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.

This post is from Graphic Design Blog

Why So Few Women Web Designers?

I was contacted by a company the other day who were looking for a web designer, they were keen to hear from any one interested in a full time web design/developer position (the job is posted on the free graphic design blog jobs board), but especially from female web designers to balance out their development team. They expressed that there seemed to be a lack of women web designers. I must admit it is something I have never really thought about.

So is it true are more web designers/developers male and why is this? Is it because many women are put off by the coding aspect of web design and prefer the more creative freedom of print? My partner works in construction which is a male dominated area, but he has said that in the last few years women are coming in to the industry more on the management side. When he started in his old job there were no female quantity surveyors, when he left there were several including his boss. This was due to promotion of the industry to women. Maybe web development needs the same push?

What are you thoughts, is the area of web development male dominated?

This post is from Graphic Design Blog

20 Signs You’re Working for the Wrong Design Company

A guest post by Louisa Nicholson

Listed in order of importance, the top 20 signs that you’re working for the wrong design company:

20. You aren’t making what industry says you should for your area. For the United States, reference the AIGA surveys

19. The clients like you better than your boss.

18. You work overtime when you don’t want to.

17. If you had to sign rights away to do competitive work and you enjoy working freelance on the side.

16. You’re ashamed to say you work there.

15. You don’t feel challenged anymore.

14. You work fulltime but don’t receive decent insurance options.

13. You think you can make better business decisions than your boss does.

12. Your boss doesn’t push your ideas or concerns to the clients.

11. Your boss won’t let you try out ideas and take the time to mock them up.

10. Your coworkers are annoying, enjoy gossip or create office politics.

09. You aren’t getting recognition for your work or you are never thanked.

08. You’re unexplainably depressed every time you have to go in.

07. Boredom.

06. You’re ashamed to give away your business card.

05. Nobody communicates.

04. You find coworkers lying about your work or taking credit for what you did.

03. Your boss is a nightmare, take the bad boss quiz and a single YES answer qualifies as a bad boss.

02. You only get paid on commission when it’s the salesperson’s job to find the work in the first place.

01. Your boss edits every piece before sending it off, leaving you with no footprint of your own and no portfolio piece.

People get stuck at bad companies in the same way people can get stuck in bad relationships. Try to talk it over with your boss and if change hasn’t happened yet, it won’t, these symptoms will get worse just like it would in a relationship that just isn’t working out. We tell ourselves it’s our fault for some reason or another and it doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t, if you experience many of the symptoms above, it’s time you went somewhere else. Whether it’s a new career change, going freelance or simply finding that ideal design firm to work for, it’s time to make the career leap of faith. Sometimes after you’ve given notice your boss will try and convince you to stay as well, even match the offer, but do not give in! Feel resolved and stick with it, you’re making the right decision.

Don’t burn bridges though, no matter how hard it is not to be completely honest. You will be surprised how much work I get put into my lap from past employers. Thank them for all their hard work, the opportunity to having worked with them and give them ample notice of when you’re leaving. When asked why you decided to go someplace else, be honest, tactful and humble about it. Ask them how you can make this process as easy as possible and how you can wrap things up before you leave. Make sure you take notes on what improvements you have to make as an employee. Also, make sure to research potential employers better; during the interview ask them how they could improve their own company. My best advice though: don’t judge your current or future job based on money, you will be unhappy again in 6 months.

If you’ve decided to quit in order to start your own business or go freelance though, remember that you may end up creating a worse atmosphere than your last workplace or boss, especially if you started the business because you were angry at your last workplace. No one said you’re automatically qualified for the “Boss” title. Take a vacation after this, work somewhere else, and if after 6 months if you still feel the same way, then you can go for it!

What are things you look for in being employed at a good design company? What advice could you give everyone?

LouisaLouisa Nicholson is a graphic designer, interface designer, web developer & creative writer in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. Her day job entails creative development for numerous clients ranging from small business to Fortune 500, corporate to organization. You can view her web portfolio and other projects created by Louisa at

Creating your Portfolio of Graphic Design Work

Although you can have an online portfolio, a graphic designer who does print work still needs a physical portfolio. The way I have produced a portfolio has changed a lot of the years and the size of my portfolio has shrunk from A1 straight out of college (which was a nightmare to carry round) to the A3 size it is now.

My earlier portfolios all contained printed work which was painstakingly spray mounted onto black mount board or card and laid out in a way to try and display my work to its full potential. Heather at has a great tutorial if you are looking to create a portfolio using this method.

