Portfolio Ideas

So, it’s time again to update the portfolio. I’m replacing my large, cumbersome, (and pointy!) metal portfolio “lunch box”, that requires presentation boards and takes up an employer’s entire office with a nice, perfectly sized, leather case. During my time choosing different pieces of my work and waiting for them to print out, I thought about the possibility (and professionalism) of just showing up to interviews with my macbook and a PDF presentation of my work. Obviously, taking the time to print, cut and mount your work into a special case shows your reverence for the work you’ve done, but in this digital age, where so many employers are looking more and more for a graphic designer with a large library of interactive work and are less concerned with printed material, wouldn’t it make sense to literally have a digital portfolio?

I’ve even thought about using this as an excuse to pick up an iPad to use as my “portfolio case”. Potential employers could just as easily see my printed work on the nice vibrant screen, but could then see any websites or flash work in action with the swipe of a finger. Plus, I get a new toy to play with when not in an interview. But seriously, is anyone out there already doing this? Has anyone completely given up on the physical paper portfolio for the laptop or iPad version? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Posted in Freelance, Graphic Design, iPad, Portfolio, Print, Web Design | Leave a comment

Freelance by Choice or by Force?

5 weeks ago, I had a full-time job. But like millions of other Americans, I fell victim to “the economy” and was forced into a life as a freelancer that I wasn’t prepared for. That may be the bad thing about being a Graphic Designer with a full time gig. There is a tendency to get complacent (raises hand). I was in the very fortunate situation to have a 9-5, well-paying (by print designer standards) full-time job, close to home as the only designer on staff in a small & very casual atmosphere. There was not a need for a website or a blog or a twitter account.

What's a job daddy?

Oh how times change. You get married, you buy a house, you have kids (read dogs), and then a real kid (the kind who cry and make stinky diapers) and all of the sudden, you’re on your own wondering how to pay for it all. Don’t get me wrong, this certainly isn’t a sob story, but an acknowledgement of something I may have lost a bit along the way…my creative drive.

There are those designers out there who are full-time freelancers by choice and bust it every day to gain clients and do great work. There are others who are forced into it and are left struggling to figure out how to gain those clients to do great work. I’m making headway…a new website here, a few wedding invitations there, a new blog over yonder. But I always find that I get the best out of myself when I’m under pressure. I worked that way in school, you know, procrastinating until I HAD to finally come up with a design for that poster project. It always worked out, but the stakes were a grade, and it was just me. Now there’s more to consider and worry about, and the short time I’ve been on my own has made me remember that I have what it takes.

So for those designers out there who are freelancing by choice, or those of you who are in a situation similar to me, or even those of you who are considering a switch into the freelance world, I’m interested in hearing your story and learning from your experiences. God knows I’ll be learning things in the next few months and weeks that I didn’t know a month ago, and hopefully I can pass that along to others who choose to stop by and say hi.

Posted in Chalfont, PA, Freelance, Graphic Design, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Quality vs. Cost

RingsWith the economy the way it is, it’s no wonder that people are looking to save money wherever they can. One of those areas is Weddings. Gone are the days of extravagant affairs with Mom and Dad footing the bill, as most working couples find themselves chipping in, or paying for it entirely themselves. One way for couples to save is to search every corner of the internet for deals on everything from favors, to invitations to reception halls.

Certainly the easiest way to save money on invitations is by using a one-stop-shop online service that offers packages with templates that allow you to “customize” the colors, paper, fonts, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but what many fail to realize is that the quality of the invitations may not be what is expected. And in reality, when you’re choosing from a set selection of options, there is a good chance there is nothing unique, individual, or custom about them. There is also the time involved in searching for just the “right” design, waiting for samples, playing with the fonts, etc.

If your budget is the be all end all of your wedding plans, and you don’t care much about the quality of the paper or the originality of the designs, then these sites can make sense. Don’t get me wrong, there are some boutique websites out there that offer very elegant designs and good quality, but in the end, you’ll be paying just as much for those as you would a for a custom design, provided the designer has good contacts in the printing world.

Many people, however, view their weddings as (hopefully) a special, once in a lifetime event that calls for something a little more unique. The pro’s of hiring a designer to help make your invitations memorable can certainly outweigh the con’s if you look at them side-by-side. The invitation package sets the stage for your event and gives it an identity. This is where working with a designer comes in.

