Collateral Design for Freelancers
How can finish my website so I have a friend who shall not be named who I swear has been working on her website since I met her like ten years ago I'm not even kidding she um I absolutely love her but it's a big mental block for her and in the past it has been a big mental block for me too um and so I empathize and I relate but if you don't put those materials out there you are self limiting right if you don't have you know a website, a business card, whatever this collateral is it's going to be pretty hard for you to get work and then it's going to be this self fulfilling prophecy of I and you know I want to be a freelance desire but I just can't get work right um so I wantto alleviate you of that pain? Um you know, I think there are very, very few cases where you would want your website and your marketing collateral to be anything else but clean, clear, simple, straightforward and and well designed, but you don't need it to be over designed you don't have to give someone an experienc...
e with a business card there's such a thing is over designing, you know, like remember when metal business cards or a thing you know and like the first one you got was probably like whoa! But then after that it's like another metal business card like, you know, one things to be gimmicky, you know, um so let's let's, I agree that, like, the perfect is not going to be the enemy of the good, right, you're going, you might decide I love that you're so preneurs and I want you to be one forever, but you might decide, like in six months from now, you're not anymore, you know, you may decide that you want to gang up with, you know, another uh, the person was a complementary skill set in here like a small company now, so you're going to go from naming your business, you know, your name or whatever that would be into something totally else, right? So you're going to change so it's nothing's ever going to be finished? It just has to be be good enough to put out there in the world and I want I want you to focus more on putting it out there in the world than making it perfect before you do it right? So keep it simple. You know, the positioning statement is designed to be really simple, who you are, what you do, what you're interested in, you know, the design language that I used is really simple, but it also is true to who I am right if you are like a pattern designer or something, you know, maybe you're going to have a really simple, straightforward design language, but you're going to put, you're going to put a pattern that you designed as your as your page background or that's going to be a pattern on your business cards, just something simple, that kind of carrie, that theme through that that goes from generic to the thing that that is more authentic to you be consistent, right? I'm using my name, I'm using the things that I say I specialize and I'm using my one liner, and I'm using that in all the places that I can, and I'm repeating that, um, again, what's in your portfolio is more important than how it looks. Your portfolio cannot look like a dog's dinner, especially if you're going to be like a designer. It has to be, you know, like ok, yes, there has to be a baseline there, but it it it's so much more important to feature your work and be able to talk about your work and tell stories about your work than it is for it to look like, um, is a or like I said before, I think amazing can go to get mickey really fast let's say you're an interaction designer or or, you know, ah front and engineer and you decide to like make your website really awesome because like things spring out of the bottom and stuff pops up from the side and you know it does all these behaviors that demonstrate your competency or your ability to wield um you know html on dh slay it but that could be off putting for people to you know you condemn it straight that in your portfolio right in the projects that you're showing but I don't think your web site the container of this information necessarily needs to do that you know, I when I go through photographers websites looking for ideas and I look up to that's actually something that I pay attention to because sometimes it takes too long for photographs the load uh exactly and I get bored and I move on yeah or then I get judging and I'm like don't they know how the web works why're they uploading things that are too big for me to see right? We're all making these split second decisions in in how we navigate the online world right and there's all this stuff that's like vying for our attention on and I totally agree you know and as a freelancer and putting your work out there as an artist and a designer and a photographer and a creative professional people are going to judge you they are they're going to judge your work and um you know that's fine that's totally fine. Um you have to get really comfortable with that that's ok? They might not be the right client for you you might not be the right designer for them um and you're just goingto convey what it is about you that you can to the best of your ability and you're going to show off your best work and like like attracts like you know you're just going to be a beacon for what you want to attract? Um so yeah, but the split second judgment thing is is, um is riel so this is my stuff, right? This is my website there's, my business card there's my resume really simple, but what I think it does is, you know, it creates a really nice container. Um, and I think squarespace is really good at this there's lots of templates where now, all of a sudden it's about the work, right? It's not about me as a person. And although you're hiring me it's like, what are these projects like jordin sparks? Like, what is that? You know? And, uh um the work can really shine, right? You look at instagram really well, oh, is that right? All of a sudden, this person is interested in me um and I'm intentionally picking those those photographs that I'm using because I want people to be interested right? And we're going to do a little portfolio review later, but the intentionality of that like this is the part where where you know, hopefully you're grabbing oh, um you're grabbing the person and and bringing them in more and sparking their curiosity about you because you want them tio know more about you question, how about using facebook for your business what's your take on that? Yeah, good question I'm actually talking about that later, okay, partial answered our just on if you maybe just want to give a brief okay brief answer to that one and then touch more based on it later it up to you? Okay, I don't do it, but I am into it. Okay? Okay. Um okay. So I want you guys to try this at home and I want you guys to just think about this but what's your simple design system going to be are you guys struggling with putting your portfolio together or figuring out what was in it are what it should look like? Kind of here in the rumor fish? Sometimes sometimes, yeah, yeah, so these are the rules that can alleviate that struggle for you if you follow these rules, you're going to be fine, could you do it differently or better, maybe but if you're the kind of person who just is like I just want to know what to dio I need to tell you what to do and alleviate you of that pressure that we all put on ourselves and put it on myself all the time about like, how things could be better than they actually are um or I feel that they could be better, but the truth is the sooner you can get that to putting it out there, I think the better it really is so fun choose to funds that's it don't use any more than two fonts you don't need any more than two funds if you want to like throw different weight in there, I'm ok with that, but I don't