Design Dilemma Archive

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Design Dilemma: Is Freelance Design an Unprofitable Business?

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An interesting but really disturbing question came up the other day. I can’t help but feel it was timed for maximum 2014, new year, hope and fresh major depression. It was more a postulation than question, but was one of those biting truths that haunt you for a while.

Most of those who have written in with a design dilemma keep in touch with me, especially if their dilemma was an ongoing problem. One past participant was really pouring her heart out to me the other day. End of the year blues, when most people look at their income and expenses and wonder or dread what the new year will bring. Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

January 20th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: What to Do When Your Ideas Aren’t Credited to You

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There were several letters this month that asked about problems with retaining credit for ideas people had, that were ultimately taken by or given to others. It’s actually a huge problem, especially for those who are creative (the “crazy ones” as Steve Jobs referred to us) and formulate the ideas. Of course, there are ways to stamp your name on your brain babies.

So, how do you retain credit for your ideas? Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

January 9th, 2014 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: A Client That Wants a Contract?

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Has the apocalypse come upon us? A client wants a contract and isn’t relying on the line, “you can trust me” … mostly because it’s a case of them not trusting you. Still, a contract is a contract.

Margaret A. writes: Hello, I have recently decided to start my own company. I had a whole load of ideas, but not the skills to put them to paper, so I am hiring an lllustrator. I am a very small business with no name and don’t know how copyright works. I was hoping that I could write out a contract stating that she cannot claim the designs are hers, how does this work?

Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

December 30th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: What Is Too Rough When It Comes to Getting Paid?

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No one truly knows the exact reason people don’t want to pay for design work. Is there just some inner hatred for creatives? Were most clients the kids in school who told on us to the teacher because we were drawing in our notebooks, instead of taking notes on Algebra, which as we now know, is useful every waking moment of our lives?

Atara P. writes: ”My dilemma is more of a question about a method that I used recently to get an unresponsive client to pay up, and if it’s a tactic that’s ok to use?” Sounds delicious and evil! Let’s all take a look, so join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

December 13th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: When You Just Can’t Do Anything Right

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Have you ever worked at a place where no matter what you do, whatever you design, or whatever you suggest, you’re wrong, but they don’t fire you? There’s a good reason why, and here are some funny (but odd) reasons, along with advice no one would think of to ease the tension.

An interesting email was sent to me from a young designer who is ready to quit design because her boss keeps putting down her design abilities, and it’s making her very depressed. It’s a very common problem in the design industry, so, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

November 13th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Dainty Designers — Grow a Pair!

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There are some designers who just can’t say “no!” to a client. While it’s painful to hear their stories, do they affect the industry for others? Do you need to develop some iron clad nerve to protect yourself?

This is the story of a designer who keeps being called into endless meetings by a client who picks her brain for a new line of product packaging, but still hasn’t committed to her as the designer on the project, nor has the client paid her for her time. I gave her some advice, so perhaps she’ll follow it? Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

November 5th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: The Scope Creepy Client

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We received a comment to the Design Dilemma article, “How Do I Fire a Client… Legally?” that piqued our interest, so we followed up, and learned about one of the worst situations any designer had faced in recent memory. This wasn’t just a crazy client, or exploding scope creep — it was blatant threats, and emotional, and financial slavery for the designer. Just reading the email from the designer was sickening.

We decided it was well worth relaying the entire story to our readers, so, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

October 24th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Entering the Creative Field Later in Life

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Ellen T. Writes: I’ve been laid off from my job that I’ve had since I graduated high school, and decided to follow my heart, and pursue design as my new career. I’ve always loved design, and feel I have a real knack for being creative, deep down in my soul. My question is; where do I get started? I’m 49, so I realize I’ll be the oldest student in art school (which school should I attend?), and will I need to buy a big computer, or can I just draw things, and have people at the client’s business put it all together? I really want to be a designer! Can you help me?

Well, Ellen, it’s not going to be easy, and your age, and lack of experience will make it very difficult. But, there are those, throughout history, who have started successful careers later in life. I’m not going to sugarcoat the road ahead of you, so, for anyone who is considering starting a new career, whatever it may be, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

October 15th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: How Do You Know When You’ve Been “Fired” By a Freelance Client?

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Hans G. writes: A regular client of mine hasn’t returned any of my emails since I finished a project two months ago. He said he liked the finished site, and there weren’t any problems with payment or anything else. He mentioned another project coming up at the time, but I haven’t heard anything yet, despite a few emails and a couple of phone messages. I just don’t know if he’s done with me as a designer. I was really counting on the regular work for my income, and I have to pay my bills… really soon!

Well, Hans, we all go through this. I get regular payments as a retainer for ongoing work from several clients, and I sweat those payments every month if one is a day late. A little paranoia, a little worry, and I always wonder what I can do to stop the crazy feeling I get every month. Perhaps there’s a way of doing business so you know exactly when payments will be received? So, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

September 16th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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Design Dilemma: Dealing With Language Barriers

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Dina T. Writes: I deal with several foreign clients who speak English fairly well, but I find that even though terms and fees are approved, at the end of the project, they act like we never agreed to anything. Are they doing this on purpose? Is it a cultural thing, or just language differences, lost in translation?

Dina asks a very good question. As we become a globalized economy, every party involved has to understand culturalisms that drive certain ways of negotiating. Once you accept the differences, working across borders is a great thing, and the future for freelancers, as well as corporate entities. So, whatever your language or nation, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries, and concerns about the murky world of design…

September 11th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
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