How to get work as a freelance digital designer

Getting started as a creative professional is never easy. Although the market for freelance and independent digital designers is booming at the moment, most newbies still find it hard to get their foot in the door.

Here are some of the ways you can get started and find work in the industry:

1. Join an Academy

Join an Academy

Signing up with a reputed design school or academy like JMC Academy is more than just a way to hone your skills as a designer. At design school, you get to meet potential partners and collaborators. Some universities and academies also arrange workshops where you can meet potential clients and big businesses looking for designers.

2. Join a design network

Join a design network

Getting involved in the community is essential for every professional. But it is absolutely crucial for a professional who works alone. Freelance artists can sign up with an organization like AIGA or simply join a network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Behance, or Dribbble. Networking efforts should eventually pay off by giving you your first client.

3. Showcase your work online

Showcase your work online

As a freelance digital designer, your career hinges on your digital portfolio. Make sure you spend enough of time perfecting your online portfolio and link up your social media accounts to the site so that you can help it gain traction. You can either create your own from scratch on Squarespace or WordPress, or use an artistic platform like Behance. Have a look at other popular portfolios to gain some inspiration.

4. Start your own projects

Start your own projects

There’s no better way to demonstrate skill and passion as an artist than working on your own passion project. If you can invest a day or two every week in a project for yourself, it can serve as an outlet for your creativity and a great portfolio-booster.

5. Conduct workshops

Conduct workshops

Another great way to get your name out there is to conduct workshops. Teach people what you know and you’ll soon meet collaborators, partners, and clients who are keen to work with you.

6. Volunteer

Volunteer

Approach a local charity, art gallery, school, or animal shelter to donate some of your work for free. Helping a charity that’s close to your heart will give you more than just personal satisfaction. It will help you meet new people and find new clients.

These are some of the ways you can start building a career as a freelance digital designer.

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Chen Winner

Chen Winner

Chen Winner is an Israeli graphic artist and filmmaker currently working in London. Highly influenced by printmaking, her animated films contain layered colors, distressed textures, and other elements usually associated with screen printing. This is especially notable in her collaboration with CNN. For the network’s Econundrum series, she created an episode on the ecological dangers of plastic water bottles. Featuring witty and informative imagery, the project won a 2017 World Illustration Award in the Research New Talent category. To watch the video, along with her other films, visit her Vimeo channel.

Chen Winner

Chen Winner

Chen Winner

Chen Winner

Chen Winner

Chen Winner

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Bohuy Kim
Cruschiform
Eric Belousov

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13 Easy Ways to Build a Small Business Website

More and more small businesses seek an online presence every day. They are opening up a wealth of opportunities for freelance web designers. The competition can be fierce, however. It’s not only other freelancers that want a piece of the action; larger website building teams do as well.

The fact that there are so many different niches, only adds to the problem. Finding work in a specific niche can become quite taxing on your time and energy. Imagine how hard it is for the several different niches.

There must be an easier way.

And, there is!

Let Be Theme Show You How to Target Multiple Small Businesses at Once

Pitching your services to a variety of small businesses at once can take up a lot of your time. Moreover, it has no guarantee of success. What if you were to try to pitch your services to 13 different businesses at once?

Ridiculous? Impossible? A waste of time?

Meet Be Theme, the best-selling top 5 ThemeForest WordPress theme.  It has a great solution to the problem of pitching your services to several businesses at once.

The secret, if you want to call it that, is being able to show prospective clients exactly how you can help them. You will be able to do so in a short amount of time; without expending too much of your own time.

It’s just a matter of browsing through Be Theme’s collection of 280+ pre-built websites. You will need to choose a template that’s a perfect fit for a given business. 280+ may sound like a lot, but we’re talking minutes, not hours, to make your selection. The fact that these pre-built websites are easy to customize. What is more, they can be installed with a single click, which makes the process even easier.

