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How did you get into design?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by mojopixel, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502



    I am looking to start freelancing soon and was wondering how the people on this board got started as freelancers?


    mp :)
  2. macrumors G3

    Worked for a famous agency.
    Took my favourite clients with me.
  3. macrumors 65816


    By accident. Worked as a business analyst, for corp 500 (I never took a graphic or web class). My friend asked me to make a website for, can you believe it--money! My job got outsourced so I had not job and I started working out of a spare bedroom (with two CRT's and a g4 QuickSilver), getting jobs from craigslist, and started a business all simultaneously. I made some good friends and networked through forums, contracted for a few designers for a bit. One thing led to another, now we have an office, 2 employees, 1 full time contractor, 2 part time contractors and half a dozen macs. Good times and gotta love our capitalistic society and the internets!
  4. macrumors 6502


    what's a good website/forum to network on?
  5. macrumors regular

    As a kid I drew concept cars and planes... Ya kind of corny. But then my dad gave me his Macintosh SE (ancient) in 1990 and started to do designs on that beautiful Black and White display.:)
  6. macrumors member


    Well for me I got a job out of college with my associates degree in commercial art... however the job was doing silk screen production orders(printing designs on vellum) while every great once in awhile designing for the tee shirt line.

    After 4 years the company that bought us decided to foolishly shut us down last Dec. on the 18th. Since then I've been doing freelance for the company who shut us down.

    lol I've tried for 4 years to get out of there, but i don't get anything pass the 2nd interview. I don't have the contacts to make it big in freelance.

    I also recently got my Mac certs and am contracting for a guy who serviced our macs at the place that shut down.

    I'm with the original poster, any ideas would be great. It's hard to take freelance work when you only have experience in production work...:rolleyes:
  7. macrumors 65816


    Erm, this one! I've made several contacts from here (some didn't come through, but some GREAT ones have), and other design oriented forum sites.

    The trick is to just be good at what you do. Craigslist is another good one. Just get your name out there.

    It's a big circle sometimes: clients want to see a portfolio, in order to have a nice portfolio you need clients. So my secret was, in order to build my portfolio, I worked for a little cheaper then I wanted too for about a year. That way I was able to build a nice portfolio then get the money I deserved. Like anything in life you have to sacrifice now to get the rewards tomorrow.

    My 2/100ths of a dollar.
  8. macrumors regular


    I have just been freelancing on the side only to help out my resume and portfolio. Coming straight out of college it seemed a little harder to get a well paying job that my professors made it sound. I figure that building up a portfolio with freelance jobs while working a steady job whas the best wat to advance quickly.
  9. macrumors 6502

    I'm a college student in my 1st year, but have been messing with photoshop & Illustrator for some time now. I also went to trade school for broadcasting/ video production. I'm still learning about design an love designing. I also like to paint, sculpt, and draw(not to good at somethings in drawing). I just recently started freelancing a little off of craigslist. I have been able to do about 4-5 projects so far this year. I plan on going for my BFA in graphic design.

    Oh did I mention I'm a 25 year old freshman at community college!!!
  10. macrumors 6502


    cool. where and how do you get your freelance gigs?
  11. macrumors 6502


    I was recommended for a freelance job by my Graphic Design professor my last semester of college. I interviewed for the job, showed my portfolio and was hired. I learned more from that first job than I anticipated. It was valuable experience and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity. (Thanks Professor Marcuccio!)
  12. tsd
    macrumors regular

    Worked full time as a carpet cleaner for five years, and was doing free or low-cost design "jobs" for churches and friends the whole time. Then, I suddenly couldn't stand carpet cleaning anymore, so I quit and started my own design business. Now, I use all those free jobs as a portfolio, and advertise myself to get new clients.
  13. macrumors regular

    I agree... You will learn the most once you get your hands dirty.
  14. macrumors demi-god


    In 8th grade I was recruited to work on the yearbook staff because I was the only person who really knew how to use a Mac. I have fond memories of Pagemaker 4.2. That would have been 1990ish.

    And that was back in my Mac-cursing DOS-loving days. Didn't get my very own Mac until 2001.
  15. tsd
    macrumors regular

    I feel your shame, SwiftLives. Up until 2001, I also was a Mac hater, and I was in design school using Macs at the time! I had grown up a DOS-loving hacker, and couldn't stand OS9! Then came OS X and that beautiful Quicksilver G4...
  16. macrumors 68020


    I sort of fell backwards into it. I got a job at a major insurance company on their Internet team, back when Internet applications just started getting big. Since I was the only person with design (for fun) experience all the design work was given to me. In four years I went from regular joe to team lead. There were too many 70+ hour work weeks in those four years :)
  17. macrumors demi-god


    I'd been using Macs for design for so long, that I never realized how accustomed I'd become to them.

    I tried doing a logo project on Illustrator on my PC...and I just couldn't do it. I kept hitting the wrong keys and becoming more and more frustrated. And about a year later, I got my first Mac - a G4 667MHz.

    Which, somehow, still runs. And it's sitting on the desk behind me. Not sure what to do with it.

    It also helped that my old Gateway 2000 PC spontaneously combusted.

    Freelance can be hard to break into. It helps to know someone. Failing that, you can try posting on craigslist or media bistro, (I think). eBay may also have a place where people can bid on jobs. But I'm not 100% sure about that.
  18. macrumors regular


    Oh my god, that's me too. I was the newspaper / literary magazine / yearbook / every-other-crap-gig b*tch of my school. They saw talent and exploited it until the day I yanked my diploma from their greasy paws and headed for design school. By then, the next door neighbors and my parents co-workers were in on it too. I was rolling out business cards, tri-fold brochures and CD packaging for anyone who'd cough up the cold hard cash. By college I had a wait list of freelance gigs. Post-college I upped my prices and combed through Craigs List for work until I had a steady stream by word of mouth. Then I kicked down a few doors in NYC and landed an in-house gig. I still freelance, for the right price.
  19. macrumors demi-god


    It's just in my blood to design. I run my own company now, I started learning the programs and such when I was around 14 or so, I'm 27 now. It's how I eat and support my massive setups lol.
  20. macrumors regular

    I've always designed stuff. My skills began to improve when i was in the 5th grade. Switched to a magnet school, then majored in Art. One day I ran across photoshop in a writing class. This was Photoshop 3 or LE. Before there were any layers.

    My skills improved, i used every filter, made every basic designer mistake long before i left high school. by the time I hit college I was highly skilled.

    In college i began to be interested in what had just become Flash 4. Prior to that Director and Authorware.

    Blah, blah.... many years later i'm still working professionally for various companies freelance, and i work fulltime for a major network.

    There is no right way, i had my own obstacles, but i always pushed myself to learn new things and improve the quality of my work. My first intern job got my oot in the door. One project after another, your client list will build.

    Damn, i'm getting old. :-/
  21. 7on
    macrumors 601


    I wanted to do art, but you can't make money doing art! Sooooooo went to school for Visual Communications and here I am :p
  22. macrumors regular

    I kind of agree to that. But if you have a very special skill set and style, you can make a killing. I went more into doing code. mainly because most of the stuff I saw looked so bad, i knew my design eye and details would compliment my math skills. So from being a beginner to a senior developer today... you would be surprised how things can change over time.
  23. macrumors member

    Started freelance in HS when everyone else was still making PMTs and using light tables and waxers. I was using photoshop and doing some basic stuff. Then came the HTML & Video. At some point it pays to get some formal training even if you have to take a pay cut or stick to more rigid office hours. So you can take some great working principles with you.
    Now freelance is my side job. My company pays my medical, 401K, etc... and i use freelance to pick up extra cash/equipment.

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