Business Spotlight: Qamber Designs & Media

CJC: How did you get started as a designer and what made you want to pursue that field?

NQ: I was homeschooled most of my childhood so my parents wanted me to have extra curricular activities so they enrolled me at a creative photoshop class when I was 11. From there, I started working on photoshop specifically making photomanipulations (example shown below from my 15 year old self). After years of working on photoshop, my sister asked me if I wanted to work as an intern at a prestigious design firm locally. I said yes! With my portfolio I got the job and that’s how I first started the road to Graphics Design. However, I knew for sure that corporate design wasn’t the sub field I wanted to tackle as a graphics designer. So, I resigned and went to University to study business with the dream of owning my own design agency with a different scale of work BUT I didn’t know what type of ‘design’ I wanted to pursue. In my search, I used my book blog, called ‘Unputdownable Books’ and experimented with a section I had on there where I randomly recovered books I didn’t like the covers of. An author found me and asked if I would like to work on some design projects with her and of course, I said yes. My first real big cover project was doing covers for her publishing company and the rest is history!

Najla Qamber Designs & Media

CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of your job? What hurdles have you overcome during the process?

NQ: Most fulfilling part of the job is being able to realize a client’s vision, it is also the most challenging part of the job but I wouldn’t change that for the world! Another rewarding aspect was being able to help others who dream to be graphics designers, find their place in the creative industry when no one else locally would take them. This is mostly due to the lack of opportunities outside of the corporate design world in our tiny little island of Bahrain. So, our company connects them to the artsy side of the design industry worldwide.

I started this job in my teens, so my biggest hurdle earlier on was to teach myself to separate my feelings/love for each draft/art piece I send to a client. That way the weight of them hating it or not loving it on the first go, will be easier on the mind. Another hurdle is actually myself and my fears. If I hadn’t had people push me to make the business official, to hire certain people, etc. I would have still been designing by myself in my home office today.

CJC: Over the years, do you have any designs that come to mind as some of your favorites and if so which ones?

NQ: Goodness, there are tons! But these are the most recent:

Najla Qamber Designs & Media

CJC: Is there a genre in the literary field that you haven’t yet designed for but would love to?

NQ: Not a lot, I think I’ve designed for most already! But I do want to dabble more into Cozy Mysteries, straight up Fantasy, Horror, Sci-fi, Historical Fiction and non-fiction works too! I’ve always wanted to make something abstract like these, but haven’t had the time to make a ready-made cover or never got the opportunity to!

Najla Qamber Designs & Media

CJC:For those looking to become a designer or photographer, what advice would you give them?

NQ: Oh there is so much I want to say, that I wish someone told me when I first started! Some rough ideas: 

  • Depending on the ‘sub-field’ you want to get into, like for example book covers, make sure you have a lot of book cover examples in your portfolio (even as a photographer, show them how your photographs look as a book cover) before you start putting yourself out there. This will help to stop clients from doubting you even before you had the chance. 
  • Put yourself out there using the cover examples you have. Find Facebook Groups, and forums where people are looking for designers and offer your work. But don’t go as far as messaging them personally when they don’t need it. 
  • Be consistent and disciplined. If you’re attempting to do this on your own, you have to constantly put yourself out there. And make sure you give yourself ‘office hours’ too!
  • Disconnect yourself from your work as soon as you send the work to the client, this will help you deal with the feedback as well as reply back in the most customer-y service way you can!
  • You will experience tons of mean clients. Hang in there, and kill them with kindness.
  • And grow with the trends! For photographers, 3 – 5 years back it was common to shoot couples in lingerie but these days with Amazon and Facebook’s restrictions, they don’t allow book covers with too much nudity. So, images with couples these days need to be a bit more ‘clothed’. For graphics designers aspiring to be cover designers, each genre has a trending look for a few years but then changes. And then goes back to the old look, and so on and so forth. So be sure to do your research and stay up to date!

To contact Najla contact her here:

Adult Fiction/Non-fiction Section: http://najlaqamberdesigns.com
Clean Young Adult, Middle Grade and Kid-lit Section: http://qamberkids.com
Shop: http://qamberemporium.com

 

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