When I grew up, one of the things that my dad taught me was never to say “I can’t”. That might be a good advise. However, in my freelance life, I realise there are certain things I have to say “I can’t” to.
In my… (two? three?)… years of freelancing, I have done quite a lot of work for a lot of clients. The designs that I display in my portfolio are probably only quarter of what I have done in real life. I have done a few designs that I am not proud of. So those designs are resting peacefully and eternally in my “past clients” folder and I’m reluctant to look at them again.
See, the thing with having an “I can” attitude is somewhere along the way, I realise that I actually can’t. I know it’s really tempting, especially if you just started and in need of a lot of jobs, to say yes to all clients. However, after so many painful experiences, I finally realise it is not worth it.
Creating a design (or any other job) that doesn’t even interest you is going to be a painful journey. Let’s say I am working for 5 different clients at the same time, and 1 of them is something that I’m not really into. That 1 job will always be something that is weighing all the other 4 jobs down. Every time I get all excited about doing all the other 4 jobs, I remember about that 1 job and it feels like a heavy burden on my back.
At the end of the day, it’s a lose-lose situation for both you and your client. You will never give a hundred percent to any job that you are reluctant to do.
I know how difficult it is to turn down a client, especially when they stare at you with hopeful look and say “I have always loved your designs for this and that cafe. I think you will do a great job in designing my luxurious chandelier-themed hotel”. Although that is very kind of him/her to say that, but he or she is not a designer. Most people (who are not designers) don’t know that there are a lot of types of designers. I have been asked so many times if I could also do interior design *roll eyes*. But then again, it is not their fault. Before marrying my husband, I didn’t even know that not all IT people can professionally design websites.
Those clients will really appreciate it if you’re being honest and let them know from the beginning that your design is not suitable for their event/business/product. And that should not reflect badly on you as a designer. Every designer has their own style. I might not be able to create elegant and luxury chandelier-themed wedding invitations, but I’m great at creating cute and fun children party invites!
After all, you don’t ask Martha Stewart to host a heavy metal concert after party!
On 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th of March this year, some of Canberra’s iconic buildings became canvasses for light projections festival called Enlighten Canberra 2013.
This year I had the chance to volunteer for the event on the 9th. I also didn’t want to miss a chance to be there as a visitor and snap some pictures. I think some of the light projections are really breathtaking.
My favorite was the National Gallery of Australia. It was projected with Toulouse-Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge Arts which are also currently being exhibited in the same gallery.
On the 8th and 9th, the forecourt of the National Gallery was transformed into parisian street, with lamp lined boulevard, music, performances, and French-inspired cafes and pop-up shop.
This is a particularly special month for Canberra because it is turning 100 years old TODAY! Happy Birthday Canberra! I feel very lucky to be able to live in Canberra on its’ 100th Birthday, it makes me feel so special :)
So keep reading for other special events this month in Canberra that I will post about, including the Balloon Spectacular and Handmade Market.
Welcome to the new recurring topic for my blog: My Freelance Life.
I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should become a freelancer. I’m here to tell you my story, how I began my freelance career, the ups and downs and you can decide on your own whether freelance career is for you.
Today I am going to tell you a little bit about my own background.
I graduated from uni pretty young. I was 20 at that time. I live and breath art and design my whole life (quite literally my whole life. I took part in drawing competitions since I was 4). So naturally, after being grilled in design school for three years, I felt a little sick of it and wanted to see what else is out there. From hairdressing school (where I could not go pass the blow drying exam because I kept on burning people’s head) to patisserie school, I finally decided after two years that art and design is still what I’m good at and what I should do in life.
As soon as I was ready to start my life as a working graphic designer, a friend of mine contacted me for a huge project. She was opening a cafe in Jakarta, Indonesia, and wanted me to design everything from the logo to the posters they will put on the cafe wall. I was both excited and scared. The last logo I designed was for an identity class project in uni. I have never had a real client and have never designed anything without my tutor’s supervision. I didn’t know if I could do it.
My friend who has known me since we were 13, and knows that I’m pretty good at drawing and designing, said that she believed that I will be able to do it. The crazy thing is, she didn’t even ask to see my portfolio.
The project I created for her, turns out to be one of the best identity project I have created, based on the number of clients I got because they looked at that particular logo. So thanks to my friend, it was the beginning of my freelance graphic design career. I decided not to apply to any agencies or design studios.
However, I wouldn’t recommend everyone to do what I did. I was lucky to have my friend who believed me enough to give me the project, and I did a great job with it.
Another reason why I decided not to apply to agencies and studios was because after I graduated from RMIT University in Melbourne, I spent two years living in Jakarta. Graphic Design profession in Indonesia is a sad profession. I applied and was accepted in one of the biggest design-based F&B company in Jakarta. I was really happy and was excited to join their team. However, I had to turn them down when I found that the pay was only equivalent to AU$ 350 per month, with no overtime pay, and staff were supposed to work late most days and come to work on Saturdays. For your information, living cost in Jakarta isn’t that cheap anymore. The weird thing is, Indonesians are willing to pay more for a freelancer’s work. That is why I decided to go freelance.
