1. Lesson Learned: Revising As You Go (Designer Contracts)

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    With Freelancing, It’s super important that you have a document that keeps both you and your client accountable for your actions and process throughout the entire project. The “contract” is that guiding piece of paper that can do just that. When I first started out on this whole adventure, my contract was pretty weak. It included what I thought were the necessary things like timelines, payment and top line expectations. It wasn’t later that I realized you really have to get into the nitty gritty to save yourself.

    Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…
    1. Late Fees: Within your contract, you need to state when the final payment is DUE and what happens if that payment is not received. I’ve found that the stricter your policy, the more likely your client will pay on time.
    2. Rounds of Revisions: Your contract also needs to state how many rounds of revisions are allowed before a penalty is applied. Abiding by a certain amount of revisions helps guide your client in making thoughtful design decisions and prevents them from abusing their email correspondence with you.
    3. Hourly Rate vs Flat Rate: I have learned to state that “any design element outside of the design brief/contract” will be billed at an hourly rate. This also keeps your clients honest to the original contract or agreement.
    4. List of Deliverables (both parties): This may seem like over kill, but I’m telling ya…if you don’t say EXACTLY what you expect, clients tend to lose sight of what was in the original plan. I learned this the hard way and ended up doing a lot of work for free.

    I’d love to hear if you’ve made any discoveries along the way. I’m always trying to improve my process and love hearing from you guys!

  2. Recent Work: Cuyana Communications

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    As a contract designer for Cuyana I’ve had the opportunity to touch quite a few of their visual communication pieces, specifically visuals that live in the online space. Cuyana’s design strategy is very similar to my own. They say “Less is More” with everything. If it’s not an essential communication piece or design element, get rid of it! Same goes for the items in your closet ;)

    The above images are a few of the pieces I create on a weekly basis for them. These pieces usually include emails, blog updates, online store maintenance, consumer engagement and the occasional event promotion. All of these elements are working together to get their brand message out there and inspire their customers. I’m pretty lucky to be a part of all that :)

    You can sign up to receive their weekly emails and follow their blog.

  3. Recent Work: Veda House Re-Branding (mood board)

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    OMG! I don’t really know where to start with this post. I feel like I’ve mentioned this whole VH rebranding project for months now, with nothing to show for it. Here’s what happened….

    I started the whole rebranding process while I was still working at my 9-5 design job. I was eager to have a fully rebranded identity once I launched myself into the world of full-time freelance. That was the goal at least, but once I actually left my job to do freelance full-time I started to discover my design aesthetic morphing into something new. I felt the transition was taking me in a more sophisticated tone, so I stopped the rebranding process to see where this new found freedom would take me.

    It’s now 4 months into this new adventure and I’m feeling pretty confident on where I’ve landed. I’ve defined a need to mesh together the handmade aspect  with the “seemingly perfect” aspect of my photography and graphic design aesthetic. When you are someone who values minimalism, it’s really tough to do any kind of “meshing” when you have minimal elements to work with.

    You can see a little more where this project started –> April 2013, September 2012 (Part 2), September 2012 (Part 1)

  4. Lesson Learned: Building Your Brand, Not Theirs

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    If you’ve been following my blog for any time now, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a freelance graphic design/photo stylist and I’m slowly growing my body of work, also known as “studio hours” on this blog. Last April, I left my full time job (SCARY!) at the advertising agency to pursue my dreams of becoming a reputable photo stylist and designer. I sought out to find projects I was passionate about and projects that fit within my design language. For me, that usually means working with other creative individuals and brands to produce beautiful work.

    Before this whole adventure started, I was working for someone else, a company with a different vision than my own. I was working with SUPER large brands who’s brand message didn’t fuel my  fire. I felt like a machine, pumping out good design, but design that I wasn’t connecting with…and sadly wasn’t growing from. You could say that if I collected those three years of work into a portfolio, it’d be decent. It’d get me where I needed to be and it’d most likely produce new work opportunities for me. That’s not the point though.

    My point is, that up until this past April, I was working my ass off to build someone else’s brand. I was pouring my heart and soul into something I didn’t feel I was getting an equal return from. In my opinion, that’s the best aspect of freelancing. You get to determine your brand vision. You get to develop a super defined portfolio that promotes everything you stand for. You get to work with other brands and people that are just as inspired as you. Isn’t that amazing?

