Alex Black

Alex writes for printing specialists Print Express. In his spare time, he tries to improve his coding skills (he’s currently learning Ruby) and studies graphic & web design.

6 Tips for Budding Designers to Earn While Building a Portfolio

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 13 Comments

Design is one of the more unusual industries to work in because it’s one of the few that often involves working for free, especially for those who are just starting out in a design career. Working for free is starting to become more and more commonplace for those new to particular industries – as this article from The Guardian shows – but for designers, who actually create something, it doesn’t need to be this way. The dangers of spec work are well-known, and this post in particular does a brilliant job of explaining why it’s harmful. The premise is that a client offers money for designers to compete with each other. One designer gets paid, the other designers don’t. It’s not fair, and it’s not rewarding.

But when you’re just starting out in a career in design, you may be tempted to work for free in order to build your portfolio. You know that you can design but you need to get clients on board, you need a good portfolio to show people and, when your portfolio is on the small side, clients may ask you to work for free with the benefit being that you get to showcase the work that you do on your site.

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