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.

 

 

coco, string, banana and drinks

okay yes it is a weird description for my latest blog post but I couldn’t really think of anything else to describe the week that I’ve had this week. It’s been a little crazy I will give you that. I’m kind of flitting between different concepts and ideas and target audiences to try and help my clients which is never easy but its something I love. Why may you ask well idea’s seem to follow better when I working on a multitude of different projects. I think it’s because when you work on just one project your one focus is there, you almost over look the best Idea you had. Where as when you are short of time the idea comes you execute it and its done it there and you either love the idea hate the idea and then just move on. I’m really surprised how this week has worked out I’ve had about 20 replies to my advert if not more! it’s crazy its a good job I love all this designing malarkey. My life at the moment is all about design even in my spare time I’m design crazy I think my partner is going to go insane. I think sometimes he thinks I have a better relationship with photo shop than him! haha no I’m only joking!

At the moment when It comes to advertising and how I’m getting so much work its all down to marketing. which I once had the pleasure to work in so needless to say I picked up a few tips even if it was only a design internship. so here are a few tips from me being pro active really helps:

1) gumtree- reply and post adverts

I really can’t stress how amazing this website is you’ve put me in connection with so many lovely local people most of which live right on my door step. which means we can have Starbucks meetings! love it!

2) twitter – #graphicdesign #freelance #seeksdesigner I’ve found so many people just by searching through hash tags on twitter you would be surprised how many search results come up you also have to hash tag your area too. I hashtag london

3) linked in – my linked in profile is filled to the max. which means you get picked up very easily in search results very helpful recruiters find you for positions.

4) Behance profile – max it out keep adding and changing things like other peoples work and follow other peoples work

5) WordPress – use tag search to find people who are looking for designs searching graphic design is a good way to do this plus you get to see lots of beautiful work and comment and talk to people in the wordpress community (which I’m sure you all do) and don’t forget to tag all of your posts I tag like a crazy person!

6) creative pool – I’ve had lots of people view my work on creative pool and I’ve even recently had my work featured on the homepage! people and recruiters can find you easily too.

7) fill out a profile on top website such as total jobs and monster and reed.

8) always ask for more work the worst that they can say is no and you can still feed that positive connection between you and your client.

and finally sit back and watch the work roll in and if it doesn’t be proactive call a couple of add check all the jobs board and if all else fails go sip a cocktail in your back garden! any one got any other tips please feel free to share!

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Places to go people to see!

Okay so this week has been a little bit of a weird week as I’ve been away back to Nottingham to see my parent only just got back. To which was pretty non stop the entire time which made things a little crazy on the freelance front. although I did see some good art at Nottingham castle which was fun.

So naturally here I am sat on a train with my handy mac computer and my latest copy of computer arts (The innovations issue!) getting things together for my clients because they need me and plus I pretty much give a dependable service. Last week I did a poster for a new girl band coming and the speed and quality of the work has (hopefully) ensured my long term freelancing with that client finger crossed the guy seemed really happy and did say and I quote ” I will have lots of work for you over the summer” so that seems promising.

I’m also designing a new logo for a smoothie company which is mainly linked with tropical fruit my main focus of that project is for the coconut to look less like an egg… and then we are laughing! but other than that its going well.

I’m also working in conjunction with a eCommerce clothing brand based in Glasgow who want me to design some t-shirts for them for there latest range of t-shirts and there is regular work in that for me which sounds good. so yes I’ve been very busy.

I would add some image to show you some of the work I’ve been up to but for some reason my images keep uploading strange they all look like tiny little ants in size : ( must get that fixed anyone know why this is happening please contact me?!

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

 

 

deer followers take a look at my Tee’s

This week I’m taking part in oh deers T-shirt competition I’ve decided to come up with fairly basic illustrative designs as I feel this is more a reflection of me! of course they are bright and funky and great for the summer time I’ve actually based them on several things I already have or influences *ahem* if you will.

Most of you will know this is my fabulous YCN competition entry which features quite heavily in my portfolio (salad cream).

I love food. I’m not going to lie its one of my passions and really I need to go on a diet but that’s another story! but in other news I mean people do prefer tomato ketchup over salad cream. At least they do in England anyway bloggers.

Buy my Ketchup T-shirt here!

do you dream in salad cream  ketchup-bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as you can see there are definite influences there. I just Love this advert and if it wasn’t for copyright infringement with Heinz I would so put this on a t-shirt but unfortunately I can’t so here my illustrated version its cool its quirky its a little bit different and it gives that surrealist edge which I just love hooray for surrealism!  so competition meet competition and this means war!

Here is my second entry for the ohh deer competition.

One day I was at the pub minding my own business well playing the pub quiz (I don’t even drink!) having a humble coke and there I saw a smiling face staring back at me and I just thought i need to take a picture of this maybe it was just my artist way of thinking seeing things that clearly aren’t there (I repeat I do not drink!) but I saw something that summer day which lead me to produce this t-shirt and I like it. It’s cool it’s summery its a bit fun you can wear and the beach or just chillax at home in it.

I now have one more design to think of to add to this collection I think I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board with this one!

Anyway all that’s left to say is ….. Please please please re blog this post! share it on pinterest share it on twitter… or better still buy my T-shirt and help me out!! I would be so so happy if you did and further more if you do I will be more than happy to let you host blog on this page or give you free advertising on my posts of whatever just please….. share show friends.. be cool!

