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Starting freelance graphic design

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by SDAVE, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. SDAVE

    SDAVE New Member

    Hi, Ive been studying graphic design for 4 years now, had my own streetwear company for 6 months before I sold it.
    But I have never really done any freelance work yet and that's my aim, to be able to work off myself and what I can do.

    Problem is I don't really know where to start.

    I have done a lot of work but obviously there is still a lot I don't know if I can or cant do?

    Do I just try and get clients then If I cant do the work say sorry?

    How do I know what I can and cant get printed? Do I need to get a lot of printers contacts ready and organised for myself?

    Although I have studied it for 4 years there is still a lot about printing etc that education hasn't taught me that I never really
    learnt. For example I see bright colours printed? so they are not pantone inks?

    Should I get myself a list of all the services I have to offer and know readily what I can and cant do?

    And how do you go about getting the actual clients? I heard writing proposals with some mockups of what you can do for their company can work?

    Sorry this is a lot to ask but would be good to hear from people that have made it from where I am not having a clue where to start.
    I feel I am a good designer but I just have no direction with it where getting freelance work is concerned.

    Cheers for any help
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Dave, there's a lot more detail to it than this, but here's some quick advice regarding each of your questions.

    First off all, I'd recommend sticking to what you're good at, even if it's just one thing - web design, branding, artworking, whatever, and stick to that. Don't spread yourself too thin.

    Hopefully, if you're sticking to what you know, you shouldn't have to turn clients down (this doesn't look too professional). People should be coming to you because they require a service you offer. Don't be afraid to say yes to new things. This is how you grow - your knowledge, your business, and hopefully your wage. Making mistakes is natural, it's how you handle those mistakes and rectify them that matters.

    I tend to just ring around local printers as and when I need to to get quotes. I like to work with local printers so I can view prints myself and have face-to-face interactions, though there are some excellent printers on this forum who offer great quality printing with a fast turnaround *cough* Stationery Direct *cough* Over time though you will come to know the printers you use, and will be able to pick the best ones for the best jobs. Always get quotes from all the worthy ones though as prices fluctuate for a number of reasons. Sometimes a job will be more expensive with one printer because they have to order in paper stock especially.

    Chances are they are Pantone inks, Printing in CMYK results in muddy colours since you're mixing a number of inks together to get a certain hue. Pantones are spot colours - they are just that colour (like when you pick up a certain shade of paint for your walls and just start painting with it straight away). They come in a range of colours, and are best used when you need bright, almost neon colours, such as oranges.

    See my first point. Picking something you know and enjoy, but ensure it's also commercially viable. I have aspirations of designing amazing book covers, but this work is hardly the most requested, so websites, and branding are my main services.

    This is the million dollar question, and there isn't a tried and tested method for guaranteeing work. Get a website set up, get to work on SEO and get ranked for the services you offer. Join LinkedIn and join groups, keep an eye on the jobs boards here.

    Tell everyone you know that you're offering XYZ design services. Word of mouth is still my biggest source of work. One of my clients even claims to have never done any marketing for his business, he simply works off recommendations, and I absolutely believe it. You could also try offering your services to design agencies on a day-rate, though you'll probably need to be above a certain skill/experience threshold to get in, and there's the potential to make a decent decent amount with a day-rate, though you probably won't be kept on for longer than a day or two.

    Also, don't neglect personal, self-initiated work. Nobody needs to know whether or not that amazing piece of work was for a real client of not. Most of the work we do for clients has much of the danger and creativity smashed out of it, so take any chance you can to show off what you can do when you're let loose. If the work's good enough, why not submit it to some awards or competitions The Chip Shop Awards to increase your exposure a little?
  3. SDAVE

    SDAVE New Member

    Great answer thanks a lot Paul appreciate it

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