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Graphic Design...there's so much to learn
Monday, 18 September 2006
Should I juggle while I do everything else?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: Freelance VS Fulltime

Another great thing about working freelance is generally you get paid your worth.

Not like that poor old slob that's going to put thier c.v. in for that first art director's job(from hell) that requires very little previous experience. Does that seem a bit odd?
No experiece necessary for a job that you have to manage a department, speak and write 2 languages fluently, be able to work under extrem conditions and deal with problems efficiently and proffessionaly all for the bargain price of minimum wage? What has happend to quality in the work place?
I would imagine that this wonderfull establishment wonders why they can't keep the place staffed with good employees. It gives  a whole new meaning to multi-tasking.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 9:41 AM EDT
Thursday, 17 August 2006
Where school leaves you...

School leaves you in a great position new hopes, possiblities, a fresh start...after a summer of relaxing before you jump into the work force. Prepared for your new career and future?....not always so. Yes education is parmount however by today's standards the technology is changing faster than some of us can keep up with it.
The one thing that never changes in this industry is work experience, professionalism and your portfolio.  You need at least 2 of these to make any headway. If school didn't provide you with a well rounded portfolio (very often not) then you have to see where the gaps are and fill them in. To be employable you have to be prepared to go out for that luggage design job just as easily as a design studio job. The compettion is fierce. Sure work experience whatever the endeavor is experience and ads to your  bank of skills...however there's no need to include all your previous work experience. For an example if your applying for a design position it is not necessary to list your experience working in an abottoir, not unless you designed thier bouchering posters. That's a common mistake that I see on a regular basis with many students just getting into the work force. They have no clue of how to proceed-where to start thier efforts, how to write a cover letter/thank you letter, telephone follow up on a job lead, look for perspective employers, conduct a portfolio vewing, how to market themselves in general; ironicaly they learnt how to market it not apparent where the lines seem blured?
An explanation for this may be when commercial arts split into 3 categories some important business skills were left out. A commercial artists was expected to be a business savvy individual, an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and a Marketing specialist all wraped into one. Once you start working you realize that there's somethings they just didn't teach you in school and unfortunately it ends up wasting you alot of time with trial and the end it's all up to you. I figure in this day and age they would at least prepare you for the competition, how to stand out and follow up. When I was in school it was understandable that there would be gaps in my education for the Graphic Design field was so new - now there shouldn't be an excuse.

Need help with your c.v or building your portfolio?
For a minimum fee I will get you on the right track.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 9:45 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 June 2006
Evolution or Still Stuck in the Primordial Soup

Is this really a better way of doing business and looking for new designers/designs or is it as archaic and demeaning as the dark ages? This trend that I have noticed in the last couple of years primarily used by the less reputable companies and I'm sure many a designer has encountered this at some time in thier career. It started in the fashion industry to foster creativity, a mase and a free data base of new designs.
Essentially it's a cattle call for designs that only cost the price of a help wanted ad in the local paper. Ironically most companies think it's like pulling the proverbial canvas over the designer's eyes in order to keep it fresh and ahead of the rest... oh but they are sooo wrong. One day they will come up against a designer that will call them on thier ill gotten designs and take them to court and in the end they are worst off. Not only are they using rough designs but they will have to pay court fees and will have to pull the product(s) which  they had just spent thousands on to produce...belive me word carries fast when designers do not get paid for thier designs. Disreputable in one arena more than likely disreputable in another = bad business.

In Canada the law is that unless agreed to  "design rights automatically belong to the artist unless those rights are released". Trust me much easier just to pay for the trial the event the company decides to produce the design(s).

So designers... I say beware!...ask the questions I didn't ask at the initial interview.
Why do you need a freelance designer? 
Are you currently using an in-house designer?
What are you planing to do with the designs?..

