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A confused student...

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum' started by Scarlet-Hills, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Scarlet-Hills

    Scarlet-Hills New Member

    Hi, my name's Rob and I'm a graphic design student in my final year at the University of Lincoln. I'm currently going through the inevitable stages of self-doubt, fear and confusion before embarking on my professional career!

    I have always planned to spend at least a few months post-uni playing with my band (who are doing pretty well at the moment) and generally enjoying life a little before plunging myself into a proper career. The problem I have is that I can't decide whether to go for a job within a larger design company or go straight into freelance. Freelance work has always been my ultimate aim, and I hope to one day set up my own studio by linking up with one or two fellow designers. In the meantime however, I can see the benefits of working as a junior designer within a company as I'll receive on the job training, a close level of support and a reliable wage. My current idea is to set myself up with a strong website and business name and work freelance while I persue my endeavours with the band (which only takes up my evenings), then use the resultant work to bulk out my existing university portfolio and look for work within an established design agency. Does this sound sensible? The problem with my current portfolio is that the work it contains is centred around zany university-set graphic design projects and very little work that directly relates to branding etc. The other worry I have is that I consider myself a strong writer and I'm confident in the field of advertising. I've been thinking about copywriting work. Are there designers who also offer a copywriting service?

    Sorry about the long-winded nature of this post, but its my first one and I'm eager to explain myself! It seems like you guys have a nice little community here and I look forward to joining it. :)
  2. xlogic

    xlogic New Member

    I think designing and copywrighting would make a good all round package. Can you do web design as well?
  3. Scarlet-Hills

    Scarlet-Hills New Member

    I'm working on it. I had originally intended to focus on print work, but I'm now learning flash and web design applications and techniques to try and offer a more competitive service.

    xlogic - thank you for leaving any dissagreements we might have in the other thread :)
  4. xlogic

    xlogic New Member

    yeah we're both new here...wouldn't be good getting banned on our first few posts!!

    And no I havent taken your comments the wrong way :D
  5. Opus

    Opus Member

    I'm sure there are plenty of people on this forum who went straight from Uni into freelancing and plenty who worked full time for agencies first. There are pros and cons to both routes and everyone will have had a different experience – I worked for several agencies before going freelance. What I can say is that I learned a huge amount by working as a Junior alongside more experienced designers and got to work on jobs and for clients that I'm not sure I would have done as a freelancer. I also did the odd bit of freelance work from home, which my employers were always happy for (and even encouraged) me to do. If you do go for a full time job, going for a small/medium sized agency may be better as you'll possibly have more freedom in your role and be able to use your copywriting skills too.

    Don't worry too much about your portfolio not having much commercial work (although adding to it is always good). Employers interviewing graduates will be looking for the potential and creativity in your work and a willingness to learn about more commercial projects.

    Good luck!
  6. Scarlet-Hills

    Scarlet-Hills New Member

    Thank you very much, excellent advice :)
  7. hellosmithy

    hellosmithy New Member

    I agree with Opus, I think you can gain a lot from some industry experience before going freelance. University doesn't really prepare you for the practical side of the design industry, the tight deadlines and the client/agency processes. You can also build up a decent foundation of work from clients you wouldn't be able to approach as a new freelancer, and make the contacts that are so crucial to freelance success. I'd recommend getting at least a couple of years experience agency side before you think about making the switch.
  8. Viral0

    Viral0 New Member

    Not sure where to post this, but I am actually looking for a freelancer for a few very small jobs. Just need some very simple logo's copied up onto AI. I'd prefer to work with a student as I am one myself. Am also looking for a web designer to update a very simple flash website. Any help?
  9. lysstastic

    lysstastic New Member

    Can't exactly give you advice as such, being a student in a similar situation to yourself, but my plan at the moment is to gain experience in the industry first. I've been freelancing now for a while and that's been a lot more useful than any university project if I'm honest.

    University tends to set you projects that you probably wouldn't want included in a professional portfolio.. at least I don't as the outcomes are often light hearted and not particularly industry focused. Infact they seem to try to teach us how to be an incredibly successful designer, working for the big names in design. The reality is that only a handful of people get that opportunity, the rest of us will have to do things like branding for smaller companies etc. first!

    What I like about the idea of going straight into freelancing is that I'm my own boss. I'm terrorfied of being the tea and coffee girl, or just getting to lay out other people's designs in Indesign (hurray!), but at the end of the day, I know I'm not really experienced enough yet to launch a freelance career. Saying that, I've just designed and laid out an entire publication. It was hard, I had very little printing knowledge etc. but been a really good learning experience... but the plan at the moment is to gain some years experience in industry until I either end up being in charge of something (even if it's small!) or getting sick of being a lapdog and leave it all in favour of freelance, but all the while keeping up a freelance site and doing bits and pieces in my free time. I might even drag some uni mates into doing the same and lump us under one company!

    So in conclusion - if you have no industry experience, get some. You don't know if you'll hate it 'til you try, and any experience is good experience. Mind you, if your band take off you might not need to :p (who is your band btw? :D)


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