How To Be Taken Seriously As A Freelance Graphic Designer

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You went to the interview. You shook hands. And now? You wait. If you're itching to hear back, here's how to send a follow up email without being annoying.

Meet Nikki, our Creative Design intern! She’s our cute little creative who spends her day editing photos, illustrating, and doing all our graphic work here at Bloguettes! Although she’s our intern here at Bloguettes, we found out how professional Nikki is as a freelance designer. See her tips below on how to be taken seriously as a freelance graphic designer!

I’ve been doing graphic design since I was a sophomore in high school, so it’s roughly been about six years. Throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot of things and want to share with you on how you can be taken more seriously as graphic designer!

Create Your Business Package

Have a solid business package down. When I say business package, I mean your résumé, cover letter, digital portfolio, business card, and invoice. (If you want to go the extra mile, try adding a branded envelope and folder!) Whether you’re applying for a job or meeting a client for the first time, this gives the best first impression. Since you are a graphic designer, brand and design your documents yourself! A strong brand also gives them an impression of what your style is and a sense of who you are.

Design Tips

When designing documents, use gridlines. It’ll make your documents easier to read and feel more fluid. As for typeface and color, use what speaks to your personality the most, but knock the opacity down to 70-80% when it comes to the body and add extra leading. This helps make your information feel light.

Meeting With Clients

Don’t be nervous! Bring in a résumé, cover letter and business cards (which you should always have on you), just in case the client has more partners that you haven’t had the chance to introduce yourself to.

Bring a notebook or your laptop so you can ask questions and take notes. I’ve written down a few questions that are always on my list:

My go-to questions

  1. 1

    What’s the best way to contact you? (Get their contact info so you can email, text, call, etc)

  2. 2

    How would you describe your company?

  3. 3

    Who is your audience and what message are you trying to send?

  4. 4

    What size do you need the project?

  5. 5

    What colors/fonts would you like? (The company may have strict branding guidelines)

  6. 6

    Do you have any specific imagery in mind? (Getting examples gives you a great starting point!)

  7. 7

    What format do you want the final project in? (This helps you send the project in the right color mode: CMYK or RGB)

  8. 8

    When is the deadline?

You don’t want to overload yourself with a lot of work and have everything up in the air. Deadlines at least force you to work on things in a timely matter and who knows, maybe you’ll give it to them earlier than expected and that’s always a plus!

Discussing Payment

Prior to the meeting, decide if you want to be paid hourly or by project. From there, figure out how much time it takes you to complete a project, and make sure it’s worth it. I got this tip from a good freelancing friend once: always oversell yourself. If the client wants to cut it back a bit, make sure it’ll still be worth it. If the client isn’t willing to meet you in the middle, again, know your worth.

Bonus tip: get paid half before and half after the project is completed. This helps prevent being taken advantage of. From previous experiences, there are some clients that won’t like the total cost of the design, some that won’t like the actual design, or both. This half & half approach ensures that both you and the client are together until the end.

Invoice

After the meeting, send the client a friendly thank you email with an invoice. For my invoice, I send out an email saying thank you and attach my personal branded invoice with:

  1. The description of the project (ex: Illustration, 4×6)
  2. The total cost and the amount currently due (half now, half later)
  3. How to send payment:
    • PayPal: warning, there’s a transaction fee of 2.9%
    • A physical check
    • (My personal favorite) Chase Quickpay: no transaction fee!
    • Venmo

Emailing

Make sure to check your email daily. It’s important the client feels like they are being well taken care of and chose the right freelancer to do the project. If your deadline isn’t until months ahead, make sure to communicate with them in between and update them on how your project is going.

And voila! You, my friend, are now being taken seriously as a freelance graphic designer.