Imagine that there were 13 different businesses that could use your services.  Maybe they just happened to match the 13 following examples. Each of these examples contains the basic functionality a given business will need. Thus, you can see that the task of satisfying all 13 clients suddenly got a lot easier.

Enjoy.

13 Be Theme Small Business Templates

1. For Food Stores – Be Salmon

This template makes good use of large images to entice users, the interactive menu helps to engage them, and the customer testimonial section is included to help seal the deal.

2. For Car Services – BeDetailing2

A bold professional look is important when you what to demonstrate the care that goes into this business’s services. Before and after images are key selling points, as is a price listing for services rendered.

3. For Event Planners – BeMeeting

Event planners and meeting attendees want good information, presented in an easy on the eyes format coupled with easy navigation. The attention-getting countdown clock is abonus.

4. For Salons & Spas – BeManicure

Salons and spas prefer a look of luxury, elegance, and soft design to present their products and services. The integrated eShop makes it much easier to fully engage website users.

5. For Online Clothes Shops – BeDenim

A bold and innovative use of colors, color combinations, and patterns is important in a website for this type of business. An easy shopping feature is a must; and it is satisfied by incorporating an eShop capability.

6. For Musicians and Music Producers – BeHipHop

Advertising a hip music business implies a need for a hip design, which is what this pre-built website offers. There’s audio and video too, along with a blog section for announcements.

7. For Cafes & Tea Houses – BeCafe2

Large and “tasty” images inside the online menu provide a sure-fire means of attracting and engaging visitors. An equal amount of attention has been given to the business itself.

8. For Catering Businesses – BeVegetables

The interactive product presentation makes this food-oriented site even more appealing. Prices and CTA buttons are crystal clear to make food selection and ordering easy.

9. For Visual Artists – BeDrawing

When you design a website for a creative client, an impressive gallery is a “must have”. The integrated presentation video and the overall design (clean and simple) also play key roles.

10. For Courses and Webinars – BeTraining

Training websites require easy navigation, easy to follow menus, and clear and concise content to make their case. Large thumbnails, like the ones demonstrated in this template, help users make decisions.

11. For Nutrition & Fitness Businesses – BeDiet

Another food-oriented pre-built website, and another excellent use of large, high-quality images. This template also features special recipe sections in the main menu, and an attractive blog section.

12. For Medical Care – BeClinic2

A professional website like this demands a clean, crisp, and equally professional design; somewhat formal, but still friendly. Note how the content is organized to foster easy reading.

13. For Interior Designers – BeCarpenter2

Architectural design, with its geometric patterns and clean edges, is always engaging. Large, detailed images and a professionally-produced video are employed to present products or services. 

Here’s How You Can Attract These Types of Clients

Consider yourself lucky to have examples like those shown here at your beck and call. Now, it’s unlikely your proposals are going to go unnoticed or be consigned to the wastebasket. Nevertheless, you still need to establish contact with potential clients to land assignments.

A smart use of social media and cold emails tends to be quite effective. Both are time-tested ways to get in touch with potential clients. 

1. Link Up with Their Facebook Groups

First, you’ll want to search Facebook for businesses in those niches you want to do business in. That could include any of the 13 discussed here, all of them, or completely different ones. Your choice –  but the more, the better.

Once you find a niche that interests you, you’ll need to ask the group admin’s permission to post your services. If you give the admin the information he/she asks for, you should not have any problems.

Then it’s mostly a manner of letting the clients contact you. 

2. Choose Your Businesses, and Send Them Cold Emails 

Those making cold calls, and those receiving them, tend to be uncomfortable. This is since they’re often viewed as being intrusive. Cold emails are different.

Look up businesses on LinkedIn that you’d like to offer your services to. This should allow you to find the right people to contact. You can then email your proposal to the right person(s).

The tenor of your email should be one of offering to HELP them establish an online presence.  Or, you can see if they need assistance in improving a website they already have in place.

Helping, rather than selling, is key. If it’s the latter, your proposal will most likely be consigned to the trash folder.

