By Randy “Andeng” Pallones as told to Ruth Manimtim-Floresca
My passion for art began when I was six. I remember drawing anything from local animals, like carabaos, and flowers to superheroes and robots. I took up Electrical Engineering in college and worked in Dubai as a database administrator for several years. There, I got exposed to doing graphics and web designing.
After being immersed in that “graphic” environment, my interest in it escalated and I began to question where my talents would take me and how I can put those creative juices to good use while also earning from them. I toyed with the ideas of being an IT guy, an illustrator, or a 3D animator. And then it hit me. I want to be a graphic designer! I returned to the Philippines determined to pursue my first love – art.
So I started learning my way up with the help of graphic designer peers and surfing the net for ideas and techniques. Slowly, but surely, I got better at the trade. Although I am not really able to literally utilize my engineering course, I have been applying some engineering principles to what I am presently doing. I can now confidently say that graphic and web designing is where I can express my creativity freely and excellently.
Pursuing a passion
I established Grapikom in January of 2009. We offer Website and Apps design where we build websites using the most recent web technology, the Responsive Layout (CSS3 & HTML5). Our company helps companies through our high level of creativity that guarantees them a unique presence on the web to reinforce their brand and quality of services.
We also do Branding and Graphics which harness the power of full-color products in communication materials. We believe that these help a brand stand out better and increase its chances of reaching more people.
In addition, Grapikom offers video and motion designs which enable companies to not just think and visualize but more so communicate with their target markets using state-of-the-art technology. My finished works include website designing and development; company branding from logo design to corporate collaterals; book/magazine/newsletter/brochure cover and layout designing; and audio-visual presentation productions for advertisements and corporate meetings.
I prefer calling our clients as partners. We have chosen that term for the organizations we serve as it accurately reflects how we view our working relationship with them. We want to be a partner in every project we are working together with.
From experience, Grapikom custom fits designs based on the standards and requirements of our partners. Our local partners’ preferences are diverse and yet, conservative. They rarely want to take risks. We also noticed they are more into current trends and follow suit. They usually set their standards on what is on the market and base their designs on the existing, trending ones.
Partners from abroad, on the other hand, are very straightforward. They are updated with the latest and thus want the latest when it comes to designs. They are also willing to take risks just to be ahead of their competitors.
The deadlines, “focus”, and partners’ perspectives are usually what make our work challenging. To top it all, we have to make sure the conceptualization of the designs fit our partners’ standards and imagination. That has always been our target. Although I stick to the principle that customers are always right, I also believe that I have to be aggressive at times in insisting my expertise so as not to compromise a design as well as the reputation of my company.
I am a father of two. Tia is twelve and Zam is six. Both share my affinity with techie gadgets. My wife, Mitzi, joined me in Grapikom early this year after working in marketing for more than 10 years at a well-known hotel in Manila.
I have a very exciting job with non-monetary rewards. Aside from being able to express my creativity, enlarge my imagination, and meet a lot of people, I can spend more time with my family. Somehow, work and play can be interwoven and also be done interchangeably at my pace and pleasure.
A typical work day for me begins at around 9 or 10AM. After having my coffee fix, I work until 1PM before breaking for lunch. The next half of the day is spent with my family, doing errands, researching, reading/sending emails, and making calls to follow up with possible partners. I do serious designing after dinner from 9PM until the wee hours of the morning. I usually retire for bed at around 4AM.
Since I have my work station at home, I can hang out with my wife and kids any time since I am not tied to an 8 to 5 working scheme. It is both a challenge and a privilege. On weekdays, while the kids are busy with school and Mitzi is occupied managing our home and helping me with some projects, I spend time finishing all deadlines and following up with pending projects and sending out proposals.
Weekends, on the other hand, are spent on quality time with the family. We go to church and then to a mall. At times, we also spend these days with relatives and friends.
Improving the company
More than three years down the road, Grapikom is already ripe for expansion and there is a big market to fill in. We envision developing and hosting 100 websites next year. We also want to engage in web apps and development for iOS and Android platforms.
In addition, we dream of creating an enterprise system for schools and organized institutions that will help make information processing fast, reliable, and secure. Since all these need additional capitalization, Grapikom is open, and is seeking partnerships with either local or foreign companies or individuals to help make everything a reality.
MY MONEY LESSONS
Andeng Pallones , Web, Graphics , and Motion Designer at Grapikom, shares the lessons he learned which others may find helpful as they also venture out in this kind of industry.
- Be professional with deadlines. If you promised a date, stick to it. There should be no delays or alibis. Just deliver no matter what.
- Be professional with your tools. Use industry standard applications such as Adobe Creative Suites with your machines. I also suggest you use a Mac.
- Be professional with your outputs. They must be clean, uncluttered, and organized.
- Be professional with appointments. Come on time and organize your presentation well. Make use of your iPad, iPhone, or laptop and ensure that you have a portable WiFi device in case your meeting place has no internet connection.
- Treat your clients as partners and not just one-time project clients. Partnerships work when achieving learning and success can be long term engagements.