First released over 20 years ago, Adobe InDesign is a graphic designer’s best friend and most valuable piece of software.
It can be used to create posters, flyers, books and magazines, amongst many, many other things—all those things that immediately spring to people’s minds when you say you’re a graphic designer.
You won’t find a graphic designer who isn’t both a master of InDesign and simultaneously constantly learning new tips and tricks on the programme. It really is amongst the essential skills needed to be a graphic designer.
Photoshop is the world’s most popular photo editing app.
Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor first released in 1987. Vector graphics are not made up of pixels, but instead are made up of paths and can therefore be scaled much more than raster graphics. While Photoshop deals with the latter, Illustrator deals with vectors.
The program can be used to create a variety of digital and printed images—we’re talking logos, charts, illustrations, cartoons, graphs, diagrams—basically anything that may need to be printed or displayed at different sizes or on different formats.
To become a graphic designer, you don’t necessarily need an undergraduate education. Often, the quality of work in your portfolio and the caliber of the clients you’ve worked with will speak louder than the degrees in graphic design you’ve received.
However, many people do choose to obtain bachelor’s degrees in graphic design, or in related fields such as industrial design, animation, or fine arts. In fact, some graphic design jobs require a bachelor’s degree in order to apply. There are also associates degree programs focusing on graphic design.
When it comes to your portfolio website, focus on the essentials. You don't need an entirely bespoke all singing and dancing website to find work for yourself.
A strong thoughtfully ordered and presented body of work is much more important.
Your hourly rate probably needs to be higher than you think. Research the going rate in your locality.
If people try to talk down your rate, stand firm. Once you agree to work for a reduced rate, it will be close to impossible to talk it back up again.
Questions we ask ourselves when we're about to enter the world of work or start a business.
The mindset you need to start a creative business and keep it going is the same you need to tackle any new creative challenge.
If you intend to start your own studio, don't. Not yet.
First benefit from other's who have done it before you. Find out about their successes and failures. Learn from their mistakes.
When the time is right, start small. This will allow you to take risks and learn what works.
Your value to potential clients is what sets you apart from your competition. When you can clearly communicate the value you provide, you’ll have a better chance of winning more freelance clients.
The first thing to ask yourself is what your value actually is. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
If you have happy clients, ask them for referrals or recommendations. Let them know that you’re always open to talking to new clients and appreciate their referrals.
While it might initially seem like a client wouldn’t want to refer you to their potential competition, remember that most businesses have working partnerships with all kinds of suppliers and other organizations. They could refer their vendors or other business contacts to you.
Your graphic design portfolio is one of the most valuable assets you have in winning new clients. Be sure that you showcase your best work there, and take the time to explain each project.
Talk about what your role was in the project, what the design problem was, and how you solved it. Share your portfolio far and wide. Add new projects to it regularly (but remember that you don’t have to add every project you work on; just the best examples).
Don’t accept a project without discussing what is expected on both sides.
Make sure you understand what your client wants you to do, how much time they are giving you to do it, and to what extent they expect you to include them in the process. If you think their expectations are unrealistic, discuss alternative timelines or adjustments to the project.
It’s a good idea to give each client a written copy of your process, including milestones where you’ll expect payments. This will keep them from calling you to ask about the next step, and it may prevent payment delays.
There are many reasons that the details of a project may change, so you must plan for that when drafting your contract and discussing your work process. You should cover the steps a client may take when requesting changes to the original design plan, and this includes adjustments to the timeline and budget.
Many clients don’t realize how much work is involved for changes that they consider simple. When setting milestone dates and deadlines, give yourself some room for unexpected delays.
Don’t give a price quote until you’ve thoroughly discussed the needs of the client.
There are some things that justify an increase in your rate, but you may not know that those things apply until you’ve thoroughly discussed the project. If they expect you to put other projects aside and rush their order, then they should expect to pay a bit more. They should also expect to pay for added elements or more complex designs, so hear the client out before you give them a number.
Graphic design is a critical visual communication tool marketers use to convey key messages about a brand that resonates with target audiences. It’s all about producing visual assets that are eye-catching, on-brand and aligned with specific messaging.
The graphic design process, then, is what a designer follows to bring design ideas to life while serving a client’s end goals.
As a creative process, designing graphics involves equal parts of “creative” and “process.”
Also called a design brief, this document will capture all of your client’s wants and needs and other key project specifications.
Your creative brief should address:
During the research stage, spend time:
You’ll use your findings to inspire original ideas, solidify the overall design approach with other stakeholders and back up the design decisions you make later on.
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