As a freelancer, I make it my mission to be involved and in touch with other designers and their work. I feel it is important to remain in the loop with trends and design styles, especially with big events like the 2010 World Cup where money is spent on new campaigns. I make sure that I keep getting inspired by what’s around me on a daily basis, taking in new forms of design as often as I can.
One of the most integral parts to starting any job, whether with a current or new client, is to get a succinct brief. Gone are the days where someone could request a ‘business card’ and anything would do. Getting a thorough brief from your client will either make or break a job.
Because a freelancer does not have the luxury of spending double the amount of time on a job, asking the right questions upfront saves a lot of trouble. Similarly for clients, helping your designer understand exactly what you are after, will result in much less frustration than receiving something completely different to what you pictured.
Some clients may not have a clue what they want for a brochure, but it is both their and the designer’s responsibilities to collect samples and ideas, and to then sit down to brainstorm over the brief. A good brief will inspire ideas while giving guidance about the end result of the design.
I like to stress this to clients and insist on a briefing meeting before commencing with work. After our initial meeting I put together a brief response where I interpret their brief which helps crystallise the brief in my mind, ensuring we are both on the same page.
Be careful of using a designer who doesn’t insist on a brief. Also make sure you express your budget on the project upfront, so to avoid incurring costs you did not want to spend. I really enjoy the briefing process as it gives me further insight into my clients needs, and helps me put together a rough outline of where I’m heading with their work.