Posted 28 May 2024
Interview by Isabelle Cassidy
Mention Kofi Nelson

Multimedia designer Kofi Nelson on crossing disciplines and setting up his own agency

After graduating with a degree in graphic design in 2020, Kofi Nelson decided against following his peers in searching for entry-level jobs. Instead, he chose to go freelance – setting up his own media production agency, Kelson Media, in the process. Today, with the company still going strong, the Manchester-based multimedia designer uses his multi-hyphenate design, photography, videography and music production skills to tell stories in branding, logos, music videos and more. Here, Kofi shares what he’s learnt about finding clients, the legalities around freelancing, and how he’s navigated supporting himself financially.

Kofi Nelson

Kofi Nelson

Job Title

Freelance Multimedia Designer



Previous Employment

Creative Boom, Fuse

Place of Study

BA Graphic Design, University of Salford, 2017–2020


Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do?
I am a freelance multimedia designer working in graphic design, photography, videography and music production. Through many years of experimentation, I discovered how these disciplines overlap and can be used together to tell a story.

I think of it like this: if a recording artist wanted to release a new single, they'd need first to record the music. This could be followed by the creation of cover art and some photography to support the marketing of this new single. Lastly, to form a deeper connection with their audience, the artist could film a music video. I use a similar process to tie projects together.

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
My influences and inspirations are so varied! Mihailo Andic and Emory Douglas have certainly inspired my graphic design work. In terms of photography and videography, Sophia Carey and Chrystopher Rhodes inspire me to continue innovating. Curtiss King and Timbaland have played a huge role in shaping my musical expressions.

Kofi’s graphic design work for recording artist Meek Mill’s single

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
Even though I attended university and got a graphic design degree – learning many valuable skills along the way – I don't believe attaining a degree is necessary to become a freelance multimedia designer.

Through my experience of working with clients, they care more about the work that I have done previously, rather than the degree that I have obtained. To progress within this field the skills and traits I would recommend are presenting, time management and keeping up with trends, past and present.

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
In the past year, my favourite project involved the creation of a lyric music video for a recording artist. What I enjoyed the most about this project was having the creative freedom of choosing the lyric music video elements that best matched the emotion of the song. This project was also very enjoyable as I got to combine different disciplines.

Kofi’s videography work for recording artist Yomme

How I got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
Since the very beginning, my journey has been one of discovery. This involved a lot of experimenting with software, learning the legalities of my different disciplines and trial and error. Even though I am still finding my feet, I am very confident and serious about my work.

How did you go about landing your first few jobs?
I landed my first few jobs by doing a combination of outreach and being approached by potential clients. This included sharing my work across social media to using self-promotion when meeting new people.

UI Design for tech company Apache Tech

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
When I was first starting out, it was very liberating to make something that I liked, in the way I wanted to make it. I spent a lot of time watching YouTube tutorial videos about design software and drove myself up the wall at times trying to figure out how to make what I had in my head. I tried to be realistic about what I could learn on my own and what I should ask for help with.

What has been your biggest challenge along the way?
One of my biggest challenges along the way has been learning the legalities of my disciplines. Not only is essential in protecting your art, but it also gives you confidence in how to conduct yourself when it comes to business.

“It's daunting to have your work critiqued by people who have more experience than yourself, but the lessons can be very valuable.”

How important are social media and self-promotion to your work?
Social media and self-promotion are vital to the marketing of my work. Even though as users of these social media platforms we can't always make the algorithms work in our favour, we can study trends and share our work as much as possible.

What are three things that you’ve found useful to your work or career, and why?
Firstly, I’d like to shout out Katy Cowan from Creative Boom. She has a fantastic podcast where she interviews people in the creative industry. These conversations always provide me with a dose of inspiration.

Another platform that I would like to highlight is Fuse. Their founder Jaheed Hussain has been working incredibly hard to create safe spaces for BAME creatives like myself. Fuse’s networking events provide a great opportunity to meet fellow creatives from the city of Manchester and beyond.

Although it can be daunting to have your work critiqued by industry professionals or people who have more experience than yourself, the lessons that you take from this can be very valuable. These critiques could take the form of a YouTube livestream or in-person meet-ups.

Kofi’s logo design for Manchester-based live sound engineering company On Que

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
To live a good quality of life we need to be able to support ourselves. If this means working part-time or full-time whilst working on our creative endeavours then so be it! I have worked different jobs over the years, such as a retail assistant and supermarket assistant alongside freelance work. I recently saw a quote by Oprah Winfrey which said: “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”

Also, when taking on new projects, it is essential to have a legally binding agreement between the parties involved. Not only will this offer protection if something goes wrong, but it also sends a message of professionalism for your services.

“Don’t wait for the perfect time to start, just start!”

My advice

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into a similar role?
Learn as much as you can about the role you would like to get into. This includes both the creative and business side of things. Once you have expanded your knowledge base in this area, it’s time to start putting yourself out there. Don’t wait for the perfect time to start, just start!

Interview by Isabelle Cassidy
Mention Kofi Nelson