We all love freebies and there are some great websites out there that offer free stuff to help graphic designers with projects and ideas. Below are my favourite places on the web for free resources along with a few notes on using them in your work.
My fave free font site is Dafont: www.dafont.com. It has an incredible number of free fonts. The site also has paid, donationware and demo fonts. If you wish to find a font that you are allowed to use for free on paid client projects ensure you tick the “Public Domain” and “100% Free” boxes when searching. That way you will only be shown totally free fonts with no restrictions (though I always suggest you check the license text file that comes with the font just to be sure). Also note some free fonts will have limited character sets. They may only have one font weight, only have upper case or may have limited characters.
FREE PHOTOSHOP FILES AND ACTIONS
A really good site for your Photoshop freebie needs is www.bestpsdfreebies.com. You will find all sorts of layered PSD files on here for mock ups, actions and effects. As with many freebie sites, there is also paid premium content on there should you want it.
Any graphic designer knows one of the hardest parts of any brief is getting decent images if they’re not being provided by the client. I've found www.pexels.com that's a great with tons of totally free images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose both personal and commercial.
A surprising resource I was recommended to check out was Pinterest (www.pinterest.com). Just search for “Mockups” and you will find a plethora of really well designed PSD mock up files to overlay your logos, business cards, brochures etc onto.
THINGS TO NOTE WHEN USING FREEBIES
There’s some great free stuff on the web uploaded by some very talented and generous designers. Please support them by liking, sharing and linking to their work and never use any restricted license or free for personal use items in commercial projects unless you’ve paid for them.
We need to support those in our industry who are willing to put their work out there for others to use and why not offer something for free that you’ve created? It’s a great way to raise your profile and get recognition of your work.
Finally, a word of caution. Alway have your antivirus up to date when downloading freebies or any files for that matter. Download links can often have annoying popups and while most files are totally safe, there is always a risk some unscrupulous person has hidden spyware or a virus in the file. Always scan any files you download before you open them to ensure they’re safe.
Being a graphic designer is great. In fact, it’s so great that lots of people want to be one. So, in order to get noticed, you need to make sure you actively let clients know you’re out there and ready to do some top quality work for them.
In this blog post I’m going to list 5 things that you, as a graphic designer, can do to raise your profile and make people aware that you’re here and ready for hire. All 5 of them don’t cost a penny to do, which is especially good if you’re just starting out in the world of freelance and don’t have much of a budget for self promotion.
1) WRITE A BLOG
This just had to be the first one on my list as I’m writing a blog post about it!
Set up a blog on your website and write helpful articles that show your expertise as a graphic designer. Try to write some posts aimed at fellow graphic designers and some posts for clients to show them you know your stuff.
A blog is also a good way to get your site further up in the search engine results. Sites like Google always love fresh, original content and will prioritise those sites over outdated ones or ones using content copied from other places.
I will admit it’s hard making time to write post when you’re busy with projects but I personally think it’s well worth while.
2) BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Hopefully you’ve already got yourself set up on LinkIn, Twitter and any other social media sites you decide to use but just setting up a profile and then forgetting about it won’t get you noticed. You need to regularly be active on them and let people know you’re around. You can use tools such as Hootsuite to help manage and automate some of this but I also think you need to get on there and interact with people.
3) GET LISTED ON WEBSITES
The more places on the internet you can get your name the better and a really easy way to do this is get yourself listed on website. Yell.com is a good one to start with. It’s free to get yourself listed for your local area but be aware, they will try to get you to then pay for being listed in other areas. If you don’t have budget for it just tell them that and you’ll still have your free listing.
Local councils often have a local business listings website that is free to get yourself on to. My local one for Worcestershire is finditinworcestershire.com and I have my own business listing, logo and contact details on there.
4) MEET PEOPLE
It sounds obvious but you do need to get out and shake a few hands, put a few faces to names. People always deal with people and no matter how good your branding is or how slick your website looks, clients often choose a person they’ve met and like.
Take advantage of any meeting, planned or otherwise, to promote yourself and your business. Always carry a couple of business cards and always be polite and courteous. Don’t got for a hard sell approach with people, just let them know who you are and what you do.
5) WORD OF MOUTH
I’ve saved the best for last. I think this probably the single best way of getting known as a graphic designer but also the most difficult one to do. Never be afraid to ask clients who you’ve completed a project for to recommend you if they think you’ve done a good job. Even give them a few extra business cards in case they can pass them on to anyone.
People are much more likely to take a recommendation from a friend or colleague than all the above put together. Just make sure you leave a trail of happy clients behind you and you will find word gets out and people will start contacting you.
Malcolm Roberts is a Worcestershire based graphic designer, blogger and lover of all things creative.
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