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

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

Why failure is a good thing in the creative business

Failure. It’s something we are all afraid of. It can, however, be an effective tool in helping you progress quickly in the creative industry. The following article will teach you why failure is not something you should fear, but something you should cherish. Some clarification Before really diving in, let me make one thing clear: Failure is a good thing as long as you keep trying. Once you let failure overcome you to the point where you quit, then it

25 Attributes employers look for when hiring creative people

Recently I have written a lot of articles about the various creative agencies I visited in Seattle, Washington.  At each agency, I asked the creative professionals which attributes they considered vital for someone in a creative profession. Below is a list of the wide variety of answers I received. 25 Attributes and Abilities all creative professionals should possess. (in no particular order) Weber Shandwick 1.    Be motivated and eager to learn 2.    Be Organized