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Posted on 30th SEPTEMBER 2019 by eric team

‘New Creatives on the Block’ was a series curated for the ERIC Fest: Storytelling. Young graphic designer, Owen Rowbotham, asked senior graphic designer, Jael Umerah-Makelemi his burning questions. Here are the answers…

1. What is the best way to get freelance work? Everyone always takes me back to Fivver or PeoplePerHour…

These are the 3 main methods you can use to get freelance work. The first one is the most obvious - freelance marketplaces. You can sign up to Fivver, People per hour, Upwork or Bidvine. You can also create a profile on The dots and gain access to a variety of creative roles available. The next 2 are all about hustling. You can create a basic price list along with examples of your work and send out emails to several companies. Out of the many emails you send, at least one company is bound to reply. The last method is to network and meet your potential clients. If you design logos, go to events where you can mingle with business owners. They are often in need of your creative expertise.

2. Most companies don’t care about a professional design qualification, but is there anything I can do to boost my credentials?

After completing a foundation year, I decided that university wasn’t the best place for me to grow as a creative. When applying for design roles, I found that a lot of companies aren’t bothered about whether you went to university or not - they’re more interested in what makes you unique, your passions and side hustles! I think you should definitely continue to create the work that you love and either keep it in a portfolio, a website or on an instagram page. You can also enter (free) design competition on websites such as Crowdiate and Creeo. If you win that’s great as the prize is often money, but if not then that work can be added to your portfolio! You can also apply for creative programs such as D&AD New Blood Shift, The Brixton Finishing School, The Headstart programme at The Hospital Club and the Havas internship programme. These are all really amazing (and free) opportunities that will help you to get into the creative industry, whilst building your portfolio and creating a network.

3. I do a lot of political design stuff in my spare time, do the majority of companies care about what their designers get up to out of work and does this narrow the jobs market for me?

It’s very important to have passions outside of work as it’s a way for you to unwind and refresh your mind. The design work that you do in your spare time gives employers a better insight into what you love doing. It shows off your creative flare and the type of work that motivates you. Companies love to see multi-faceted creatives as it shows them that you’re not one dimensional.

We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts below, tweet us at @eric_festival or instagram us at @ericfestival!