Top Ten Methods Of Becoming A Better Designer

1. Analyze Your Client, Don’t Let Them Ask All The Questions.

When a client approaches you for your services automatically there are many questions that they are asking, such as “What is your turnaround time for this project?” “What is the overall price range for this type of service?”. What you should do next in your reply to this is ask them a few questions such as whereabouts they live, what age they are, how long have they been hiring web designers, who have they hired in the past. These questions just give you a better idea of who you are working with and get a better understanding of the type of person they are.

2. Speak Confidently About Your Pricing.

When pricing your services or work, you must be confident in your own self-ability and price what you feel is an appropriate price for the given design brief. Looking back to question one, a good question to ask your client is what is their budget. Asking this lets you know that they might be on a specific budget that they cannot spend over. Also, when your client has given you details on what they want and you have asked them what their budget is, don’t be afraid to tell them the overall price for what they have asked for. The design brief could be more expensive than their budget, so they might not have the specific budget for what they are asking for. Think of it this way, they have come to you in the first place because of your skill in this area, they might want go over their budget to get an excellent service.

3. Draw Up Plans, Visualize Your Design On Paper.

A good way of quick concept drawing is simply jotting it down on paper. In the design brief the client has most probably stated the various styles they want included in the design, so using arrows and highlighters to state various styles used for various parts of the design gives you a better understanding of how the design will look and feel.

4. Finding The Right Colour Scheme For The Type Of Design Needed.

After all the planning, you then need to move to the computer and get started by actually designing. On so many occasions I have came across websites which use a very weird and interesting colour scheme but it really doesn’t suit the type of website it is.

A website which I use for awesome colour combination’s is Abobe Kuler. Check it out.

Using websites like this gives you a better understanding of colour choice and colour theory. I’d recommend you save a colour wheel from Google as well, so you can quickly open it up before designing and eye drop some colours onto your Photoshop canvas.

5. Be More Creative & Adventurous When Designing.

Taking time on a project is always a crucial factor. If you promise a deadline date to a client it’s always professional to keep within that date. But use your time wisely. By being creative and adventurous I mean by using various techniques when designing the final product. Experiment with brushes, textures and even your own photography. All of these factors can produce a very unique final product for your client. That being said, the client may only want a simple design so you may not have to be adventurous.

For resources such as the above I visit some of the websites below;
•    DeviantART
•    Smashing Magazine

6. Use A Client Contract Agreement.

For some time it took me to realize that using a Client Agreement document is an important part to designing. It keeps you safe from stealers and scammers and lets you know that the person you are working with is legitimate. It’s also worth mentioning in your CCA (Client Contract Agreement) that it will keep your client safe and secure by knowing that they are working with a professional company. In the CCA it’s also worth writing out a pricelist for all the services that you offer, to make it even more easier for the client, it’s best to have a little space or entry so that they can write there name next to the service they want. This informs you that they want a specific package.

7. Experiment In Your Free Time.

Have you ever been bored in your free time with no client work at all and all you do is browse the Internet and chat on IM? I’ve found that now and again designing in your free time will benefit you when coming to design for your next client. In my free time I try to do design various things rather than just keeping to web design. I would recommend designing print based design such as logo’s, coasters, badge design, advertisement design. It’s also great to work on things that you’re not particularly good at. For me, it’s vector work. I really love vector art but I am absolutely hopeless at creating it. I’m also not really fond of logo design, so I usually mess around in Illustrator and try and get some nice concepts.

Try it and see how you get on. By designing print based work in your free time gives you an idea of how you may come to do it if you were looking to take up designing full time for a company. In design firms and companies they do not ask solely for web design, you’ll most definitely get various types of print work to design.

8. Go To Conferences, Meet Other Design Related People.

There’s nothing better than meeting new people in my opinion. I believe in trial and error but learning from people who have more experience is even better. If you live nearby were design conferences happen, then I’d highly recommend going to one. It also boost’s your inspiration and motivation when coming to design again and it’s also a great way to learn away from your workspace.

9. Collaborate On Projects With Friends Online & Offline.

Recently, I have been working on a project with a good friend who is very interested in what I do. He doesn’t have any idea how I do it, but he loves how I make money from what I do. The friend I have been working with is doing Fashion Design at college and is very creative and great at what he does. It runs in his family as both his two cousins are now designing for high street brands down in London and he wants to follow in their footsteps.

My friend and myself have been working on a logo design for his mothers small flower shop; about 15 minutes away from were I live. In working with a friend with a very different design sense and creativity, it helps you as a designer think differently and keep an open mind of the niche that is being designed for.

10. Enjoy Designing > Money.

Last but not least you should enjoy working on your client briefs first and foremost. There is nothing better than a high morale when working and keeping a great vibe between you and your clients.
Being creative and enjoying what you do is a fun experience. If you are just starting out as a freelancer and reading this, I’d say this is the most important pointer of them all. Enjoying what you do will only make your everyday life that little bit more fun, especially in the design field.

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