want to see like a bunch of funds in your portfolio even if your front designer you can show that in your projects but you're not going to like crazily font up your portfolio I think you know yeah obviously read that, um I'm bending my rules, okay colors you're going to use these colors consistent the consistently throughout this communication, this visual design language that you're creating right? And you're going to know what these are for you I use helvetica that's it I think there's georgia on the in the square space temple at the bottom and I allowed georgia but um but I don't know maybe eliminate it and make it helvetica but anyway the point is the colors don't pick any more than three colors I'm using black amusing gray and I'm using blue we could debate if great and black with same on like I could add another color but I don't have any need for that right? I don't want these things to be a distraction if you're an interior designer and you're all about color, maybe you want another color on there because you're doing something that's more complicated, more complicated I know you're doing something that's a more sophisticated um uh form a visual expression that's really true to the service that you offer at which point maybe maybe you could convince me of that but for most people not necessary um and the last is your thing so my thing is my posters um your thing might be a piece of geometry you love triangles and so that thing is just going to be in there a little bit maybe you know it's a little bullet next tio next to your contact information on your business cards, maybe it's you know somewhere on your on your website a za ghosted background or something like that so you're using this thing consistently you don't need a thing, you don't have to have a thing it's totally fine if you don't have a thing it's fine if you just want a straightforward visual language but if you want to think just pick one thing right? So my thing is just the tone setting photography I've used that on, you know, on my web site um and you might have a thing that is, you know, unique to you but don't feel like anything does that make sense so to funds greeted you don't have to make up a thing already yeah, yeah, yeah if you already have a thing he said exactly, exactly totally. Yeah, so to funds a couple colors, maybe three and what your thing is that's it that's all you need as your ingredient lists to bake your pie, right? And your pie is going to be comprised of these touch points, you know, obviously you're not going toe, you know, over brand your resume necessarily, but maybe you are going to bring that in, right? I made a really simple system because I didn't want to agonize I didn't want to agonize over like, does my resume look ok? Like, you know, I'm a designer, so should my resume be designed? You know, like um and I think we can all get in those kind of little mental eddie's on dso yeah, I am I just want to alleviate you, um so cool actually wanted to take the time to just ask two questions really quick just let me get some of this online audience involved one of which is can you put work from school in your portfolio and what is your take on that oh yeah I think when you're first starting out you should definitely put work uh from school in your portfolio I think that's absolutely fine I think no matter what you put in your portfolio you always want to say what your participation was in that work and what it was for so as long as you're qualifying that I think that's a great way to have a portfolio that has stuff I mean how are you going to have a portfolio when you're just out of school you know, I think that's a great way teo teo uh have more things to show and I also think it's fine to self initiate a project so let's say that you want to get more into ap design but you but you don't have any clients that are you know you've never been paid for that work it's absolutely feinted to invent a nap in your mind and create, you know, create the deliver bubbles that would show that you have that skill incompetency and put that in your portfolio and just say that's a self initiated project um you know that I didn't hear was my rationale for it and just clarifying that we'll do one more yeah, what are your thoughts on hiring a web designer to design your site and I think that's kosher I want to know if that person is a weapon yeah, I actually do think it's kosher um if you're a web designer and you hire someone else to design your website um that's a little like on the kosher line if there is such a thing to me um but I think it's absolutely find tio hire people who are complementary to your skill set and like I said, you don't have to do everything but you have to be transparent about what you what you do do and don't do you know I used to feel really uncomfortable about putting putting work in my portfolio where I didn't do everything for it, right? Where if it was a website and I only worked on like three pages of the website or you know I did the wire frames for it, but you know and I didn't do the visual design I felt like I couldn't even show it because I didn't do it and I have moved on from that position in point of view I think if you participated in the project you want to show off deliverables that convey the totality of the project well and then you want to show the things that you actually did and you want to describe that for people right? So here's, what the website look like, right, um, and here was my part in the website and here's, the work that I did, um so yeah, I think if you're a web designer and someone else designed your portfolio, um, that's a little awkward, I'm finding you square space or like a tool to do it, but if someone else is doing it, I can't imagine I don't know do we? Does that person ok e kosher line and actually just got one more that I think would be really good to see you. How current should your for portfolio pieces being? Is it ok to show old were girls? Yeah, yeah, this is an awesome question. So when I was first starting out, I, um I thought that everything I worked on should go in my portfolio, and I put everything in there and I had worked at a company and aa lot of people left that company, they went on to other companies, and I got an interview at this design agency that was like, really prestigious, and I was really young in my career, and I was so freaked out, um and I was, like, so nervous and I agonized over what to put my portfolio, and it went to the interview and I showed everything and I knew the person who was interviewing me because we had worked together at this previous company and he said after the interview he said look I have to tell you you can't put everything in your portfolio you should put ten things no more than ten things and you should be able to tell a story about each one of those things and you should know why it's in your portfolio and what the purposes and be prepared to present your work I mean I thought that I was going to go in and he was going to just look at my stuff like I didn't know that I had to sell it or talk about it or conveyed or have a point of view about it I didn't know any of that you know so I think it's absolutely fine to have old work in there but you're going to prune your portfolio over time your portfolio is not everything that you've ever worked on its part of this positioning that we're going to talk about and it's part of what you're showing the world in a strategic way to help get you the jobs and the clients that you want right you were saying that you want to do more illustration maybe in a little less photo editing or a little less of other stuff so your projects we're going toe emphasize that when we talk about your stuff later, right? So it's a strategic choice