If ever I was tempted to leave my snarky comment on a bathroom wall (like this intrepid photographer), I’d use this statement. What would you add as item number 4? Sharpie Pens? Leave a comment with your best guess – it leaves no nasty feelings of public vandalism!
Yes, it was a lowly primary, and I stuck with my usual go-to list when it came to picking names out of the hat: Democratic and Female.
I hadn’t noticed it in the general hum and hubbub of daily life, but as of last winter, my freelance Graphic Design career has hit the two decade mark. I’ve seen the rise (and fall) of desktop publishing give way to the WWW and now our tiny-screened smart phones. Since countdown lists are big web traffic generators, I’ve succumbed to peer pressure and made my list of 20 Things I’ve learned in 20 Years as a freelance Designer.
- It’s my critical and trained eye that I get paid for, not my ability to use an application.
- Design isn’t the product, it’s a service. Quality customer service and attention will far outweigh the shiny logo or missed deadline.
- Immerse yourself in all forms and shapes of design, not just your particular media. Inspiration often comes from outside the norm.
- Make your design’s uniquely yours, so that you lead by example, and your work can be train-spotted by design aficionados. Bad Designers Copy. Average Designers Imitate. Great Designers Steal.
- Being a freelancer requires extra effort in business functions you’re not comfortable with. Set up a weekly and monthly schedule to do invoicing, pay your bills, follow up with old customers, do a bit of marketing, etc. Do not miss your schedule – this is the lifeblood of your business.
- Immerse yourself and become an expert at one thing. I spent a few months religiously learning cascading style sheets (CSS) so that I could throw away all of the old HTML 2.0 tricks that I had learned as a novice web developer.
- Remove all roadblocks between you and your prospective customers. How easy is it to find you? What piece in your portfolio is going to land your next job?
- Double your hourly rate. Starting today.
- Double your estimated hours for every proposal. You’ll wonder how you could have ever done it in half the time when you’re done.
- Get 50% upfront for all jobs. Never work unpaid, ever. Be brutal about this. Make your clients value your time, even if you’re a novice.
- Invoice often, on schedule, and follow up on unpaid Invoices. There’s no steady paycheck as a freelancer, just windfall after windfall.
- Do Pro Bono work occasionally. Consider this before you begin any project, especially one that may overtake your desired time and attention for no pay.
- Be humble. Don’t consider yourself ‘above’ any client job or opportunity. Some of the longest lasting customer relationships have come from the strangest requests.
- Customers will want to manage you and have input on your art. Have good defenses for any major design decision, but accept retarded color changes ad nauseum.
- Any job without a proposal or spec is without scope and will be a huge time-suck. Go forth into the untamed wilderness prepared.
- Is your design easy to read? This simple test has saved many production dollars in my experience. Seriously, most people simply don’t like to read.
- Whatever you’re learning in college, you’ll probably never use it in the real world. I loved my Magic Marker Technique college class, even with the professor admitting that computers had all but killed this old-school technique.
- Logos/Identities make great portfolio pieces, but you are not Paul Rand, and the ‘corporation’ you spent all the effort ‘branding’ will statistically fail within 5 years, anyway.
- Print is a dying medium. It’s the shotgun approach to marketing: environmental impact is high, acquisition cost is high, and 99% of your materials end up ignored or in the landfill.
- In hindsight, more than 50% of your work is gonna suck. Simply do more work to get a bigger portfolio of work you’re proud of.
While I have your attention, stop using the title Graphic Designer; You limit your audiences perception of your abilities (“They make pretty graphics!”). I prefer the simpler and broader title of Designer. You can use Art Director, UI/UX Developer, whatever works for your audience/customers…
Sing to the tune of the Buggle’s ‘Video killed the Radio Star’
The Real Reason Blockbuster has Closed
From this imgur Source, Cropped and resized for immediate enjoyment.
How to Write Good
1. Avoid Alliteration always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. The passive voice is to be avoided.
4. Avoid cliche’s like the plague – they’re old hat.
5. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
6. Writers should never generalize.
Seven: Be consistent
8. Don’t use more words than necessary. It’s highly superfluous.
9. Be more or less specific.
10. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
Redesigned for a web audience based on this all-caps image I found.
