Interview with Thai digital entrepreneur Annie Chaikanta, Founder of Blank Palette

Annie Chaikanta is the founder and chief graphic designer of Blank Palette, a graphic design service for bloggers and creators who want to enhance their website content with custom graphics and infographics.

Find out how talking to digital nomads while studying for her degree in food science inspired Annie to first become. graphic designer, and later start her own business.

What’s your career background?

In 2015, I was at college in Chiang Mai, Thailand, studying for a degree in Food Science. Like most Thai people my age, I was expected to complete my education in order to secure a stable salary job. While I didn’t particularly enjoy my studies, I also didn’t know what else I wanted to do at that time, so I pushed through.

Trethowans
Trethowans

During my last year of studies, however, I began talking to ‘digital nomads’ in the coffee shops and coworking spaces. Anyone who knows Chiang Mai will know it’s often regarded as the digital nomad capital of the world, so it wasn’t hard to find them.

(If you didn’t know, a digital nomad is someone who runs their own online business, typically from their laptop, allowing them to travel and work remotely.)

By that time, I met my boyfriend who was also working online and gave me inspiration to do the same. I just needed to learn a marketable skill so I could start taking on clients of my own.

I decided to teach myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator because I always loved drawing and illustration. From here, I labeled myself a freelance graphic designer and sourced most of my work from platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

During those years, I focused mainly on logo design and learned a ton about professional branding and corporate identities, as well as being able to communicate with clients effectively as a non-native English speaker.

Fast forward to today, in 2021, I finally moved away from those freelance platforms and started my own graphic design agency, Blank Palette.

Why did you start Blank Palette?

As a side project, I started my own blog to eventually build another revenue stream, and quickly saw the need for graphics to compliment my written content.

Despite being a logo designer for several years, I decided to start offering a similar service to my clients, including both standard graphics and infographics. After all, if I needed graphics for my content, surely others would, right?

As it turns out, this kind of thing was in high-demand, and the transition away from logo design was set in motion. (I also secretly enjoy doing graphics more than logos, but that’s between me and you.)

What does Blank Palette do?

Blank Palette is dedicated to helping website owners take their content to the next level by offering beautiful illustrations and data-driven infographics.

It works like this:

  1. The client chooses a graphic type and the level of detail they want from our pricing page.
  2. They make payment and submit the order brief for each graphic.
  3. We get to work designing their custom graphics.
  4. We submit the work within a few days.
  5. The client can request any revisions (if necessary).
  6. We make the required adjustments.
  7. The work gets approved.
  8. Everybody dances!

What’s your USP?

Besides being very cost-effective, we do a few things differently to most other low-cost graphic design services, and I believe these things really help set us apart from the competition.

Specifically:

  1. Our graphics are fully custom, meaning they’re all designed from scratch without the use of publicly available stock assets (yes, the same ones you see used on all your competitors’ websites).
  2. We do in-depth research on the clients website and niche to make sure we have a full understanding of what we’re designing before we design it. This ensures the best possible accuracy and quality result.
  3. We look to build relationships, establish trust and maintain great communication with all of our clients. Many graphic design services often overlook the “service” part, we don’t.

To top it off, we have a full refund and unlimited revisions policy that protects first-time and long-time clients on every order they make.

Who inspires you?

These two people are my inspiration for building my own business and my graphic design work:

  • Sophia Amoruso – Founder and former owner of retail fashion called “Nasty Gal” – I know her from the book “Girlboss”. She started her business from zero and now she built a multi-million dollar fashion empire. I like her passion for fashion and being the boss of her own life.
  • Christoph Niemann Talented artist and visual storyteller – I get inspired by his artwork and his creativity. Every piece of his work is so unique, I like the way he creates art from objects you wouldn’t think you can make from them.

Who’s your target audience?

Our target audience is anyone who runs their own website, and particularly those who publish regular blog content. This includes people who run online services, online marketers such as those who build authority/niche websites, SEO specialists, and even hobby bloggers.

Ultimately, if you have a website and you want to add interesting visuals to increase engagement and drive more traffic, you can benefit from using our service.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

  1. Never give up – building your own business is all about being patient and fixing problems. The most important trait in successful people is perseverance.
  2. Be around people who do the same thing as you, because you can bounce ideas off each other and solve problems as a group. It’s also a great source of motivation.
  1. Believe in yourself – nothing is impossible if you believe you can do it! Try to find positive energy and confidence in yourself. No matter how hard it is, if you think you can do it, you will get it there!

Find out more about Blank Palette.