Freelance Graphic Design Needs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dhkosta, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. dhkosta macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2009
    My wife has a BFA in graphic design, and we're looking at getting an iMac that she could use for freelance work. I'd like to do this as cheaply as possible, and I'm a little confused on how to go about it. I'm still in college, so we get the student discounts on the computer and the software, and I'm having a little trouble gathering the will to spend more than two grand on this, but I'm sure that'll be necessary. I just don't want to have invested too much if she decides that freelance is too tough a gig for her.

    I'm looking at the low-end iMac ($1149), I'm clear on the design software, but I don't really know what peripherals to get. Does she really need specialized color calibration software and equipment, or will colorsync do? I know our current scanner will work, but do I need a better printer than my $150, 5 year-old Epson? After all, she'll be doing low volume and taking final proofs to a professional printer. I wish I (or she for that matter) understood these things better.

    Your help and expertise are very much appreciated.
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Freelance design may be cheeper that opening your own print shop or auto repair place, but it is still a serious layout unless you already spend all your cash on this stuff and live in a shoebox anyway like I do.

    Go trough the Design and Graphics forum and read the stuff that the folks doing this use. You will find a lot of potent laptops with second monitors and MacPro and MBP combos. Portability is important if you are going to work on your own. If you have a client and he/she wants to see where you are at the point, being able to take a computer to that person and show variations on the fly is a big plus.

    Macs have fairly good color calibration but it all depends on the output, I guess. If you do a lot of Lost Dog Fliers it's no big deal. If someone wants 50,000 brochures delivered, yes.

    Student discount software is something to be careful with. I haven't read the full license agreement with my CS3 student suite, but to the best of my knowledge you can't legally earn money with anything but full price versions. The purpose of the student discount is to get you in the upgrade stream and it has payed off well for Adobe.

    As you note from reading this post, I'm still a student, too. I am one week away from tossing my hat in this ring, and I am aware of what I'm getting into. I have a BFA in photography and a Masters degree in education. My design program is a one year 8 to 4 five days a week program taught by people who have worked extensively in the print industry. I believe that between my life experience and by training, I understand what I'm talking about. If not, I welcome any corrections from real professionals. There are a lot of them here.

    Don't take this as a slight, but your wife should have learned all of this in her program. I'm not trying to scare anyone off if this is what they want to do. Like any profession, it pays to take a good look and have an idea of what to expect.

  3. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Hi, again. Sorry for running off like that. I need to stay offline when my blood sugar is out of balance. Food is good. Sometimes I forget to eat...

    If your wife will be doing low volume freelancing, I don't think you really need a lot. The iMac will do, but a laptop is a nice thing to have. She does need to upgrade her student software to full versions before earning cash. A wide format printer is nice to have, too. I have an Epson 1400. I cost me 300, but will print big stuff like posters and such. A good digital camera will help bring in more work. Being able to take a good picture of the auto shop owner will help sell him an ad.

    The most important thing to have is a passion for design and a spoonful of talent. These are two things they don't teach in any program.

    Good luck with her endeavor.

    Dale, Who sometimes talks without thinking...

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