It’s also important to suggest discussing your proposal in greater detail. You might also want to consider offering to forward examples of your services.

Summary

Don’t make the mistake of going after the hottest companies on the market. It’s more important to find those you feel are most in need of your services. There’s certainly no shortage of small businesses that could use some help.

Go down the list of templates that are presented here. Just check several out to see how they work. Then, you’re ready to put Facebook, LinkedIn and your email marketing skills into play.

You can offer your help to as many potential clients as you think you can manage.

Once you get a response, put Be Theme, with its 280+ pre-built websites, to work.

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Birds of North America Poster


Some design feats deserve to be recognized. This “Birds of North America” poster by Pop Chart Lab is such a remarkable accomplishment. The aviary chart features all 740 feathered friends that inhabit North America, from barn owls to bluejays to whooping cranes and California condors. The chart includes both native and introduced birds on the continent, as designated by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It took a team of artists more than 400 hours to draw the birds in intricate detail, organize them by species and arrange them in relative scale. Included on Pop Chart’s poster are some 14 species that are on the endangered list, and that is not counting the 46 million turkeys that will meet their doom this week so we can contentedly consume them on Thanksgiving Day. Above is a picture of a turkey in happier times.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wonderful Movie Poster Art

We’re back with yet another movie poster roundup. Some are old, some are new. Some are official and some are fan made. But they all have at least one thing in common — they are really beautifully executed.

King Arthut by The Brave Union
Wonder Woman by The Brave Union
The Foreigner
The Shape of Water
Ace Ventura Pet Detective by Adam Rabalais
Drive Poster by Boris Pelcer
American Made
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Ex Machina by Rory Kurtz
Blade Runner 2049 poster
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049
“2001: A Space Odyssey” by Matthew Woodson
Heat Poster by StudioKxx
Ghost In The Shell by John Aslarona


Wonderful Movie Poster Art was originally published in From up North on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Hitting the Road with Hamilton Woodtype

Gorgeous prints and posters promoting the traveling wonders and merriment of days long gone will now hit the road themselves thanks to a collaboration between Adobe Typekit and the Hamilton Woodtype & Printing Museum.

The Enquirer Collection exhibit was unveiled at the Hamilton Wayzgoose conference earlier this month in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, framed in custom travel-ready cases. We chatted with Artistic Director Bill Moran about this new endeavor.

What is the Enquirer Collection? Why is it going on the road?
The Enquirer Collection is a group of printing plates, wood type, vintage posters and correspondence letters from Enquirer Printing, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company was founded in 1895 and was one of the country’s premier circus and entertainment letterpress shops. The shop is run by brothers Mike and John Anderson who are 4th generation printers working in the company founded by their great grandfather. The shop was especially well known for the beautifully carved, multi colored wood block plates.

Hamilton acquired the collection in 2015 and is in the process of cataloging the 4,000+ blocks that will not only be printed at the museum but also be exhibited as original works of American advertising art. Most of these blocks and their accompanying posters haven’t been seen by the general public in over 70 years. Because of the exceptional beauty of these plates, we’ve decided to share this collection with the larger design community as an example of how sophisticated entertainment advertising was in the early to mid 20th century.

What was the catalyst for the traveling exhibit?
When Adobe Typekit approached us with the intent of supporting of the museum, we wanted to channel their gift into sharing this collection with a wider audience. We realized that a professionally designed and secure traveling exhibit would allow us to showcase the collection at various design, letterpress and printing venues around the country.

Who is involved in putting this exhibit together?
Museum director Jim Moran and artistic director Bill Moran began with assessing the need to protect both original prints and restrikes from the collection. Exhibit designer Dan Spock visited the museum in 2016 and suggested we enlist fixture designer Amanda Wambach to create industry-standard cases that would stand up to freight transportation requirements. In turn Amanda recommended Grant Wibben to manufacture the cases. A key part of the manufacturing process was to create a traveling crate that would adequately protect the cases during transport.

