A Flash of Debryne: Growing as a Freelancer

As I sit in front of my illuminated computer screen, clicking the keys of my keyboard and drinking Mountain Dew, I often day dream of how I got into this “line of work”. In my last entry I talked about the inspiration of graphic design coming from my good friend Adam. The endless amount of creativity and ideas caught my interest. But as I sit and ponder on the starting point or concept of my next design, I think about the journey that I’ve been on with my designing.

The very first program I used was an Image Manipulation program called GIMP. It was a very basic extremely easy to use program that I downloaded through recommendation of my good friend, Willis. He gave me a crash course on the program and because of my peaking interest; I worked in that program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Because of my eagerness to master the program, that was quickly accomplished in a matter of a month or two. I would find photos of my football teammates and begin practicing new effects and techniques. My very first wallpaper was of a teammate of mines who played the same position I did and hailed from the same hometown. I was so proud of myself. Eager to show off my work to everyone, I never passed up the opportunity to showcase my work.

As time flew by I continued to work with GIMP. But as I mastered the program I could notice the limitations that the program had and with my research of the design industry GIMP was not an acceptable program. The next step was Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

I adopted the same method I used to master GIMP to get familiar with the Adobe programs. I’d take one technique a day and create as many examples of that technique as I could until I felt comfortable enough to perform it. As I look through my “portfolio” now, a lot of some of my work look alike. Learning how to create in

Photoshop has been a beautiful experience. The free range that I have when I design is amazing and refreshing. The effects and techniques that I have learned always seem to bring my designs to life. I look back at my work now and I hide a bit because of my embarrassment but then again I bask in the progress that I’ve made.

I believe that I’ve come a long way but I still feel very much so like a mediocre artist. While some look down on my work, others praise and support me. I continue everyday to get better at what I love to do. I’m proud of the milestones I have accomplished and I stay humblecrecollagev despite the praise that I get.

The photo attached with this is a collage of the work that I’ve done since I’ve began this journey of Graphic Design. The progress is astounding to see and its even better having witnessed it. Live to inspire. Engineer your dreams.

7 Shortcut Keys that make a Graphic Designer’s Life Easier

Being a graphic designer, as you could imagine, can be strenuous at times. I mean you just look at the awesome things us Graphic Designers create. They look extremely time consuming, right? With all of the layers, color changes, size changes and effects, graphic work can become mind numbing, and extremely tedious at times.

Saving time when design is often a reflection to the amount of clients you have. The faster you can get your designs done the more time you’ll have for other clients. Below is a list of seven shortcut keys that will make a Graphic Designer’s life easier:

1. Command + U = Hue/Saturation
Hue and Saturation determines the amount of color and tint an object has. With a quick tap of this combination of keys you’ll see that changing colors or creating silhouettes will become breeze.

2. Command + S = Save
The most important shortcut you’ll need to know is the Quick Save command. We designers get so “in the zone” sometimes that we often forget to save progress (that’s if you haven’t already configures the Auto-save). We turn into the Hulk with rage that we have when the computer crashes or whatever other mishaps may occur, so save some frustrations and become friends with this shortcut.

3. Command + T = Free Transform
The Free Transform shortcut is used to resize objects, which will happen at least 10 times a project. Getting objects proportional and bringing a design together makes this combo one that is frequently used.

4. Command + J = Duplicate Layer
Duplicating layers allows users to copy the contents of a layer and create a new one with those same contents. Often used with blend modes, images effects and editing, the average designer should get familiar with this combination of keys.

5. Command + G = Group Layers
Often times when designing, many different components are used to make up a large portion of a design. This shortcut allows you to group those components together so that it becomes easier to move, resize, edit or even delete them simultaneously.

6. Command + “+/-” = Zoom In/Out
Zoom in/out is commonly used when designing. Whether you’re creating layer mask or using the paint brush tool for some fine painting, the zoom in/out allows users to see closer for precision or further away to “see the bigger picture”.

7. Shift + J = Spot Healing Brush Tool
Removing cuts, fine hairs or other unwanted blemishes. The spot healing brush tool can easily wipe them away, giving you fresh faces, perfect walls, restored photos.

Did You Get My Text? 5 Reasons Why You Should Communicate with Your Graphic Designer Through Email

As a freelance graphic designer, everyone wants to be able to reach you in the most convenient way possible. Quick responses and immediate results are what clients want. Most clients resort to texting and this seems to be the fastest way to communicate, but in reality this makes completing projects very difficult. Well after a few years freelancing, here are 5 reasons why texting is not the best way to communicate with your graphic designer:

 

  1. Professional etiquette

In the professional realm imagine what life would be like if business was conducted through text messages and Facebook inboxes? Messages would be filled with abbreviations, emojis, GIFs and stickers. While these texting tools may visually help with decoding emotions and provoke snickers, this is just not the way to communicate professionally. You can’t text Mike at Target Copy about getting your prints done or Sarah at SunTrust to transfer that $100.00 from your checking account to your savings. You should also keep in mind that people take your business seriously depending on how you contact them. You’ll probably be taken as a joke inquiring on someone’s Facebook wall verses emailing him or her.

 

  1. Cell phones get ignored

Have you ever ignored a text message or call from someone you didn’t want to speak with at the moment. Chances are you have because just about everyone does it. Texting someone about business is subject to be ignored because let’s face it our cell phones are for personal use anyways. Business lines are always the best way to communicate your thoughts, concerns and inquiries.

 

  1. Documentation

When business is involved, documentation will become your best friend. Failing to keep up with verbal commitments can lead to fabrications of actual events and details. No one wants to be called a liar when you were promised a discount on a design and the designer can’t remember. Or maybe you were told your design would be ready Tuesday and its now 2 weeks later. The easiest way to document those verbal commitments is by email. Those messages aren’t deleted until you delete them and you’ll always have the time and date of each message.

 

  1. Poor signal/coverage

Cell phone signals play a big role in texting. With that being said it often happens that msgs are never retrieved due to being in a bad service area or not having a strong signal. At least with email, these attempts at communication week be saved as drafts versus being lost in cyber space.

 

  1. Social media for most businesses isn’t meant to field orders.

So your on Twitter one day and all of a sudden you see a delicious ad for a Big Mac appear on your timeline. Now your craving a burger and you decide to tweet McDonald’s “@MickyDs Big Mac please! Hold the onions. Thanks!” More than likely your tweet went unnoticed or they replied back suggesting you visit one of their local stores. Same thing applies for your graphic designer. Most designers will redirect you to communicating via email rather than discuss business on a news feed or inbox. This way things are a lot more formal and private versus everyone watching preparing to post their memes in case of something embarrassing or confidential being said (you just Michael Jackson and his popcorn are going to show up to the party).

 

Remember when working and collaborating with others, you always want to be on the same page. Fluent communication is key to an business relationship and being able to have something to revert back to is also a good thing. Not only does it show that you care about you business, it also demonstrates that you are putting in the effort to maintain an healthy business relationship. Live to Inspire, Engineer your Dreams.