Buy my Ice summer T-shirt here!

securedownload-1sunshine T-shirt

how do you feel about doing a test piece of work? (freelance)

(how do you reply) This is a difficult subject one of which I’m not sure how to answer but I’m looking at it from  both perspectives.

A client come to you asked you to do a piece of work as a test to see if he likes what you can do. in a job based interview this is ok. but is it acceptable for someone who earns money on there pieces of work alone to do on a freelance basis? should a client take into consideration portfolio before he or she takes the plunge or does the client have a right to give you a test run.

I’ve done these test runs before and while for me it has been sucessful I’m wondering are there freelancers out there who will only give the ok when they have there deposit and no test for cash flow reasons can simply not afford to give away there work (if brief) for free?

I sometimes feel that the designer feels cheated they worked hard to get qualifications a portfolio and to ask for more… well to be honest I’m just not sure on this one.

I think sometimes its good to test the water it also gives the designer a chance to understand if they will get on with the client or if it will be doomed from the start by which time you aren’t at a point of no return.

If any of you freelancers out there see this post (and my lovely followers) please do share your experiences with me i’m interested to know how you have dealt with this situation and if this is something you have come across. Have you gone along with it or point blank just refused?

 

Logo design

Do clients understand the importance of brand consistency?

So I’ve had a fair few clients now and sometimes depending on the client they know what is needed and the others are not so clued up (I mean they’ve hired me so clearly they need my help and nobody’s an expert in everything even I wouldn’t call myself one.) but sometimes I wonder if they are aware of the potential damage that an inconsistent brand brings.

I sometimes get the odd client that just wants one thing designing for them which is okay and other times I’ve pushed for more work that needs doing or suggestions that I can make and for the ones that have needed more (not all some) tend to have there own individual ideas for each project which is fine and the key is to incorporate this with the designs that already exists other wise customer get confused they lose interest and because of the brand inconsistency they lose trust in that company that’s how things are these days and lets face it (I speaking for everyone here) big brand no matter what country you live in stick to these rules and the consumer is used to seeing this. So if a company is inconstant it sticks out like a sore thumb and comes across as… well confusing… and don’t get me wrong branding isn’t easy brand books are normal big thick books with exact dimensions colours and everything. but the key is to get it right take your time and don’t get me wrong it isn’t easy to disagree with a client on something at the end of the day he/she is paying you money but freelancing isn’t just about design its about communication and that in itself is branding. So if your client want a purple background and your coulour scheme is yellow or they want “Times new Romans” (god only knows why or comic sans for that manner…. hate that font) instead of “helvetica” just tell them how is it and hopefully when they have a successful brand they will thank you for it.

 

logo design

Graphic design internships… what are they for?

It dawned on me the other day whilst searching through jobs through gumtree.com to see if I could find a captivating piece of work that I would like to put my name to. The sheer amount of times the word “intern” comes up with the words “unpaid” and don’t get me wrong I guess I’m looking in the wrong place If I want paid freelance work especially seeing as most of these company’s don’t pay to put there adverts on gumtree. It clearly doesn’t give us hope and whilst there is paid work on gumtree which I am able to tap into due to my expertise and knowledge .I feel bad for the fresh faced graduates looking to make there mark in the world when jobs are vastly being replaced by people who are able (not sure who they are) to work for free. personally I think graduates everywhere should boy-cock the term “un-paid intern” in order to produce paid work for someone else?! is this even logical? surely this would benefit everyone but it seems to me that if you are rich and privileged enough to work for free than some guy (or girl) somewhere will lose his job…. maybe not in the big firms or the ones who have proper vetted graduate schemes but the small start ups with no intention of making that persons jobs permanent and stringing them on in the hope things will get better…. I doubt it..

But I’m talking to you the people who contact someone like me with the clear intention to rip me off and demean my work by asking for it for free…. your work doesn’t benefit me in any way. I already have a portfolio and I’m not looking to add to it just because you say I need to. I don’t need a reference as  I have respectable clients who pay me enough that I value there opinion on the way I conduct my work. So what more do you really have to offer me?

 

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.

will design for money on cardboard

The big push! freelacing when clients just won’t budge!

At the moment I am having one of those frightful freelance moments when I’ve realised I’ve made a fatal mistake in the way my contract is written and have hastily worked to correct it even though the contract part of the deal is already finalised.

How many changes can be made to an item once it is complete at the moment I have a client who paid me a very limited amount of money and demanded a high volume of amendments from move that there to change that into six different colour. It is now driving me potty and now it is clear I am dealing with a very particular client from hell and although I worked very hard on his work I now feel that my opinion is under valued but in my head I see it as the client is allways right I’m finding it difficult to put my foot down and waiting for the confidence in me to finally break through the wall and be compensated in cold hard cash for the hardwork that this project has entailed.

Don’t get me wrong I like the project I just don’t like being taken on for a ride …. by anyone but at the same time I’m trying to grin and bare it get the job done and just carry on with my life. but this is just relentless.

can anyone help me with advice on how to rectify this problem. I’m exhausted!

so this comes back to the old will design for money sign that I have been adding to my site …. OH the smell of desperation.

It also seems that gumtree has suddenly been swamped with designers posting this that and the other leaving chances of a deal even slimmer.

although I did come across a very useful bit of information online using twitter to find freelance work it appear this might be  working in my favour …!!

YES!