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Rob Bowen is a staff writer for Web Hosting Geeks and Top Web Hosting, a longtime freelance designer, and burgeoning videographer and filmmaker whose creative voice and works can be heard and found around the web.
One thing that can be said about human beings is that we are, by and large, creatures of habit. We establish routines, consciously and subconsciously, that help us accomplish tasks or move us more quickly or comfortably through our day. Habits are formed in the design and development community just as they are in nearly every other professional and personal environment, and they serve any number of purposes. In design and development circles, one established habit is seen with the launch of a website or project.
Naturally, each of us has developed a process that we engage in as we wrap up a project, but a few procedures tend to be used over and over again by the masses. We know this because we ran a poll on this very topic on Twitter. We got many great responses, but the community tends towards a few common practices. We could see as we looked through the list of entries that certain wrap procedures seem to have mass appeal (judging by the number of times they were given as answers), so we began to examine the benefits they offered and what they say about those who fall back on them.
As a designer, you will eventually have to face a couple of unfortunate truths in your career. Number one: just because you wear a bathrobe for most of your "business" hours does not actually make it business attire. Number two: at some point in your freelance career, you will encounter a client who does not respect the work you do. The most unfortunate part of this unfortunate truth is that it will all too often present itself in the form of a client who refuses to pay for your services once all of the work has been completed.
However, you can put some safeguards in place to guarantee that if this kind of client disrespects you and a dispute arises, that you are not left without any leverage to help you resolve the situation. Because whether they admit it, some loathsome characters deal with freelancers merely because they believe these smaller independent businesses would have little recourse should they not hold up their end of the bargain. They think that once we have taken the time to complete the work and deliver it, that they have all the power to control the outcome of the business transaction. But now more than ever, this is not the case.
There are very few who would argue against the notion that most freelance professionals, especially those operating in the design/development and writing arenas, tend to operate from a creative base. They are, by and large, a group that has chosen to let the right side of their brain steer them as far as the road stretches out before them. Having embraced their creative and artistic nature, merging it into their career path and never looking back. And for the most part, a creative mind fits well in this freelance environment where they ultimately call all the shots and are bound by very few restraints. For the most part.
However this road is not without its bumps, and for a lot of freelancers, these bumps come when the left brain must be engaged to navigate the terrain. Most of us are familiar with the concept of ‘'Right Brain vs. Left Brain’, wherein it has been shown that the two hemispheres of the brain control different modes of thinking. The right is the creative and artistic side, the left being the more logical and analytical.
Given that most of us are less apt to be full-minded, where we excel in both modes of thinking, there always tends to be some issues when it comes time for you to mentally cross-over to the otherside for a spell. This can be a problem in freelancing, because though we prefer to tend right, we have to handle every aspect of our business and that means every so often, going left.
Seeing as we are all human (well, presumably whoever is reading this post anyway), we should recognize that mistakes happen. They even have that saying, "To err is human…," which goes to show that it is not only commonplace for us to err once or twice: it is expected. But a method is behind this madness, because making mistakes is one of the major ways we learn. This is no different for freelancers.
Finding our way over these bumps in the road often gives us valuable insight to take away. It helps us develop techniques and methods that we can incorporate into our creative process. As freelancers, we have the benefit of access to an entire online community that is willing to share its experiences so that we can learn without having to make the same mistakes.
So in this post, we look at 10 critical mistakes freelancers make. Hopefully, if you haven't already made one of these mistakes yourself, you can learn the lesson behind it.
In business, being able to read people and quickly get a sense of who you're dealing with is an invaluable skill. It turns your encounter with a client into an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the upcoming project and how it will need to be handled. It is one of the building blocks of a professional relationship.
In today’s digital age, the arena has shifted to the Web, and the online office space that most freelancers inhabit limits personal interaction. Though sussing out a client’s personality via online communication is difficult, it still remains an invaluable tool in your arsenal.
In the freelancing field, you will encounter a range of client types. Being able to identify which you are dealing with allows you to develop the right strategy to maximize your interactions with them, and it could save your sanity. Below is a list of the most common personality types and the tell-tale signs that will tip you off.
In the world of freelancing, the entrepreneur has to take on a number of tasks for themselves that would normally be handled by a separate department at a bigger company. Most of these tasks are not part of the creative processes that freelance workers are used to, but rather are more tedious, left-brain paperwork.
One such task is contracts. Drafting a contract that covers you, and doesn't just enumerate information, is more than important: it is a must. Freelancers do not have the benefit of a legal department dedicated to protecting their interests with a watertight contract. Nevertheless, a freelancer's contract must be comprehensive, concise and clear. It should outline the scope of the job, scheduling demands, the expectations of both parties and more.
In this post, we'll help you identify the information that should be included in your contract and make sure you have a concrete agreement that leaves little chance of things getting out of hand… as can sometimes happen to those of us in the freelancing crowd.
These do's and don’ts will hopefully remove a lot of the headache and guesswork that comes with drafting a contract. By understanding the rationale behind various contractual elements, you will be able to better customize your contracts to fit the specific job you have been hired for.
The city is a fantastic source of beauty and inspiration, with all the glitz and glamour glistening beneath the city lights. But there is another side of the city altogether, one rife with its own kind of allure. Across the tracks, away from the dazzle of downtown, lies a darker imagination, this one looking to grunge-ridden, dilapidated architecture for inspiration. There is a beauty that pervades this kind of urban decay and captured wonderfully through a photographer’s well-trained eye. These industrial city scenes are wonderfully dark and offer a glimpse of the weathered face beneath the city facade.
In this inspirational installment, we take a tour and show the charm of a more neglected and worn side of the city. We showcase the beauty of urban decay, a series of photos of this eroded elegance that photographers have captured brilliantly. These gorgeously grungy images have a haunting appeal, a stirring quality that radiates from within and that earned them a spot on this list.
From Rudolph Töpffer and Wilhelm Bush’s precursors to modern-day incarnations, comics have been a large part of popular culture for generations. Growing over the ages through contributions to the genre from Christophe Chabouté, Angelo Agostini and, of course, Richard Outcault, this then-revolutionary new way for artists to create and deliver a narrative exploded throughout the art world, leaving a lasting mark that would mature over the years, morphing into a mainstream artistic medium. Today, with a more stylized focus on heroic tales and dark worlds beyond the imagination, this genre continuously churns out amazing artwork from some extremely talented artists.
In this inspirational installment, we look at some of the wonderful works over the years that have graced the covers of comics -- art that has delighted and dazzled fans and non-fans alike from shelves and displays across the globe, the kind of works that tempt those not usually taken by this genre to give it another look or to pick up a book for the first time. We feel these impressive feats that draw this kind of attention and inspire this kind of adoration deserve a showcase, so we proudly present examples of brilliant comic book cover art!
Typography talks the talk, to go along with the overall work’s walk, speaking volumes for the artist. This important design element surrounds people daily as they move through their routines, rarely taking notice. It’s literally everywhere. In advertising, product packaging, printed publications, graphic designs, and more. Accentuating and centralizing the overall theme of the design that it inhabits, communicating the message to the masses through creative inclusions in the work.
For decades this design tool has given rise to some truly elegant type that still have impressions echoing through design today. Revisiting these themes is a cyclical commonplace that the design community embraces with stunning results. In this article, we go retro, finding beautiful examples of vintage typography and the modern work they’ve inspired. Looking back, it’s easy to see why some of this type has stood the test of time and is still lingering in the design community today.