How Kaz Design Works got started

On December 21 2007, Kaz Design Works was born out of a desire to help local start-ups and small businesses create a professional, cohesive and consistent brand throughout all their marketing material so they could compete with larger, established businesses in their market.

Now in its eleventh year, Kaz Design Works offers graphic design, website development, social media, WordPress customization & maintenance, proximity marketing, and other business services for small businesses, entrepreneurs and network marketers throughout the world.

Originally from the UK and virtually self-taught, in 1999, owner Karen Coleman upped sticks and moved across the pond to southwestern Ontario, Canada. Throughout her career, she evolved from typesetter to compositor to graphic designer to production manager. A constant learner, as the owner/designer of Kaz Design Works, she has applied and improved upon the various graphic design and website development skills and experience gained over the years.

As a dual British-Canadian citizen, Karen frequently travels back “home” for extended visits with family taking her laptop and work with her. With the ease of global connection and communication, Kaz Design Works is able to help businesses on both sides of the pond, and over the years has helped clients throughout Canada, the US, the UK and various other countries of the world with their online and offline marketing needs.

Karen Coleman, owner of Kaz Design WorksA little background about me, Karen Coleman (a.k.a. Kaz)

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a fascination for languages, landscapes, photography and world travel. However, instead or tourism, I took the bi-lingual secretarial path in my early career. I fell into the world of graphic design purely by accident at the age of 27 when I went back to work after having kids.

I started my new career as a typesetter for a phototypesetting company in the UK, typesetting anything from classified ads for a national motorcycle newspaper to editorials for internationally published magazines. I soon realized I preferred the creative side of composition more than typesetting, and began learning and practicing the art of ad design. Over the next few years, I learned, practised and developed Photoshop skills as well as other graphic design and page layout programs, becoming an experienced ad designer.

After arriving in Canada in 1999, I obtained two part-time jobs creating ads for a small publishing company and a local newspaper publisher. Part of a small team, I soon learned how to layout an entire newspaper and, after a couple of house moves and change of jobs, I became production manager for another newspaper publisher.

After leaving the UK, I wanted to stay connected with my family back home and show them our new life in Canada.  So, it wasn't long before I began building websites using an online drag and drop program. After studying the code, I soon became familiar with HTML and began creating websites from scratch.

Realizing there was a need to publish the newspaper online, one of my first business websites was a very simple web design to display each newspaper online. My skills have greatly improved since then!

Starting Afresh

In the Summer of 2007, I decided it was time to start my own business using my graphic design, pagination and website design skills. I wanted to help local start-ups and small businesses create promotional material that is consistent online and off, giving them a professional and cohesive look.

Design and technology were moving rapidly by this time, so I took a Dreamweaver course to help me speed up the web design process. I took a small business course at Conestoga College and enrolled in the SEB program in Guelph to help get Kaz Design Works started.

I’ve never believed I am a master at anything specific but have always considered myself a jack of all trades. Like most designers, this self-deprecating attitude comes from knowing that our work is always being judged by others, wanting and striving for perfection in everything we do. I've come to realize what I thought was a flaw, is actually a benefit when it comes to producing work of a high standard.

I am a constant learner, enjoy a challenge and love developing my skills. With the ever increasing speed at which technology changes, there is always something new and challenging to learn.

Being virtually self-taught, I’ve often looked at challenges as opportunities to learn and grow my skills and experience. While not an illustrative artist, I have a creative mind and an eye for detail. As well, I am often full of ideas and enjoy finding solutions to other people’s problems.

Trusted Partners & Affiliations

Although I run my business solo, I realized a long time ago that, in order to provide the best service possible, I cannot do everything myself. Over the years, I have met, connected and built relationships with various complementary professionals and experts, such as content writers, editors, photographers and print shops, who I can call upon to help fulfill my clients’ needs where I cannot.

As an affiliate with other service providers, from print-on-demand and proximity marketing, to capital funding and merchant processing, I am also able to offer a variety of complementary marketing and business services to help other businesses expand and grow.

My goal is to transform small businesses’ marketing material from drab to fab, setting them apart from their competition. With the help of my trusted partners and affiliations, I’m able to complete both small and large graphic and website design projects to accomplish that goal.

With that in mind, I have created a variety of graphic and website design packages. These packages are designed to help solo-entrepreneurs and start-ups get started with their marketing, small businesses revamp their existing DIY marketing material, and expanding businesses to develop their brand online and off.

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