There are certainly plenty of designer platforms online that you can choose from. Scores of sites are available. But you haven’t got forever to check scores of sites to find the best ones to help you launch your budding career as a graphic designer. So here are a few that you should definitely give a try:
Sites that offer you a chance to show your work are ideal, especially for first-timers in the field of professional graphic design. If you don’t have any clients yet, joining design contests run by sites like DesignHill is one sure way to build up your portfolio. In David O’ Neil’s essay on the Ten Qualities of Successful Public markets, he describes the key traits that successful business models should have. One of these is mission. Under mission are more qualities, some of which include the ability to create new opportunities, self-sustaining, socialization and the most important, to make people happy.
That last one is an idea inherent in nearly all successful business models. It’s also one of the reasons why DesignHill is one of the best designing marketplaces online. At its core, the site is a dedicated platform that allows designers and consumers to meet on equal terms. It’s a happy arrangement for both sides because both sides get something out of it.
First time designers get a chance to test their mettle by joining contests. It’s the sort of real-world training that designers are sure to find helpful and even instrumental in improving their style and techniques. It isn’t merely about teaching designers technical skills through competition, it’s also about designers learning how to handle competition, of the healthy sort, mentally.
Consumers, on the other hand, who want to hire designers for specific types of design work, won’t have to look any further. Among the many professional services customers can request for include making designs for the following: mobile apps, t-shirts, brochures, logos and others. The competition, too, helps drive interaction, not just between clients and designers but among designers as well. Interactions that can, in the future, lead to exciting professional opportunities, whether this involves a job, project or collaboration.
The site also has a Logo Store for Ready-Made Logos as well. Those who don’t have the luxury of time and just need a logo right then and there can pay their Logo Store a visit—when it finally opens—and find what they need in no time at all.
Another way for budding graphic designers to reach a wider audience is to join online communities like DeviantArt. Networking is an essential part of your professional life. With millions of page views per month, this is one site that creative professionals like you shouldn’t miss. It’s also incredibly easy to join. No need to brush up on your HTML coding skills. Everything you need to build an online resume of your logos and designs is there.
Online portfolios, too, are plenty. Crevado, Krop, Designhill and Viewbook are just a few. There are different templates available as well so you’re sure to get one that appeals to your sense of style. If you have more than one talent you want to highlight—this might include your work in design and writing if you have skills in both that qualify you for design and writing projects—then online portfolios that allow you to showcase both is a great option. The more skills you have, the more clients you’ll attract.
Building on your client base isn’t easy, especially for first-timers in the field. You’ll probably start out slow, with just a few nibbles of interest here and there. But be patient. Building your reputation and professional credibility takes time. When the time is right, though, all it would take is a couple of clients, one after another until there’s a landslide of clients and pretty soon, you’ll have your hands and your plate full.
Freelance sites are also an option. However, the tradeoff is that most freelance sites like Elance or Guru offer low rates for design projects. However, if your goal is simply to gain a footing in the world of professional design—if all you’re after is a way to start on the work—these sites are great in terms of giving you all the practice you need.
Design work, after all, doesn’t merely involve you sitting down and coming up with the perfect banner or poster. A huge part of design work involves talking to clients and there’s no better way to learn than to join sites and marketplaces. This way, you’ll have first-hand knowledge on how to deal with clients. From reasonable to irate, from flaky to fun and exasperating customers, you’re sure to learn the ropes of customer service and the “customer is always right” principle as you go.
So if you want to kickstart your career and improve on your design and people skills, start joining these sites today. The sooner you do, the faster you’ll get to the top.