Meet Our Authors: BrandPacks
Today’s interview is with Adam, one of the co-founders of BrandPacks. BrandPacks is a successful graphics and video Authors on Elements.
We could give you a quick summary of who they are and what they do, but it’s probably better to just let Adam do it himself!
For us, creating something which other designers want to use gives us a real buzz. It’s amazing to see your assets being downloaded by other designers.
Introduce yourself + BrandPacks to the Author Community!
Hello, Author Hub! My name is Adam, and I’m the co-founder of BrandPacks. BrandPacks is a small design agency specialised in producing design templates & other microstock resources.
Mostly we produce templates and graphic resources for Photoshop and Illustrator. However, recently, we’ve added InDesign and After Effects to our growing collection of works.
As an individual I’ve been creating and selling microstock since 2009. In 2016 I created BrandPacks with my co-founder King (she’s the real creative talent behind us!).
In the early days of BrandPacks, we focussed on uploading templates to our own website. After being accepted into Envato Elements and seeing the opportunity at hand here, we decided to focus our efforts on uploading to marketplaces instead.
It’s so much easier to grow your portfolio of assets (and income!) when everything else is taken care of for you.
So now we’re pretty much entirely centred around uploading content to Elements, with the exception of our super niche side-project, TemplatesBooth, where we create printable layouts for old-school photo booths – super niche, but super fun!
Where is BrandPacks based?
Our design agency and office is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we create all our content in-house.
Chiang Mai is a beautiful city surrounded by nature in the mountains of northern Thailand. It’s also a hub for creative talent and there’s lots of other microstock creators based here. It’s also a highly rated place to work from as a digital nomad.
If you’ve never visited Chiang Mai, it should definitely be on your travel list!
Is BrandPacks a one-person team? Or do you have additional team members?
BrandPacks has always been a team venture.
For the first 3 years it was just King and myself, with some occasional freelance help. But around 2019 we decided to get serious and grow our team.
Fast forward to today and we’re a close-knit team of 10, with skills in illustration, layout design and now motion graphics too!
Tell me about your background: have you always been a creative person?
I think that everyone on our team was born to work in a creative field some way or another.
Many of us studied at the local university’s art & design faculty, and most (if not all) of us have only ever worked in a design-related profession.
So yes, we’ve always been creative people!
What do you love about working in graphics? What about video?
I would say one thing we love specifically about working on microstock is the lack of a client. Designing microstock resources gives you so much more creative freedom in comparison to client work.
(But I suppose we do have the reviewers to contend with… so it’s not all roses! 😂)
Video templates is a relatively new string we’ve added to our bow. Creating graphics is pleasing in itself, but seeing those graphics brought to life through animation is really satisfying. I can see that video templates are going to be a lot of fun for us!
BrandPacks uploads content in several categories. Do you have a favorite?
I’d say the consensus amongst our team at the moment is that everyone is enjoying graphic templates the most, specifically InDesign templates.
Creating layouts for things like Company Profiles, Newspapers and Magazines takes much more time than a simple flyer, but this allows you to really get invested in its design and produce something beautiful and practical.
I’d also say that the type of projects InDesign templates will be used in are more serious than projects that call for a simple flyer, so you’ve really got to up your game when it comes to larger InDesign publications – and we love to challenge our skills.
Tell me about your creative process. Do you sketch things out by hand, or are you 100% digital?
For items such as clipart or vector illustrations, we tend to hand draw with Wacom tablets, so although it is digital we still “hand sketch” quite a bit.
As for templates like flyers and brochures, we frequently send our work to the local print shop to check that the end product prints well and looks good.
Especially for things like brochures, it’s good to hold a physical copy of the design in your hand to review in real life.
We often find that elements of our templates look great on screen, but once printed it’s clear they can be refined.
Who inspires your work?
For the longest time, personally, I’ve been inspired by the ultra clean layouts EgoType produces. EgoType’s work definitely sets the benchmark for InDesign templates, and I hope we can achieve this level of quality with our own InDesign items.
When it comes to illustrated flyers, I really love the items by dannyaldana. His style is really well-balanced. Fun but practical designs.
(Examples of flyer templates by dannyaldana below.)
Mostly though, we get our inspiration from the real world.
We have a group chat to share inspiration. Whenever one of us sees a cool design in the wild, we take a photo and share it with the group.
This is also how we get a lot of ideas for new item types. For example, our recent Christmas Brochures were inspired by photos I took of Christmas Brochures I saw in hotels on a recent trip to England.