    Do you guys have experience with “building other’s brands” instead of your own? What have you done to flip the scale?

     

  5. Inspired By: Kindah Khalidy Silk Scarves

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    I was reading through my daily blog roll and came across Kindah Khalidy (these silk scarves) on Bri’s Blog (Design Love Fest) where’s she’s having a giveaway of these beauties. If you like the scarves, I highly recommend you stop by the shop and see some of the other items like clutches, bags, pouches, and shirts.

    I feel in love with the delicacy of the materials with the boldness of the patterns. Such a lovely combination! The best thing is the fabrics are painted here in the US and sewn together in California.

    Enjoy!

  6. Notable No. 28

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    Summer is flying by and sorry it’s been a little while since the last Notables post. From the reader survey, many of you voted this post to be your favorite. Thanks for stopping by and checking out what I thought was “notable” on the web this week.

    Notables this week:
    1. Lovely new items in the Herriott Grace online shop
    2. A home in Apulia featured on sfgirlbybay’s I Could Live Here post
    3. The architectural details of this home via The Style Files
    4. More beautiful home details from the home of A Merry Mishap
    5. This might be another version of my dream home!
    6. One word – this rug
    7.  These ceramic pieces by Sophie Moorhouse Morris
    8. Sarjaton Glasses from Fate
    9. The closet visit of Sophie Bhuai of Vena Cava

  7. Inspired By: Inventory – Queen of Tsawwassen

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    As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve been working on a printed portfolio (photography based) project for some time now. After a few delays in the printing process, the client and I are back at it, prepping final files to be sent to the printer. During this entire process I’ve been very in tune to what’s going on in the world of publishing and book design.

    This 120-page hardcover book showcases the work of photographers, Li Bosworth, Seth Fluker, Jennilee Marigomen, Dan Siney and Chris Taylor (Canadian photographers). I love the simplicity of the design that lets the photographs speak for themselves. What do you guys think? Good?

    Purchase the book  /  Inventory Magazine

  8. Lesson Learn-ing: Pitching BIG Brands

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    As a designer and especially as a “Freelance” Designer (small business owner), it’s super important to have an all consuming drive to succeed and to grow. Being stagnant is NOT an option and you will quickly be passed by the new and up and coming crowd.  Once you step into the world of freelance, you no longer have your “new business department” working their butts off to bring in new clients…clients that will grow the business and set you apart from your biggest competitors.

    I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking about the laundry list of clients you’d just die to work with because you admire what their brands are doing. For me, I’d be over the moon to work with brands like Anthropologie, Terrain, West Elm, Kinfolk, Toast, Levis and a handful of photographers and artists….Yeah Parker & Katie Quinn, I’m talking to you.
       

    This leaves me to HOW do you put yourself out there and “pitch” yourself to your dream brands. I’m in the middle of pitching a few really bit projects to a few of the brands listed above and this is what I’ve been doing.

    Step 1: Research the hell out of the brand you want to work with. What are they currently doing and what does it look like they are missing. Do you have a special skill to offer them that they aren’t getting elsewhere?

    Step 2: Put together a presentation (as detailed as possible) about what you have determined to offer then. For example: if you want to have a sponsored event with Antropologie, what materials would Antro be responsible for and what content would you be contributing. (see my infographic above to see what elements should be included in this presentation)

    Step 3: Find a contact within that company who you can email/call directly. You’ll be able to sell yourself better if you are targeting the right person within the company.

    Step 4: Email the contact your presentation and ask to schedule a time to walk them through it. Talking to someone over the phone will give you more opportunities to explain things and get to know who you’ll potentially be working with.

    Step 5: Follow up, follow up, follow up!

    Step 6: Develop a project contract and have both parties sign it before any work begins. Once signed, jump in!

    Step 7: Once the project is complete, send any contact you’ve made along the way a personalized thank you note. Hand-written notes are always the best way to say “thank you”.

     

    I’m curious if you’ve ever tackled a larger than life dream client. How did you do it. Tell me!!