Tag Archive for: freelancing

Graphic design may be one of the most in demand jobs out there right now, especially within the art field. But, as any designer can tell you, competition for work is tough, and designers looking for full-time employment rather than freelance work have bad odd working against them. Employers are looking for designers for diverse projects that can vary wildly depending on who hires you, but they expect you to have just as versatile skills to cover anything they will ask of you.

With such a tough marketplace, it is obviously very important for designers to have a great CV or resume that will make employers want to hire you. That doesn’t mean they want it to be over-styled and decorated. Employers obviously want professional looking resumes that gives them the impression you are equally professional and business-minded. What makes the real difference to prospective designer employers is the skills you have. The jobs may vary wildly, but almost all design jobs require the same 10 skills or proficiencies.

Amy Edwards took the time to go through over 100 design jobs advertised on Bubble to see exactly what employers are looking for, and the results were even more homogeneous than you would expect. Needless to say, those Photoshop and Illustrator skills should be maintained, and you should be get getting experience in all the other programs and design techniques coming out are also hugely important in climbing the career ladder.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFew new designers appreciate how important design briefs are. It usually takes a few years and a couple frustrating and seemingly directionless projects to realize how effective briefs are in giving a designer good direction, and saving designers from numerous redrafts.

Even once you realize how importance a design brief is, many designers have trouble integrating them into their practice. How do you get that type of information out of a client? What do I ask?

That last question is probably the most notable. Asking the right questions can give you all the information you need to make a great finished product, but you have to know what to ask. In Claire Roper’s opinion, it only takes ten questions to make a great design brief.

Of course, even if you followed Claire’s rule, you’ll find yourself asking way more than that. For example, if you ask your client, “what do you want to achieve with the design,” there is no way for a client to respond that won’t solicit at least five follow up questions from a good designer.

The goal of a good design brief is to collect as much information as possible from your client to know what they want out of a project, and that involves asking questions you might not otherwise consider. You want to learn everything about the company you are representing, their history, and how they do work, but you also want to learn exactly what they like.

Asking a client to show you designs they like may seem like the first step to plagiarism  but its far from it. As a designer, your tastes are likely different from your client, and you need to know what each client likes. Asking them to show you what they like and dislike will give you a better idea of what you are trying to create and what to stay away from.

While you can start out with ten questions to ask clients, don’t stop there. Ask questions until you feel confident you understand the desires of your client and their business as a whole. These ten questions will get you going, but if your client isn’t bothered by answering twenty-one question, you should ask as many as you need.

Many freelancers chose a creative career because they enjoy the ability to create art. Many of them also happen to not be the corporate shark types of people, and the process of building a portfolio of clients can be an intimidating and difficult journey. It requires a combination of throwing yourself out there, creating opportunities, and dumb luck.

For those that might be a little scared of putting themselves in the way of opportunity and fostering business relationships with strangers, there are some key areas you can focus on to attract clients. Social psychologist Robert Cialdini selects six key areas of influence everyone uses to create new relationships, and Sarah Horowitz says you can use them to build a collection of clients.

The areas are ideas that would allow anyone to create positive relationships with others. Reciprocity and the virtue of sharing opens yourself to others’ goodwill. If you put yourself out there when someone is in need, for no purpose other than sharing or helping, it is more likely someone will go out of their way to help you later. If you help one person, you open yourself to a new relationship which can grow into a great business relationship.

Similarly, if you have a focus, be consistent and show exactly what your expertise is. If you have a niche that sets you apart from others, display it for others, and be a part of anything in that field. Clients and others in the industry will begin to associate you with your special area until your expertise is well established.

There are more areas you can pay attention to in order to begin creating new business relationships and start a freelancing portfolio, but the ideas are pretty general. Be a nice person and a good friend, put yourself out there to others, and display your value, and before long people will be coming to you for your work.