It's been a while since the last time I posted in this blog, the university and other activities haven't let me take some time to write about design. Anyway, that doesn't mean that I haven't been able to create graphics, keep learning on my own and even work as a design freelancer.
The purpose of this post is precisely to talk about my -little- experience as a design freelancer. I started creating profiles on freelancing sites and the one that suited me the most was Freeelancer.com. This platform is huge, and the process of setting up a complete profile isn't hard at all.
What has really been hard is the competence. Freelancer.com is huge in all aspects: projects, employers, and number of freelancers wanting to get these projects.
I consider competence a good thing, it pushes professionals forward in order to conquer the market and in the end, the customer gets better products and services at lower prices. The thing is that graphic design business is very different from other industries, and that's mainly because of one simple rule: "in design, the customer almost never has the reason", let's see why this is true and how it affects the dynamics of competence.
The customer almost never has the reason
The graphic designer, is more than just someone that knows how to use Photoshop, Inkscape and the like, he or she is someone who knows the language of the graphics, and with this, I don't mean the jargon, I mean all the elements that are necessary to communicate a message that conveys a great variety of ideas through the shapes and colors and moreover making this rich-in-concept composition look attractive for the eye. To sum it up: every good designer is also a graphic consultant.
As with all talents, most people isn't born with "good eye", that's why sometimes someone asks you to do some graphics and give you very specific instructions, then you do exactly as they say and in the end, the client throw it all away because it looks bad.
I don't pretend to persuade designers to never listen to the customer, indeed, every single work starts with a sort of survey on the concepts and also very specific graphics that the client wants, but, there's certainly an equilibrium in everything and if we pretend to be honest and correct to our job, we must guide the customer towards safe port even when he or she is determined with certain ideas that won't help to get a good result (no easy task, but part of the art).
How competence is affected
Everyone with a computer, the proper software and an internet connection is a potential freelance graphic designer.
This fact not only applies to graphic design, but also for most kind of jobs, and it's in general a good thing: people from the poor countries (as myself) are being allowed to have access to millions of job opportunities in the entire world and people from richer countries can get a good service at a lower price because the pool of possible employees is expanded.
But there's always a Yin for every Yang: this revolution has also allow the expansion of mediocre and even dishonest designers that seize this opportunity to cheat clients.
Some of the portfolios showed by some designers are completely constructed from other designers' work. To counterattack this practice, LogoThief was created, but there are still thousands of fake portfolios in the web.
The other tactic that these mediocre and/or dishonest designers have found to take advantage of the clients is the rule I mentioned at the beginning: (in design) the customer almost never has the reason" . I've seen countless contests gained by some mediocre designer that exploited the "bad eye" of the customer and deliver a bad work.
Be a good graphic design freelancer / Hire the right graphic design freelancer
This article would be incomplete if I don't finish with some advice for those who want to be better designers and those who don't want to be cheated.
If you are struggling to improve your design skills, get proficient at the programs you use, get inspired by good design (Pinterest and Behance are good places to look at) and also pick up a book on graphic design, reading is a good habit.
Now, if you want to get a good service but don't know anything about design and have a "bad eye", don't panic, Saint Google comes to help: a quick search on "what makes a good (put here the kind of graphic you want to get done)" will guide you to good articles that will tell you in no more than 5 minutes, what a good (and decent) designer should offer you.
Still have doubts? leave it in a comment.