My next portfolios went much more digital and I would create eps my brochures (from quark) and pull them into photoshop on an A3 page. I would then take elements of the brochure that I was showing such as logos etc and use them as faded watermarks/shapes in the background in effect creating a design of the entire A3 page with the design work as the focal point.

graphic design portfolio

My later portfolio pages of graphic design work including the one I have now are much simpler. I create pdfs in quark of my brochure (or other design project) pages then pull them back into A3 Quark documents with my logo at the top of the page. I put simple keylines around the work and hope that the design work speaks for itself without the need for further embellishment. I also make all the work of the same orientation to save keep turning the portfolio round when talking through the work. I put the pages in plastic sleeves and put them in an A3 black ringbinder portfolio. As the work is often reduced in size to fit on the A3 pages I tuck a few finished print examples of a few pieces of work in the pocket at the back of the portfolio.

graphic design portfolio

How do you display your work in your portfolio?

For more tips on creating graphic design portfolios see:

Flexible Online Portfolio for Designers and Photographers


I have recently been reading about a website called format pixel.

formatpixel is an online application which allows you to create ‘page’ based presentations; anything from magazines to fanzines, brochures to catalogues and even portfolios”

The basic idea is that users can upload images and display them, but the thing that seems to separate this site from others is that it offers you the ability to literally layout pages and edit images – in a sort of stripped down Quark/Photoshop sort of way. Looking at the screen shots it looks like it could be an interesting application. It looks ideal for a designer/student or photographer who wants to create a quick online portfolio of their work. It allows you to embed both moving images (including youtube) and static ones.

It’s free for one project and then from £15 to £40 year depending on the amount of projects and space you require.

Features as listed on the website include:


  • Insert pages
  • Use the Spread Planner to arrange the order of, add and delete pages
  • Layer objects on your pages in front of and behind one another
  • Apply colour to your pages
  • Apply background colours to your project
  • Utilise the snap-to-grid functions and alignment helpers
  • Upload your own images with the built in image library
  • Export Projects to your desktop**
    Embed projects in your own HTML pages or Blogs

Text objects

  • Change font face
  • Change font colour
  • Change font style [ normal, bold, italic ]
  • Change font alignment [ left, centered or right justified ]
  • Change the background colour
  • Add drop shadow
  • Change the kerning [ spacing between letters ]
  • Change the leading [ spacing between lines ]
  • Add links to other pages, sites or email addresses

Media objects

  • Import your own JPG, GIF or PNG [ including support for transparency ] files
  • Import FLV Video files
  • NEW Link to YouTube Videos
  • Create your own formatpixel image library
  • Edit the names of your images or delete them
  • Crop your images
  • Add blending modes to images
  • Apply colour filters [ normal, greyscale or sepia ]
  • Apply a customisable blur effect
  • Scale object

Shape objects

  • Change shape
  • Change shapes colour
  • Add blending modes to your shapes
  • Add links to other pages, sites or email addresses

A Good Problem to Have?


Guest post by Bryan Zimmerman

First allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bryan Zimmerman, and I reside in the USA about an hour and a half West of New York City. I just graduated from college with an AS in Visual Communications, and am in dire need of some advice. I came across this site a few days ago, and was overwhelmed by the close knit community. It seems that here in the United States we “think” we know it all, but the only thing we are really good at is putting others down when they ask what they call a “stupid” question. This community is the exact opposite, which is why I will come here from now on to read “intelligent” posts and replies.

With that said, here is my dilemma. When I began college a year ago, I had my eye on becoming a web designer. As the months passed and I learned new and exciting techniques and software, I began to sway toward other mediums. I have written poetry since I can remember, and when I took my composition classes they opened up a whole new world to me. The same happened with photography, video, illustration, etc.

I guess what I am getting to is where to start? Suddenly, I have basic knowledge to manifest my thoughts and ideas into real world solutions. My problem is that now I want it all, and having just turned 41 I feel like my time is limited. One day I may be on a Flash kick, and the next day it’s Photoshop. I am currently dabbling in Apple Final Cut and Logic (I have been a guitarist for the past 25 years, so some of it comes natural).

What does one do when one is so excited by all of the possibilities, yet has no logical path to follow? Do I just pick one thing and become the best I can? It seems the job market wants you to be everything. Also if I pick just one, I know the others will call out to me until I pay attention to them as well. I thought about putting a website together showcasing everything, but then I am not dedicating myself to anything.

I’m not sure if I am making any sense, but if anyone can relate and offer suggestions I will be eternally grateful.

Thanks you for reading this post, and thank you for this community. You guys are awesome!

Best Regards,
Bryan Zimmerman