Category Archives: Career Path

ARTICLE: Stop asking me to do my job for free: a guide to being a decent friend to a photographer


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Raise your hand if you have a friend who is a photographer.  Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever asked that friend to do their job for free.  No seriously.  RAISE YOUR HAND. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU.  Because you’ve all done it.  How do I know?  Because I have a lot of friends and way too many of you have invited me to parties and told me to bring my camera or told me about this cool project idea you have that you’re certain I would love to be a part of.

Here’s the deal.  I MIGHT love to be a part of it.  AND, if I would, I’ll volunteer.  BUT STOP ASKING ME TO DO IT FOR FREE!  Ask to hire me.  THIS IS MY JOB!

Stay tuned long enough and I’ll give you the script for exactly how TO get us to do our job for free, because it IS possible.

Do you invite your accountant to the party and ask him to do your taxes in the corner?  Do you tell your dentist you have this bad ass cavity he should practice drilling for his portfolio and then tell him if he does a great job cleaning  your teeth you’ll tell all your friends about him? (You know, all your other friends who also don’t want to pay him to clean their teeth.)

Regardless of what you may feel about about the investment level of entering into the field of photography vs. becoming a dentist, paying back student loans and business expenses aren’t the only thing that go into setting my prices. Here’s a basic rule of thumb:

ARTICLE: 40+ Portfolio Design Ideas: Creating the Best Portfolio Design

Learn how single-page portfolio design might be the right fit.

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Patrick McNeil is a master of both web design and UX/UI principles. In this excerpt from the first section of The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 4, he showcases the most successful industry and design portfolio examples from a wide variety of agencies and graphic designers.

Web design is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest trends, but this eBook can help.

Featuring more than 40 examples of successful website designs, this guide can be used as a source of visual inspiration for web designers. Explore what others have done with their creative graphic design portfolio websites, and discover how these ideas can be adapted to suit your own needs. Download this excerpt for free for incredible portfolio design inspiration.

ARTICLE: Learn All the Top Skills Employers Want in 2015

top skills employers want

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Do you have the skills that hiring managers are looking for?

Last month, Forbes named “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want in 2015 Graduates.”

The list is based on a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which asked hiring managers at big companies like IBM and Chevron which skills and qualities they most value in potential hires.

Turns out they’re all things you can learn—and in fact master—right here at For just $25 a month.

Do you have the top skills employers want for 2015? Which do you need to brush up on? We’ve got you covered:

1. Ability to work in a team structure

Leading and Working in Teams:

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson explains the responsibilities of individual team members to speak up, collaborate, experiment, and reflect.  25 minutes

Building High-Performance Teams:

Learn the techniques necessary to set direction, gather and deploy the right resources, prioritize work, motivate employees, and help team members develop their individual strengths. 2 hours, 23 minutes

2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems

Making Decisions:

Five simple steps to making stronger choices, including evaluating whether you have sufficient time and information, the right people involved, and other key factors. 11 minutes

Solving Business Problems:

Learn to pin the problem down and define it, generate possible solutions, determine the best solution, and create a clear recommendation. 39 minutes

3. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization

Communication Fundamentals:

UCLA Anderson School Professor John Ullmen, PhD, walks you through strong communication strategies to help you improve your listening, message, delivery, and effectiveness.  2 hours, 5 minutes

Managing Project Communication:

Discover how to use a communication plan to develop two-way communication goals, run meetings, organize feedback, and create clear reports. 1 hour, 47 minutes 

ARTICLE: Meet the Hero Designer Who Publicly Shamed Showtime for Asking Him to Work for Free

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When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design “contest” he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it.

The offer, made to a number of designers, involved promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana boxing match on Sept. 13. Those who submitted designs for Showtime’s use “could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week!,” the network told Cassaro in an email.

After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm (“I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs”), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter.

