Make a Perspective Employer Give You a Second Look
Here's what a prospective employer does when looking through freelance graphic design samples: fwhoop!
That's the sound of a scroll bar flitting over five or six dozen mockups and samples in about three seconds' time. When you chose to be a self employed graphic designer, it certainly wasn't because it's such a niche field. You can safely assume at least fifty other designers vying for every job you pursue, and you can bet that half of them will offer great, professional-looking samples, and that at least ten of them will be friends of somebody in the company.
Even when these points don't turn out to be true, they're safe assumptions, and assumptions that you should keep in mind.
You Need Them to Give You a Second Look
Nobody ever gets hired on a first look. You need them to put you in the "maybe" file so that they'll look at your work again. The trick is that it's not always about producing great work. It's about standing out. Here are three ways you can work your way into the "semi-finals" of the freelance design game:
1. Be Ugly
Make an obvious "bad" choice in your design. Something that will catch their eye. Remember that they're going to be scrolling past you at freeway speeds, so you need a traffic accident to catch their attention so that when they look closer, it's clear that you made that decision on purpose.
2. Be Weird
If you don't want to give the impression that you just don't know what you're doing, a weird enough stock photo might do the trick, or you could go with a really unusual color scheme. Remember that you need your design to stand out at the slightest glance, so just a little weird, a little unique won't cut it. Go for broke, and use your samples to grab their attention and lead them towards the rest of your (more subdued) work.
3. Be Minimalistic
Don't just be minimalistic, do so little that you've done almost nothing. Even the modern idea of minimalism is sort of noisy, but when confronted with a vast expanse of white or black with nothing but a tiny corporate logo, attention is piqued.
These are just three ideas to get a client to give you a second look. A very important piece of self employment advice: your samples, your mockups, that's just your calling card, it's the thing that gets their attention, so getting their attention is what really counts. the second look is where you land the job. The second look is where they go through your whole portfolio. When you only have one chance to catch their attention, you have to go right for the jugular and trust that they'll see that you're capable of more than just shocking them after they look through the rest of your work.
Gilbert S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.
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