Freelance Graphic Designers: How do you Find New Work and Clients?
Thought I'd poll all you freelance graphic designers, logo and web designers out there, and see how you all collectively find yourself new clients, or how clients find you.
I've opened up Comments below, so please take a moment to share your various strategies.
Hopefully you'll like to share any methods that you employ in your quest to make yourself findable to potential clients, such as:
Google Search, Blogging, Social Media, External Portfolios, Paid Freelance Directories & Showcases, Paid Ad platforms like AdWords and Facebook Ad's, Local Press Advertising and Marketing.
How do you help potential clients find your design studio, how do you help yourself be found amongst the ever increasing number of freelance designers and design studios?
My Basic Strategy
I for one mostly have bene able to rely on Google, through many years of blogging. It seems the majority of my client clients still find me via Google Search.
Some new leads come from word-of-mouth, recommendations and the occasional repeat client.
I do dabble with the occasional Paid FaceBook Ad campaign, but that's mostly to just help overall awareness; Sowing the seeds so-to-speak.
There's no doubt that over the last few years, it's become dramatically harder to find new clients just due to the sheer scope of competition.
There are many any new freelance logo and graphic designers arriving to compere for work each day, not to mention the heavy competition from crowdsourcing sites like 99Designs and Crowdspring.
If you're of a generous and helpful disposition, then it'd be great to hear how you look for, and get new clients.
I do love poking around all the various color palettes, and colour swatch libraries currently available online.
I frequently visit such established colour palette websites as ColourLovers for inspiration for new logo design, and other graphic design projects.
Color Lisa is a tasty variation of existing color palette and swatch libraries, based on painted masterpieces of the worlds greatest artists, for us Graphic Designers.
The Color Lisa website is simple enough to get around; there's only one long page listing the artists from A-Z. Click M in the top list of letters from A-Z, and you'll jump down to Monet, for example.
THE DREAM by Pablo Picasso
RAINBOW by Bille Apple
Color Lisa is a curated list of color palettes based on masterpieces of the worlds greatest artists. Each palette was painstakingly created by color obsessed designers, artists, museum curators, and masters of color theory. Palettes are constantly being added to help keep your designs colorful and fresh.
Color Lisa was made by Ryan McGuire, an artist, photographer, designer, and lover of color. Fun fact about Ryan: he drives a bright green (HEX #A5C955) and orange (HEX #E9AF42) 1971 VW Beetle he turned into a dinosaur. Questions, guest curator requests, and praise :) can be sent to [email protected].
uiGradients: Modern Dual-tone Colour Gradients for Designers & Developers by Indrashish Ghosh
I've had this lovely website bookmarked for a few weeks now, after initially tweeting it; it's been in my 'to blog' list until now. Christmas is all but here, and I wanted to post something colourful and useful.
— Graham 'Logo' Smith (@thelogosmith) November 29, 2015
If you struggle to come up with pleasing gradients for your designs, then uiGradients is worth bookmarking. It'll allow you to select from a healthy library of colour gradients from which to bring your web designs to life.
You can also 'Get the CSS Code' (as below), which makes it super easy to make your website look really pretty:
background: #7b4397; /* fallback for old browsers */ background: -webkit-linear-gradient(to left, #7b4397 , #dc2430); /* Chrome 10-25, Safari 5.1-6 */ background: linear-gradient(to left, #7b4397 , #dc2430); /* W3C, IE 10+/ Edge, Firefox 16+, Chrome 26+, Opera 12+, Safari 7+ */
If you're the sort of person that likes to give as well as take, then you can also 'Add your Gradient', for instant Karma points:
Adding a gradient is easy. All gradients are read from a
gradients.jsonfile which is available in this project's repo. Simply add your gradient details to it and submit a pull request
The Foundation Collection of 75 Fonts from Monotype for £33
Fonts from Monotype: Are you a budding new graphic designer, or even a more seasoned designer? Looking for some solid and dependable fonts from which to build you typeface collection?
For just £33, instead of £330, you'll get a heap of 75 well known fonts to solidify your type library, including but not limited to: Avenir Next, Clarendon BT, Neue Haas Unica, DID Next Slab, Trade Gothic Next, Stemple Garamond and Unit Slab OT etc.
I really would recommend buying these fonts from Monotype if you're looking to some serious graphic designing, as a lot of these will certainly come in useful.
Good graphic design isn't just about using the latest new font; it's about using the font that is best for the job. In many cases: these established fonts are used to good effect, and they'll see you good for years to come.
BrandColors: Official color codes for the world's biggest brands
BrandColors looks pretty, but it actually serves quite a useful and interesting purpose for any collecting color codes by curious graphic designer.
BrandColors boasts an impressive directory of major brands whilst referencing their distinctive brand colours as a tabbed colour swatch.
But that's not all.
You can add as many brands as you like to a 'Collection', which you can then export out said brand colours to various file formats, including: ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange), CSS, Sass, LESS and finally, Stylus.
This makes using these referenced colour swatches a real breeze.
As an example, I 'collected' the color swatches of About.me and Adobe, then exported them to CSS and ASE. you can see the CSS format below opened up in Coda, and the ASE file was imported into a new swatch collection in Photoshop, also below.
Semplice for WordPress - Designers Best Kept Secret - Black Friday 30% Off
Been eyeing up Semplice for WordPress, from Semplice Labs, for some time now, as in many many months. Been keen to overhaul my own website and logo design portfolio, and been looking for ways in which to achieve that goal for about the last year.
"Semplice for WordPress is the first fully responsive case study portfolio system. Built by designers, for designers."
