Emily whipped us into shape. Running a design studio where both partners have a design background and limited business experience is fun but can make growth challenging. Emily has been our teacher and our confidant. Since we’ve been working with her, we have felt completely supported when faced with major business decisions and it has had a significant impact on the studio’s finances. Her skilled RFP writing has helped us land projects we would have had difficulty landing prior to working with her. Investing in her services is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Her invaluable experience has yielded tangible results in less than a year.
Deroy Peraza, Principal + Creative Director, Hyperakt, Brooklyn, NY
Emily is like a coach, shrink, and business consultant all at once. If you have concerns about your design business (as you should), she’ll tell you the brutal truth, point out red flags, help you chart a solution, and write the most detailed proposals. The wealth of Emily’s knowledge and experience will show through the moment you start talking with her. With a fun personality to top, Emily is our go-to business shrink, I mean, consultant
Julia Vakser Zeltser, Principal + Creative Director, Hyperakt, Brooklyn, NY
The Etsy design team worked with Emily to evaluate and make recommendations on organizational structure, role definition, job descriptions, career paths, and operational improvements as our small domestic team was growing into a large international team. Emily patiently met with key collaborators outside of our design team and with the design team itself to understand needs and challenges of all points of view. With her guidance, we were able to lay a solid foundation for future improvements that we continue to build on today.
Randy J. Hunt, Creative Director, Etsy, Brooklyn NY
When I first found out about Emily, I couldn’t believe that there was someone who provided the services she does. Now, all the hours I’ve spent researching, consulting reference books and colleagues, and writing and rewriting estimates can be spent instead on design. And the best part is that I can now send my proposals with confidence and negotiate from a position of strength, since I know Emily’s work is objective, well-informed, and professional. Thanks, Emily.
Scott Stowell, Proprietor, Open, New York, NY
Emily’s expertise in proposal writing, new business, and strategy has been essential to our growth as a studio. We couldn’t imagine running our business without her. If only she could grow a giant beard.
Jason Kernevich, Principal + Creative Director, The Heads of State, Philadelphia, PA
For a born and bred Californian to be taking the advice of a New Yorker who pulls no punches is something. But lets be honest, we needed it. Emily has got our noses out of the sketch books and into the business end of things(not to be confused with dangerous things such as blenders or hand guns). She’s helped us on all fronts getting our business to run smoother – from getting the work we want to being more profitable and planning for the future. If you are in the design business and you’re neglecting the business part you best give Emily a call tout de suite.
Adam Brodsley, Partner, Volume Inc., San Francisco, CA
We initially hired Emily because we were trying to answer some critical questions of which roles we should hire next as were growing. What we got was the answer to that question and a whole lot more. We ended up shifting around almost every role within the firm, making us much more effective as a team. Emily also helped us with our proposal writing, and we won the business on the first proposal she helped us with, scoring a six-figure new client.
Craig Johnson, President, Matchstic, Atlanta, GA
Emily has been invaluable in guiding us through the growing pains of building a design studio. At first with helping us with general day to day challenges from workflow to proposal development – her overall design/business recommendations were directly applicable to developing a more strategic and proactive running of our company. Our initial engagements with Emily, were everything we had hoped for and yielded quick and noticeable results both internally and in our relationships with clients. Her confidence is contagious and her support and insight have been significant new tools in helping us make better business decisions.
More recently Emily has taken on the seemingly impossible challenge of working with us to merge our office with an international partner in hopes of achieving a more global presence for Paperwhite. Leading workshops with our current and new partners has helped us align on short and long term goals and start laying down the ground work for a new exciting chapter in our business.
Laureen Moyal, Partner + Creative Director, Paperwhite Studio, New York, NY
Emily is passionate about her work, and has an incredible sense for people and how they interact in a workplace. In just 2 days of interviews, we were amazed at how she figured out our business structure, our internal management style, our dedicated staff and their unique personalities, and of course, all our issues! She gave us some valuable pointers on a range of topics which included, partner roles and responsibilities, management style, leadership, teamwork, workflow process, new business practices, and everything in-between. While we have a dedicated team of long-time happy employees, the best lesson learned is that we should always strive to keep improving! While it’s tough to face the truth sometimes, Emily isn’t afraid to dish it out! Behind her easy-going personality, is a brutally honest professional! She really kicked us into gear to take action on our endless to-do lists!
Jennifer Bressler, Principal, Hunt Design, Pasadena, CA
The money we spent for Emily’s help conducting a document audit and writing proposals paid off! The first new proposal we wrote resulted in a comprehensive brand identity, packaging, and web site project to launch a new consumer product.
Fritz Klaetke, Principal/Design Director, Visual Dialogue, Boston, MA
Emily has become one of my most valuable business resources. She combines articulate and thoughtful analysis with a warm and responsive manner. She has the ability to develop proposals that clearly communicate the scope and terms of a project, which ultimately benefits my bottom line.
