Collaboration is a term which I feel gets widely used on Instagram of late, but it’s something that has been happening for years, way before social media - through music, media, politics and the most obvious with celebrities endorsing brands.
If it isn’t Ed Sheran with his No. 6 Collaboration album, it’s Michael Jordan and Nike to create Air Jordans and even Barack Obama coming together with Beyonce and Jay-Z to elevate the Obama election campaign – Although nothing wrong with that, I’m a big fan of all those mentioned above 😊
And now especially after the year we’ve all had with COVID, people have never felt the urge more so in recent times for human connection. So, earlier this summer I gladly worked on two projects together with other like minded creatives.
Rakshabandhan & Diwali Gift Boxes 2020
The first of these projects was with Meera Solanki-Srouji from MeeraMakes who specialises in contemporary celebration cakes. She saw the opportunity to combine our passion for design with the potential to create a unique and thoughtful product. We got our heads together to successfully make and deliver a total of 100 mailer biscuit boxes for the Hindu festivals of Rakshabandhan and Diwali.
Indian Calendar 2021
The second was a self-initiated project which involved the idea of bringing together a select group of British Asian designers to create an Indian inspired calendar for 2021. The objective was to celebrate culture with creativity and connect with those who offered different styles and techniques to that of my own.
With contributions from Dina, Vijesh, Nina, Sanjay and Jitesh we were able to compile, print and promote the #desicaledar2021 which sold out its first batch within 48 hours and got featured in two design blogs.
Both collaboration projects have proved to be insightful in terms of personal growth and professional development.
My Top Tips
Listed below are some of my learnings which I hope to be useful to those looking to work with other like minded individuals in their field of interest.
- Make it worth your while
- Think about the project you want to be involved in. Will it promote your creativity? Your business? Help develop your skills? It has to be worth your time and effort, with measurable results otherwise you just won’t see it through till the end.
- Do some background research on your collaborators
- This may sound obvious but I have made this mistake in the past. There’s no point in working with someone you have no interest in apart from the followers they have or may lead you to!
- Have similar values to those of your collaborators
- An extension on the previous point is that it’s so important to be on the same wave length. Value each others time and understand this collaboration may require work upfront before any benefits are seen.
- State your intentions clearly from the start
- Be open and honest about how you see the project unfolding. How much work you think will be required. If money is involved be transparent and ensure everyone is comfortable with your suggestions before proceeding.
- If you are proposing the idea, it is your responsibility to lead the project
- This probably goes without saying but it is your responsibility to set deadlines, follow up, be firm and allow plenty of time. Remember most likely you will be expecting your collaborators to work upfront and for free, so its common curtsey to give ample notice.
- The collaboration works best if all parties benefit equally
- This may not always be necessarily the case, but more often than not it helps if you’re equal in terms of positioning and more notable Instagram followers! I hate to say it, but numbers matter – it doesn’t make sense to expect someone with a 100k followers to collaborate with you if you have 500 followers unless you’ve built a relationship with that person and can demonstrate value of equal benefit.
- Be professional and considerate
- Be nice, polite and kind. All those things you’d usually be to any human being. Others may not check their emails as much as you do, they may have kids, a sick relative or unwell themselves! And lets face it, everyone has something or another going on – so allow plenty of time!
- Create something unique
- The main purpose of a collaboration project is to combine your unique skill with that of someone else’s to create something new. It may not be revolutionary but it doesn’t need to be – the special blend of you and your collaborators will make magic!
There it is – my take on collaborations. Hopefully it gives you some food for thought and more importantly a healthy dose of encouragement to start your own collaboration project!