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  1. #1
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Feb 09, 2005
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    841
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    Im pretty much just looking for as much advice as possible for starting up as a freelance Web Designer?

    Anyone got important info/tips?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    D3v1L80Y's Avatar
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    Feb 02, 2004
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    First thing I would do is get together a solid portfolio. Make sure it includes your finished works as well as your conceptual work that you made during the process... sketches, mock pages, other design work, etc.

    Make sure that you get some sort of contract templates ready, as you will need them when you take on a job.

    If you haven't so already, study up on design theories and work on learning why some designs work and others don't. Don't just make something because you think it looks "cool". Pay attention to what the client wants and meet with them and/or keep in touch with them as often as possible. What the client ends up wanting may not be "cool" by your personal standards, but they are the ones paying you so you do what they want, not what you want. Before you actually get out there, post some work and designs on a public exposure site like deviantART and the like so you can get some unbiased, real constructive criticism on your work.

    Don't expect to make much money at first and you might want to even offer your services for free in some cases. What is important is that you get your work out there and people see it. Once people can see it and if they like it, they will spread the word to their friends/peers/colleagues and you will get more work.
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  3. #3
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    surfwax95's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D3v1L80Y
    What the client ends up wanting may not be "cool" by your personal standards, but they are the ones paying you so you do what they want, not what you want.
    Excellent advice from the newly appointed Moderator.

    The quote above is definitely the biggest thing, though. When I came on a as a graphic designer for a high-end bath (Jacuzzi) company, I was having to cater to 40-50 year old women with the ads I was designing. A lot of the stuff I was asked to do was horrible in a design sense, but that's what they wanted, so I had to do it.

    Swallow your pride, follow directions to the T, and do what they ask.
    I try to Command+Shift+/ when I can.
    They're - Their - There | Two - Too - To | You're - Your | MAC - Mac
    I was on the M-F honor roll for October, 2006.

  4. #4
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Jul 25, 2004
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    Expect to be lowballed and outbid by cheap people in India.

    Seriously the market is extremely saturated. It's a pain finding working freelancing unless you're really, really good. I am glad I work for a company doing web dev now so they do the legwork finding the business and I only code and do CSS. Design isn't my strongpoint so none of the design falls on my lap.

  5. #5
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    deus_ex_machina's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 06, 2004
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    2GHz Mac Mini 2GB RAM 160GB 10.6.2 | MDD DP 1.25GHz G4 1.5GB RAM 10.4.11 | 233MHz iMac G3 10.3.9
    Quote Originally Posted by D3v1L80Y
    Make sure that you get some sort of contract templates ready, as you will need them when you take on a job.
    For professional rates check the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook. We have the 11th edition and it lists all the current rates

  6. #6
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Feb 09, 2005
    Posts
    841
    Cheers for the advice guys! Any recommended reading? Books or Sites maybe?

    Sample work?

  7. #7
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    389
    Specs:
    Mac Pro 2.6ghz Quad Xeon, 23" Cinema
    A List Apart.

  8. #8
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    slyseeker's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Your business manners and communication skills must be top notch, it's always a good practice to make your clients feel secure in your skills and business practices.

    I believe that it's poor practice, not to mention bad for our industry to offer freelance or contracted work at pro-bono. It devalues our work that some businesses or orgs believe they can get stellar designs for free (that's what internships are for right?). While it's difficult when designers are starting out, and need to make money, they NEED to make a living to support themselves as well as place confidence in their work by making their products worth something.

    It's good to be able to cater to your clients' needs without sacrificing the integrity of your work. Part of the business means building a business portfolio. You don't want poor work you've done in the past to bite you in the ***. Work with your clients to cater to their needs, but also be willing to push your training and experience by constructively helping your clients to understand what makes effective design.

    Lastly, study up; as a freelancer you'll likely be designing AND producing your work. Know your software and scripting (Javacript, CSS, DHTML, XML). Keep up with industry trends. If possible, and if you can afford it, join AIGA or a local design association and get your work out there. One of the best things about the business is marketing your clients because you're also marketing yourself.

  9. #9
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    May 16, 2005
    Posts
    11
    I was just talking about this today. True, the market is saturated which is why it helps to be distinctive in your web design. This isn't just with the design itself, but also as a business owner. Try focusing on word of mouth. Find people who need help (aka have bad web sites or need one) and talk to them. If you do a good job, word gets around!

  10. #10
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Feb 09, 2005
    Posts
    841
    Cheers for all the advice guys!

  11. #11
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Oct 26, 2006
    Posts
    467
    MacBook Pro | 2.33 GHz 3 GB Ram 200 GB HD | Best Choice Ever For A Laptop | 8 GB iPod Touch

  12. #12
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    rcronin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
    Location
    New Eng
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    423
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    MacBook white, 2.0 Intel Core 2 Duo Pro, 2 GB RAM, 13" screen
    Good advice everyone. Stuff I need to keep in mind. I appreciate it.
    Becky
    Web & Graphic Designer, LLL Leader, teacher (in my previous life; pre-kids) and Mama to my two daughters (who think the Apple booty is theirs)

  13. #13
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    MartinS's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 02, 2006
    Location
    Bournville, UK
    Posts
    663
    Tips for being a freelance ANYTHING:

    Build a portfolio, such as tear sheets, sites, images, etc.
    Go to conventions and such like, not only directly related to your industry, but for industries that might use your services.
    Be professional.
    DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU WILL NEED TO SET ASIDE FOR TAX!
    www.martinsketchley.co.uk

    2011 21.5-inch i5 iMac
    Mid-2009 13-inch MacBook Pro

  14. #14
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?
    Thyamine's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 23, 2007
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    Coatesville, PA
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    Always listen to your client, and make suggestions based on what they want ('Hey, you know, blinking red text really isn't a good thing'), not what you want. I worked with one developer who argued with a client about a design choice because it made his job easier if they went with his suggestion.

  15. #15
    Setting up as a freelance web designer?

    Member Since
    Oct 26, 2006
    Posts
    467
    As a beginner in the freelance world you may not have many clients but once current clients gain your trust, word of mouth spreads like a wild fire. You also don't work regular hours and you are there for your client(s) 24/7 pretty much.
    MacBook Pro | 2.33 GHz 3 GB Ram 200 GB HD | Best Choice Ever For A Laptop | 8 GB iPod Touch

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