Freelance Focus 16th May 2008

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I am looking for more people who would be interested in taking part in Freelancer Focus please see this post for details if you are interested. I am also interested in design case studies too.

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Rob Turpin (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Rob Turpin (thirty five years old, how did that happen?)

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Near Twickenham, SW of London

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Almost all design for print, a mix of work for small businesses, charities and work for the NHS.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
On and off about eight years.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Eight or nine months.

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I’d been out of Design for about three years and found the thought of going out to interviews a bit daunting, so I thought why not try and get some work myself.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
I was very lucky, I was helping my girlfriend at her shop and would sit at the front working on my Powerbook – my first client came from chatting about my computer.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Word of mouth so far. One client, as long as you do a good job, seems to lead to another. So far all my work has come to me.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
Well, roughly I thought about the salary I had when I was last in a full time design job and tried to match that to an hourly rate. It does vary a lot though, depending on the client and the job sometimes I will charge a flat rate for a piece of work, an hourly rate or a daily rate. I also offer a discount on invoices that are paid before their due date. It always helps with the cash flow.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
I work from home.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I’m nowhere near as organised as I should be. When I am busy I find myself working stupid hours long into the night.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
It’s important for me to have a normal working life, so I think I have pretty much a normal holiday allowance of twenty days or so. Saying that, I do work weekends, bank holidays…

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Keep my eyes open – it’s all out there.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
freelanceswitch.com, computerarts.com, gomedia.com, Design Week, Creative Review (occasionally).

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Often its things like the tutorials on GoMedia or Computer Arts. Following a tutorial can give me a great idea for something completely unrelated, or maybe it’ll inspire a personal piece of work which will then end up in a clients design.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
Shhh, I don’t.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Be confident in your own work, and don’t make the mistake of believing everyone else is doing something better than you – they’re not!

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Oh no. Never.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
It’s all in the hips.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.thisnorthernboy.co.uk

Although there isn’t actually any work up yet!
graphic design work

Freelance Focus 2nd May 2008

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I am looking for more people who would be interested in taking part in Freelancer Focus please see this post for details if you are interested. I am also interested in design case studies too.

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Joseba Attard (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Joseba Attard (pronounced yoh-seh-bah)

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
North Devon, UK

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Mainly design for print although also some website work

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
4

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Since 2005

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I was burning out running a design studio, and decided to take a break. Working from home gave me the flexibility I needed.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
Online portfolio and signed up to a couple of directories

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Send out emails from time to time to various agencies but to be honest I only tend to think about marketing myself more when I’m not very busy. (I don’t recommend this by the way).

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
Well, my work for various design studios gave me a good indication of how to price up jobs. I don’t put mark-up on print, but I do charge if I have to print manage a job. Some jobs I charge by the hour but for the bigger jobs I’ll quote a job rate.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
Work from home but have also travelled to agencies to work at their premises from time to time.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I try and work 9-5 but as some of my clients are abroad with different timezones, I tend to keep an eye on emails etc throughout the day.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
I build it into my work schedule. I’ll take a holiday if I need one during a quiet spell.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Magazines (creative review, computer arts etc) portfolio websites, blogs and forums, generally looking around at what styles and trends stand out in the crowd.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
Huck and Stranger magazines. No blogs or podcasts though.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
I usually head down the road to the beach, go for a surf and think about ideas in between sets. If there’s no waves, I’ll sit on a rock with a thermos flask sketching out ideas. I always carry my camera with me too to snap any inspirational design I see on billboards/posters etc.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I do all the quotes and invoices myself, and at the end of the tax year I pass on everything to an accountant. I try and keep receipts for everything business related.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Never sit still.

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Possibly, but I’m not sure it’d be in design. If anything it’d nice to take a break from the screen. Before I was a designer I worked as a shepherd in Shropshire!

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Don’t be sensitive. Take advice from people in the know. Also treat each job as if it were for your own marketing.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.joseba.co.uk

Freelance Focus 18th April 2008

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I am looking for more people who would be interested in taking part in Freelancer Focus please see this post for details if you are interested. I am also interested in design case studies too.

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Jacob Cass (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Jacob Cass (20 years old)

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Newcastle, Sydney, Australia.

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Logo Design, Branding (ie. letterheads, business cards, stationery). I also dabble in web design.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
I am still a graphic design student however I am freelancing at the same time to pay my bills.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Let us put it this way, my first paid job was when I was 16.

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I never really decided, I more of fell into the design world. I first came across the internet when I was about 11 and I put a webpage onto the net at that time for my basketball team (ah good ol’ Frontpage) and ever since then I have loved the design world. Kinda weird I know.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
At first it was all through word of mouth and referrals however I just recently started Just Creative Design, which is a blog focused on graphic design and I have been receiving work through there as it has made my blog/website show up in search engines. I am currently #1 on Google for ‘logo designer newcastle’ which sends great targeted traffic. online portfolio at Just Creative Design.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
As I am a full time student, I really am pushed for time like the rest of us so I don’t market myself any other way other than via the internet and word of mouth however I do have an online portfolio.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
I have read blogs and discussions on these matters to help me decide what is the best price. It also changes depending on the client and the project at hand of course.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
Work from home and love it! Everything is in my room, it has my bed, office, tv, desk, storage, phone, scanner, printer, sound system and fridge. There really is no reason for me to leave! How is that for productivity?

