Business Spotlight: T.E. Black Designs
September 18, 2018 • News
CJC: How did you get started as a designer and what made you want to pursue that field?
TB: I’ve always had a love for art and being creative. I believe a lot of that comes from my mother, who was an art major in college. She always encouraged me to go outside of the lines with everything, and for that I’m grateful. As I got older, I began drawing in sketch books, drawing animal pictures on the old “Paint” Program for Windows, and generally letting myself see where the creativity took me.
Then, I met a lovely, pesky, and wonderful friend named K.A. Berg, who asked me if I could make her a book cover once she saw the teasers I made for her.
I honestly had no idea where to start. I knew how to use Photoshop for the most part after taking up Graphic Design during college, but I still wasn’t making any guarantees. There are so many factors that go into a book cover. I researched, researched, read articles, tried, failed, banged my head against my laptop, took a deep breath and did it all over again the next day …. and for weeks. I had no guidance or at hand resources to help me, so I worked my rear end off until I figured it out. K.A. loved what I had designed for her and she truly pushed me to start a design business for authors. Originally, the company was called “Cover Luxe Designs”, but as the business grew, I changed it to “T.E. Black Designs” which is also my pen name as an author.
Now at the age of 25 years old, I self-publish my own books and own and operate an amazing Graphic Design company.
CJC: Scheduling wise, how do you balance and juggle your multiple hats?
TB: This question has given me nightmares. LOL! 😉 So… I wear many hats as a self-published author, a business owner, a graphic designer, an interior formatting, fur mom of 3 dogs, wife, and employee at two part-time jobs.
Listing my many hats above, I really had to work hard to learn balance and juggling. One of the ways I separate is by working on graphic design projects Monday through Friday and leaving the weekends for everything else.
CJC: What hurdles have your overcome while striving towards your goals?
TB: My main hurdle that I still battle is the need for perfection. I will go over a cover design six times before I send the first draft to a client. My biggest thing is adding so many tiny details that while everyone might not notice, I do. Each little detail in the design has a huge impact on the overall look and feel which is why one little change can make it better or completely worse.
CJC: For those looking to become a designer, what advice would you give them?
TB: For anyone looking to become a designer, my first bit of advice is to please do your research. I truly don’t think you need a college degree in Graphic Design to create beautiful work, but I do feel like you need to spend many hours of your life learning the details. There is so much that goes into designing that new designers simply over look.
My second piece of advice is to learn about licensing. This is a major part of designing something and selling it to someone. At the end the day, you and the client are responsible for the work you create. So, please make sure you know the laws to protect you and your client.
It’s not as simple as you think.
CJC: When getting booked for a book cover design, how does that process work and how do you find your inspiration?
TB: Booking a new cover design is one of my favorite things. How I work my process is we schedule a date that works for both of us, and I return the project 5-7 business days after that date at the latest. I require a half deposit at time of book, while the other half is 5 days before the schedule date.
From there, I send over a form for each client to fill out about their project. They can list everything they need to on the form such as ideas, images they found and liked, titles, taglines, print specifications, ISBN’s, blurb, etc.
Once I read over their completed form, I begin searching for images I feel would fit the character descriptions and the overall mood from the blurb they sent. With the images secured, I get to work combining multiple images to make the perfect book cover.
I don’t typically look for inspiration. I have a pretty creative mind, so when it comes to design, I let my creative side do most of the thinking. I feel if I look at another cover design, it could possibly influence the project I’m working on, and I never want that to happen, so I try to avoid seeing any other designs until I have the projected completed.
CJC: If you had to describe your design style in one word, what would it be?
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
TB: I always have a vast number of projects going on at one time, but aside from design projects, I have six books releasing with a co-author by the end of October. It’s very exciting.
For design, I schedule about 4-5 projects per week, so right now, for the remainder of the year, I will continue to flow with my schedule and finish each client’s design. J
CJC: Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
TB: Well, first I’d like to thank you personally for allowing me to be featured on your blog! J Secondly, anyone who has read this interview and enjoyed it, please feel free to send me a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org and use the code of “CJC SPOTLIGHT” to receive $10 off of any service above $30. J xoxo!
CJC: Tiffany, thank you again for taking part in this interview. You are so incredibly talented and I love collaborating with you.
Stay up to date with all of Tiffany’s latest projects here.