Im a design Student from philadelphia, me and my fellow peer would like to do some freelance work.....Mainly graphic design..stuff
like that. but we dont know wat we're getting into. Any Advice on the ups and downs of freelancing, What to expect?


Jun 29, 04 8:43 am


grab a copy of The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook -

the most important thing for you is to get a good contract written up, taking special care to make clear points such as:

- copyright of work you create (eg, are you 'work for hire' which means you hold no copyrights over the work you do, your client holds full copyright, or do you wish to retain the rights and only release conditional rights to the client. This way, you retain full control to use the images/graphics freely for self-promotion and such. Conditions you may impose on the client may be, for example, that they can only use those graphics for that specific project. This is a common situation when doing arch vis/marketing design for arch. developments. Another condition you may want to impose on the client may be the restriction of use of preliminary and draft material you send to them for comment.

Also familiarise yourself of your obligations to the client if they request you to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

- termination or kill fees It is common to put in your contract that if the client wishes to terminate the contract then a % of the original proposed fee will have to be payed within x number of days. This is very handy when the clients project gets delayed and they say they won't need your graphic work anymore even though you may be 75% completed.

- How variations to the contract will handled. ie when the client changes their mind about something that is going to change the scope of work on which your original fee proposal was based. It makes things much easier for yourself if your client knows a change to the scope of work will result in a variation to the contract and to your fee.

good luck.

Jun 30, 04 5:14 am  · 

That Kill Fee thing is one of the most important. Soooo many of us learn about it too late!!

Get that book, it's a great resource and really straight forward.

Things to do/think about:

1. Portfolio - you MUST have examples to show. No one cares 'if' you can do it, they want to see how you've done it. Make up theoretical projects (not as in 'architecture theory', as in 'not real')
2. Business cards - an absolute must
3. Web site - you need somewhere to show your work online, make it nice
4. Fees, refer to the book, don't forget the costs of insurance, software/hardware, time sitting around, etc., etc.
5. Find the work that will pay you


Control - you are the boss, so you decide how something gets done, how it looks, etc.
Potential to make more money (only way to make money is to be your own boss)


Control - you have to make all the decisions
Potential to lose money (nothing ventured, nothing gained)

Jun 30, 04 10:12 am  · 
le bossman

what about freelancing residential design, for an unlicensed architect? i know a lot of people who do this, even prelim building design, but i was wondering how some of you get clients and manage projects when you can't stamp anything....does one need a structural guy for stick frame residential stuff? what do you do about contractors and aia documents?

Jun 30, 04 11:33 am  · 

You can always find someone to stamp them, even if you need to pay them. Also, many states don't require licensure for smaller residential projects.

Recluse26 was talking about graphic design, though, where there are no licenses.

Jun 30, 04 11:59 am  · 

It can really help to have someone to work with. For example i have a relationship with a casework shop.. sort of an on call position where when they come across someone who needs some design they point them to me.. even if they carry the design contract it is usually cheaper to pay me my rates then have to have a full time designer on staff and pay them bennies etc.. and you never know when small office improvements can turn into major remodels.
relationships are key when you are doing freelance work. i imagine that a graphic designer could make some similar things happen.. get a deal going with a printing shop / fabrication outfit.. smaller places who can't afford to have a designer on staff full time.. just some ideas

Jun 30, 04 7:04 pm  · 

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