan Outerbridge Design marks the one-year anniversary of its official launch tomorrow.
Today, thanks in part to positive word of mouth and referrals on Facebook, particularly Maj’s List, Ms Outerbridge works with more than 15 clients, most of them on a regular basis, on a range of projects.
Clients include Sleep Solutions, Bermuda Centre for Creative Learning, and The Bermudian Publishing Company.
Ms Outerbridge said: “I create effective solutions that are not just aesthetically pleasing but that also appeal to the target audience and truly represent the essence of who my clients are.”
She added: “That is important. It is really easy for someone to come along to make something pretty, but if you have a strategy behind it and know why things should be done the way they should, that adds value for the client.”
Ms Outerbridge said she strives “to create design solutions that are simple and timeless, and communicate effectively”.
She added: “I think of graphic design as a combination of several elements all working together cohesively; lines, shapes, colours, pictures, typography, space, emphasis, and balance.
“For me, the key aspects of being a successful designer are passion, curiosity and evolution; pushing forward and taking risks.
“It’s so important for every business (big or small) to invest in graphic design. I explain to my clients that with powerful graphic design, you can build your brand, establish your name and identity, stand out from the competition, tell your story, create trust and credibility, win potential customers, and boost sales.”
Ms Outerbridge said her business-savvy approach to graphic design was developed during her two years at Fever.
“Fever was small -- there were just four of us. I was a junior designer, but I really got to see the ins and outs of all aspects of the business. I was included in pricing discussions and client meetings quite early on.”
She also benefits from good advice at home – her father, Josh, is the vice-president and co-owner of 2 Tech Ltd while her mother, Kirstie, is the HR/operations manager at ILS service provider Horseshoe.
“They have been a phenomenal support,” Ms Outerbridge said. “I don’t know if I could have done it without them.”
She said the transition from employee to being self-employed had been “the biggest challenge. I knew there would be a lot of things to learn, but I didn’t know the extent”.
Ms Outerbridge added: “I had to figure it out along the way. My dad has been able to guide me; he is my ‘go to’ for anything I am struggling with as a business owner.”
She is also appreciative of the support provided by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.
Ms Outerbridge was recently a finalist in the BEDC’s Most Enterprising Young Entrepreneur competition.
While school is in the past, she said that her education continued.
“In my opinion, as a graphic designer and entrepreneur, it’s crucial to keep learning new things in order to be successful — for example, strengthening my technical skills and staying up to date with the current trends.
“The creative industry is ever-changing and evolving ... especially in the social-media world. And this has only been amplified by the pandemic.
“I’m continuously learning, which helps me to grow as a designer and offer better design solutions to my clients."
Examples of Ms Outerbridge’s work can be seen at www.meganouterbridge.com and at Megan Outerbridge Design on Facebook.
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