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Taking a byte out of bad design - Bytehaus Studio
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Give a kid a couple of crayons and some paper and look what happens. From humble beginnings creating refrigerator art to manning the helm of Bytehaus Studio, it's been a great ride for graphic designer, Habib Bajrami.

Located in Mississauga/Toronto, Canada, Bytehaus Studio is a full-service graphic design consultancy that specializes in handling complex projects such as corporate identities, branding, logotypes, corporate communications, web page creation, advertising and annual reports.

Similar to renowned designer, Michael Vanderbyl, Habib originally set his sights on a career in architecture. Both men decided graphic design was where they really wanted to make a difference. Frank Lloyd Wright, eat your heart out. You missed the boat.

Bits and bytes of building a design practice
In 1985, Habib caught the scent of Pantone markers, rubber cement and likely nipped a few fingertips with his trusty X-Acto while learning the ropes of the business. He began working the agency route, but elected to hang out his own shingle in 1997. "I was tired of having my vision and concepts getting destroyed by Account Executives and ADs," says Bajrami. "I wanted to have more direct control over what I was delivering to the client. At least, if a wrong decision was made the only person to blame would be the client. Nevertheless, I always try to keep the client from making a wrong decision."

In an environment where client companies can be a wee bit fickle, over 90% of Bajrami's work is generated by returning clients. That's a testament to consistently doing something right. That 'something' is a sharp creative vision, flawless production, high quality service and, above all, honesty.

Bytehaus offers clients graphic design for both print and web, but the firm doesn't stop there. Companies have come to rely on Bytehaus for other services like, print management, consulting, illustration and even tech support. Habib's as adept at answering, "We need help with positioning and branding our company," to "Hey, my fonts ain't working and my scanner's broke! Help!"

"Coming up with the most effective solution that will both save and generate money for the client," may, at times, be one of his biggest challenges, says Habib. He adds, "Seeing the face of the client lighting up when they see my concepts knowing that my work is going to make a difference either in raising revenue or awareness for them."

Behind the design
Graphic design is becoming a big gun in the business arsenal. It is often the major factor in a company being able to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Habib notes, "As George M.C. Fisher, CEO of Eastman Kodak once said, 'Good design can make a difference between being a winner or loser in the marketplace.' I'd like to challenge any business to try and market themselves with a hand written sales pitch on a plain piece of paper." He believes that design today is about thinking strategically. It goes above simply making pretty pictures. Strategy is the element that positions the client and helps to convey a message beyond words and pictures. He adds, "So, combined with a good copy, killer photography or illustration, graphic design can position any brand wherever it needs to be positioned."

His award-winning work has influences based in the likes of The Bauhaus, Paul Klee, Shigeo Fukuda, April Greiman, Milton Glaser, Saul Bass, John Sayles, Charles Anderson, Joe Duffy to name a few. Not bad company to keep. His influences have lead him to a style that is clean, functional and professional. He may have started as a kid with a couple of crayons, but his design work isn't kid stuff. It's well thought out, effective and produces real results.

Challenges facing designers and clients
When asked what he sees as the major challenge affecting graphic designers today, Habib replied, "I see a trend developing that seems to have grown with the advent of computer graphics. Everyone thinks that graphic design is a commodity and that anybody with the right software can do it. Unfortunately for them, graphic design is more than making pretty pictures and moving things around until it looks pretty. It is a communication skill that employs visual sensitivity to solve a problem and convey a message to a mass audience usually with different demographic backgrounds."

Habib suggests up-and-coming designers should never stop learning and never, ever work on spec. He says, "It undermines you as a professional and it undermines the entire graphic design industry. Make it a mantra to follow the rules of ethics and professional conduct. Everything else, including success will fall into place." He also believes in balancing the quest of being a profitable business with giving something back in the form of pro bono projects for causes one truly believes in.

As for client companies, Bajrami says, "Companies should look past who can do it cheaper. They should start comparing apples to apples. It is wrong to compare design created by a wannabe and design created by a professional. The end result can be either rewarding or devastating. It's their choice, after all it's their business. Let the work and reputation of the designer influence your hiring decision."

Peering into the future
Where is graphic design headed down the road? Habib believes it will become increasingly more important and integral part of our lives. Habib said, "Things that we take for granted would not exist without design. Look at the latest creations by Apple, Palm, DVD titles, furniture, cars they all derive from what graphic design is all about. Form and function."

So where's Bytehaus headed down the road? "Five years from now I would like to see myself doing more work that I enjoy, not that I don't enjoy my present work, I just want to see more of it. Also I see devoting my time solely on solving clients problems and having couple of assistants doing the production end of the spectrum. Ten years from now, same as the above multiplied by three," said Bajrami.

Nope, Bytehaus Studio sure isn't your run-of-the-mill desktop publishing shop. This guy's a pro with the experience and thinking skills to back it up.

When you're you're looking for someone to solve your unique communication problems with creative direction, traditional training and many years of experience, then visit

Read Bytehaus Studio's profile »
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