Suzy Jurist, President, SJI Associates, New York, NY
The success and growth of my business has been due in no small part to the efforts of Emily Cohen. Not only does she write a perfect proposal every time; she never fails to meet the tightest of deadlines, has valuable insight into a wide range of projects, and rises to every occasion with energy and optimism.
Louise Fili, President, Louise Fili Ltd, New York, NY
Before I was introduced to Emily Cohen, I used to think that our estimates and contracts were pretty decent. My German partner and I used to spend hours and sometimes days on the perfect estimate — writing, rewriting, changing prices, second guessing ourselves — and then we would have our girlfriends double-check everything one more time. So, for anyone who is not crazy about spending a full day or a week writing a mediocre estimate and contract, and anyone who wants to look very, very professional there is Emily Cohen.
Hjalti Karlsson, Co-Founder/Partner, karlssonwilker Inc., New York, NY
Emily Cohen is an invaluable resource to our design firm, and we can measure the results of working with her. After completing a Document Audit, we have more professional proposals, produced more efficiently, and we have received a very positive response from potential clients. We have, in turn, either been finalists for review or won the design contract. And that was just the beginning of our work with Emily. Now we work with her on an ongoing consulting basis. Being able to tap into her knowledge and receive her impartial advice is invaluable.
Kelly McMurray, Creative Director, 2communiqué, Delmar, NY
Emily introduced us to the creative brief process and it has changed the way we do business. I used to think some clients were beyond hope and would turn down working with them. Now I explain that defining needs and goals can often be a project in and of itself, and I can see the relief in their eyes. It’s as if they are saying “a designer who really wants to get to know me and will listen to my problems!” In truth, we were always eager to listen, but now we get paid for it.
Sheri L Koetting & Marc Levitt, MSLK, Long Island City, NY
At ground level, the difficulties of an in-house creative department in supporting the customer can be clearly evident. Emily has provided us the view from five thousand feet, and with it, the strategic solutions that can help us regain our focus and direction. Thanks, Emily, for your insight and perspective.
Rich Kushnier, Former Manager, BD Graphics Lab, Franklin Lakes, NJ
Emily was able to objectively look at how our in-house creative department was running and pinpoint key areas that needed to change, in order for us to function more efficiently. She then put together a prioritized list of action items enabling our department to address those opportunities for improvement. She accomplished all this with experienced insight, good humor, and an appreciation for the real-world challenges facing our team.
Andy Epstein, Former Creative Director, Gund, Edison, NJ
Not to sound flip, but being a creative is fun and exciting. Working on the business and everything involved with the business is really not fun. Who makes it fun and somehow inspires you to go back to jump into the all the business decisions is Emily Cohen. Our chapter was lucky to have her speak, and the audience not only was totally engaged till the end of her presentation, they stayed another 50 minutes to ask one great question after another. Emily answered each one with amazing insight, candor and clear action plans. Running AdamsMorioka now for over 20 years, I thought I have all my bases covered, but that night Emily got me thinking about how to change our structure and work towards new goals. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, I strongly suggest you have a notebook on hand.
We were thrilled to have Emily present the Project Initiation/Creative Briefs workshop to our Philadelphia design community last fall. On the heels of her appearance at AIGA PIVOT, there was already a buzz about her which helped us draw a crowd of nearly 50 for one of our most well attended workshops last year.
While we had been marketing the event to our in-house community, Emily helped to shape the presentation for what resulted in a diverse group of attendees: educators, design studios, agency as well as in-house creatives.
The workshop was thoughtful, it was smart, it was well presented—and it left us all hungry for more. She’s a demonstrated creative partner one should not do without!
We look forward to partnering with Emily again on future events.
Cold temperatures and major traffic problems spell doom for most weeknight workshops, but not Emily Cohen’s In-house workshop on Project Initiation and Creative Briefs. She was a true pleasure to work with, and captivated a diverse group of design professionals who saw it as their mission to learn what an effective Creative Brief is, when they are necessary, and more importantly when they are not. It was an enlightening workshop, full of surprises and candid answers, delivered in a no-nonsense but warm tone. Her years of experience as a consultant were evident. The lively Q&A session that followed was worth the price of admission alone. We were honored to have her, and eager to have her back.
It was such a pleasure to have you open the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario’s Creative Business Summit. Your presentation was absolutely amazing and many people came out of it saying so. I wish every single one of our members who does work with clients could have been there to hear it.
Hilary Ashworth, RGD Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Emily Cohen has shared her expertise on managing design organizations at HOW conferences for creative professionals, in-house design managers and agency principals. Emily’s expertise comes from her years of experience as a business consultant, and also as the studio manager for a design company. She’s sharp, focused and honest. And she has deep ties to the design community through her involvement in leading professional associations.
Bryn Mooth, former Editor, at F+W Media (How Magazine), Cincinnati, OH
Emily inspired our audience with her enthusiastic and enlightening content, demonstrating practical techniques and strategies to take away and apply. She’s a great speaker; thought-provoking and very enjoyable.
Sally Lukins, Events and Training Manager, Design Business Association (DBA), London, England