Where would you like to see this exhibit travel?
Design conferences, rare book libraries, corporate design venues, and book arts centers.

Who is the audience for this exhibit?
Graphic designers, typographers, letterpress printers and American art lovers of all stripes.

When can it get on the road?
We’re ready to get this on the road after April of 2018.

How can organizations/events host the exhibition?
Reach out to Bill Moran to schedule. There is a fee for transporting and rental of the exhibit.

Do you foresee the cases being used for non-Enquirer exhibits in the future?
As of now the Enquirer Collection is the primary use for the cases. We designed them to also hold the blocks themselves. When the exhibit isn’t traveling it will hold various items from the museum’s permanent collection of prints.

Anything else you’d like to add?
In many ways Typekit has been instrumental in helping the museum realize its vision of being the premier collection of printing history and a place where new printing is done every day. They and many others have helped to get us where we are today. Thanks!

All images courtesy of Hamilton Woodtype & Printing Museum

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20 Stellar Fonts from Outer Space

Outer space has always captured our imaginations. As children, we would dream of flying on rockets, exploring galaxies, or fighting off aliens. As adults, both science fiction and actual space explorations fuel our desires for the unknown. From books, movies, to live NASA feeds on YouTube, the space age is only just beginning.

Whether you’re into outer space or not, these out-of-this-world space fonts still have a place in your design toolkit for future projects.

20 Fonts from Outer Space

1. Akido Edgy Modern Font

This modern font family with an edgy, futuristic appeal from Alexandrumolnar will go great with architecture, commercial, or sci-fi works. Buy now and get a super cool Vintage Badge as a bonus!

 

2. Anxiety Font

For something truly breathtaking, take a leap of faith on this lovely typeface by Drizy. Ideal for use on headlines, logos, web graphic design, posters, and other print projects, this is one product that pays for itself many times over.

 

3. Transistor Font FREE Download

Introducing this super-condensed, flexible, sans-serif fit for creating headlines and logos that have long words. Crafted with care by RetroSupply Co.. The best part? Try it for FREE and only buy when you’re satisfied.

 

4. Calling Code

This refreshingly simple mono-spaced font by Dharma Type is reminiscent of the coding text style used for many programs. This is what you call effortless elegance.

 

5. Aguda Font Family

Graviton Font Foundry gives you this modular, geometric typeface that consists of eight styles along with small caps and several alternate characters.

 

6. Ogre Typeface

Sometimes, bigger is better. Tugcu Design Co. has just the thing with this tall and narrow display lettering style that’s perfect for artworks that demand plenty of space.

 

7. Metrica Font

Inspired by architectural forms and negative spaces, this font by Oliver James is all about style and simplicity. Great when used with editorial work, advertising, and other commercial projects.

 

8. Aquawax Complete Family

Looking for a font that’s more fluid? Zetafonts presents this geometric sans serif typeface family crafted for maximum screen readability and made to cover for over 40 languages. The collection also includes accents to truly enhance its seamless appeal.

 

9. Meteoric Light Font

This soft and rounded sans serif is ready to take you for a ride. From NunoDias, it’s a playful three-weight type family that lends a distinct outer space feel to any design.

 

10. Mokoto Glitch Typeface

Create something totally out of this world with this glitchy typography from Drizy. With four font layers, you can easily customize them to achieve your desired effect. Great for web or print artworks.

 

11. Galaxy

Inspirationfeed presents this all caps lettering style that’s bound to make any project eons better. Use on posters, slideshows, or greeting cards to add a truly unique futuristic touch.

 

12. Voyager Typeface

In the future, mankind may very well be voyagers to other galaxies or solar systems. But for now, go on your own sci-fi journey in this imaginative typography by Tugcu Design Co.

 

13. Lightyear Typeface

In this 1950’s science-fiction era inspired font by thomas_ramey, the super extended capitals with the all-capped lowercase make for a truly interesting combination. Buy it today and see what wonders it brings!