When I moved back to Australia last year, however, it found that it was really hard for me to get a job. Mainly because I have no industry experience at all. I got pretty depressed last year because of that, and adding to that, my freelance job was getting pretty slow. There was no way for me to give up, because it’s just impossible for me not to work. It’s not just for financial reason, I just cannot not have a job. I don’t want to be a stay-at-home wife and not have a career at all (not judging stay-at-home wives here, it’s just my personal preference). I’m prone to being depressed, and I know that by not working, I would go literally crazy.
So what I’m trying to say is, if I was lucky enough to be Australian (or any other countries that don’t have such a shitty basic salary), and didn’t have to go back to Indonesia after uni, I would definitely get some industry experience. It would help me a lot in terms of experience and getting a job when I need to.
However, if you happen to be in a position like myself, don’t give up. Be creative with your career. Career isn’t a black or white thing with Career for Dummies book to guide you. Having a career doesn’t always mean working in a fancy office and getting a raise. And to have a career doesn’t always mean going for interviews and having someone else hire you. If you can’t get a job, make one.
How I created my own jobs:
I started a blog. This blog. Besides finally having something to do, I also have created a presence. I’m a shy person in real life. I don’t make good first impressions, I can’t talk to people I just met, and I have a very awkward personality. The truth is, I’m not like that at all when I feel comfortable. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t have a great real-life presence, create an online one. By having an online presence, potential clients or partners can learn what kind of person I really am, what’s my design style is like, and therefore they feel more comfortable in trusting me to do their projects.
Make connections. Being new in Canberra, I have no friends. The only people I met on weekly basis are my husband, my sister in law and her husband, and their kids. So I thickened my skin and start contacting some people in Canberra (and other parts of Australia) who works in creative businesses. Many of them ignore me, but a couple of them contacted me back. Your direct connections might not be the people who give you the jobs. However, their connections might.
Be Consistent with your own self-promotion. If you have decided that you’re comfortable with having online presence, create a blog, Facebook page, twitter, instagram, pinterest, linked in (and any other social media presence that can aid your profession). Be consistent with your brand. I let people know that I am the same Wita Puspita, and Indonesian living in Canberra, who designs and create illustrations, and blogs at Design is Yay! Try to mention your goal and ambition for your business or career whenever you can. For example, I always mention that my goal is to have my own stationery business. Ever since then, there are a couple of stationery-related businesses who contacted me and asked me to design greeting cards for them. Employers and clients need to know that you are truly passionate about the project that they are going to give you.
Create your own brief. I don’t know how to do this with other professions, but if you’re a designer, don’t wait for clients and employers to give you a project. Create your own project. Create stationery, logo samples, wedding invitation suites, and display them on etsy, society6, big cartel or other online stores. When you create your own brief, you will develop your own personal style. Then hopefully, clients who are looking for the similar style will find you.
I hope what I just shared with you gave you an inspiration and encouragement to never give up in finding your career. Remember, there’s no wrong way in pursuing your career. As long as you keep on trying, and be creative in finding your ways, you will eventually find the right way.
So it is that time of the month again when I share my homemade desktop wallpaper calendar. This month’s desktop calendar is pretty special. The word March was hand-drawn by me. Hope you guys like it :)
What have you got planned for easter? I never really knew what people do during easter. When I was growing up, we went to the church and hunt eggs. I would love to hunt eggs now, but I bet I’ll scare all the little kids away!
With this cute printable easter party invitation, you could invite your friends and family to any plans you have for easter, whether it’s brunch, lunch, dinner, tea party or even simply for coffee.
And if you’re the invited guest to an easter party, give the host a happy easter greeting card with the same design, which you can purchase in my shop.
I’m so happy I’m able to do another DIY post. To be honest, I’m not a DIY person. I hate sewing, I hate cutting small objects, I’m impatient and messy. I love art and design, but unfortunately I hate crafts. However, I like certain DIY crafts which involve drawing or painting. So as long as there are not much sewing and cutting detailed objects, I’m cool with it!
I recently transformed one of my extra bedroom into my personal home office. I’m going to post about it when it’s ready. At the moment it’s still looking kind of plain. I put up this big and beautiful vision board by Kikki.K, and some push pins to pin stuff on it. However, I don’t like the boring office look of the push pins. So I decided to color them pretty. If you would like to do this for yourself, let me show you how!
So basically, the purpose of the unused box is to hold the pins so that they are facing up. You will get some paints on the box, so make sure it’s not a precious box you would want to keep.
You can also use nail polish instead of acrylic paints. I, however, am not a big nail polish user. I only use navy blue or black polishes, therefore I don’t have many color to choose from. The acrylic paint I’m using is Chromacyrl Students’ Acrylic, which only cost me AUD 3.25 for each 75 ml tube.
I painted the base all white. You might need to do 3-4 coats to get solid color (or probably because I’m using cheap paint? Idk), and it’s better to do one way stroke painting (from left to right only or vice versa) than to do free strokes. I hope you get what I mean? Haha… Can anyone tell me the better way to explain that in english?
Also, for the black color, I used Black Copic Marker (you can also use Sharpie) because I don’t have black acrylic paints, and I think Markers are easier to draw with.
TA-DA! Instant cuteness on my vision board :) Hope you like what I’ve shown you!