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?

I work all over the place and I usually juggle a couple of projects in the same day as I do not like working on one project for one long time. This helps the project and myself stay fresh.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
Too much. We are very privileged here in Australia, with the beaches, sun and great outdoors so I make the most of it. However as much as I love Australia, I also love traveling too. I have been over to 20 countries so far and I am booked to travel to 14 countries over Western Europe in June this year which I can’t wait for as you can imagine. You can read a bit of my travels and view some pics here.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
I am subscribed to many many blogs which I read on a regular basis. I also receive email newsletters and my professors at university also keep us in the know.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
I am subscribed to about 40 graphic design blogs which I try to keep up with – very unsuccessfully… there is so much quality content!

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Brainstorming is my best technique and sketching. If I am ever stuck I refer to my how to boost your creativity post that I kind of wrote for myself 🙂

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
Excel sheets keep most of my data, along with online records.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?

Don’t under value yourself. Many starting designers do this and in the end, do it quite rough!

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Never have done full time work in my life and don’t look forward to it.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Thanks Tara for letting me have this opportunity to share a little bit about me and the freelancing world!

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
You can check out my graphic design portfolio here. Thanks!

This post is from Graphic Design Blog

TCF – Creative meets Creative

A guest post by Milosh Zorica

graphic design london

A major concern for most freelancers is establishing a place to work from. While working from your bedroom has its advantages, plenty of people, including myself, feel their productivity is lower at home. Simply put, home is not meant to be a place of work.

I’ve worked in a lot of different environments. From cafes (unfortunately, the UK hasn’t got as many places with free Wi-Fi as the USA does) to client’s premises, to shared offices. All of them, Different places with one thing in common – lack of community feeling and non-existent support for start-ups, freelancers and thriving entrepreneurs.

Imagine a place with great networking opportunities, where people with a creative approach to their work (though not necessarily involved the creative industry) congregate – a place that serves as a kind of business incubator. I’ve been imagining, in fact, dreaming about such a space.

Recently I came across The Creation Factory. A nice shared office in a very cool area (an abandoned brewery, just on Brick Lane, a short way from Liverpool Street and Shoreditch). The Old Truman Brewery itself is a great place, and home to many creative businesses. There are plenty of things to do after hours or when simply popping out for a boost of inspirational energy. The area has got various venues (shops, pubs, restaurants, clubs, galleries, records store, etc.) most people would love to have on their doorstep – definitely an interesting eco-system for unleashing creativity.

The biggest advantage of TCF is its added value – people! You have an opportunity to meet people doing wide variety of work, who share common values and hold a creative approach to their work. TCF is a sort of business incubator aimed at helping freelancers and start-ups grow in their own individual manner. People meet, share ideas, discuss and some even cooperate. On the first and third Thursday every month, ‘Show & Tell’ takes place at TCF; A session that runs for a few hours, where individuals can talk about themselves and what they do for 10 minutes each. Each participant shares their thoughts with others and receives valuable feedback. It also serves as a place to establish excellent connections and hopefully turn some great ideas into a reality. S&T is open to everyone, not only TCF members. Actually, some of us became members by visiting S&T first and then falling in love with the idea behind TCF.

TCF is really diverse. By being international (French, Serbian, German, British, etc.) and having its members do the various work (designer, 3D/stereography guy, writer, web hosting guru, value management expert, photographer etc.). Members are either permanent desk holders or ‘Gym Members’ (infrequent hot deskers). All have 24/7 access, with certain limitations subject to the type membership they hold.

This is one of the rare businesses where profit is not the main drive, but helping its customers earn more is, which subsequently is more beneficial to the company as a whole. They are quite picky about who they take on board. If your business seems to be unethical or they don’t like your attitude, you’ll be turned away. But, most likely you’ll enjoy the place and your work there.

Doug Mather, an experienced entrepreneur and a business coach, is more than willing to share his experience and knowledge and give you some great advices as to what might help your business grow.

The other chap behind TCF is Rob Chant. A physicist, designer, web developer, free thinker and a great source of ideas and inspiration. He shows up once in a while, so don’t miss the opportunity to catch him!

TCF is supposed to be an eco-system where members interact, communicate and cooperate, helping each other grow.

A great concept worth checking out! At least on S&T sessions, which are absolutely free and open to everyone.

http://www.thecreationfactory.co.uk

This post is from Graphic Design Blog

Brochure Design Case Study

Last year I was asked by a company called Perkz in Northamptonshire to design an A5 brochure, to use as a direct mail piece. Perkz are a business incentives company, companies sign up for their service and their employees are then gives discounts from leading retailers, travel companies etc. Perkz wanted to look like an established company but also wanted a fresh friendly look – corporate handshakes etc were definitely out.