There are many many WordPress orientated portfolio and blog based themes available to us graphic designers, a number of which I have purchased, downloaded and started to use, but only to be derailed with one thing or another.
I know there are many people who would just say, "design and code your own website", or "Why not pay someone to to it for you".
Both valid suggestions, but I'm no expert in PHP, CSS and HTML, no where near enough to develop a blog portfolio with the functionality that I require, neither do I have ££'s to pay a web developer and designer to do the job for me. If I had the money to hand, I'd pay someone in a heart beat.
So back to Semplice. I've looked at the many live examples of websites and portfolios built with Semplice on their Showcase, and feel it's a good fit for what I need. There is definitely a Semplice 'style' that is inherent within a lof of the showcased websites, and it's a style I really like.
The Black Friday deal offered by Semplice, a lovely 30% off, gave me that final push to purchase it. I was going to buy the basic Single version, but the 30% enticed me enough to purchase the Studio Edition.
So with the 30% discount in hand, I ended up paying a very reasonable £61.30. Here's hoping I can design something with Semplice that is a little less like the other examples, but still part of the Semplice family.
Going to give myself a few months to get this in hand, then boom! Hopefully a lovely new visual styled for The Logo Smith Freelance Graphic and Logo Designer.
Color Swatch Calendar 2016 Designed by Peter von Freyhold
Something satisfying tearing off coloured swatch strips to count down ones life; bit like the joy of those sticky coloured tabs to mark pages in books etc.
Interestingly for me this is the 3rd edition of the colour swatch calendar, so not sure how I missed the previous editions.
Peter von Freyhold: "The third edition of the color swatch calendar reappears in a new design, binding screws with another 371 colors, international calendar and box included.
The color swatch calendar is the daily inspiration for all who love the colors. By tearing the color pattern stripes arise every day new and surprising combinations.
Printed on both sides coated / uncoated chromoboard the individual sample strips can be put together using the binding screws to individual color charts.
The exact CMYK color values are each listed on the strip.
The calendar shows 371 selected shades that play together on the weekly as color compositions.
Printed on fine paper from Fedrigoni, the calendar is printed in the weekly change black and white, and the jacket is hot foil embossed with white."
Buy color swatch calendar 2016
Found on slanted.de
The Pantone Cafe on Monaco's Beach
CONCEPT: "From 14 July to 9 September, the esplanade of the Grimaldi Forum will host the first colorful Pantone & Cafe.
Pantone no introduction. In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone founder created an innovative system of identification, color communication and correspondence in order to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color in the graphic arts community.
Since, Pantone has evolved and collaborates with various industries in the world of fashion, design, art, painting, technology ... His strong concept is recognized and implemented internationally. It combines perfectly with the cultural place that is the Grimaldi Forum.
Especially during the famous summer themed exhibitions."
I still can't make up my mind if all these Pantone themed establishments is bordering on the naff, or actually really very cool. Not having been to either, I guess I should reserve judgment until I have.
it's worth remembering how established Pantone is given it's been around since the 1950's, so this relatively slow trickle of significant Pantone theme offerings, can be viewed in context. colour is life, and colour creates beauty, energy and passion. So mix all that with coffee, and surely that's a recipe for success.
Found via Brand Channel: Pantone Adds a Vibrant Swatch of Color to New Café in Monaco
The Pantone Cafe Menu
Pantone Cafe, totally ephemeral, will be open from breakfast with coffee and croissants and will, throughout the day, drinks, sandwiches, focaccia, snacks and Italian ice creams.
Kontrapunkt 'Bob' Free Font for Download by Kontrapunkt
I love the name as well, Bob. Reminds me of Black Adder… BoB! BoB?
Bob has some seriously smooth lines, fullness of form and some rather unique styling going on with some of the letter forms. Indeed, some of the letters, on their own, look like they could be form an altogether different style of font, like Sans: just look at that capital G for example, love it!
As far as free fonts go, I'm mighty impressed with Bob!
There is this image (below), that can be found ALL OVER the internet (see various sources here: http://smith.gl/13xtXOi), that originally had quoted as saying:
"Art School Taught Me That My Greatest Tool Is Myself."
Whilst I agree with the end bit, I find the Art School bit a little narrow focused, so I decided to append the message to:
Art School Experience Taught Me That My Greatest Tool Is Myself.
Incidentally, if anyone knows who created this originally, I'd sure appreciate a heads-up so I can properly credit and link back.
Background - No Art School
Having never been to Art School, or achieved any academic qualifications in Art & Design, I've always tried to stand-up for the naturally creative individual:
The type of creative individual who enthusiastically seeks to gain: experience and/or employment in the Art & Design industry, using their abundance of naturally sourced: talent, wit, skill, conviction, balls, enthusiasm, motivation etc.
No doubt that Art School provides many additional layers of skills and knowledge, and I'm certainly NOT belittling those that went that route.
However it has been proven time and time again that one CAN succeed in the Art & Design industry having NOT attended, and obtained, numerous Art & Design flavoured qualifications.
Having a natural creative talent required nourishing & nurturing, so finding some form of industry related experience can be brutally hard.
Life is rarely fare and easy when trying to get your foot on the ladder, but in the case of a natural creative, you have one major advantage over many others': you don't need to rely on an employer to provide the tools needed to move forward.
The very least I need to get my job done: pencils, pens, sketchbook and design books for inspiration.
The very most I need to get my job done: laptop and Wi-Fi (and I guess some clients!)
I previously wrote a post on this very topic. Forging, and fulfilling, a dream to work within the Creative Industry without any Art & Design qualifications/experience: hopefully may provide you with some hope and inspiration: