Here in the UK it’s all doom and gloom — at least that’s what the politicians would have you believe. As a self-employed designer, however, I’m in a great position to take advantage of the credit crunch, and with the right preparation, you can be too.
In this article I share the thoughts of some talented designers who are discussing the pros and cons of today’s economic climate.
“My advice to you: learn how to run projects, learn how to run a business, learn about and adopt uncompromising professionalism. Whether you’re a freelancer or an agency designer, there’s an opportunity here for you to leverage your online blog/portfolio reputation and build yourself a strong place in the profession.”
— ANDY RUTLEDGE
Andy writes a compelling piece on why we should be optimistic, and I find myself agreeing with much of what he has to say.
“How do we go about replacing clients or gaining new ones at a time when people are at their most cautious? Does being a studio with premises give you an advantage over someone who works from home? Being a freelancer at this point could give you an advantage over a studio as you have fewer overheads, but studios have the physical presence which acts as a 24/7 billboard advert to draw in new clients.”
— SARAH PARMENTER
Sarah goes on to mention how some of her clients are taking longer to pay, as they tighten their purse strings. My most common payment structure of taking 50% in advance, with the remainder upon completion — and just before original artwork is supplied — has meant I’ve not seen any of this, but I wonder if you’re experiencing anything different.
Image copyright Aaron Russell
“The truth is, as freelance web designers we have good reason to be optimistic. With slashed budgets, marketers may increasingly turn to email, viral and web marketing as they seek better value for money and return on investment. And when companies begin to lay off staff, it is often the freelancer who benefits when they step in to complete the work that starts overflowing.”
— AARON RUSSELL
“…though we are in a hard and trying time, I feel that it is the businesses that strive to be innovative and market their products well that will see through the current economic downturn. Whilst businesses that bury their heads’ in the sand and ignore the situation will fail.”
— SCOTT MALLINSON
How the recession has affected me
I can increasingly attract identity design clients who place significant value on my service, but I believe this has more to do with improved online visibility, and less to do with the current financial climate. I receive one or two solid enquiries per week. There are normally five or six short email approaches in the same time period, but the majority of those are looking for cheaper options.
The third and fourth quarters of 2008 have shown a significant upwards curve, and given the international reach of my online business, I’m quietly confident this will continue into 2009.
I’m cautious, however, and not spending outwith my means.
Further graphic design-related articles about the recession
- Advice for designers facing a recession, from AIGA | Aquent.
- Recession: simple advice for designers, part 1: new business // part 2: accounts // part 3: running a design firm // part 4: printing, from Noisy Decent Graphics.
- Tips for business development in a recession, from Rebecca Caroe.
- Design and marketing in a recession, from Rob Cubbon.
- Spend your way out of a recession, from Amanda Vlahakis.
- Why freelancers are best equipped to survive a recession, from Bruce Byfield.
- 10 best things about coming depression, a more humorous take on things, from Jeffrey Zeldman.
- 10 cost-saving strategies for troubled times, from Design Sojourn.
The recession and you
How have you been affected recently? Have you noticed a change in the way you or your clients are doing business? If you’re clever about your marketing, and don’t turn design into a commodity, you have much to look forward to, and can prosper in the tough times ahead.