My Best ways to quickly and efficiently get freelance work done!

Okay I’m already apologising for my epically long subject title on this one, but I feel I need to share these facts, but in actual fact they aren’t the easiest thing to share… okay I’m confusing you know I’ll admit it… gosh I need to stop apologising this is just turning into an argument with myself!

1. folder organisation

Firstly one of my key tips I would say Is file organisation I have a section on my computer dedicated to my freelance work which sits various different folders for various different companies that I do work for. I separate them into projects in each folder and images. I’m not a naturally organised person I would admit that but I have practices to ensure I can find everything when I need it.

2. naming of files

Give each file and each change a unique number or reference this often happens with logo changes and after a long hard day at staring at a computer you think to yourself whilst looking at that thumbnail is that really the one I’m looking for because seriously they all look like identical twins

3. start from a sketch

You can never go wrong with a sketch if your start from a sketch with you idea you can usually be quicker in the design process when you go onto the computer you tend to get obsessed with tweaking and changing small things and you really just don’t get any where

4. Make lists and take notes

Some clients aren’t good over email’s. emails and texts can easily be misinterpreted and If you don’t question them and go off on a tangent then …. yea your wasting time and essentially time is money when it comes to freelancing. Making lists is all about work prioritisation what needs doing now what can be done later and who is your high priority client at this time.. Obviously they are all high priority but making a list and thinking seriously about what need doing can really help.

5. Remember to take a break

Taking a break is important for your health go for a walk, go get a glass of water. Go and think about the designs rather than stare at the computer. Sketch just get yourself away from the computer just for a little while.

6. Have everything to hand

I have my trusty design books with me, a big bottle of water, a sketch pad, a note book and of course my laptop, but that kind of given. I live in a very small flat in London so I don’t really have a desk but I will sometimes go and sit at the dining room table or in the garden I feel like having one place to do my work is a bit ridged I’m a creative person and my surrounds reflect my design so be where you are comfortable but always remember to separate home life from work life.

 

 

My Latest Branding Project

This week I’ve been working on a branding project. Logo design, Business card and brochure just wanted a little bit of feed back from you guys if you can help I really like it, but an unbiased second opinion is always good!.

The client is a 1 on 1 high end teaching and project management specialist.  which looks better out of these two?  after looking at it for awhile my mind just boggles.

 

moving forward-2-02

Results of the t-shirt design poll and other various things..

Okay so if you remember a couple of weeks back I did a blog post on T-shirt design and what kind of things you liked minded designers like in terms of t-shirt design. Un surprisingly now I come to think about it the results came to animals.. Which makes sense seeing as my best designs and designs I’m currently working on are animals so I guess. If your reading this then you like my work, then there is also a good chance you like my animal designs. so lets just say my designs have made the response abit bias and the only way to get an accurate result would be to potentially guest post on another blog where perhaps the writer isn’t an individual with design styles that reflect the people who follow them. The results were interesting… that is all and thank you to all who kindly voted in my poll.

In terms of what I’ve been up to this week its been a crazy week. I’ve been a combination of working in my many jobs organising designing and re-organising my portfolio which I feel will never be finished because as soon as I create a new piece of work that I think is amazing I want to add it and I feel I need to learn that less is more make your decision stick with it and don’t agonise over it for hours. portfolio-2014

I also created the case for the portfolio which is an paper envelope that I have turned into a folder wrap and stitched the corners to make it look like material. I wanted to create something both eco friendly that challenges the way we see material things yes its essentially just an envelope but its the inventive idea and change of something simple that makes it compelling. although I must say the practicalities of paper in the rain aren’t great but it sure beats plastic and more to the point I could just make a new one!

