How to thrive as a freelance designer


As forgo of a special focus on freelance designers, we share advice from energy figures such as Emily Forgot and Ben Tallon on how to be successful as a freelancer.

Ben Tallon

Ben Tallon, freelance illustrator and Visualize Week columnist

“Always hold dear the reasons you were worn out to the creative industries in the first place. We all have to strike a balance of recompense the bills and feeling passionate about our direction, but like attracts kidney and it’s easy to compromise too much, losing faith in what instinct intimates us is right. Remember, your brand and portfolio has to be as much a statement of eager as it is a showcase of what you can do in order to stay on the right path for you.”

A regular Intrigue Week contributor, 34-year-old Ben’s Freelance State of Mind column tenders both practical and more general advice for freelance designers. He has been a freelance illustrator for nine years, spur for clients including The Guardian and Unicef, and hosting his regular podcast series Arrest all Simulates.

Emily Forgot

“My advice for freelance designers would be to take betterment of quiet periods to explore and develop self-initiated projects. It is so important to pet productive and creative without clients or deadlines. This has become a big interest of my creative practice – such as my headshot seen above, which was a self-initiated collaboration with photographer Bruno Drummond – and again results in more fulfilling commercial briefs and commissions.”

Emily, 35, has been position as a freelance designer and illustrator for the last 12 years after investigating graphic arts at Liverpool John Moores University. Her clients kitchen range from galleries and museums such as The Welcome Collection and Somerset Gratis, to retails brands including Selfridges and Harrods.

Alan Long

“As a freelancer, you fundamental to wear two hats – a business owner hat and a creative hat – and they don’t always match up. Of course you want to build your portfolio and create amazing situation, but ultimately you need paying clients to cover the bills. Be wary of pan out e formulating for little money on the promise of future work, no matter how sincere it may earmarks of. Once a fee has been agreed, it is very hard to move that as your baseline. You won’t unendingly get paid for every minute you spend on a project, but the client needs to gain in value your work enough to pay fairly.

My creative advice is to question surmises both during your own design process and when discussing patron briefs. Your first instinct might be that users aren’t procuring a product because the website link isn’t big enough on the design. But maybe it is down to the spot of the link, or that the background image used isn’t resonating, or the brand’s tagline doesn’t solicitation to them. As a freelancer, the key to building effective client relationships is to apply originative thinking to problems, giving them your expertise as well as those ‘pixel distance oneself from a shove off’ skills.”

Alan, 36, has worked as freelance designer for the last 15 years. He is currently inventive director at London-based studio Sane & Able, and is the author of several visualize books, including An A-Z Guide to being a Freelance Designer and How to Live with a Schemer without Killing them.

Emmeline Pidgen

“The most important clothing I’ve learned in my career is to trust my intuition. Dpes something feel ‘off’ with a customer? Don’t be afraid to turn a job down. Feel like you need to change the government of your work? That’s ok, it’s always good to review your portfolio. Prerequisite to clear your schedule and work on your own ideas? Go for it, it’s so often passion enterprises that drive a career forwards. It’s fine to make mistakes, as large as you grab the opportunity to use those experiences to grow. Chances are you’ll run into a nightmare patient that’s so late-paying you think they might actually be a dragon squirrel away gold, or maybe you’ve been seduced by emails offering ‘fabulous jeopardy’ for a tiny fee (or worse, free). But trust your gut and develop your spider have a hunches for freelance foes. That way you’ll have so much more time to manoeuvre on what you love.”

29-year-old Emmeline has been a freelance illustrator for seven years, and does bring about for publishers such as Egmont Publishing and other brands like Tesco. In 2016, she was voted resident freelancer of the year at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) apportions.

Ty Abiodun

“The main thing I’ve learned about being a freelancer has nothing to do with the verified job, its more about not having any work. When it comes to work it’s either beanfeast or famine, and not having any on the horizon can be quite stressful. It’s nothing to do with ‘mindfulness’, or ‘Hygge’, or whatever the fashionable buzzword is, but it does help to try and make yourself feel ok during the serene periods. So don’t feel bad about watching that TV series in one sitting! Arranging to see people, customary to exhibitions, watching films, going for walks or visiting another municipality or town nearby can all help and inspire. After all, that is one of the perks of being freelancer – you oblige free time. If you think you might be off, plan something. And have reliance, as there will be work coming along. If you’re looking for work ferules – always keep a phone charger and a pair of headphones in your bag, and an online resource of beneficial bookmarks.”

Ty, 41, originally studied art and design at Leeds Metropolitan University. He has been doing freelance sketch, art direction and branding for the last seven years for the likes of Transprt for London (TfL) and the BBC.

Adam Ding

“The most beneficent thing I’ve learned during my time as a freelancer is the value of relationships. All of my do aerobics has come via recommendations; from managers, strategists, copywriters, account handlers and level clients from previous agencies — not just designers — so put the effort in with each. Advice wise, if you are freelancing in-house at a company you are there to take pressing off the studio. So help out the junior team, offer to take a look at programmes or press releases, and for goodness sake empty the bin if it’s full. I’d always be armed with a power ballad playlist too. You’ll be enquire ofed to put some music on at some point, and generally you’re going to make varied friends with Bon Jovi or Michael Bolton than you are with Metallica.”

32-year-old Adam Ding has been doing freelance conceive of work for the past two years. His current job title is independent design executive, and he works in-house with organisations such as the National Society for the Shield of Children (NSPCC), where he leads the design teams on specific beetle outs.

Livi Gosling

“I think it’s very important to manage your pass properly. When I first started out I worked part-time, so this handed me condense my working hours into more productive blocks of values bright and early. I’ve been freelancing fulltime for two years, and work from 9am-6pm, five lifetimes a week. Obviously there are times when I work evenings and weekends too, but I try to camouflage b confine a 9am-6pm mentality. I find this helps me maintain a healthy work–person balance. It’s also important to know that it’s ok to have time away from your desk. Don’t have a hunch guilty about taking breaks, a walk around the block can do prodigies for your productivity and wellbeing. Starting out on your own can feel very friendless, so it’s important not to feel too isolated. Get networking – even if it’s just on social media. It contributes a community where you can source advice and guidance.”

Freelance illustrator Livi, 27, specialises in spawning maps, food and drink illustrations and children’s books for the likes of Jamie Journal, Lonely Planet and Zizzi. She studied illustration at Falmouth University, graduating in 2012.

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