How to get a local copy of all your hosted WordPress.com images – Follow this step by step tutorial!
This is for people looking to move their hosted WordPress blogs (blogname.wordpress.com) to a privately hosted WordPress install (as downloaded from WordPress.org).
If you have a privately hosted version, getting your images is as easy as making a local copy of your
wp-content folder from your web host. Since there is no FTP access to the hosted WordPress version, you’ll need to use this method to make a local copy of your images.
To be clear, I love WordPress, it’s my hosted blog engine of choice, as I’ve turned quite a few friends and businesses onto the simple blogging engine. It’s well supported, easy, quick and simple. I will continue to recommend it highly to most people looking to take some control over their internet presence.
However, it’s a trap. While I will acknowledge that this missive is being delivered by the very beast I speak of, other WordPress authors will agree: Once you upload images, getting them back in any bulk form is impossible.
Sure, there’s an ‘Export Tool’, but the XML download you can take as a backup only has the text data of your site, not the images. If you use your WordPress blog as a photo gallery (like my friend Hadas), she pays a mighty sum for the annual cost of the pricey WordPress Space upgrades to hold her ever growing online photo database.
I do this about once a year to ensure I have a full backup of my hosted WordPress site. While I am confident of WordPress’ ability to store and backup my data, that’s not always the case, and you are ultimately responsible for your own data and archiving.
(4) Required Downloads
Local XML Backup of your hosted WordPress site!
From your WordPress Dashboard, go to the Tools menu on the left side and select the ‘Export’ option. A screen cap is below:
If this is the ‘convenience’ of cloud storage, there needs to be an easier escape! You’ll note there is a $130 fee for having someone at WordPress do the move. You can save your money by following these directions!
Now you’ll have a file named
'blogname.wordpress.YEAR-MM-DD.xml'on your machine. This is your XML backup of your blog. Feel free to open it in a text editor, and you’ll see how much information it stores in this complex file. Do not make any edits to the file, as you may mess-up the strict formatting and break the import later!
Install a _AMP Server package
The key features being we need the Apache Web Server, the PHP Processing Language and a MySQL Database Server to run the local mirror of our hosted site. This step is pretty platform agnostic – for every operating system, there’s a all-in-one installer for some form of _AMP package (LAMP, MAMP, WAMP).
Download the WordPress.org Version
Unzip it, and place the resulting directory in the path of the web host you just installed.
Download the WordPress Importer Plug-in
Download, unzip and place in the ‘plugins’ folder inside the
wp-contentfolder. This little bit of code is going to assist in making a local copy of your hosted images.
Setup your new local web directory (mine was in
Applications/MAMP/htdocs) where the mirror of your hosted site will be stored locally. I unzipped the WordPress install, and copied the contents to this directory.
First, I edited the WordPress config file (
wp-config.php) adding the MySQL database name/password, and other site configurations. The technical data was given to me by the MAMP app upon installation.
Open the local WordPress install in a web browser. In my case, the local MAMP webserver was being served on port 8888. In a web browser on my machine, I typed in the address:
http://localhost:8888 I was greeted with the typical first-install screen of WordPress.
During this routine, you’ll use the import function to open the local XML file you downloaded earlier. Look for the check box during the initial installation that asks if you want to download a local copy of your images.
I had to adjust the permissions on the web server’s directory to allow it to create new directories for the incoming downloads. Since this is a local instance, and you’re machine is probably behind a firewall, you can set very loose permissions (777) without too much fear of being hacked.
Keep your browser open while it works, and depending on how prolific of an uploader you are, this might take minutes to hours.
I had 1,600 images, and I knew it was gonna take a while, since WordPress decided to save 3 sizes of each image. Expect your hard drive to quickly fill up with thumbnails. Mine took around 40 minutes to download over 1 GB of data.
When it was done I was given this message:
Not surprisingly, the files were very large PDF files which failed due to the time it took to load them. I downloaded the few errant files directly, and replaced them in the (new) local mirrored directories.
Here’s the screen shot of the final directory structure, with images back to this blogs beginning in 2009.
Once you’re finished, you can delete the _AMP install with impunity, and keep your local mirror of your images safely on your own machine. With this directory structure and the initial XML file, you can quickly make an exact mirror of your older hosted WordPress blog.