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The Design Center / Creative Networking / Designers Talk About Freelancing  


... when the creative person hits the roadfreelancing

Sooner or later where there are graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, or other creative practitioners, the question always comes up:

  >   I was curious what others charge for
  >   Illustration work? I was thinking of
  >   Illustrator or Freehand.

So, here I've gathered some of the best advice being shared by readers and members of the Design Cafe.

Going Freelance

FINALLY! I have been doing projects for this guy here and there for a few years while I hold my normal job and now he has gotten with a sales guy (old friend) from Manhattan and now there will finally be enough volume for me to do it full time!

I'd love to hear thoughts from you all about the freelancing field! Nothing too discouraging though, or I will defeat myself before I even start! :)

I know he and I work well together and I will continue to do projects for him until the volume is so high that I can rationalize it, so it should be a safe way into the freelance thing. I just made a deal to design / slice a site for $900. Under what I usually charge. And that will take me about a day to do, maybe two if I slack. So I figure, at that rate, I can make my normal salary in two or three days. All I need is a sales guy to provide the projects and I'll knock 'em down!!!!

So I guess it's more of a partnership than a total freelance gig. I think to make high quality high tech websites you need a good designer, a programmer and a salesperson. Some freelance people do it all themselves. I don't think I want to attempt that.

So any words of advice or encouragement? Anyone do freelance out there?

J.F. says:
      I charge from $60 to 180 an hour depending on who it is for, how much work is involved, how busy I am, and how much I like the client. If it is a one hour job, I have a minimum of $120. Recently I did illustrations for a book, and I charged $60 an hour because it was interesting and the client was a friend. Often it is drawing fancy graphs and business charts business graphics, then my rate goes up, as I find this rather dull. If it is an illustration for a multinational corporation brochure, with maybe just one or two drawings, I go up to $180. But maybe my prices are not competitive, as I am not spending a whole lot of my time illustrating.

R.S. says:
      One word of advice, it might be worth it to hire an attorney to help you draw up a few standard contracts, that way you KNOW you are covered. It will probably cost a few hundred dollars. I know in my state we have an association of lawyers for the arts -- web/graphic designers fall in this category too. For the annual membership fee or around $50 or so, they provide you with an lawyer who will do this work pro bono (and it helps even more to bring them scotch when you visit ;) still cheaper than flat out hiring one. There are probably (hopefully) associations around the country like this.

B.M. says:
      I sort of ended up in the freelance by accident. I'm just getting started in the print design end of things, been doing graphic design for a couple of years- almost always in conjunction with web design, which is what I've been doing longest (still not quite 4 years). I've been fortunate that I've had a part time job on the side (working at my kids' school) while I've learned the ropes (and still learning). I'm also able to work from home which really helps with overhead. The downside has been how slow things have been in coming, but I've used that time to learn as much as possible.

I've had a couple of good breaks in the past few months, so I'm looking for a really good year this year - hopefully I'll be pulling in enough to consider myself full-time. -- I seem to be something of a cheerleader...


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