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JOHN PHELAN

Founder, Skinny Designs

Skinny Designs is a freelance Graphic Design and Illustration service working across a broad spectrum of items from Annual Reports to bespoke illustrations, logo designs and adverts. With a varied client base, John works with everyone from corporate clients to small businesses.

Coworking member at The Greenway

“My world as a freelance designer has opened up since I came in here, and has given me more opportunities.”

When did you first become interested in illustration?

I first became interested in art in general when I was really young and I started reading comics -primarily Spider-Man comics. I always loved the look and feel of the comic and how it told the story. I loved how the art and the text worked together and complimented each other. My aunt used to buy me American import Marvel comics and I would go through every inch of them from cover to cover. I was just amazed by it all -I couldn’t get enough of them. That love for graphics in all its forms stayed with me and transferred to a love of graphic design in later years. And I’m still collecting comics to this day.

How have you found working alongside a community of fellow business professionals?

It’s been great working alongside people and businesses of different backgrounds. Working at home on my own was quite isolating at times, so the social side always really appealed to me. The worst part of working alone was not being ableto chat to people about random day to day stuff or just bounce ideas off people. Being able to chat to people, on my breaks, about what they were doing or even how their day was going was great. Also, meeting people from different businesses and industries gives you new insights into how people work. It all really helps when working with a diverse group of clients.

Did the pandemic affect business at all?

The uncertainty and the unknown was really scary, especially at the start. Work definitely slowed down as everybody tried to get to grips with things. I obviously couldn’t come into the office for a while and I had just settled into life in the Greenway and started to get to know people. Suddenly that all stopped. However, after the first lockdown I was able to come back to the office because the Iconic team implemented great Covid measures. I was really pleased to be back in the environment. I’ve noticed a lift in work now that people are getting more accustomed to this simply being a new way of working. It’s still not back to old levels but it’s improving as we’re all getting use to

What did you find was your greatest challenge when setting up your own business?

The unknown aspect, the uncertainty -it was scary in a way. Was I doing the right thing?Would I be a success? Getting those first couple of jobs in was massive. I’ve learned so much since going out on my own and the way I worked at the start compared to how I work now has changed a lot.

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