The benefits of using a freelance graphic designer

the benefits of using a freelance graphic designer

Do you ever wish you had a dedicated member of your team who delivers quality graphic design work, on time, for an affordable price? Someone who won't take up office space, or require a salary, or NI contributions, or a pension, or staff benefits, or constant refills of tea and coffee, or a week off in June for their friend's wedding, but is always there for you whenever you need them? A person who completely understands your needs and will give your business a professional brand identity or make your products more eye-catching to potential clients and customers? Maybe it's time to get clued up on the benefits of using a freelance graphic designer.

Freelance graphic designers enjoy working with you

Freelance graphic designers love producing creative solutions to your specific business needs, whatever they may be, whenever you need them. They have the time to be creative and come up with exciting ideas when you're snowed under with other jobs that are demanding your attention. A freelance graphic designer enjoys working with you on projects and helping your business to become more established and presentable, without distracting you at all times of the day by popping their head round the corner to ask you annoying questions!

Unlike a lot of people, freelance graphic designers ask for MORE work!

When you work with a freelancer you will soon realise they never moan that you're giving them too much work to do, or tell you that other deadlines have to take priority before they can even think about starting on your project. And then, when you don't need them anymore, a freelance graphic designer will never be sat around the office twiddling their thumbs, complaining that you're not giving them enough work. They'll be out there somewhere, costing you zero time and money, living their creative freelance life, waiting for your next phone call, or email, ready to work for you again, whenever that may be.

Now you know the benefits of using a freelance graphic designer, it's over to you

Hopefully this article has helped convince you of the benefits of using a graphic designer. Working with a freelance graphic designer is cost-effective and stress free. And if it's your wedding next June, they might even design your invites. So the next time you need some branding, a new website design, or a logo for a your new venture, or a brochure for the services that you offer, you'll know what to do.

Examples of minimal heraldic logo design

In this I'll be presenting some brilliant examples of minimal heraldic logo design. To provide some context, I'm currently looking at refreshing my business brand identity and updating my website to better communicate what it is I have to offer potential clients as a freelance graphic designer. One of the logo design options I've been looking at for inspiration has been my family coat of arms, or more accurately the 'heraldic achievement' of my family name, Cowan. A coat of arms is actually just one part of the broader heraldic achievement, and for anyone confused by all the terminology Wikipedia explains the relationship thus:

A coat of arms is an heraldic visual design on an escutcheon (i.e., shield), surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family (except in the United Kingdom), state, organisation or corporation.

While looking into how I might use my family heraldic achievement as part of a logo for my freelance graphic design business I started looking into other recent logo designs inspired by heraldry. I found that there's actually quite a trend for minimal heraldic logo design, where designers use existing emblems and badges to create modern, refined logo marks as part of wider rebranding projects. From what I've found so far these logos are most often for some kind of geographic entity, such as a city, rather than for smaller companies. I have also discovered designers who specialise in creating contemporary heraldic logos. I thought it would be a good idea to feature some of the best examples of the designs I have come across so far. For more examples you can check out my specific Pinterest board. It's worth pointing out that while some of these are 'real' redesigns, others are conceptual projects by individual designers.

Examples of minimal heraldic logo design

minimal heraldic logo design
Chartered Institute of Marketing by Rob Clarke

Dusseldorf City Branding by Betty and Betty

City of Uberaba by Alexandre Buiate

Aš city branding by Elišky Karešové

Coimbra University by Miguel Palmeiro

Příbram city branding by Lemon Design


Taking inspiration

I'm looking forward to creating my own minimal heraldic logo design soon. I am drawn to the most minimal examples I've presented here, such as the fish mark for the city of Aš. I think a complete heraldic achievement would be a bit too much for my own business use. I also want to play on the idea of being a freelancer, and the original meaning thereof. As a Birmingham-based graphic designer I'm also thinking about a just-for-fun project updating the Coat of arms of Birmingham. Watch this space, and do let me know if there are any other examples you think I should feature.

Why I became a freelance graphic designer

Goodfellas"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."

So goes the famous line from Goodfellas, spoken by Ray Liotta’s character Henry Hill. It’s a great line, a memorable line. Outside of the glamour and excitement he saw in the gangster lifestyle, what he really wanted was belonging, as he goes on to say:

“I knew I wanted to be a part of them.”

The tough choices

If Ray Liotta was narrating my life (it could happen…) he wouldn’t have quite as much exciting material to work with. It would probably be something more like:

"As far back as I can remember, when faced with a choice I struggled to make my mind up".

Not nearly as memorable a line. But for me, it captures something that I always struggled with. My brother still laughs at me because on my 8th birthday I burst into tears in a toy shop when I couldn’t decide which Airfix kit to buy with my birthday money. There was just so much choice!

Going with the flow

In school I was told I could do anything I wanted when I was older, because I was pretty good at most of my subjects. However, this was quite overwhelming for me. Faced with all that choice I couldn’t decide on any one particular thing. I hedged my bets, choosing a broad range of A-Levels and putting off any decisions until later. I applied to do the same degree as one of my best friends (Criminology), and then went on to postgraduate study (because another one of my friends was doing it). After six years of PG study I eventually earned a PhD in Criminology.

White-collar crime

A lot of people are impressed by me having a PhD. At parties I used to get called a lecturer when people introduced me (I was a part-time Teaching Associate for a while, but never a lecturer). People used to ask my opinion when there was a crime-related story on the news (and the news being what it is, this was very regularly!). The problem was, it never felt like ‘me’. When people called me a lecturer I felt like a middle-class fraud (there’s a criminological term for this — white-collar crime!). I never had the confidence or drive to try and make it in academia, because it wasn’t my passion. In short I didn’t have an identity.

Coming clean

I knew this couldn’t go on. I was miserable, lacking in confidence and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Some close friends and family gave me some amazing support and resources to try and help me figure out what the hell I should do with my life. One of these was a book called Strengthsfinder. It’s a bit ‘corporate’, but it helped show me how to match the kind of person I am with the kinds of things I might want to do. It helped me see that I have strengths in empathy, ideation and maximising. In short, I am good at understanding people, coming up with ideas and making the most of situations. I volunteered at a local primary school, started a qualification to become a personal trainer (I love all things to do with health, fitness and wellbeing) and began to do dabble at designing posters and t-shirts, mainly as gifts for friends.

Starting a new life

What I liked about graphic design was that it brought all my strengths together in one package. I like novelty, making connections between seemingly disparate things and just trying to make things  ‘better’ in my own way. I devoured YouTube tutorials and online articles about the principles of graphic design. I started working on my own little projects, and people kept asking me to do things for them. I even contributed to a criminology a designer rather than a speaker! I was getting better but I knew I needed some help in order to get to where I wanted to be. I sent CVs and portfolios to graphic design agencies in Birmingham (which is where I live) and eventually secured an internship at an amazing agency in Wolverhampton called Mediaraft.

'I knew I wanted to be a part of them'

To go back to Goodfellas, working with other designers and as part of an exciting agency reaffirmed to me that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I began to feel more and more comfortable and sure of myself, and although I was new to the design game I had the desire and drive to make it work. Just over a year after I started my internship I now work as the sole in-house designer for an SME, and continue to learn new skills and practices every day.

Henry Hill in GoodfellasNow I have my identity, let me help you with yours

The funny thing is that now I have more of an identity I find it a lot easier to make choices in life, which includes helping others with identities of their own. If you have a business that needs a brand, or a project that needs a persona then I would love to hear from you. You should definitely check out my portfolio to see some of my featured work, or follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my work-in-progress and illustrations.

Thanks for reading!