 

14. Organa

Out with the old and in with the new – try this stylish geometric font family and see what possibilities you can create. Crafted with care by TypeFaith Fonts.

 

15. Solaris Futuristic Font

Tugcu Design Co. invites you to write stories of tomorrow using this bold and exciting space font. Complete the entire theme by purchasing their Sci Fi Bundle, too!

 

16. Nebula

The sky’s the limit for this liquid style font from The Artifex Forge. Drawn in “liquid style”, its simple, stylized, round-ended lines seem to give off the illusion of dripping. This makes it perfect for larger-than-life projects such as posters, game covers, retro themes, sci-fi books, and more.

 

17. Wilhelm Font & Space Vectors

Sometimes, soft lines and curves just won’t do the trick. For these instances, you need a lettering style that’s as aggressive as you. Capture this appeal with a little help from this bold typography by Badspark.

 

18. Equinox Typeface

For inspiration, mankind has often looked at the stars and the heavens. Give your projects the same spark of creativity using this minimal but clean font family from Tugcu Design Co.. Although it has a futuristic look, the simple lines make it versatile enough to be used outside of sci-fi works.

 

19. Centauri Futuristic Font

Tomorrow begins today with this ultramodern typeface by Tugcu Design Co.. From posters, animations, videos, to print projects, its extra wide letters is sure to grab some attention.

 

20. Colorful Space-Vector Typography

Polar Vectors gives you this amazing galaxy-themed illustrative font, featuring a colorful universe with planets, stars, and comets for each letter. Each detail has been well-thought out to bring you closer to the stars.

 

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Inspired by these space-themed fonts? Buy and download your very own typeface family today. Even if you don’t use it immediately, you’ll be surprised by boundless possibilities by simply experimenting with different designs.

Creative Market can help you find the right handcrafted content to help bring your works “to infinity and beyond”! Simply search from among thousands of independent creatives from around the world. Go ahead – explore the unknown and see what treasures it holds.


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Free lettering worksheets


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Getting started with hand lettering?

Download these worksheets and start practicing with simple instructions and tracing exercises.

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The November Feast Bundle

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and that calls for a huge November Feast Bundle! Includes 93 fonts from 38 font families and 1780 handcrafted graphics elements, wreaths & patterns from 16 graphics packs for all your holiday projects!

Get this irresistible collection for ONLY $29 for a limited time only, normally priced at $784!

Last call to purchase before it expires

Take a quick look at what you can get in this Deal:

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How to Install and Use Photoshop Gradients

I don’t know about you, but gradients are one of those things that I wrestle with a lot in Adobe Photoshop. I can never seem to find the right blend of colors, and it never flows quite the way I expect. Fortunately, there’s an alternative: I can buy them. That brings up another problem, however. How do you install a gradient in Photoshop, anyway? And once it’s installed, how do you use it?

As it turns out, it’s a super simple process. There’s absolutely nothing to be intimidated about, so why worry? Let me walk you through the whole thing. Trust me; it’ll be easy.

For reference, I’m doing everything on a Mac running macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra) and Adobe Photoshop CC 2018.

Photoshop gradient filePin It

Step 1: Get a gradient

You’ve got to start somewhere, and if you take my suggestion, it’d be right here at Creative Market. There’s a whole section dedicated to Gradients right here, and they’re available for a variety of prices. I decided to grab Sky Gradients for a few reasons. I find natural looking skies to be tricky to reproduce, and some of these look a bit metallic, which is another toughie for me. So it ticked a lot of buttons off my list, which is always nice. After paying for the product, it downloaded to my desktop as a zip file. Once it was unzipped, I was good to go.

Installing Photoshop GradientsPin It

Step 2: Install the gradient (Option 1)

You’re now going to have a .GRD file to deal with, and if you have your icons turned on, you’ll see GRADIENT written on the file. Open up Photoshop, and click on the Gradients panel. In the upper right-hand corner is a gear. Click that, and then "Load Gradients." Navigate to your gradient package, and — ta-da! — the gradient is installed.

