Entering the Design World

Most Designers and Creative people dream to work on their own. In a creative environment getting good commissions and concentrating solely on the creative process and their passion for design and art. This can be achievable but other skills need to be acquired.

You will become a marketeer, start to looking for areas where you can make your art sell. For example galleries, eBay etc. You will learn negotiation skills and start talking in marketing terms. You will find yourself when you are in bookshops and the library strangely being drawn to the business section. Also you will find that suddenly you have to become an accountant. Start learning about tax and spreadsheets.

The Freelance life can turn into a nightmare if you don’t keep a keen eye on the finances from day one. A good business plan and realistic financial goals will help you no end. You have to be very focused. I find that I would get so wrapped up in the design side of things it is so easy to forget the other things. I reckon a freelancer spends about 25% of the time on the design work and the rest of the time sorting out all the other logistics that go with running a business.

For some people they have no choice but to enter the creative design world as a freelancer. Maybe your work is of a nature that does not fit in with the ‘right company to work for structure’.
You might be a graduate who has had a creative director saying “you have no experience, we need people who will make money from day one and I have no time to show you”. I was told that when I left Art School. You may have been have been redundant and have a some redundancy money and thinking you will go for the freelance way of life. You might be tired of working for companies and just need to go it alone.

Starting on the road to Freelancing

Building the Freelance network

I think that most work comes from referrals and repeat orders. It has certainly been the case with me and the companies I have worked for. So it is important to give that extra effort with every commission you take on. Friends and family are good starting point. Show them what you can do and get them working as a mini sales force. They will be keen to help you out. For example a few years a go I put my details on Friends Reunited. I got contacted from someone I was at school with. He had a company and was starting others and I managed to get to design the Logos, promotional material and websites for the companies. Also he has referred me to other companies. Network with as many people as possible.

Building a good contact directory sounds like common sense but can be neglected. I made this mistake, I used to write numbers down on small pieces of paper and lose them. People would say “I might be interested in six months time so call me then”. You need to store these reminders. Names, Email contacts etc. A program like Filemaker Pro would be a good way of doing this.

Email spamming is not a good idea, If you want to do an email campaign to promote your work I would recommend setting up a email permission based newsletter for subscribers from your website. Another good way of getting contacts is to call companies that you want to do business with and ask who is the Marketing director or the best person to send promotional material to. Then follow up with a call to try and arrange a meeting.

Once you are face to face you can show them what you are really about. Also it will give you a chance to suss them out also. They might necessarily be the right client for you. Get in touch with as many business schemes and free courses as possible. Princes Trust and Business link are good for the UK.

Gordon Powles is a Graphic Design Graduate and the founder of Gordon Powles-Media a design consultancy that specialises in Graphic Design and Promotional Marketing. With over fifteen years experience in the Graphic Design arena working for a variety of blue-chip and small business helping them to achieve their business goals

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Light Emitting Diodes – Lighting Up the Design World

Lighting is an important aspect of any design. The source of lighting can change the feeling and effectiveness of a room. There are many sources of lighting including natural direct or indirect light, tungsten lighting, fluorescent lighting and LED lighting. LED light bulbs have come a long way. LED bulbs were once too expensive to be considered part of interior design options for the basic consumer. Advances in technology have changed the cost of producing usable white light for the home. LED light offers many advantages and are a greener choice for lighting.

LED lights are light emitting diodes. These are solid state lighting sources that can convert an electrical impulse into light. They last much longer then tungsten bulbs and because of the solid state, are much less likely to stop working due to vibration or a sudden bump. These bulbs are small and sturdy. They can run the range of the color spectrum into non-visible light like infrared and ultraviolet with out the need for filters. These qualities make LED lighting attractive for many projects.

LED lights send out a narrow beam that is excellent for task lighting, like workbench lighting or kitchen work station lighting. The illumination of a wider area can be carried out with reflectors and strip lighting. Book cases and cabinets are great examples of areas that LED lights can be employed. LED’s are very useful for safety lighting and are used in airplanes, theaters and other places where lights can help illuminate passage ways without causing light bleed. These same principals can be used in home lighting for stair cases, walkways and closets.

One of the great advantages of these lights is the ability to paint areas with specific light and a variety of colors. Using LEDs in interior design for space lighting is becoming less expensive and more adaptive. Like track lighting these lights can focus on very specific areas. In addition, some LED lights can actually shift color depending on the need and desire of the home owner. A room can have walls that change color depending on the resident’s mood. With neutral walls the lights can shift the hue of the room. Selecting paint and lighting color requires some experimentation and foresight. The room needs to be able to stand up to natural light as well as artificial light. Areas of the wall can also be lit or shaded. This allows for creating a sense of texture and depth to an area that may actually be a flat wall.

Light emitting diodes can also be used for special decorative purposes. Door knobs can illuminate to indicate occupancy or vacancy, faucets and shower heads can be lit up creating an attractive stream of water. Heat sensitive diodes can even indicate if the water is hot or cold. These lights can be programmed to room temperature, shifting the color to help create a better ambiance. If the room is cool, the lighting can shift to warmer colors and vice versa. There are many applications for light emitting diodes with more on the way. This form of lighting will become standard as the price drops and applications increase.

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