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So hard to find decent portfolio boosters

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by tr2005, May 13, 2014.

  1. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    I've been working as a freelance graphic designer for several years now. Things are going well but I'd simply like to make things a bit more interesting.

    There are certain industries that I'd love to do design work for, mainly for those based in:
    - The arts
    - Fashion / modelling industries
    - Music industry

    I'd happily work on some pro-bono projects if I could find the right people, but have no idea how to go about it.

    I contacted two friends recently, one a musician, and another a model. Both were briefly very keen on my doing some identity work for them. But they soon stopped replying to my messages. I was asking a lot of questions to find out more about them, so that I could tailor the design work to them appropriately.

    But I think they lost interest when they realised that it wasn't a case of me just going away and magically returning with all this design work that was perfectly tailored towards them. I actually need them to be fairly pro-active in giving me lots of information so that I can get things looking right.

    I am yet to confirm that they're no longer interested, but I'm assuming this is the case at the minute.

    Does anyone have any tips? I'd happily offer freebies to friends and / or charities, but with industries like those above I feel like the only way to go about it would be messaging random businesses, but I wouldn't feel very comfortable offering freebies to strangers
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I think you hit the nail on the head about them just expecting you to come back with a design. You can't give something away for free if someone doesn't want it :)

    I'd just design something that you want to do. Design a fictional album cover (I do this often to just chill out) or design a website or some branding (or both!) for a fictional gallery or exhibition space. It doesn't have to be for a real client, and often work is better for it. As they say, you get hired to do the type of work in your portfolio, so get the sort of stuff you want to be doing in there!
    tr2005 likes this.
  3. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    Thanks! Yeah I was considering doing something like that. Just I already have a few conceptual items in my portfolio as it is (seems like portfolio additions through client work only happen about once a year max) so I wouldn't wanna have too many more.

    I think the main problem is me wanting more printed stuff in there. I suppose I could always still get it printed though even if it were for something fictional!
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    You could also just mock it up. I don't always agree with this since an actual shot of a finished piece is stronger, but in the case of something like a book cover or album artwork, it's not always possible to get a short print run done. With Photoshop wizardry, sometimes it's nigh on impossible to tell if you're looking at a photograph or a mock-up anyway.
  5. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    Ah yeah I was considering doing that! I agree though that an actual shot would be better. I'd quite like to do something a bit more 'fancy' with print as a bit of a learning curve really. So mockups would be outta the question for something like that I imagine. I suppose for the time being I could always just stick to material that is fine to mock up e.g. posters etc!
  6. cassiedesign

    cassiedesign New Member

    You could try messaging people from music/model sites and see if they want any design stuff doing? I guess some people do need an identity for their music/model career however they just don't even know where to look when it comes to a designer. Websites such as Soundcloud and ModelMayhem/Purpleport might be a good place to start as it's a place where musicians/models are trying to get their work noticed?

    Or I second what Paul Murray said and just do mock ups. Maybe having mock ups in your portfolio will be more inviting to musicians/models looking at your portfolio and looking for a potential designer?
    tr2005 likes this.
  7. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Arts - go to an art gallery and pick up a brochure. Recreate the brochure the way you'd do it. Come up with a brand for a famous artist.

    Fashion/Modelling - pick up any magazine from a shop - recreate boring pages with how you'd do it. Rebrand a famous designer.

    Music Industry - pick up any music magazine/cd cover etc. - recreate it doing it the way you'd do it. Rebrand an artist.
  8. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    Thanks, funnily enough that had crossed my mind too! I hadn't got around to looking on any music forums but a few days ago I did look for modelling communities but didn't have much luck. The ones that I found seemed really inactive.

    But I've just had a look on those two modelling sites that you mentioned and they seem like much more thriving communities! I think that could work if I message enough of them, but I'll just make it clear to them that I will need a lot of input from them in order to get things looking right.

    I'll try SoundCloud too, I hadn't thought of looking on there for musicians!
  9. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    Thanks for the tips but I already have a few conceptual items in my portfolio so wouldn't want it to be too full of them. Could really do with some more 'real world' examples, even if they were voluntary
  10. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Ok that's fine.

    I just went on to gumtree there - there's a fella wanting a t-shirts and some music line. And there's some adverts looking for voluntary work too.

    You could maybe post an advert their advertising yourself?
    tr2005 likes this.
  11. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    Cool yeah that could be an option! Thanks.

    I'm not too familiar with Gumtree but I'll certainly check it out.

    I need to redo my own website and everything first, but hopefully I'll get cracking on all this in about a month or so (a little ambitious of me seeing as it always takes like a year for me to finish my own stuff)
  12. cassiedesign

    cassiedesign New Member

    Yeah ModelMayhem and PurplePort are definitely the most active when it comes to modelling communities. :)
    tr2005 likes this.
  13. Well good luck to you, I first started out with a portfolio full of mock-up designs for projects of my invention; sometimes it's the best way to show what you're capable of! But one word of advice, make sure you treat the project as if it were a real one nonetheless... if you just throw together the first idea that comes into your head, it will show a mile off! Make sure you start with a strong concept, in response to a real-world design need and then go through the same development process you would for a paying client. That way it's good practice, sharpens your workflow and the benefit is that there is no danger of a client with poor taste steering the development in a direction you're not happy with... that's a risk you take if you work for free!

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