Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Manifesto on Freelance Work

Old Hand


I am a graphic designer. I do creative stuff for my job all day long and get paid for it, which is pretty damn cool. I'm also a very busy person and TIME is very, very valuable to me – even if it's finding time for myself to just chill.

Lately, I've become aggravated by the idea of doing freelance work. Before I go any further, let me describe the nature of freelance work, as it has come to me lately. The name FREElance WORK seems to have become a more literal interpretation of the concept. People want me to do WORK for them – for FREE. Hence, my aggravation.

If you have a doctor as a neighbor, would you ask for free treatment? If your sister's, friend's dad is a lawyer, would you expect him to give you free council? If one of the guys on your PTA has a landscaping business, would you expect him to mow your lawn for free? If you met a chef at a party, would you expect her to come home and cook a free gourmet meal for your family and friends? If you thought yes to any of these questions, then I don't need you in my life.

It's the same thing with graphic designers.

Now, I don't mind working and I don't mind working for free – but it has to be on my terms. If it's a great creative opportunity (or for a good cause, that I support) and I feel is worthy of my time, I will be more than happy to help. Also, if I have time, I'll even help out a close friend in need. Now, that's CLOSE friend, not Facebook friend, not co-worker, not neighbor.

If you do manage to get free work out of me, please don't micro-manage or creative direct it. I'm open to good feedback and collaboration, but I'm not your production artist ready to build-out your bad ideas. As stated above, I'll do free work, but only if it's a 'creative opportunity'. The moment you start dictating bad art direction, is the moment that project is no longer 'creative'.

So, don't come to me with your silly pet project – like your kid's Minecraft birthday invitation, because you are too cheap to buy the ones in the store. Although you might think it's easy for me, it still takes time. Time, as I wrote earlier, is very valuable to me.

Rant over.