I’ve been fumbling my way through this freelance thing for a few months.
Along the way I’ve found a few tools and inspiration that I wanted to share.
First off is some great inspiration.
I love, love, love watching amazing designers talk.
For some reason that gets me excited and inspired even more than look at their work.
I watched this talk by Sean McCabe while ago, and it’s a must watch for anyone that’s unsure of how to get to the point where you love what you do.
Less than 15 minutes in she’s cursing, drinking, and talking about masturbating (out of context it sounds a little weird, but trust me here…).
Her talk about touched on how to not get creatively burnt out and working with Wes Anderson. Check out her other work here.
Lets just be honest…I really have no idea what I’m doing. But I do try to work intelligently and professionally.
Along the way I’ve used a bunch of tools to help me do that, and here they are.
Not exactly an unknown tool, Adobe Kuler is a great resource for color selection.
There’s a ton of user created color themes that you can grab, or you can make your own and upload it.
The tool then gives you the breakdown in every way imaginable.
Color Blindness Simulator
One day I was working on some food packaging for a client and I thought, ‘Hmmm, I wonder if this is actually going to work if the consumer is color blind?’
I did a little google search to find if there’s a preview choice for colorblindness (there is under View : Preview). However, this only shows you two different variations of the 5(?) types.
So a few googles later, I found a great app called CBSim
Click here to download it, I promise there’s no virus’ or anything.
I prefer the app since I can use it offline, but there’s a few good in browser tests, like this one.
I can’t tell you how many hours of work I’ve seen lost because of Illustrator crashing.
Why there isn’t a legit auto save feature for this yet is beyond me. HOWEVER, I did stumble on this workaround to use the actions palette to auto-save.
I haven’t tried it yet (there’s a lot of steps and I’m very busy) but it seems great unless you’re in the middle of making a complex path when it saves. Again if someone tries this let me know how it works…
Another well known learning resource is Lynda.com.
Some people don’t like lynda. I find it’s good for learning things within your profession. This means, if you’re a designer trying to learn PHP, good luck.
The programming tutorials all seems to be very simple at first, but then hit a point where the instructor assumes you’ll be able to keep up when they throw new stuff at you.
As a designer, this made me bow out on three separate tutorials. While there’s a possibilty that I just may be dumb, I have heard the same thing from a PhD math student…
One of the great things about lynda, is that it’s not just learning. They have a segment called Creative Spark that does a short documentary on different creatives.
The Title Case video was pretty awesome.
I feel like I know a little bit about SEO. This, of course, makes me think everything I know about SEO is wrong.
I’ve a found a lot of free white papers by Hubspot, but I really have no idea how to get to them from the website…
I follow them on facebook and twitter, which is where they post free stuff every now and then. They have paid services to help with that stuff as well, but I’m cheap.
Taxes and Death
One of the worst things I’ve had to do when starting freelance, is my own accounting.
Quickbooks is a terrible terrible program. Terrible. Since I didn’t have much startup money, I used my mothers copy from (I’m not kidding) 2003, that I ran on a Windows partitian on my old macbook.
This could be the reason I find it so terrible. Once you figure out how to work things, it gets better, but there are so many things you can do, with multiple ways to do them, it makes me want to smash things.
If you have the money, get a damn CPA.
Protect Those Eyes
Apparently spending hours upon hours in front of a computer screen can be harmful to your eyes. Who knew?
Now these are super nerdy, but this company Gunnar makes glasses to help reduce “harmful blue light”. It looks like they now offer glasses specifically for designers that don’t have a yellow tint.
Not sure what kind of color shift they still have, but maybe they help a bit.
You can tell what they think of designers, with frame styles named; Anime, Vinyl & Haus
Save Your Wrists
Carpal Tunnel Syndrom sucks. I do a lot of wrist stretching for climbing, but I’ve started including one that allegedly helps prevent CPS.
Grab a broom or something like that (shovel for the super strong) with one hand. Starting three hand lengths up from the bottom. Hold your arm straight out and the broom parallel to the floor, turn your hand 180 degrees slow and in control. Then spin back to the starting position. Repeat this 5 or so times on each hand. Then move your hand down towards the end of the handle and repeat. Repeat again at the end of the handle. Zorro demonstrates the prefect starting position, but he’s a sissy and is using a tiny sword.
That’s it for now. The End.