- in Design
- December 31st, 2014
- by Aaron Dickey
It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost here.
It almost seems that just yesterday we were starting 2014. This has been a very busy year here at Two Lands Creative and it’s time to look back over things because… well… year-end reviews are cool.
I did a lot of projects in 2014 and met a lot of awesome folks in the process. While talking about the work that was done is a good way to show off all those cool projects again, I want to focus on something a bit different this year. Instead of talking about the work I want to write about what I learned this year as a freelance designer.
The little things matter… a lot
I’m definitely not the first one to say this but the little things you do for your clients really help build relationships and relationships are the cornerstone to building a solid base of regular clients. This can take many forms. Whether it’s pushing a project just a little farther so it really shines or pulling off a surprise project to help a client out of a bind, the little things add up and build trust and respect with your clients just as much as having a rock star portfolio.
Just looking cool doesn’t cut it
We designers like pretty things and we work hard to make our own work beautiful, but we can’t let ourselves get blinded just by the visual appeal of our work. We have to make our work beautiful and functional if we are to be successful. Part of that means having a reason for the choices you make as you design a piece. It’s not enough to just make things look cool, you’ve got to think through why you are doing something so you can give your clients a reasonable answer if they ask why you made the choices you did or if those choices are the best ones. You might find your reasons aren’t the best and your client has a better reason that changes the design as a result. As Mirko Ilic said, “Think eight hours, work two hours.”
Try something new
When you are under a tight deadline it’s pretty easy to fall back on what you know will work but part of being a better, more competent designer is being open to new things and experimenting with new ideas. If you are feeling like your stuck in a rut, do something different even if that means trying something you normally wouldn’t consider.
A job isn’t just a job
A big thing I leaned this year was to say no. Not every job is a job you should take even when you feel you need the money. Taking a job just because it’s there is a great way to end up with poor clients and mediocre results. Instead, get to know potential clients and take jobs that you find are a good fit for you. In the short term you’ll probably turn down a few jobs but as Michael Bierut said “If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to other good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to other bad work for other bad clients.”
With the new year upon us in few hours, I hope you all have an awesome 2015! Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep doing great work!