A subjective memoir from a freelance designer
A journey into freelance design and the problems clients and designers face daily.
The design process, freelance design ethics and best practice. While embarking on this freelance venture with a considerable amount of frustration I came to realize a few significant and unnecessary hassles. Bringing these to light and exploring different avenues. The aim of this post is to justify certain ethics with creativity in mind and set you as the client at ease when choosing a creative to represent your company. Subjectively written with objectivity in mind. This serves as a guideline for both Creatives and clients alike.
“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!” – Milton Glaser
I have spoke to a good amount of designers, and dealing with many frustrated clients I realize there is a paradox that surrounds the Design and advertising industry. First and foremost, what is a decent rate? A good design rate is skill based and calculated either hourly or daily, this fluctuates based on work quality and background. Some clients have also approached me with the hassle of paying the rate, a mid to senior designer would charge, and getting work below junior standards.
I will be writing a follow up to this post focused on exactly that, how to choose a quality designer that would benefit your brand and double your growth. For this post however we cover the design process… Away we go!…
The Design Process
Professional design and advertising follows certain guidelines. These guidelines serve the purpose of effective communication. Thought provoking and connected on an individual level. We learn the rules to break them… where applicable and within bounds… This is the process…
One of the most vital parts of any design and marketing comunication is doing a decent amount of research. As with any company, planning is key to success. Rather than seeing marketing material as space fillers, any business would be better off taking in mind their goals and audience. Who are you looking to target and why would your brand speak to them? Perhaps find a human truth that builds brand loyalty and keeps them coming back for more.
Once thurough research has been done, planning how to use the information effectively could show either massive success for your company or a strategy change that could better work for the end goal. Considering what color to use etc. could prove most vital based on good knowledge of color psycology and sociology. Where marketing will be more focused, managing expectations for business growth. Putting the right design in front of the right audience is a recipe for success.
Once sufficient research has been done the design process becomes either that much easier or that much more impactful. With targeted material, an understanding of sociology the creative reflects more than just pretty imagery. It has a direct connection to consumers on an individual level and gives your brand consumer focused uniqueness.
Once the design process is complete, with thurough research and thought. The ideal move would be to send it out to a selct group of individuals, seeing first hand what your consumers make of your marketing material. How they connect with you, how does it make them feel? This information is great for pre-launch testing and knowledge on wether or not the communication will be effective. If not… Back to the drawing board.
Once everyone is happy with the communication, we get ready to launch. A considerable amount of insight and testing makes sure the brand has maximum impact. Knowing your audience and where to find them, the comunication get’s sent right where they frequent. Good knowledge of all these factors eleviates a great deal of post-design troubleshooting and unnececary budget spend.
So why is this process important? Why even consider it? Well… Ask yourself this question. Why did you start your business? Was it with success in mind or did you really just want to have a business for the fun of it? I guarantee the majority of professionals are after success, with exceptions here and there. The process assures your brand’s success. The term “Double Spend” comes to mind. Getting a rush job you pay for and eventually ending up paying more than double to get it done properly. Which brings me to my next point…
When choosing a competent designer there are a few aspects to keep in mind. This does not include creatives who lack passion for the art, happy to send out horrible work. This focuses on your needs and what your company requires at current. Junior Designers are a great outlet for both cheaper rates as well as getting themselves out there. Mutually benefiting both the client and creative. Mid-senior levels are driven by expertise and an already established portfolio of work.
The work is the designers image and should be viewed as his/her capabilities. A great way to pick the style that suits your brand, also showcasing profesionalism and work ethic. There are a considerable amount of designers undercutting the market. Understandable, it is a dog eat dog world. However the problem with this is overbearing workload with very little time assigned to your design. Making for rushed and unprofessional work. The below is a going rate for design work based on industry experience. As this a pretty extensive topic we have dedicated a whole other post on this subject: