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A Graphic Design Student's Guide to Freelance: Practice Makes Perfect

ISBN: 978-1-118-34196-4
240 pages
October 2012
A Graphic Design Student

Description

A complete guide to freelance graphic design—created specifically for design students

Why wait until you graduate? Freelancing is a great way to jumpstart your career in graphic design. It lets you apply what you've been learning in school, close the gaps in your education with real-world experience, enhance your portfolio—and make a little money at the same time.

A Graphic Design Student's Guide to Freelance: Practice Makes Perfect covers everything you need to know to begin successfully freelancing as a designer, including how to set up your business, deal with legal and financial issues, find clients, and work with them effectively.

This full-color guide is divided into sections that correspond to your particular skill level as a student—beginner, intermediate, or advanced. These sections give you specific tasks and goals to help your freelance design work go smoothly as you progress from your very first professional job to gain experience with a range of projects and clients and prepare to move into a full-time graphic design career once you complete your studies.

Complete with sample forms available online (invoices, a proof approval form, job jacket, and more) and 175 color images, including samples of paid work created by students, A Graphic Design Student's Guide to Freelance: Practice Makes Perfect will help you navigate the world of freelance design with confidence.

Inside this book, you will learn to:

  • Write a business plan
  • Purchase key equipment
  • Set rates and draw up contracts
  • Find and manage clients
  • Create and show concepts
  • Market your company
  • Expand your business
  • Develop your portfolio
  • And more
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Table of Contents

Accessing Digital Files Online vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. INTRODUCTION 1

Filling in the Gaps in Your Education 2

What Is Freelance? 4

Don’t Wait until You Graduate 4

About This Book 6

2. WHY SHOULD YOU FREELANCE? 9

Balancing Creativity and Commerce 9

Escaping the Project Mode Mentality 10

Working for Money 18

Working for Trade. 23

Enhancing Your Portfolio 24

Learning to Fail 25

Experience the Thrill of Owning a Business 27

3. PLANNING YOUR BUSINESS 29

Writing a Business Plan 30

Performing a SWOT Analysis 31

Identifying External Factors 39

4. I HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN. NOW WHAT? 43

Choosing a Business Name 43

Talk to a CPA and Fill Out Your LLC Paperwork 49

Apply for an Employer Identifi cation Number 50

Opening a Business Checking Account 52

Getting a Business License 53

BEGINNER LEVEL

5. THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING 55

Goals for Beginning Freelancers 55

Equipment to Purchase 56

How Do You Find Your First Client? 60

What Type of Work Should You Do? 61

Writing a Contract 68

Understanding What’s in Your Contract 70

Meeting Your Client 76

Creating Sketches and Concepts 78

Showing Your Client Your Concepts 82

Delivering Your Proof 83

Delivering the Final Product 86

Sending an Invoice 88

Lather, Rinse, Repeat 88

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

6. GAINING MOMENTUM 91

Goals for Intermediate Level Freelancers 91

Equipment to Purchase 92

How Do You Find Clients? 96

What Type of Work Should You Do? 109

Establishing an Internal Work-Flow System 116

Creating a Master Client List 116

Creating a Master Job Tracking List 117

Tracking Your Jobs 118

Archiving Your Work 120

Creating a Business Card 123

Working with Vendors 127

Managing Your Time 130

Documenting Your Process Work 131

Finding an Internship 137

Ethical Considerations 138

ADVANCED LEVEL

7. STRETCHING YOUR WINGS 145

Goals for Advanced Level Freelancers 145

Equipment to Purchase 146

Types of Clients You Should Work With 151

Creating a Web Presence for Your Company 156

Planning for What Comes After School 158

Choosing the Right Portfolio for the Job 159

Choosing the Right Portfolio Pieces 165

Creating a Monthly Budget 171

Creating a PDF Portfolio 173

Submitting a PDF Portfolio 174

What to Say in Your Letter of Interest 175

LANDING A JOB

8. MOVING FORWARD 181

Getting a Job 181

Writing a Resume 183

Preparing for an Interview 191

Negotiating an Offer 200

Tips from Professionals 202

EPILOGUE

9. EPILOGUE 211

Looking Back on Your Experience 211

Resources 215

Index 221

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Author Information

BEN HANNAM is an Assistant Professor in the Visual Communication Design Program at Virginia Tech and the founder of the design firm Accomplish Studios, LLC. He has won numerous awards for his graphic design work and teaching, and lectures internationally on topics such as freelance graphic design, graphic design pedagogy, and experiential learning environments.

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