Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creating A Sophisticated Portfolio

Whether your portfolio is print, web, photography or illustration, all portfolios have one thing in common.... they encompass our skills, experience and creativity.

A good number to start with is 15-20. You want it to be versatile and sophisticated. There is no need to throw every little project in there. The best way to decide what should stay and what should go is to place them all next to each other. If one does not measure up to the others, then maybe you should reconsider its inclusion.

Always put your three best pieces as follows: the first being viewed, the last, and one in the middle. The idea is to wow them from start to finish. There is nothing wrong with showing work from college, as long as it competes well with your other pieces, by all means hold onto it.

Just because you were paid to do it, does not mean it is good enough for your showcase. We all take on jobs we are not proud of in the end, this could be a result from client dictation or to serious time constraints. Either way, more isn't alway better. Keep a strong body of work and do not let a few bad pieces ruin it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Graphic Design Rates

When establishing a rate, some things to keep in mind: client budget, the value of your time, your experience and the skill level required to complete the project.

If the client has a specific budget, then try to work within it. If they are asking too much from you, then explain that your skills require more than they are offering, and that the "said work" will be additional to the budget discussed. Usually we can come to an agreement by being open minded, flexible and confident. 

Some clients will attempt to take advantage of prices by haggling with you. Something to keep in mind, even though it is a product, it is also a unique idea, created by you, the designer. Being upfront with people helps establish the tone of your worth. Let them know you can be flexible to a certain extent. 

Everyone has their own idea of value, but try not to sell yourself short. Emphasize upfront your skills and experience. I find it helpful to create prices based on a per project basis, vs. an hourly fee. However, if you are freelancing for a local firm, or company, they will most likely pay per hr.

Two key things to keep in mind: Do not underestimate yourself, and, do not take on more than you can handle.

There are plenty of online resources available for creating contracts. is very helpful: Here is a great article by Jacci Howard Bear

Friday, February 11, 2011

Concept Developing

We all need inspiration for our ideas. I often sketch concepts on paper while researching for a project. Some people find it easier to jump right onto the computer, however, limiting yourself to the tools of technology can hinder the creative process. Having an idea before you start the project can save you and your client a lot of time and money. Creating involves creativity, and without ideas you will find yourself with mediocre work that makes no sense. Having a theme is a good place to start. Writing down words associated with the style and theme you are looking for can broaden your ideas. It is better to go too far than not to have gone far enough.

Whenever I hit a creative road block, I look to my peers. Some great sites to check out to fuel your ideas:,,,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Color As Meaning

Often times Designers are faced with a color theory challenge. We tend to either over use or under use color in our work. Color should be used to enhance your design, not distract or deter.

When first creating comps, try to create them in black and white. This will assure that you are not relying on purely color to attract your consumer. The composition should be the most important part of your design, from start to finish.

When adding color, try to use colors the client has adapted through use of their identity. This will assure a cohesive family of design.