Making a living as a graphic designer can be a fully rewarding career for certain creative people. Just like any career though, there are problems that can be prevented for freelance graphic designers before-hand. This article is intended to give you a heads up on certain things that can make your job easier and more profitable. Here are 10 mistakes to avoid when starting out:
1. Poor Communication
Not staying in constant touch with the client is the number one mistake most graphic designers make when first starting out. Your client should be able to get in touch with you at all times; this means by e-mail, phone, pager...whatever.
2. Using Too Many Different Fonts
The old saying "KISS - Keep it simple stupid" applies to this mistake that is often made when first starting out. Using too many fonts will give your design not only an amateur's appearance, but a much cluttered piece of work.
3. Borrowing Others' Designs
This is a great big mistake and can lead to a lot of legal problems; let alone ruin your reputation. Your future as a graphic designer depends on your reputation. Under no circumstance should you steal another person's idea just because you like it; remember plagiarism is a big no-no as well.
4. Not Getting a Down Payment
Most Graphic Designers usually receive half of the agreed upon price up front. This is a fair way to do business with all of your clients.
5. Forgetting to Sign a Contract
Never start a job until you and your client have both signed a contract on what is expected of you. Whether your job is to design a logo or design a full page ad, be sure and get it in writing, and by all means include the delivery date and the price.
6. Bad Color Combo
Just because you may think that orange and green look good together doesn't mean your client will. Many newbie graphic designers make the mistake of thinking that the more colorful the graphic is, the more attention it will receive. Big Mistake!
7. Not Keeping up with Current Events
You must always keep up with the latest graphic design trends, graphic design software, etc.. The Graphic Artists Guide Handbook is also a must have for any professional graphic designer. Always be sure to keep your software up-to-date.
8. Not Setting a Deadline
Not setting a deadline and sticking to it is a common mistake that is often overlooked and should be included in the agreed upon contract. Urgency to get the job done for the client should be a number one priority.
9. Investing in Too Much Software
This is another mistake that a lot of graphic designers who are just starting out make. Sure, a new iPhone or iPad would be nice, but if it's not essential for your business, then don't buy it.
10. Not Sending the Invoice Soon Enough
Some Graphic Designers just starting out will wait too long to send the client the invoice. It's best for all involved to send the invoice as soon as the job is finished. Remember, the sooner you send out the invoice, the sooner you get paid!