This week I’ve also had some continuing freelance work which hasn’t been easy  as I’ve had two make a trip to the printers as my printer broke down which was incredibly annoying so not only did I have to do mock ups but I also had to print the final item. It’s surprising when you realise that to fix and or buy new ink for your printer that it works out cheaper to get them all done at your lovely local printers. Than It is worth bother to sort the thing out. I have a lexmark printer… it’s ok when it works but when it goes wrong and your test printing something and it has lines all over it. no matter how much ink your force into it. It’s still going to look this same. Anyway my printers did a grand job at a last min  (I mean I emailed at 11 o’clock at night and picked them up at 2pm the next day)  so if your looking to get a good print a reasonable price and good customer service visit www.sbsprinters.co.uk I would throughly recommend them.

In terms of my clients this week I’ve had response from a few previous clients which I’ve been prioritising. I had some interested from people over seas which is positive and all in all I’ve just been very busy!

ohhh and before I forget I went for a quick look in waterstones this week and brought a book I’d heard alot about.

“know your onions graphic design”

I’ve found it quite an interesting read it gives quite valid points about how you can become a better graphic designer and preachers that you can learn 25 years worth of graphic design experience so when I saw that I thought yea that’s something I could do with. its informative and entertaining and thats what I think I need in a book. its a good size for your to carry around so in that sense it’s also very practical It has a slip in the back so you can put notes and sketches in and all round I think it makes a great read. It’s not one of thoughts reference books that you will read a bit of and get bored. It makes you feel comfortable enough to read from start to finish and steps away from that occasional reference style. love it!.. not finished it yet but I brought it yesterday and I’m now half way through… good read buy it!

know-your-onions

 

 

Should you design a covering letter?

I’ve been doing some searches on how to make my CV look beautiful. My previous CV was how do I put it…. A little bit boring just plain black and white like a corporate CV. So I’ve designed my CV to be in sync with my website and my blog to keep my brand consistency, which is a sensible move. but the question I’m wondering is if applying directly (obviously in a creative manner job) with a fully designed covering letter can effect the decision of the hiring manager or does it simple just say “PICK ME, PICK ME” and provokes bad attention toward the candidate.

Covering letters are defiantly a bit of a blank subject for graphic designer at university they tended to miss off the covering letter part and skip to the interesting CV design. Which considering the lecturers are designers themselves who can blame them they didn’t get into lecturing about there favorite subject to talk about copy writing or maybe we should have all just taken a creative writing class!

But in a serious note the covering letters that I see online seem to be branded and very simplified but in tone with the graphic designers branding. but then I come across others that have the same cookie cutter style and then the word “I CAN DO IT” embossed in the centre. or a designed post about why they would like to work with them. But my question is do creatives on hiring teams enjoy this kind of thing? well I’m sure it provokes some entertainment but is acceptable. Would that covering letter be seen as “trying to hard” or “lazy and inappropriate” whats creative and acceptable and what is stepping the mark?

anyway I’m sure you all have your own opinions. Take a look at my CV design and tell me what you think.

CV design CV design CV design

Design portfolios what is the norm? or is there not one?

I’ve been thinking about design and recruitment recently and the type of things that must go through there minds as they see a portfolio.

Things are getting more and more digital so does this eradicate the need for a print portfolio although I must say (PRINT IS NOT DEAD)… ahem… but it must be difficult when you have to compare one to another. in different types of medians we now have to view work.

In my experience I’ve been asked for various different things from supplying them with 5 to 6 pdf examples under 5 mb (which I’m sure most designers find quite hard when they want there work to be shown in the best possible light shrinking it down to a small size and not compromising the work quality is tough)

print portfolio

To just being asked to provide a link which is simple enough and makes sense for video and animation positions. But I ask myself are there print designers out there sending promotional pieces of work to companies in order to seek work and what is considered the norm or does the organized savvy designer out there just prepare for every eventuality and hope for the best.

animation portfolio

Its made me realize the other day recruitment is tough in the design industry… large amounts of people after one job being sifted through recruiters before you get to go on to the next round  and most of the jobs have a shelf life meaning there career is often uncertain and lets face it … its hard to find a stable job in the design industry because it feels like companies are always on the look out for hot new talent… (at least that’s my opinion anyway) being freelance puts your career in your own hands and puts you in control even when jobs are out of control and you can’t find any leads. I guess thats why people consider it as a career …. you know what to expect when you get out of bed in the morning!….. unless of course you are rudely awoken by the sound of a client ringing your mobile!…

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what I’ve been up to (freelancing mostly)

Well I’ve been freelancing awhile now and to be honest It’s now to the point where I get very little time to do my blog which I now decided needed a long over due update.

