No two freelancers find work the same way. But we noticed that successful graphic designers share a few common themes: They all have eye-catching portfolios, and they all emphasize the importance of building healthy relationships. We asked some of the most talented creatives how they keep their schedules busy. Try their time-tested strategies to find freelance graphic design jobs.
Abe Zieleniec, a brand designer, says to build credibility, it's important to land a few well-known brands. It signals to other clients that you can handle a big account.
© 2020 by Amber Vittoria[/caption]Illustrator Amber Vittoria
Vittoria wanted to work with Gucci. But she didn't have a contact at the fashion house. One day, she saw an Instagram photo with Gucci's art directors tagged. She sent each one a direct message. One replied, with a project in mind. A few months later, she had illustrations for Gucci's perfume and knitwear collections to add to her portfolio. Build an Instagram FollowingWhen graphic designer Heather Franzman sees a brand she likes on Instagram, she sends them her portfolio. (About half respond.)Instagram also gives clients the chance to find you. Traditionally, illustrators work with agents, but at the outset of her career, Vittoria couldn’t get an agency to take a chance on her. In the end, she didn’t need one: “The rise of social media democratizes that process,” she says. Once she started getting more of a following on Instagram, more clients came calling.
Vittoria keeps a running list of art directors who told her they might have work for her at some point and makes it a point to regularly check in with them. Zieleniec says that if a potential client reaches out to him, “I’ll do max two follow-ups.” This may sound familiar to anyone with a Tinder profile: Show interest, but also know how to take a hint. In pre-pandemic times, Vittoria asks contacts to grab a coffee to build relationships. Networking these days may look different, but she still encourages newbie freelancers to email her if they need advice. “Blanket advice is great," she adds, "but sometimes it’s nice to talk to someone.”When you need answers to your toughest business questions, members of online groups are ready to give you advice. And so are we.
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