What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
I’ll share some advice specific to microstock creators, advice which was originally shared by ScottWills back in the day.
Scott wrote a thread in the old Envato Forums (and maybe wrote a blog article as well) about the concept of “Double Dipping” your items.
Essentially the idea was to make one item, and then find ways to use that item to create completely new items. Finding ways to “Double Dip” your content is a good way to speed up the design process and increase the value of your portfolio.
I’ll give you an example from our own portfolio at BrandPacks. First we’ll create an extensive illustration pack, such as The Colours of India (below).
Rather than simply upload this item and be done, we’ll then use those illustrations in print templates, such as invitations and menu layouts. And then if we can, we’ll find ways to use those layouts again – such as in animated templates like these.
One of the best things about this concept of “Double Dipping” is it de-risks creating extensive illustration packs such as The Colours of India – which took several months to create.
It’s a risk to make such large graphics packs like that as you never know if they’ll make money – or even worse, get rejected altogether.
But planning to re-use items in multiple other items from the outset can help you lower that risk, and increase your chances of good earnings.
How has Envato helped your journey as a creator?
If it wasn’t for Envato, BrandPacks wouldn’t exist.
Back in 2009 I was following tutorials on PSD Tuts where GraphicRiver was announced at its launch. I immediately became an author, started uploading items and the rest is history!
Envato literally changed the course of our lives by enabling us – and thousands of others – to create a thriving business on top of this platform.
What makes you most excited as a creator online?
For us, creating something which other designers want to use gives us a real buzz. It’s amazing to see your assets being downloaded by other designers. We’re constantly chasing the high of creating a new item that tops our “Most Licensed” list.
Another thing we’re excited by right now is AI. There’s a lot of doomsday talk around the subject of AI, but I think it’s going to be a really useful tool for designers.
We’re already trying to integrate AI into our workflow, and finding it very useful during the ideation phase.
Creative Block is a constant issue for designers, but AI is helping us conceptualise ideas much faster than we would’ve previously.
We also have AI text generation built into our internal dashboard to automatically write our product descriptions – which really speeds up the uploading process!
Are there any design trends that you are loving at the moment?
We’re loving the vibrant colours and abstract gradients that’ve transferred over from the recent anti-design trend. We’ll be making use of some nice bold gradients in our upcoming brochure layouts.
What main programs, tools, or techniques do you use to create your work?
We mostly use Adobe Creative Suite, and a lot of trial and error!
But for our clipart graphics, such as these Nativity Scene Clipart Illustrations, we sketch on Procreate to get the nice hand-painted effects.
As mentioned before, another ‘technique’ we use is to send our work to the local print shop and ensure it looks good after printing. I’d recommend all designers do this to fully understand how their work looks on paper.
Our office walls are full of printed work!
What are your top tips for graphics creators just starting out?
Oof, this would deserve its own article! For now I’ll share some fundamental things that we’ve learned on our BrandPacks journey.
1. It’s not easy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try
It’s going to take you a long time to make your fist items. You’re going to be bummed out when you upload content that doesn’t sell. You’re going to get items rejected over and over again (we still get 10-15% of items rejected!).
This is a great industry to be involved in. Once items are uploaded, the earnings are extremely passive. But as with anything in life, nothing worth having comes easy.
2. Upload at least 100 items
I see a lot of people upload 20 or 30 items and then give up. I’d suggest uploading at least 100 items to start seeing worthwhile earnings. But more importantly, with 100 items you’ll start figuring out which type of content sells best for you.
3. The 80:20 Rule (Pareto Principle)
About 20% of your items are going to make 80% of your income. That means 80% of the content you upload is going to make almost no money at all.
This is why I think it is important to upload at least 100 items – so you can figure out which 20% of items to focus on.
How do you come up with new and exciting template ideas?
As mentioned earlier, we take a lot of photos of designs we see out in the wild. But when possible, we like to use a data-driven approach to creating new item types.
Using the Trends & Insights section of the Author Reports dashboard is a really good way to find new item ideas. We especially look at the areas that have low supply to generate new ideas. The Trends & Insights section pretty much contains all the data you need to come up with new ideas for content.
We also use Ahrefs, a search data tool, to help us find ideas for content. It can be really useful to compare search volumes for item types when deciding what we’re going to work on for the next few months.
That said, many of our top earning items were gut-decisions, so no need to get bogged down in data. If you think an item will be useful to other designers, or just fun to make, go for it!
Feeling inspired by Adam and King at RetroBox? Then you should check out some of our other amazing Author Stories.