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 11:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006 12:25 PM EDT
Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Topic: Freelance VS Fulltime
With the insurgence of high end affordable computers everyone can be an artist or a designer. I don't know if that's entirely true.
I think you need the creative drive, plenty of imagination and you have to instinctively know what looks good or you've wasted alot of time.
I have seen alot of amateur art, some of it is wonderful, inventful and surprising and most perhaps let's just say not to my taste.
Well that's just is suggestive, personal, and only serves for appreciation, to deliver concepts or ideas and in rare cases can be applied for commercial use if marketed properly.
However design is art with a purpose. Used as a vehicle to transport ideas, illustrate concepts and convey information on a much different level than art in let's say a gallery setting.
You as the manufacturer, retailer or consumer decide if you prefer the mac truck, rolls royce, or the renaud and purchase accordingly.
This is one of the opposing situations that freelancers face today and I personally find it frustrating to see first hand examples like this...Your company needs a new corporate image and product branding. Like most companies trying to save some time and money you hire someone's son or daughter or use someone inhouse who knows how to use a computer and may have done some desktop publishing or perhaps web design. Yes I'm sure they could come up with something that's eye pleasing and inexpensive but ask yourself these questions. Will it be original? Will it be a mass culmination of available free clipart and photos? How many times will you have to go back and forth untill you finally get what you want? Will they do the necessary research? Will they guide you in the right direction if you don't know what you want? Will they be able to offer you alternative choices, options and budjet problem solving solutions? Will the designs grow with the company? Will it apply to all your markets and products? Will it be consistent throughout various types of media applications? Will it be prepared correctly for a commercial printer?
The point I'm trying to make is in the long run you are not really saving time or money nor are you really getting what your company wants. Let's face the facts there will always be someone who will do the job for less and there will always be the professional freelancer or studio that charges way too much. The only thing that anyone can count on is death and taxes.
An established freelancer or studio can really answer these questions and quell these fears. Unfortunately todays inhouse graphic designer(with 1-2 yrs of job experience)may not be able to due to becoming specialized by working in certain fields or for specific companies.
A inhouse graphic designer's shelf life is maybe 3-5 years with limited overall work experience...then what? (I'll talk about building a well rounded portfolio in another blog).
A well established freelancer or studio's shelf life is indefinite and their body of work, knowledge and experience can be insurmountable.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 12:06 PM EDT
Thursday, 30 March 2006
Tips & Tricks
Topic: Marketing Yourself
One of the most common mistakes or problems I see as a business owner and a freelance artist is the first contact stage.
This is one of the most critical points with gaining perspective clients or employers attention(you either get them or loose them in the first sentence). So you've done some basic research on companies you would like to work for or handle and you sent off your standard style c.v. done up with a style wizard and no cover letter.
Sure way to stand out and show your creativity...NOT!
There is a time and place for a standard resume or c.v. this time is not one of them.
Sure you could do a general search, send a general c.v. and waste time by sending it to everyone and their uncle and get no response generally. OR
You could do a more focused search, gear your c.v and carefully planed out coverletter( go to for great c.v. and cover letter tips) to the needs of your perspective client or employer.
Remeber honesty is always the best policy...if your looking to change the focus of your previous experience towards something else, then list other qualities or experiences that would apply to them like taking courses and other upgrades on your current skill bank.
The little extra time that you put into a more focused search will reap better more reliable contacts in the long run.
Quantity verses quality it's your choice...I'm sure there's people out there that get lucky and sometimes it's all about being at the right place at the right why not be prepared and make your time the right time.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 2:38 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006 11:50 AM EST
Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Topic: Freelance VS Fulltime
One of the best things about working freelance is the variety.
I used to work for a promotional printing company and all I did was logo clean up and placement...creative to a certain degree I guess.
I have friends in the industry that work at full time jobs...but there is seldome the variety or freedom to work with different products and media. For example if you work for a furniture store then you might get to design boxes, labels and flyers but it will always be about furniture. I get to work with textiles, electronics, security systems and restaurants just to name a few and it's not always on the same there's lots of variety and that's exactly how I like it.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 10:32 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006 2:05 PM EST
Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Topic: Freelance VS Fulltime
As a freelancer there are all kinds of benefits. You can make your own hours, be your own boss, work in your pj's if you want to(althought I don't recomend it), decide which jobs you want to work on and do it your own way and potentialy make more money than you could working for someone else.
Very often people choose freelance just for these reasons alone without considering the other side....yes there is another side. You may be your own boss but your client's needs are of the utmost importance...because they are your paycheck...For example if your new client is counting on you to get a rush job uploaded to the Orient and you have to sit in front of the computer for 2.5 hrs. waving the mouse to make sure it it goes through, then that's exactly what you need to do to keep your client happy; of course you have to want to do it in the first place.
There is a way to say no to your clients like offer an alternative solution or point them in the right direction. They will remeber how helpful you were even if they can't use your particular service this time around and more often than not they will mention you to others and that's like gold to a freelancer.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 3:08 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006 9:20 AM EST
Monday, 20 March 2006

Topic: Freelance VS Fulltime
There was a wonderfull article in the Montreal Gazette today illustrating how to market oneself by not only selling your products or services but your philosophy as well.
I can't say that I agree more. That's how you stand out from the crowd and find your niche.
I have found that by giving more(like doing a little extra leg work, providing ideas before a quote etc.) you may run the risk of not getting paid however when it does pay off it's usualy 3 fold. It shows that you have creative passion,it says you can be counted on and you can deliver. This all ='s a good solid ground for building a business realtionship that may result in the communication mutual needed knowledge, or new contacts and or financial compensation. You'll never know unless you take that risk and get out there..what the worst? your out your time...the benefits far outweight that.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 4:22 PM EST
Thursday, 16 March 2006
Changing Tides
Topic: Freelance VS Fulltime
In my career so far(since 94-95)having worked for other companies, freelanced for the majority of it from my own company I have had the opportunity to view the changing tides of the Industry of Design. From commercial Design and all it encompases to Graphic Design, Illustration, Desk Top Publishing to no artistic abilities needed.
When I first started out as a student, computers were only really available to work on in my second to last year of study. At the time most employers unless they were a Design Studio didn't have thier own Graphic Design or Marketing Divisions on staff. However today this is more and more the common trend.
So what becomes of the "freelancers"?
Do we go the way of the dinosaures?
There's still a niche for us out just have to know where to look...not advisable for the faint of heart or hungry.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 11:43 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006 4:54 PM EST

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