With a designer, your options are endless because a good designer will work to give you exactly what you want out of your invites, and can even show you what you didn’t know you wanted through well educated design decisions. There is greater control over the design process, and the quality of the finished product will be higher. The biggest pro, however, is the personal attention a live person can offer over a set of buttons and pictures on a website. A good designer can even help relieve some of the stress you experience while planning one of the biggest days of your life, by helping you make the right choices of paper, printing style, theme, font, and wording.

In fact, the only “con” about working with a professional designer, is the cost. This is because, you’re not just paying for the printing, you’re paying for the designer’s time and effort. But if the extra cost of getting exactly what you want is not that big of an issue and you really want your Wedding invitations to stand out in a sea of “customized” options available on the internet, consider working with a design professional.

Posted in Freelance, Graphic Design, typography, Wedding Invitations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Uncharted territory

My current full-time company is unfortunately closing in two weeks, so it’s time for me to see what I’ve got to offer the design world by starting a job search and obtaining freelance clients. Should be fun/scary/exciting/terrifying/eventful…to say the least.

Things have changed so much since I started that I feel like it will take forever to catch up, but I have a pretty good reason to get caught up…her name is Charlotte. So I’m working on my website, raynordesign.net, getting cozy with twitter and facebook and taking some much needed “time off” to figure out what it is I really want, and where I belong professionally.

Posted in Freelance, Graphic Design, Web Design | Leave a comment

Coming Along

So we’re a few months into the design of the new website. Right now the temp home page is up there http://www.healthcarejobsondisplay.com and we’re just waiting for the admin side so we can start testing how ads are going to be uploaded. I’ve been designing hundreds of small ads to upload so that the site is nicely populated once we launch towards the end of the month. The programing company, however seems to be dragging their feet. Maybe i’m wrong, but how long is it supposed to take to program a site? We handed off the PSD files to them over a month ago now. Is one month a fast turn around for a graphics-based job board?

Along the way I’ve tried to pick up some web design ability, but have not had the time at work, or the drive at home sadly to do more. I’ve actually gotten more immersed into reading blogs, twittering (twitter.com/braynor21) and blogging myself in the past few weeks. Things that I felt, in the recent past, were a waste of time. I mean, there’s just so much information out there that I would need to make it my full time job, just to take it all in (see my first post). And really, who needs, or wants to read what I have to say? I guess once it becomes your “job”” you’re basically forced to see what all the hype is about, and I still find i’m incredibly far behind it all. I guess better late than never.

I will certainly update again once we get a better handle on how the insides of this new site will work.

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Reading and Learning

Working on a website at work, but just the design, not the coding. We’re outsourcing the coding and the SEO to a company in our area. They have me designing it in Photoshop which is fine my me, because PSD and AI are my bread and butter, but I’m a print guy.  Dreamweaver still feels foreign to me and I know that CSS is where it’s at with web design, but I still haven’t picked up HTML yet, so learning both coding languages feels about as hard as learning Chinese.

It’s amazing how much longer everything takes when it comes to web design. With print, you just sketch out your design, copy and paste your text, pull in a few pictures and implement your design on screen. Make changes and adjustments, create a PDF and bang, it’s off to the printer.  With web design, you really have to know the language to get the effects you want and there is so many things that can affect your design like browsers and OS’s and internet speed. My biggest problem is the lack of control I have over my text and the font selection. I feel like I’m limited to Arial or Times New Roman because not everyone has Insignia or Myriad on their computers. and Tracking and kerning are basically out the window. So to is the ability to remove hyphenation and to wrap text (at least in my world right now).

I have an HTML book that I’m trying to read, and I’m using Total Training.com to help me get the hang of Dreamweaver, but reading a coding language book is like reading a calculus text book…..BORING. Apparently not for this kid though. Kind of makes me sick that a 15 year old can pull off something like that and I can’t pick up simple HTML.  Maybe I just need to stop complaining.

CSS seems like it’s not that hard to pick up, but it’s a matter of doing it or finding the time to do it. Reading text books is not something I look forward to though so I may have to consider going back to school.  In the mean time, just gotta keep reading and playing.

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So I’ve lived in my house for 2 and a half years now, but my two extra bedrooms have basically been a work in progress. Not that my sister-in-law has moved out we’re combining one room into an office/guest room and will get the other room ready for the little one that, while still more than a year away, will inevitably call it his/her room.

As for the office, I’ve moved some things around, put others up in the attic and thrown out/given away plenty. In my cleaning I found a book about HTML that I forgot I had, so I guess my efforts paid off so far. I’ll be going through that starting tonight and hopefully it will get me off to a good start. Now I just need that shiny new computer.

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