Todd Jerde, a freelance graphic designer and Rasmussen College School of Technology and Design faculty member, chronicles a day in the life of a freelance graphic designer. On his day off from instructing digital design and animation, we chronicle his daily activities of designing, gets web design inspiration, managing clients and prospecting for new business.
Todd wakes up—later than the “average Joe” because he is up until the wee hours of the morning working—around 9:30 a.m. He immediately jumps out of bed to check his emails, then browses for potential clients through his personal connections, Facebook, and even Twitter.
An hour or so after he is done prospecting, Todd sets up meetings with current client leads. Todd connotes, “The first step of this relationship is a face to face meeting. Emails, and the occasional text conversation can be useful, but it is crucial to maintain face-to-face interaction throughout your relationship with your client. Buy them a cup of coffee, maybe a snack and get to know them a bit. Establish trust early on because if all goes right most clients will come to you with more work.”
A little before noon, Todd heads back to his work station to prepare for a client meeting to discuss a new logo redesign. He gathers important details regarding the company’s target market, what the on-brand color scheme is, and what marketing materials the logo will be used with.
His creative design process starts immediately after the meeting when ideas are fresh in his mind. He notes to budding graphic designers about drawing web design inspiration, “Just as a business consultant would want to take notes immediately after a client meeting—this holds true for graphic designers as well. A creative brainstorm can really spark your design process—so ride the wave after the meeting and design away!”
Todd continues to sketch, mock-up and create graphic art using the latest design software. In between designing, managing client relationships and prospecting for new work, Todd shuffles through his favorite design magazines and design blogs to keep current with design trends and the evolution of the designing software. Today, Todd finds an informative web design tutorial about the new functionality for the Adobe Photoshop®. After he views the tutorial, he blogs about it on his personal blog—which also is one of his main client lead generators.
It’s 3:30 p.m. and Todd packs up his belongings to head to a photo shoot for a client who is redesigning its website. He works with the client’s marketing team and photographer to help with form, light and style of the images. Todd highlights, “Photography is an important part of a graphic designer’s career; not only to learn from this artistic aesthetic, but to grow as a designer.”
As the work day for most people draws to an end, Todd hops over to a local networking event to interact with like minded-people; and publicize his personal brand. He mingles for an hour or two, passes out about a dozen business cards to potential clients and cohorts, then heads home.
It’s late. Todd relaxes for a bit—then feels a burst of creative energy flow through his system and heads back to his workspace. Finally at midnight, Todd submits the first draft of the logo redesign to his client. He follows up shortly thereafter to schedule another touch base to review the design.
Finally, Todd calls it quits for the day. He gets a restful sleep, and then starts all over again.