As a freelance graphic designer, you’re not only developing your craft, you’re entering the world of business. Working for clients means professionalism is paramount. Here are five common mistakes made by beginning designers that can sabotage your road to success:
1) Designing only in color- Some designers seem to think only in color, but not all clients can use a color logo for all their applications. Remember, if your logo design is successful, it will appear on stationary, business cards, and other items. Your client will want to know the logo reproduces well. Consider printing costs as well, and be sure you understand your client’s end use before designing an intricately colored design that doesn’t translate well to black and white.
2) Not keeping up on the latest trends- This is one of the most common, and devastating mistakes new graphic designers make. Keeping up on the latest trends isn’t easy on a budget, but it’s the only way to compete in this cut throat industry.
3) Getting too complicated with your designs- Some designers seem to believe that the more elements they toss into a design, the better it gets. Yet, consider some of the most popular and well-known logos in use today. The Nike swish. FedEx’s arrow. The Rubbermaid sign with its simple red background and text. Simplicity sells.
4) Plagiarism- While drawing inspiration from other designers is fine, be very careful. If a logo looks too much like another designer’s, not only will you likely not make a sale, you risk damaging your reputation as an original designer. Once you’ve got a label as a lazy designer who steals others’ designs, it’s hard to shake.
5) Unprofessional behavior when dealing with clients- The most sure-fire way of destroying your budding career as a graphic designer is to alienate your clients. Word goes around in the industry, and unprofessional business practices will lose more than your current client. It could lose you future work as well. Keep all communications clear, concise and appropriate to a professional work environment. Grammar and spell-check your e-mails before clicking “send”. Ask for a detailed brief, ask intelligent questions, and deliver quality work on-time.
Freelance graphic design isn’t a shortcut to earning money doing what you love. It’s a job, just as if you donned a suit and tie every morning and went to work in a stuffy office, but without the suit, tie or office. Freelancing means you work for yourself, and it also means you’re responsible for creating and maintaining your business.
|Tom Chu works for PsPrint and PsPrint Blog. When he’s not sitting behind a computer, Tom likes watching sci-fi movies and Japanese cartoons, hitting the golf course and playing with his four dogs. You can connect with Tom via Google+ or Twitter.|