Clients & Freelance Graphic Design

I’ve been freelancing for 5 years and this formula has been very comfortable and profitable for me. Here’s a bit of advice for new freelancers. 


I prefer to be on retainer with one client/agency 20 or so hours a week. That covers your paper bills/expenses. The other 20 hrs a week you can choose good clients with cool projects. A retainer client is one which usually want to have you “on call” throughout the week/month/year as if you are part time. You’re an extension of their team. This will happen when you deliver good work for people and they typically want you full time. But remember, you set out to freelance and carve your own path. Talk with them about an ongoing, slightly discounted, monthly rate that works for both of you and what the expectations will be. Typically it will be a flat price for a certain amount of hours per week/month.

I also prefer working with agencies or other creative studios because:

1. Bigger budgets

2. Bigger (not always better) projects and clients

3. There’s less educating you have to do.

Smaller client’s “may” require more hand-holding and could have widely varied expectations.  They are typically less knowledgable about hiring creative services and the process. And rightfully so, they don’t do this every day.

My keys to success have been:

1. Do great work and clients will want to keep you.

2. Be available (be a hero, come through when clients are in tight situations and need your help.)

3. Don’t promise a deadline you can’t keep.

4. Always deliver on time or re-manage their expectations ahead of time. 

5. Be up front and aware of your time and scheduling. If you can’t make it happen don’t take it on.

6. Get 50% deposit up front from all new clients!!! No exceptions.

7. Don’t stop chasing down money owed to you. If possible get the remaining 50% before delivering final assets.


Make your own way! 

Best of luck.


Hard Pressed


Hard Pressed

As a graphic designer this stuff is exciting. Printing in general is pretty amazing, but when you do letterpress and spot color printing it’s a really awesome handcrafted process. The amount of time and attention to detail is profound. Like a fine tailored suit or pair of Italian shoes the production quality is something personal, sturdy and reliable.

The majority of my freelance work is interactive design and UI/UX. I jump at the chance to do more printed work because I feel as if you are not as confined to usability and screen sizes. You can focus on the design message and have endless options for printing processes, die cutting, materials, etc. The amount of different collateral and all the vast mediums you get to design for is really challenging and fun. Think about it, logo design, menus, labels, signage, stickers, pencils, and products. Maybe how the frosted window in the storefront can look and feel like part of the brand, but is printed in an entirely different process.

I happened to be going through my favorite videos on YouTube and had saved this to watch again. Got inspired and felt I should share. 

I did my wedding invites with Mama’s Sauce and they did a knockout job and exactly what they promised. Joey was great and we were very happy with the results.

One of my main challenges not being around printing presses a whole lot is choosing the right pantone color. Picking pantone colors is an art. Every project I stare at my screen and designs created and back to the books to try and get the color that I want when the printing is complete.  On this particular project I was doing a yellow/gold color and black. So I researched and talked to a designer friend and decided on 7405U for a gold/yellow. When they arrived I noticed that .5 lines on white paper were very faint and probably should of gone with a heavier line weight or darker yellow. I’m excited to learn more about the various processes and keep doing more print work so I can understand and design with better results. 

2 Color Screen Print, 7x9 in.
Paper: French Speckle-Tone Starch White 140
Printed at Mama’s Sauce

You can see the complete wedding invites here