I am loving this months’ issue of Creative Review, discussing money and questioning what we are worth as designers, and I have realised it is about finding the right balance. I find this especially useful for me being a freelance designer, I wondered whether I was underselling myself, sometimes perhaps over charging and questioned a lot what I ‘should’ be charging.
With around 232,000 designers in the UK, I can only imagine this figure will continue to grow and competition will continue to be tough. The majority of designers start off as a freelance designer, at an average hourly rate of £18 in the UK.
Starting off I was always super cautious of how much I charged for a job as I was wary that clients want value for money. I do now believe after reading the article, that I charge a reasonable price for my work.
In the past I have worked on particular projects for free, however I have only taken on these types of projects knowing how beneficial it will be for me, what I will gain, and put into account how much I will enjoy working on the project. I have never worked on a project for free in order to do somebody a ‘favour’ and I never will…Yes, I have turned projects down before that has required a lot of my time and efforts, however are most definitely not offering to pay enough for the work involved. This being mainly because I could have been using my time to work on something else, however in this sense I do believe it is important to value your time and not work on projects for free if you have no real desire to gain anything from it.
I used to take on every project I could because I feared missing an opportunity; however in time I have learnt I was not really gaining much or improving my development in doing so. The article really got me thinking, and it was a reminder of how important it is to value yourself.Overall though, a good read, I would definitely recommend buying this month’s issue.
I have only recently started blogging again and updating my blog on some recent and current freelance projects, having had a lot on my plate recently. There have been a few changes to what I am currently doing; for the past six months I had been working with a small local design agency. I took this on knowing to my knowledge it would be a great opportunity to use the time to work on my software skills and to gain some experience, or as others have said “something for my LinkedIn” even though it was not completely the experience I was seeking.
With it being at the very start of my career I knew this was never going to be a permanent decision on my behalf, and throughout the duration it really allowed me to think hard, and consider what I really want out of being a designer. Fortunately I used the time to my advantage and greatly used the agency to get exactly what I wanted for my personal development.
One key thing for me is to keep continuously developing and growing until I am in the perfect job… I definitely will not pin myself down or settle on something forever if I know it is not right. Which was why alongside working full time, I joined a couple of agencies as a freelance designer and kept in close connection as an outsource designer, I aim to take on as many opportunities as I can, and this was a fortunate decision allowing me to gain further experience outside the agency and to not limit my options.
Now, I am currently working freelance for a few agencies in the North West and North Wales and expanding future opportunities further. I have recently joined a digital marketing agency as a freelance designer, and I am continuing to collaborate and grow many more close connections as an outsource designer. I am still doing the odd freelance job which I have recently been receiving through recommendations; however the majority of freelance I now receive are projects through agencies. This is another reason why I have not been updating my blog, because of course I do not blog about agency work.
This works best for me at the moment, because I get to meet many great practitioners and work on a larger variety of different project briefs.After hearing some fantastic design advice from Craig Oldham just over a week ago, this spurred me on even more to pursuit and aim for what I really want out of my career as a designer. I am much more aware now and learnt a great deal in the past two weeks. As tough as it can be at times to start off, and how very easy it is to want to give up…I have learnt you have to keep going. Striving to continue progressing is all I am aiming for right now, and so far things have definitely worked out for the best.
This may sound completely contradictive; however I do not want to be freelance designing forever, this only suits the position as I stand currently. I am also really keen to get experience in the types of agencies I really would love to work for, and whose ethics and values I do believe in, and work I too would love to be producing. This may sound ridiculous to some; however I have decided alongside freelance designing I am going to seek an internship or placement within one of these types of agencies rather than apply for full time employment. I believe if I aim to land a job within one of these types of agencies immediately, I do not stand much chance.
After much consideration, this is definitely the way forward for me. I am not looking to just work anywhere; it really has to be somewhere I wish to work. I would urge others to do the same.
My Masters degree is starting to become much more ‘real’ now. I have two submissions due in the first day back after the Christmas break, so I am going to need to have a very productive Christmas, lots of research and both assignments to start. You can follow my MA blog, to keep up to date with where my research process is taking me here. I do not expect to be blogging this end as much for a short while now.
I am currently working on some illustrations for StudentStep.com , the aim of the main image is explain to users the benefits of signing up. After sketching up various designs and concepts, a decision was made to go ahead with this idea. This is only the first draft of the image, and it is not yet complete. A suggestion was to work on the two student figures to make them look more realistic. This is something I am working on next, having a few further ideas in mind for the creation of this.
I have recently been working on a brand re-fresh for Shoestring Fitness. This mainly involved cleaning up the previous brand and keeping the same concept.
Along with the branding, I also designed the stationery and gift card ready for the January sales, as shown above. The work is still on-going, and following this I will be designing the new fitness programme and advertising stands.
I am currently re-branding Shoestring Fitness, which is a new start-up business which offers tailored fitness programmes designed by the team. The new programme is set to launch at the start of the New Year so before then, there is lots of designing to be done. Along with the branding I am also designing the business card, gift cards, booklet programmes and advertising banners.
I thought I would show off some true talent and share with you all some illustrations by my good friend, Damon Morris. I had studied Fine Art and my BTEC Foundation with Damon in college, and I have always admired his natural artistic skill for portraiture.
Damon’s work is influenced by work of artists such as Pomme Chan, Si Scott and Andy Warhol. His unique hand drawn style is an illustrative based contemporary approach. 'Realism meets pop art', mainly Inspired by beauty, nature, patterns, music and fashion.
Damon is at the very start of his career, and has already done many exhibitions and won countless awards for his work. His next exhibition now is based on Vanity, and will be displayed around November time next year. Damon is also a freelance illustrator and works on collaborative projects. If you would like to work with Damon on a project, or ask him any questions about his work you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
To see more of his work you can visit his online portfolio.
A couple of weeks ago, I designed the logo for Green Pages, which is a new start-up business aiming to bring together the resource for health and well-being, and spread awareness about healthy living.
One way of looking at this, signifying health and growth is the symbol of a geometric spurting plant to healthy living and an additional way of looking at this, is as though it is an open directory book containing green pages, representing the brand name.
On Wednesday I finally graduated with a First Class Honours degree. I felt immensely happy throughout the whole ceremony and it was amazing to see everyone again after a long summer, and what felt like every other season separation. I had been excited for this day for weeks, and it was quite emotional to see the day come to an end. I very much do intend to keep in touch with my closest university friends regardless, it really is a mystery to me how I am managing to cope without them as I take on my masters. They taught me the most, encouraged and supported me so much; however I made sure to make this up to them though by squishing them extra hard. I actually felt like one of the hugely proud parents watching Lorna and Al go up; but I won't get all soppy here...
After the ceremony, I headed back to my home town to continue the celebrations at the pre-booked venue. It was quite exciting to see everyone there, with surprise balloons, cake, presents and definitely everything I could have possibly wanted. So far, it was definitely one of the best and most memorable days of my life.