Graphic Design: Hobby or Career?

It has been my experience, as I have connected with other designers [via twitter or other means], that there are a lot of designers out there who seem very involved in the design community but actually have little to no real experience in design. This raised two questions for me (which are addressed is this post): 1. Are most designers I communicate with online avid “Hobbyists” or practicing “Professionals”. 2. Which is more desirable when it comes to graphic design:

28 Things I learned as a full-time graphic designer

I recently decided to make the switch to Freelance Design after working for a local production agency. In this post I have encapsulated some of the most important lessons that I learned while I worked as a full-time designer there. Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments. The Creative Process 1. Graphic design is a problem-solving process. 2. When you focus on function, a design becomes naturally beautiful. 3. A creative brief is of great importance. 4.

How to lose all your design clients right now

1. Don’t return their calls for at least a week Don’t be fooled by thinking that when a client calls you about something, they are actually in a hurry to get a task done. They’ll understand how important it is that you fix that flat tire on your motorcycle, go for a quick ride, and then finish that movie you started a few days ago. When you do finally call them back be sure to remind them they need to

Tips to help you be ready for your next design job interview

Graphic design jobs are frequently few and far between. It’s important that you are prepared for any design job interview you might be lucky enough to land. Below you will find a number of tips to help you be more prepared for your next design job interview. 1. Update your online and print portfolios. Tastes, styles and opinions are constantly changing in the design industry. The most important factor in landing your next design job, therefore, is the quality of

55+ Questions to ask when designing a logo

There are lots of questions to be asked when preparing to design a logo.  I do NOT suggest you ask a client all of these questions, but hope that this list will help you think of a few useful questions you’ve never considered before. I have broken them up into 5 categories: company/organization questions, branding questions, design preferences, target audience, budgets & proofing. Company/organization details What is your company/organization/product name? What sets your company apart from others? What services or

Balancing speed, cost, and quality in graphic design

“Choose the best two out of three.” That’s the advice I frequently give my clients. On almost a daily basis I deal with clients who want high quality work done “as soon as possible” and “for cheap”. Unfortunately finding a perfect balance of speed, quality and cost in graphic design is virtually impossible. Let me explain: Speed and low costs mean the quality will suffer This is the most frequent request I get as a graphic designer. “Can we have

Ridiculous client requests (and how to reason with them)

Ridiculous Request #1: Can you show me how you would do this project before I hire you? Unless you are a fan of doing work without getting paid, the answer to this should be a respectful “no”.  This question is simply a request to do spec work disguised as a reasonable request. Solution: The Ice Cream Store Analogy I like to use the ice cream store analogy. “Design is like an ice cream store,” I tell them, “You wouldn’t be

Three rungs on the creative ladder of success

Climbing the ladder of success in the creative industry  can be a tricky journey. In February, I visited WONGDOODY, a creative agency in Seattle, Washington where I asked Shaun Moshay, an account director at WONGDOODY, what three attributes I should possess if I wanted have his job some day. More or less, this is what he told me: Rung #1. Demonstrate Writing Skills. Working at a creative agency doesn’t mean just designing or simply brainstorming all day. It involves writing emails, giving

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