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A Designer’s Guide to the Recession

A Designer’s Guide to the Recession

People gets creative in difficult circumstances, and creative people must develop innovative methods to use resources efficiently. Whether you work as an in-house designer for a huge corporation, operate your own design firm, or freelance, the recession has undoubtedly touched you or someone you know. As a result, there is a greater need to think outside the box in order to create, and eventually save, more money.

Here are some suggestions to help you get through this economic slowdown.

1. Create a magazine club

Magazines are an excellent source of knowledge and inspiration, but they are not free. Creating a magazine club is one method to get the most out of your magazine subscription. You may begin by contacting designers you know and ask them to a monthly meeting to swap magazines and debate topics you may ultimately expand the club to include other designers, making this a networking opportunity as well.

2. Add new skills for free

When you add a new talent to your toolkit, you open the door to new possibilities. So why not study it for nothing? You may discover various web sites on the Internet, such as, where you can really watch television and learn skills straight from the pros! Another option is to subscribe to podcasts such as Pixel Perfect. The free podcast, hosted by digital designer Bert Monroy, provides fifteen minutes of expert and extensive guidance on Photoshop and Illustrator tools.

You should also attend free presentations sponsored by design groups such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts or TED  and then check with your local library to see what programs are available. They may not offer an InDesign lesson, but they may offer Excel or Word classes, and if you are unfamiliar with these applications, this is an excellent opportunity to learn  to get a part-time job working with a printer, photographer, or another designer who has a different strength or concentration than you. The advantage of taking this method is that you will be studying directly from an expert while also being paid.

3. Teach, tutor, type or talk

If you can close your eyes and memorize all of Photoshop’s shortcuts, chances are you’re an expert. You should use your skills to make a “Profit” in Photoshop by teaching or tutoring. Sell your expertise of certain design programs to local computer training centers, libraries, community colleges, and groups, or start your own tutoring program. You may also offer to develop classes via your firm, but first consult with human resources. The benefit of tutoring or teaching is that you are assisting individuals in gaining information while still being compensated. If you’ve been in the design business for a while, you’ve probably had some thrilling and entertaining times aggravating and nerving, clients,  employees, printers, illustrators, photographers etc., so why not write about it? The way you handled a particular situation can be an excellent opportunity for another designer to read and learn from your experience. You can write your article and shop it around to design magazines or design blogs and if the story is published, you’ll gain valuable exposure as well as maybe a paycheck!

You may also use your skills or knowledge to land a job as a guest speaker. Create an instructive and interesting presentation, and then contact conferences, schools, or design groups to determine whether the content is appropriate for their requirements. Don’t forget to look at periodicals, groups, and conferences outside of the design sector, as graphic design is used in all sorts of businesses.

4. Advertise for $0 – Priceless

MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all free networking platforms that may help you enhance your visibility. Even though some of these sites are more geared toward young people, you may still build a website with a portfolio and a list of talents and services you provide. Also, once a week, ask individuals to become “friends” and keep them updated on any new projects you’re working on.

Twitter is the hottest “new” free tool for networking, marketing, and microblogging. (Twitter Advice) On your profile page, you may post current updates and have people follow your postings or “tweets.” You may sell yourself on Twitter by writing about current projects, design accolades, or a new promotion. Except for Facebook, Twitter has endless marketing alternatives. You’ll need to get to the point more quickly. Twitter has a word restriction of 140 characters.

You may also make a video showcasing your portfolio and publish it on YouTube, or you can be more creative like Kyle T. Webster, who took viral marketing to the next level by making an original video titled, “Original Design Gangsta”  It is incredibly inventive, not to mention hilarious. The film concludes with his website URL, which aids in driving people to his site.

Sending out a press release is another free approach to market yourself or your business. While there are numerous sites that charge, there are as plenty that provide the service for free. If you have received a design prize or a new client, you should write a press release and put it on your website. Send it to design journals as well as free PR sites like Despite the fact that these sites provide expensive services, they also provide free postings that are frequently picked up by Google News.

Furthermore, doing pro bono work is frequently a win-win scenario for both you and the non-profit organization you are serving. Aside from being a tax deduction, it may also be a terrific method to market your design skills to others. You can request that your website address be included on the documents you generated, as well as a link on their website.
Being  published in a design book is another another approach to gain recognition and exposure. Rockport Publications ( and Crescent Hill Books ( are always seeking for new material to add in their publications. The best part about their “Call for Entries” is that they’re typically free. You should visit their websites on a frequent basis and submit your work.

5. Sell Yourself

Go through all your design books , tools and chachkas for removing anything you no longer desire or require If there are any functioning or valuable goods in the pile, sell them on eBay. Remember that one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure.

Turn your pastime of photography, illustration, or painting into an additional money source. Sell your work at galleries or on your website, and publish your photographs to stock agencies like iStock to profit from a popular image. Another approach to monetize your talent is to publish your photographs to websites such as that sell and print images on t-shirts, mugs, hats etc.

Taking Inventory: If you take the time to examine every part of your organization, you can discover hundreds, if not thousands, of extra methods to save and generate money. Everything from turning down the heat and donning an extra sweater to utilizing ceramic mugs instead of throwaway cups can help make a bad situation a little bit better. Please submit your recommendations for saving or generating money during this recession in the comments section below.

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