Monday, 27 July 2015

A week in the Life of a Freelance Fashion Designer: Monday

Ever wondered what its like to be a freelance fashion designer?  This week I am publishing a post each day recounting what I did last week on a daily basis.  Here is my Mondays editions...

I woke up at 6am and jumped into the shower before heading to get our nine month old Alfred up, dressed and ready for the day ahead.  Between 7 and 7.30am our house is chaos feeding Alfred, the dogs, checking on our incubator (currently incubating four Rhea eggs!!) downing a cup of earl grey tea and grabbing a quick breakfast of fresh yogurt and granola topped with fresh strawberries from my kitchen garden.  My husband (Jamie) and I share caring for our son Alfred during the week with a little help from other family members too when we can!

I usually get to my desk by 7.45am and answer any urgent e mails, check out Pinterest and quickly browse my favourite blogs to see what's new and grab some inspiration.  At just gone 8am I check that my scheduled blog post has gone up for the day and pin any imagery to one of my Pinterest boards and also re-publish the post to my Facebook page too.  I then look at what projects I have coming up this week and mentally make a schedule in my head of what needs to be completed each day to meet each deadline on time.

Today's projects is designing a logo and full branding package for a new Indian based children's wear brand in New Delhi.  I've been given loose direction but projects like this are usually pretty open and new fresh suggestions are always appreciated!  I knew about this project last week so have been pinning some research and inspiration to my branding board on Pinterest.  I pull all my favourite images off and make a mood board to present back to the company.

I start by opening up illustrator on my Mac and creating a new document.  I pull my inspiration board in and start planning ideas for logo compositions.  After some firing up of the imagination I head over to some font websites to try to find a few fonts that I can start experimenting with.  I try to not go too crazy and just narrow it down to four or five that I think have potential.  I then write the brand name in illustrator, in all the separate fonts in both upper and lower case.  I then spend time munipulating the fonts to make them more stylised and appropriate for the branding direction I have in mind.  I then start laying them next to some of the icons I think would work well and trying them in lots of different formats.  

After a couple of hours my page starts to look super busy and SUPER messy.  I look at all the initial ideas I have created and select between three and five ideas to take onto development.  At this stage I start to add colour to the logo and experiment with placing it onto swing tags, hanger labels etc...  Whenever I'm designing branding I have to take into consideration the sizing and amount of detail involved.  If an icon I have used is super detailed and the brand wants to use the icon for embroiders details on garments I have to make sure that it can be machined neatly and still remain visually recognisable.

I stop for lunch at about midday and sit down with Alfred who has been out all morning with his dad to have lunch as a family.  Alfred has homemade baby Beef Tagine and the grown ups chicken ceaser salad.  I only stop briefly for lunch before returning to my desk.

I spend another couple of hours developing, organising and presenting my mornings work before sending it off to my client for initial feedback and discussion.  As well as presenting one option that's exactly as they had briefed, I also suggest some other options with different fonts and an alternative accompanying icon to what they initially briefed.  I know this is a project they are eager to turn around fast so I'm sure I'll hear back from them in an hour at most.

In the mean time I quickly make some amendments to some garments I designed last week for a major UK retailer that I regularly work with as they have updated a colour palette for a range.  I re-work the artwork packs and get the amends back to them just as my e mail pings with feedback for my branding work.  Freelance work is all about multi tasking - there's no colleagues to help you out when your work load gets heavy, you just have to learn to juggle your work and time.

The company I have been developing the branding for likes one of the ideas I have presented to them and are keen to see it laid out onto all their packaging as well as developing it into buttons, Denim fastenings, branded back neck tapes etc.  I mock this up in the next hour and ping it back over them for their thoughts.  

While my clients are reviewing my work I receive a phone call from a stationery supplier who are looking for a designer to help launch a new exciting boys stationery range that they are hoping to expand into a fashion range in the future too.  The company came across my details on Linkedin which reminds me my profile needs updating as its been a while since I've been to that corner of the world wide web!!!  I arrange to meet them on Friday to discuss the matter in more detail.  I quickly browse my computer and save some of my most recent work examples to my desktop ready to send over to my printers so I can update my portfolio.  As a freelance designer I don't attend interviews very regularly so my visual portfolio can go quickly out of date.

The clients I have been working with today are happy with my work and have asked me to lay all the individual branding pieces out into an artwork pack ready to send to their factory.  This takes me another hour and brings me to 5pm.  Quick turn around projects like today are common in my week and I get a lot of work purely because I can turn projects around fast.

At 5pm I stop work to have dinner with Alfred and have some playtime before his bedtime at seven.  It's important for me to get some free time with him even on days I work too.  After he has gone off to bed I reply to a few e mails that have come through during the day and invoice my client for today's one off job and close my computer down.  In the evening I take a swim to unwind then have dinner  before spending some time with Jamie before bed around ten. 

Stay tuned tomorrow to see how my week progresses...

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