I had a look at Perkz online competitors and then began sketching out ideas.

My thoughts focused several ideas including:

  • A rainbow with employees standing beneath it (ie. pot of gold at the end of the rainbow)
  • An open box with goodies inside (like the excitement of opening and receiving a parcel/gift)
  • Typographic use of a happy face within typography

Some of the sketches can be seen below.
Perkz brochure design sketches by Roskell Design freelance designer based in Northamptonshire

I then chose my preferred brochure design ideas and worked up the covers first, followed by a spread for each.
brochure design options by Roskell Design Northamptonshire

I showed the brochure design options to the client who chose the happy face option. I then designed and artwork the rest of the brochure.

perkz brochure cover and spread design by Roskell Design, freelance designer Northamptonshire

I also produced posters, a DL leaflet and powerpoint presentation for the client following the same style.

Poster and DL leaflet design created by Roskell Design a freelance graphic designer based in Northamptonshire

David Tedford, Perkz Managing Director was kind enough to give me the following quote to use as a testimonial:
“I was delighted with the work that Tara produced for us. It met our needs perfectly in terms helping us stand out from the competition and giving a more professional look to our literature whilst at the same time not compromising on our desire to remain a fun, fresh-faced organisation. Tara’s work has resulted in our most successful direct mail campaign to date. Tara was a joy to work with and I hope that we will work again soon.”

This post is from Graphic Design Blog

5 Comebacks to Client Questions

A guest post by Danny Outlaw

Client “I was looking at your portfolio and really liked design X. Can you do something like that for me?”

Designer Thanks for the compliments on my work. Im glad you like that project and I promise yours will be up to the same standards. As for designing something like that for you, I think a fresh approach might be a better idea. Why do what others have already done when we can create something new and unique to maximize your project?

Rather than base your design on others that are already out there, lets make yours unique and design it from the ground up. By building and designing from the ground up, we can create a design that serves your clients well and by default will become unique and distinctly yours. This approach may seem scary at first, but as the project progresses, I assure you that you will be presently surprised with the outcome.

Client “I think I changed my mind about the revision, can you try something else?”

Designer Im sorry you no longer feel that the design you chose is what you are looking for. Per our contract, we agreed on X amount of concepts and revisions. This additional revision is out of the scope of the initial project. However, i will be willing to modify one of the prior revisions for you at a rate of $$$ or create a new concept from scratch for $$$.

Please understand the initial design process is one of the most lengthy parts of the design process. To spend more time on your project would mean I would have to take away time from my other clients. Surely you can understand this, as you would certainly not want to be the client I had to take away time from.

Client “I really like this color scheme and want to incorporate an eagle into the design.”

Designer The color scheme to shared with me is certainly very well put together. However, Im not sure it will really fit your needs. Can I ask why you choose these colors? I’d like to point out that in your creative brief you said that your target market was males that were into extreme sports. Do you think that these types of consumers will be draw to earthy pastel colors like that of the color scheme you shared with me?

As for the eagle, you never mentioned it in the initial create brief. Can I ask where this is coming from? If it serves a purpose to your business Im sure we can tie it into the design. The fact that you failed to mention it in the creative brief would lead me to believe its not that important to the over all design. My suggest would be to continue on our original path and see if the finished design feels like its missing something. If so, we can conquer that task then.

Client “Can we add this, this, and one of these?”

Designer Those are all great ideas on their own, but might overpower your desired outcome. At this stage in the process it can be hard to grasp and visualize the bigger picture. In my experience, it is best to focus on the key points and concepts of the business. Adding too much early on can have an unwanted effect. May I suggest finishing our original project and give it some time to be digested by your customers? If, later on, you feel like these items would better serve you and your customers, we can talk that over then.

Client “I dont like where this is going. Can I get my deposit back?”

Designer Im sorry we dont seem to be seeing eye to eye on this project. Perhaps we can suggest another designer that might better fit your needs. Unfortunately, as stated in our contract, the deposit is non-refundable. We have spent a considerable amount of time on your project and can not justify refunding your money. If you feel this is a breech of contract or in anyway unfair, we will be happy to provide you with the contact information for our lawyer who will handle this conflict.

Please remember that the ideas and concepts that we have shared with you are protected under copyright laws. We are sure you wouldn’t think of stealing our ideas, but must bring this to your attention. If you decide to go with another designer, you are not allowed to share or use these designs with them. If we see that you end up with a deign similar to the one we created for you, we will have bill you the full amount of the project or have our lawyer contact you.

DannyDanny is the brains behind the Outlaw Design Blog. He is a Jack of all traits who works as a freelancer, travel writer, photographer, whitewater raft guide, and a dog musher. He currently left the rat race and is living it up on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. At any given point in the day he may be asleep in a hammock or on the computer in a hammock. Danny’s blog can be found at www.outlawdesignblog.com