The Highs And Lows Of Being A Freelance Designer

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Freelancing is a risky career move. A consistent salary is not guaranteed, you have to deal directly with difficult clients yourself and you have to do all the boring administration work yourself. The end, however justifies the means. Freelancing means you can make your own rules (no 9-5 hours here!) and exercise creativity to make your unique mark on the industry. We have interviewed a young Brisbane-based Freelance Designer, who has graciously provided a plethora of tips and insight into a career pathway that media and communication students may be considering.

Freya Kassulke is a graphic designer and a well-experienced illustrator. Having been deeply interested in the arts since a young age, she decided to complete a Certificate 4 in Design & Diploma of Graphic Design at the South Bank Institute of TAFE. Freya has been undertaking freelance work since 2014.

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What inspired you to become a graphic designer?

I’ve been drawing since I was very young, so I always liked the idea of producing art for animation or games. I wanted to be a more open and capable artist, so I decided to dabble in graphic design and learn more about making images for practical contexts. After completing my Diploma, I began taking design and art commissions, mostly from family or friends.

In your opinion, what are the best and worst parts about working in the creative industries?

For me, the best part is that you’re always improving in this industry; with each project, you learn from other designers and you’re constantly coming up with new ideas. As a con, not many people take you seriously to start with. They think art and design can be done by anyone, when it’s actually a tricky thing to get right and as a result some clients try to underpay you.

What’s your favorite part about working as a freelancer?  

The prospect of getting time for yourself is pretty great compared to your regular office jobs. I get to build my own schedule, so I’m able to allocate time to do my own portfolio work while also managing my client jobs.

Could you tell us about some of the most interesting freelancing gigs you’ve scored so far?

In my time as a freelance artist and designer, I’ve gotten some… really unusual requests from my clients. I was once asked to draw a few cartoon characters wearing very, very specific dresses so my client could get it printed on a birthday cake! That was a lot of fun to do.

What are your main career-related goals for the future?

My main aim is to keep improving my art and design skills, but my biggest dream is to be an artistic director of some sort. It really makes me happy when my clients like what I do for them, and I’d love for my ideas to be seen by more people!

What advice would you give to young people who are aiming to establish a freelancing career?

Be proud of your style and your own artistic flair! Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but if you do it right, it really makes for a rewarding way to supplement your career.

By Saki Abe

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