Taking the plunge

Category: Blog: Freelance, Featured posts |

Taking the initiative to start writing my own design blog, almost runs hand in hand with me going freelance, and carving a niche for my design in the industry. I’ve walked away from “The Man”, and the security of a regular salary to explore the opportunities of within design.

Shortly after handing in my resignation and officially becoming self-employed, I met with PR guru, Craig Rodney, who gave me the mental challenge and push I needed to kick start my freelance endeavor. He showed me a short, entrepreneurial You Tube video , which made me beam with excitement at the prospect of making a go of it alone.

The simply animated video reminds one of what you wanted to become when you were a child, awakening your feelings for wanting to be special and make a difference. When looking back at those thoughts, I find it very interesting to try to combine those childlike ambitions with my business model.

For the most part, I want to create a design channel for clients that will target their needs and deliver a fast, effective product. I offer clients a direct communication link with a designer who will meet their design brief within their budget. Time and money are important to any business, but so is design. I’d like to show prospective business partner how these can be combined to work for them.

When introducing myself to others, I am now able to label myself a ‘designer’… not just of graphics, corporate identities, branding, web and publishing, but also events, photography, interiors, jewelery and art… but an all-round creative individual.

Using a freelance resource has many benefits:

  • You, the client, are my number one priority. There are no miscommunications involving your brief, delays encountered due to the agency ‘broken telephone’, and you have a direct relationship with me, your creative.
  • As your freelance resource, I become your brand ambassador, ensuring that the quality of work delivered meets your brand specifications and remains consistent.
  • A mutual respectful relationship forms between a freelance resource and their clients. Both parties realise the value in one another, so disappointing outcomes are avoided.

I am excited about being a freelance resource, and will be posting some helpful information through my blog about how design can be used as a successful tool within your business.

Making magic

Category: Blog: Design |

In my second month of freelancing, I worked in-house for a top notch design agency for three weeks. I was brought in to help relieve pre-world cup stress on a large account and I grabbed the chance to be involved.

After working for a large publishing house in the UK before returning to South Africa, I found myself settling back into big agency life quite easily. It did however make some things blatantly obvious to me this time around. Things, that as a full-time permanent designer, I would have accepted as part of the package. While well-known agencies charge prime plus 2 for their services, they are not always the smart choice.

Because of their size and project turn over, large agencies sometimes settle for second best from their designers and in turn their designers become more and more unmotivated and work according to a pace that suits them, naturally varying on good and bad days.

Stepping into this environment as a freelance resource, you need to perform at your best and ensure your turn over is constantly at 150%. Looking around me, I was sad to see dull designers only working for what they were getting out of the equation, which didn’t look like much.
The ‘magic’ and passion that made me fall in love with design as a profession was not being nurtured, and was replaced with process and systems that made the chain of work slower than you could imagine.

Coming back to my own studio, I am able to fully appreciate my situation. Yes, there might not be a guaranteed salary at the end of each month, but I wake up in the mornings and I still feel the excitement design brings into my life. Processes and systems are an integral part of running a successful business, but when you lose your love of the game, all of that becomes irrelevant.

As a freelance resource who is inspired by what she does, I offer my clients a unique experience. I break down those walls of agency protection, to give clients a hands-on service where their role is just as important as mine in the creative process. I remain in touch with their needs and brief while designing their materials, ensuring that deadlines are met within the allocated budget.

Looking back I realise that big agency life really isn’t for me. I will start a design studio that nurtures each designer’s creative talent to make them the best they can be, and in turn service my clients with the highest standard of work. That’s my bottom line.

Getting the brief right.

Category: Blog: Design |

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.