I’ve been working with a lot of food based clients over the few months some have been local and some have been not so local I’m enjoying this type of work and I think it is something that I am definitely going to continue with (provided I can find more food based clients who are willing to take me on!)

I’ve realized more and more that I am developing my own style its got to the point where I can look at my work and compare the similarities between each project (big or small)

The way I work is becoming more and more structured and even the everyday admin parts are becoming easier simple things like invoices ect are becoming second nature to me.

At the moment I am working on the development of my site at the moment as you can see my theme is not designed me. which as you can imagine as a designer frustrates me a little bit so my aim now is to customize my theme or create my own custom template which considering this. I’ve only ever predominately created websites using my own HTML/CSS I now understand why SEO is important and what It can do for me to be searchable to people.

Hopefully this will help me gain more exposure as a result.

I’m continuing to gain work from companies some I have consistent work with which helps me no end. I feel like I’m getting closer everyday but I know things take time and I’m to the point where I want things to be just right.

The summer freelance frenzy

ok so as you have probably seen on tv we are experiencing a heat wave here in London/England which has resulted in an increase of U.K citiziens taking a well earned break! (who can blame them)

which is greatly improving the need for little freelancers like me to make their mark on the industry I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for work in studios and various other in-house departments needing a designer to fill in for there over worked designer to take a well earned break to relax in the sun.

so needless to say I’ve had a fair amount of work on I still have consistent work from my northern clients which has only fuelled my desire to work north. What with high house prices and earning staying the same the need to live in a more low price society is still something I would like to pursue and what with family being in a close proximity and clients this would be great for me. Lets just say I’m more of a tea drinking that a latte drinker (tea houses should be on the increase in the south us northerner can never get a good cuppa.)

anyway back to the freelancing I’ve gained a more consistant client recently and I’m hoping that the relationship will develop into constant work (fingers crossed on that one)

but at the moment I am looking for work in leeds so if anyone knows anyone who would like to work with me up north give me a bell…./email.

contracts!

well hopefully I am nearing the end with my current client who seems to be incredible relentless to the point where I have had to change my contract. changes here changes everywhere I never get a moments peace (although I do love it ) my partner thinks I’m being taken advantage of and to be honest I agree but part of me wants it to be perfect so when I’m given changes I just can’t help myself so… to save time (mine and my clients) I have capped a limit on the amount of changes and then anything above has to have an added price. I think that’s fair I’ve been reading up on a few handy little tips and hints as far as contracts go.

I’ve successfully managed to advertise my services locally (nothing special just local windows) but unfortunately I haven’t heard back yet *large sighhh…*

At the moment life is very hectic and with my partner looking for a new job and us looking for a new flat my mind has wandered abit admittedly I just need to hang in there.

On the other hand my boss has given me a fantastic job of designing their new home catalogue which I am very excited about it hasn’t come to ahead yet as I am holding out for our photographer to come in and take some beautiful photos.

things seems to have slowed down abit although I am generating abit of interest (I guess) modesty kicking in. people are starting to sit up and take notice of my blog which Is good news for me as I’ve started to get emails coming through!!

The one thing I don’t like about freelance is giving a quote and loving the project the client commiting to that work and then silence ….. the thing is in any other profession things would be different be because we are designers we are down at the bottom of importance of the list. which sometimes I get ( within reason I’ve seen some baaaaddd branding in my time) but its working it into your diary and then it not being there its so hard to plan things and trust me you do need to plan)

although I must say I’ve been having response from everyone from Bristol to Liverpool and I am really enjoying it. It gives my career a new lease of life which I never thought I would get back after graduation day.

Things are definitely on the up….. any way back to the drawing board…. and I mean literally there are logo’s to be done!