Yet another freelance advice thread


New Member

Hiya all, first time poster here.

Okay, here's the story. I'm a young designer (19) who's been lucky enough to get straight into the print industry from the get go. I work for a digital solutions company that happens to do design as well as the whole artwork/repro/platemaking etc. I've been in the industry for about two years now working on big brand stuff such as Malteasers, Bisto, Kipling and lots of others so I know I must have some sort of potential there.

My plan is to work in-house design until I build myself up a list of clients and would be making enough to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly and go from there. In a lot of the other posts I see advice such as "Get yourself an online portfolio and show off what you can do". See now quite a lot of my very best work is all big branded stuff and I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to post this kind of work on a web portfolio due to confidentiality issues between our clients and my place of work. So this is my first question; Where do I stand with work I produce on the behalf of my employer & these confidentiality issues?

My second query is; how would I go about getting said clients and building myself up? I'm very happy with the work I do at the moment, but it's awfuly strict in the ways of branding and I don't think I could stand working in the same place for years on end. I would love nothing more than to be able to push myself into more creative work and up the ladder to the point where I would be able to start up my own business.

ANY help or advice would be appreciated an awful lot!
Check your contract, there will probably something in there about displaying work. Alternatively, just ask your employer if you can showcase work you've done, so long as you credit them. Be careful how you approach this situation though, as they may see you looking for extra/freelance work as you looking to jump ship at some point.

If they say no, then I guess it's time to start working on some self-initiated projects.
That's exactly what's kept me from asking so far. I have a few bits on my Behance page and a few little in-progress projects I'm working on when I get the time but the bulk of my work definitely lies with the in-house jobs. S'pose I'll just have to a bit more ballsy and just ask.

What about getting started then? Are business cards a good call or are they just one of those things that get tossed away? Are there better ways of getting attention? I feel as though I'm dismissed all the time due to my age and not really taken seriously.
In most cases, if you did the 'said' work, you have a right to display it in your portfolio. If your contract states otherwise then there's not much you can do about that. It is always nice to ask permission first though, especially if you are taking files of your work from your workplace's computer. They would be pretty strict and mean to say no to such request.

As for building your own clients; well that is the million dollar question, let me know if you find the answer. I have been doing this for years and have not stopped looking for more and more clients. A lot of people will say, try local business' and start up business', but I can't remember the last time I got a brief from a local business in my area. As for start-up business' they are rarely able to pay decent money for your services.
They should be okay with it... Hopefully. If I only display the products that are already on shelves then I should be safe.. Think the confidentiality issues refer more to products that are months in advance such as this years Xmas advent calendar for example.. Possibly.. I'll check up on this.

Well I'll take it one step at a time and get my portfolio together and get it online first before bombarding you all with more questions.

Many thanks for the quick replies though guys.
You've been a great help. :)