Here’s the screenshot of the conversation:

ARTICLE: 25 Things Creative People Do Differently

25 Things Creative People Do Differently

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While most think of creative people as “right-brained” or artsy, creativity exists within all of us – even the most logical, linear thinkers.

However, some of us have honed our creative sides a little more than others, and know how to capture and express that imaginative energy. Creative people cover a broad spectrum of personalities, from the stereotypical starving artist to the entrepreneurial businessman. They share some common traits that allow them to bring that creativity to life, including the following:

  1. They work when the work comes to them…meaning that they only paint, draw, write, sew, dance, or write out business plans when they feel like it. Creative people know the mind performs best in small bursts of concentrated work.
  2. They probably don’t have a “normal” job. The creative spirit feels dampened by a job in which it doesn’t get to roam free and do as it pleases. Many creative types turn to entrepreneurship to make money, because it fulfills their soul while still allowing them to get paid.
  3. They see inspiration in everything. Creative spirits become inspired by anything and everything, from an unusual pattern on a leaf to the bright lights of a city at night. They see the world as their oyster, and have a knack for finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places…

ARTICLE: How 20 designers charge their clients #1

George Best bank note

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I asked a few designers these questions:

  1. How do you charge clients?
  2. How do you accept payment?
  3. Why do you recommend working this way?

Here’s the first of three posts, offering an insight into how graphic designers manage their finances.

How do you normally charge clients?
On smaller-mid sized projects I require a 50% deposit and the balance prior to release of production-ready files. On larger (longer-term) projects with several stages of deliverables, I require the same 50% deposit prior to starting any work, but break up the fee schedule based on deliverables. A retainer is usually applied to the end of the project, too.

What methods of payment do you accept?
I accept wire (bank) transfer for overseas clients, paypal when a client prefers this or is in a rush, and most often for US based clients — a cheque by mail. I usually charge a small fee to cover the wire transfer and paypal payment methods.

Why would you recommend working this way?
This works for me. It spreads the risk yet gives the client (who may be a first time client in many cases) the option of not paying everything at once to an unknown designer/studio. It’s a pretty fair process. The only added advice is that even if a client has ‘proven’ themselves to be trustworthy by having paid your deposit and even subsequent payments, you must not continue to provide work into future phases of a project before getting payments as per the signed agreement / fee schedule. I have learned this the hard way. Trust me — it’s worth swallowing your pride and overcoming any fear of confrontation and not moving forward on a project until you get payment as per your mutual agreed-upon contract. Many unexpected things can come up – even personal emergencies or as we now know — catastrophic economic upheavals — that can upend even a trustworthy and fair client’s willingness or ability to pay you.

Visit Yael’s website here: The Dieline.

ARTICLE: 5 Ways to Present Your Online Design Portfolio


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As a burgeoning designer, little is more important to your career than an effective design portfolio. Naturally, print design portfolios come in all shapes, sizes, colors and creative styles, but the increasing importance of digital portfolios has resulted in some phenomenal designer websites as well.

While your skill will speak be apparent in your work, it’s crucial that the presentation of your online design portfolio both complements your personal style and effectively showcases your talent.



Six Things Every Designer Should Know About Copyright

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The art & design world has been abuzz lately with copyright issues and, since we’ve been talking a lot here about original and authentic design, I thought it would be helpful to gather some good information about copyright straight from the people who know it best: the lawyers. Here are some helpful tips to read through before you even put pen to paper (or “pencil” to iPad).

ARTICLE: 10 Eye-Catching Graphic Designer Resumes


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Self-promotion is essential to a graphic designer’s success. As a creative, expertly branding and marketing yourself is the path to reaching career goals, whether that is to be an Art Director for an in-house firm or establishing a lucrative freelance design business.

Crafting an eye-catching and memorable resume is major component of your self-promotion strategy. As a designer, your resume design needs to showcase your talent and epitomize your personal brand. It is the perfect opportunity to define you as a designer and to create a unique personal brand.