Installing Photoshop gradientsPin It

Step 2: Install the gradient (Option 2)

On a Mac, go to Applications > Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 > Presets > Gradients and drag your gradients file in there. Just like that, you’re done.

Pin It

How to Use Gradients

Now that you’ve got the gradients installed, it’s time to use them. To test things out, I created a standard Photoshop doc that measured 7X5 inches, and sectioned that into five different columns using guides, one for each type of gradient. To pull a gradient, you use the Gradient tool (naturally) to pull a line. The distance of that line determines how long the gradient will play itself out. To keep that consistent, I created three vertical rows using guides, which gave me two spots to use for my gradients as a stopping and ending point. Then I placed a centerline in the middle of my five columns. The results you see here, then, are what happens when you pull the exact same gradient line in the exact same space using the same gradient swatch, but switching up what type you’re using. Here’s a closeup of the guides:

Gradients file close upPin It

Did I lose you yet? No worries. Just look at the pretty colors.

GradientsPin It

Types of Gradients

From left to right we have a Linear, Radial, Angle, Reflected, and Diamond gradient. Let’s get into each.

A Linear Gradient travels the full spectrum of the swatch within the line that you pull. In this case (and every example here) I pulled a line from the bottom of the first row to the top of the third row designated by my guides, and you can see how the blue/white/orange fade plays out. It shifts from the starting point (the dark blue) and gently transitions into the orange at the stopping point. It’s very pretty, and the most straightforward example of a gradient that you’ll see. Now let’s get into the bigger stuff.

Next is a Radial Gradient, which, as you could probably guess, radiates the color out from the center. In this case, the center point is where I began my line, which is where the dark blue sits in the pattern. The color still transitions from dark blue to orange over the course of the line, but now it does it by radiating out from the center of the first point. If I wanted to put a color highlight on a ball to make it appear to be three-dimensional, this is one way to do it.

The Angle Gradient is the middle one, and again, the same methodology was done to create the design. But now, the pattern is quite different. The effect is almost like you’re looking at the top of a cone down to the ground, with the peak being the starting point for my gradient line. The color here shifts from dark blue to orange as it rotates clockwise from the initial point, but then ends as the blue and orange hit each other with a hard edge. It’s a unique look, and I can see how it would work quite well in some designs.

Next up, a Reflected Gradient. Here, it begins and ends along the line, per usual. But instead of transitioning from one to the other per the Linear Gradient, the exact same pattern is duplicated going vertically from the starting point. It’s a reflection of a Linear Gradient, so the pattern goes from orange to white to blue to white to orange in twice the distance of the Linear. This also means that when you’re placing your line, you want to be sure that you have the space for the reflection to play out properly.

Finally, the Diamond Gradient. Like the Radial, this one does travel the full spectrum of the swatch throughout the course of the line. But instead of radiating out from the middle, it forms a diamond pattern with four corners.

Get Creative

Now the process turns to you. The list of things that you can do with gradients is extensive, and you’re only limited by your imagination. What kind of things will you create? Let us know!


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Designing your own brand?


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Free Beginner’s Guide to Branding

A fun, friendly, FREE guide to build a stellar brand identity.

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Steve Wolf

Steve Wolf

Steve Wolf is a designer and illustrator who utilizes simple forms and stippled textures to craft gorgeous identity and packaging work. These stylistic elements are particularly evident in his collaboration with Sibling, an ad agency that specializes in culturally inclusive marketing. Wolf crafted naïve, yet intriguing arrangements for a promotional poster series for the brand. The abstract nature of the compositions conjures the audience’s curiosity and interest in the company.

Steve Wolf

Steve Wolf

Steve Wolf

Steve Wolf

Steve Wolf

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Also worth viewing:

Artists for Education
Menta
Jess Bonham

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