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How to get paid design work

The challenge

So you’ve decided that graphic design and/or illustration are definitely for you and you want to start getting some freelance work to build up your portfolio. The problem is that when your starting out your stuck in a bit of a catch 22 or a dead end because you need experience to get paid work, but you don’t have any experience because you haven’t done any client work! It’s a problem that many young or aspiring designers face when they are trying to make it in the design world with the desire to get some paid client work. I myself have made the journey from young in-experienced passionate designer to employer and now the director of my own design agency so I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.

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The solution

Basically to land an interview and to get an agency or potential client to take you seriously, you need a strong portfolio, one that offers either a diverse range of work (if you are looking to design for multiple industries) Or a portfolio that shows you have a niche or a specialist style of design or illustration. Obviously you need to practice a lot and master the software you are going to use as well and there are plenty of design courses available and teach yourself videos on youtube etc to help with this to ensure your at the top of your game when it comes to technical skills.

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Continual development

So we know the challenges young or aspiring designers face and we know now what they need to achieve in order to land that first paid freelance job or employment at a creative agency, but where do the ideas come from and how do we inspire ourselves to create portfolio pieces without any clients asking us for work? The answer is to work on mock briefs, or practice design briefs as much as you can in down time or as a key part of bulking your portfolio out. www.briefbox.me is a website My team and I setup to help young designers get their creative juices flowing. The briefs on the website simulate some of projects we see come through our agency and so for aspiring designers, its the closest thing to an on-the-job style of learning for designers.

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We hope you guys find Briefbox useful!! Let us know some of the challenges you guys have faced when it comes to getting design work.

    I'm starting my 3rd year in Graphic design University next month and I have been trying to get some paid freelance work but haven't succeeded yet. I was getting depressed two days ago and I googled "Design Briefs" to see what will come up and then I found BRIEFBOX !!! This is exactly what I was looking for. I made a pro account and I have already worked on my first brief and submitted my work waiting for feedback. So thank you so much for this site that is one of a kind.

    I have one thing to ask, if you could do an article about how to choose your speciality in design. I feel like I don't know what I like more between Branding, illustration, print, etc.. and I feel like that distracts me all the time. If you have any useful tips I would be very thankful :) ...

    Joel Rosen (Co-founder and creator of Briefbox)PREMIUM

    Hi Kaother! Thanks so much for your comment and great to have you here as a student. I think your idea for an article about choosing your speciality is a great idea and something I will defintiely look at writing up for the community here. I know what it's like when you are starting out, it can be a challenge. One thing I would say is try not to force this at the begginging, you need to let your skills develop in various areas first and then work out what you want to specialise in later on when you can be more selective.

    This to me is a godsend. I am just entering my 3rd year at uni and my portfolio is made up of Uni projects and the odd job I do for friends. I kept saying to friends that I need pretend briefs that are not uni based, and well looks like I found them.
    I will be starting tomorrow, pro and all.

    Joel Rosen (Co-founder and creator of Briefbox)PREMIUM

    That's great news Daniel, glad your liking the site! Really look forward to having you on board and giving you some helpful feedback on all your submissions!!


    Joel Rosen (Co-founder and creator of Briefbox)PREMIUM

    Let us know your thoughts guys!