My 7 Core Values as a Freelance Designer

As a freelance designer, I’ve worked with a variety of clients on a variety of projects. I love the excitement of working with someone who has a vision for something new and exciting, and researching their industry to learn how to design effectively in a field that I might initially be unfamilar with.

However, even with all of the “adventure” involved with working within so many different fields, I’ve found that there are a few things that I will always hold on to, no matter what project I am working on. These are my “core values” as a graphic designer, and I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important ones here.

1) Honesty and Trust

My now-husband and I followed a really great book during our premarital counseling sessions. The book (“10 Great Dates Before You Say I Do”) established the idea very early on that you cannot have a relationship without trust. This core value is the first one on my list for very good reason. The biggest turnoff for me in any relationship (business or otherwise) is the feeling that I’m being lied to. I simply don’t want to put my time and energy into someone who is dishonest toward me. I’d imagine most people would feel the same!

In a designer-client relationship, trust is a necessary component for so many reasons. The client must trust that the designer is legitimate before sending an initial deposit. The designer must trust that the client will provide the additional payments in a timely manner after the work has already been done. Even in areas that do not involve finances, honesty and trust are essential for a healthy business relationship.

2) The Teammate Approach

One of the things that I feel sets me apart as a designer is that I always come into projects with what I call “The Teammate Approach.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many designers either bossing their clients around (feeling that they know better) or working almost like slaves for their clients (when the clients think they know better). What needs to be realized is that designers need clients, and clients need designers! Otherwise they wouldn’t be working with each other, would they?

I like to be on the same team as my clients instead of being in competition. We are both working with the same end goal in mind. And the truth is, designers do know more about design (this is why our clients come to us in the first place), but the client knows their company and target audience. I believe if both parties come from that perspective, the relationship is much happier and more effective.

3) Staying on Schedule

This is pretty straightforward and comes back to #1: I want my clients to be able to trust that I will stick to the plan. If a deadline is agreed upon, I will do my part to stay on schedule and honor the client’s timeframe. And the same should be expected of the client, when at all possible.

4) Quality Work

Have you ever seen a “cheap” movie cover on Netflix and instantly decided that you wouldn’t watch that movie? Or visited a website and immediately clicked the “back” button because it looked like it hadn’t been updated since 1998? Or received an advertisement in the mail that looked like it was made by a 10-year-old on Microsoft Word, then laughed and thrown it out? These are examples of poor-quality work.

Quality work makes a world of difference for businesses. I put my heart and soul into each design I work on, and I don’t believe in doing anything half-way. When a client makes the choice to work with me, I make the choice to put my best effort into their project, producing quality designs that make a difference.

5) Creativity

I don’t like doing things that everyone else has done. I try my best to draw inspiration from things around me without being a copycat. How many times have you seen the same boring, stereotypical law logos? I stray far away from the mundane and strive to come up with something unique and original for each project, whether it’s a logo or simply a brochure. Design should help a business stand out, not blend in.

6) Client Satisfaction

The biggest goal in any of my projects is that the client is satisfied with the end result. Sometimes, this means going with the logo concept that I didn’t prefer as much, or changing that awesome color scheme I came up with to better suit the company’s brand guidelines. These types of adjustments can be tough. However, if the client isn’t satisfied with the final design, have I really accomplished anything? Nope. With that in mind, a happy client is my number one goal for any and every project, always, no matter what.

7) Committed Client Relationships

This usually flows naturally from #6. When a client is happy, they are much more likely to come to me again for repeat projects. This is one of my favorite parts of freelance design: growing long-term relationships with clients who really are a joy to work with.

I feel that keeping these 7 core values – no matter how big or small the project – is what keeps my client relationships strong.

Interested in working with me? Shoot me an email and let’s get started!

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