Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Graphic Design Resume – 20 Creative Sample Resumes

You’ll spend half of your time as a designer impressing clients – or trying to, at least. To achieve that, you can show a portfolio containing your best work. But why not take it up a notch? Why not create a fancy and unique resume? If getting noticed is the objective, then you should aim to excite employers right from the get-go.

I know gimmicky resumes might not sit well with some of you and you do have to question the practicality of passing these around from one interview to another. However, if I was applying for a job where creativity is a huge factor, I’d rather march into human resources with one of these in hand and take comfort in the fact that I’ll be remembered when it counts.

That said, here’s a collection of creative and fun resumes to inspire and get your juices flowing. If you want to know more about the concept behind a particular resume, click on the image to see the original source.


3 Worst Freelance Designer Decisions You Can Make

The other day I did a piece on the three best freelance designer decisions you can make. Now, I’m following it up with the three worst freelance designer decisions you can make.

Keep in mind that I’m leaving obvious items off the list, such as copyright infringement and jumping off a cliff if a client complains, but including poor decisions freelance graphic designers make every day that jeopardize their careers and could spell doom for their businesses. In addition, I’ve avoided stating the opposites of the three best decisions you can make, since “double your fee” and “charge too little” seem a bit redundant.

Getting too comfortable
Ever hit a streak when steady client work is pouring in, you’re landing year-long contracts, and repeat business is so good you don’t have to look for new clients? I call it the Comfort Zone, and it’s a good feeling. But when you get too comfortable, you risk everything because you’re not sewing the seeds of new business.

Many say the freelance life is feast or famine, and getting too comfortable when things are going great means you’re setting yourself up for frustration when things settle down. Continually market your business, and even lulls in activity will be fruitful.

Refusing help
It’s great to have pride in your work, but too much pride can limit your profit potential and threaten your business. When you’re in the Comfort Zone, it can be easy to justify not looking for extra work because you don’t have time to take it on. Thus, you’re limited by what you – and you only – can accomplish. But when you’re open to contracting talented help to handle overflow, you can grow your business exponentially. Remember that every client you turn away is a client you can’t get back when business is slow.

Knowing everything
Think everything you need to know about graphic design you learned in college? Then you’re severely limiting your ability to compete in an ever-evolving marketplace. Always learn new techniques, stay abreast of new trends, and study others’ work. You’ll stay relevant and cutting edge while other struggle to keep up with archaic design styles.

What’s more, make a concerted effort to understand how graphic design plays into your clients’ overall goals. Remember that if your clients wanted a beautiful piece of art, they’d go to an art store. What they want, at least in most cases, is for you to create a design that will help them land sales. Understand how colors, contrast, layouts, font styling, and other design elements motivate customers in order to craft designs that not only look great, but also generate sales. Doing so will keep your customers ecstatic about your work and you in business for a very long time.

About the Author:
Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. His previous roles included managing editor for a hometown newspaper and club bartender for a group of quasi-alcoholics. When he’s not writing, he’s usually counting lost follicles and wondering what he ever did with his time before his two children were born.  


Typical Freelance Graphic Design Process

Social Graphic Designer
Social Graphic Designer (Photo credit: Filimonas)

Every freelance graphic designer operates their business differently, but in most cases follows the same general process as below. The information provided herein is based on my own experience as a freelance graphic designer, and can be used to set the basis for your own operations or to give clients a better insight into your typical design process.

Request for Quote
Before a project/job can begin, some form of introduction has to be made between the client and designer. It can go both ways: the designer submitting a project proposal, resume or portfolio for the client’s consideration or vice versa, the client submitting a request for quote, project brief, etc. This can be accomplished in any number of ways but most typically is either through an email, a website form, a phone call or an in-person meeting.

If the cost of the project hasn’t been set by the client (i.e. in a job advertisement, project brief, etc.), generally the designer will review the project specifications and supply a reasonable estimate based on: the information submitted by the client during the introductory phase and their own rates and terms of service.

An experienced designer knows better than to offer a service without the security of a contract to protect them. Typically the contract will cover all the basis of the designer’s working operations including: costs of services, deadlines, ownership, payment terms and so on. Always read and understand the contract fully before signing!

Deposits / Upfront Payments
Most designers require some form of upfront payment, generally 10-50% of the estimated project cost, and will expect it to be paid before any service is provided. This not only protects the designer in the event the client cancels after work has been provided, but also signals to the designer that the client is serious about following through with the project. In many cases, this initial deposit is retained by the designer (i.e. it won’t be refunded to the client).

Once all the paperwork and upfront payments are out of the way, the designer will then get to work by producing “concept ideas” based on the client’s requests. Generally these are sketches, mock-ups or what the designer believes the final design should look like (in rough form). Most designers provide 1-5 initial concept ideas. Providing the client with too many concepts could complicate and drag on the project for longer than initially projected – the client won’t like being billed more than the estimated cost.

Generally the client will take a few days to mull over the concepts provided by the designer and choose one or two to modify or revise into what they want the final design to be. Some designers limit the amount of revisions that can be made in order to streamline the project to completion; while others provide unlimited amounts of revisions. If you have a picky client that likes to make change after change; a friendly reminder that they will go over-budget if they proceed to make any more changes and/or that their requested changes will be billed as a “redesign” (therefore needing a new set of contracts and payments) will help them make up their mind quicker, so you can get on with the design process.

Final Design
Once the client is satisfied with the concept idea that they’ve revised, its time for the designer to finalize the design – that is to clean up the artwork, prepare files for output, and compiling all the finished files to send to the client after final payment.

Final Payment
Before the designer releases the final design to the client a final payment is typically due for all the expenses incurred for the project; generally excluding the initial payment. Once all payments have been made, the designer will then send the final design along with any transfer of rights to the client. The client will then go on to use the files in the manner specified by the designer or as arranged for the project. Generally at this point the project is considered finished and the client and designer go their separate ways.

After Project Expenses
For projects where the content is licensed, sometimes the client will have to continue making payments to the designer for use of the design/material well into the future. Other times the client may return to the designer months or years later asking for a revision or change to the design; in most cases the designer will charge their then standard rate/terms for the service regardless of what the original rate was.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

125+ Amazing & Beautiful Examples Of Branding Design Inspiration

In honor of excellent branding design (which we are a huge fan of) we decided to collect some of the freshest and hottest branding we have seen in a while. Good Branding can be so incredibly epic, my favorite type of branding is when they brand all the little things that you never really expect to be branded. The Print aspects of branding are usually expected, flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. But I LOVE seeing awesome branding examples of glass, packaging, architectural (outside of building painted, logos inside building etc.) it really encompasses every aspect of their business and brand (from print paper materials to online web and mobile website design) and ties it all together in one uniform design theme that gets the message out across many mediums. It is all about the customer experience – use these branding techniques as great examples to go by if you really want to WOW your customer. I hope this inspires you on whatever it is that you are working on at the moment – Enjoy!