So you consider yourself a web designer? Good for you. How long have you been designing, what skills do you posses, do you have a portfolio? These are the questions any employer will ask before choosing you out of an unlimited supply of design talent. Is there any way to stand out?
Know What You’re Good At
When searching for a potential client or browsing through job openings at forums and freelance sites around the net, know your skill set before you attempt to apply for the job. I see it all the time, when someone is looking for a designer, they receive a ton of replies, but more than half of the people replying lack decent design skills. Money talks, and it can take you over into thinking you can handle a project that is way out of your league, especially if you are just beginning. Don’t go around saying you’re experienced when you really have the slightest idea of how to get things done.
Learn on your own time
Trying to take on client work, meet deadlines, and learn new techniques at the same time is challenging. Start slow – don’t attempt to jump right into the work force if you have yet to gain the experience needed to meet many of today’s “new” requirements for design, including valid xhtml / css coding.
Instead of spending countless time looking for work you could have, get in Photoshop and get practicing. Put together a bunch of premade templates, where you have the ability to tweak and improve your designing skills, and still maybe able to make a few extra bucks by selling the templates off. Only when you have what you believe is the right amount of experience should you attempt to please the hard to please client market.
Show Some Professionalism
An average forum thread with someone looking for a designer looks like this:
I’m in need of a web 2.0 design, looking for people to pm me with examples of work and price quote. Thanks
First, anyone with reasonable intelligence will want to get directly in touch with the person and get a much larger background about the potential project, otherwise, ignore the project completely. If the employer can’t even explain the project, chances are, you don’t want to work for them.
Next, there’s the PM issue. This gets on my nerves every time I see it, because of how people that our “designers” act about it. If a potential client asks you to contact them, then do it! They’re your potential client, and if you want to work for them, put some damn effort into it! You’ll see replies in forum threads with the designers bidding for the project telling the employer to get in touch with them if they’re interested. Not only does that lack professionalism, but it shows a disinterest in actually doing any work for the client.
So, am I a designer or not?
Real designers show professionalism, understand the business model, and treat every potential client as if they already were a client. Anyone can open up photoshop, paint, etc, and put together a random image. That doesn’t mean you know enough to consider yourself a designer. If you’re serious about web design, do some reading, keep practicing and improving your skills, and then find some clients – not the other way around.