Last week I was at a backyard movie screening speaking to a friend of mine who was looking to have a logo made. She told me that she’d been recommended a guy in Portland from a friend who said he was pretty good. Knowing a few people in Portland I asked what the guys name was in the off chance I knew him. I didn’t, so I Google’d the guy, and nothing came up. I asked my friend to spell the designers name, thinking maybe I had misunderstood, but still nothing came up. My friend was being set up on a blind design date with a guy who was going to charge her $1500 to $2900 for a simple logo design.
This astounded me.
I often tell people, “It’s 2012, we should be _________.” – I guess I have a lot of notions of how the world should be. I find it hard to believe that in 2012 that a freelance designer who’s charging $3k for a logo design wouldn’t have a portfolio of any kind. It’s like going to buy a car and not being able to test drive it. It’s like going to the butcher shop and being hand a brown paper package filled with mystery meat.
Being a successful designer means that you allow the web to do the work for you. If you do good work people will find you and they will hire you – if you have a portfolio. Example – I decided over the weekend that I was going to redesign our apartment as it was feeling a bit cramped. The one thing I really needed was a place to put mine and Kyle’s keys and to hang our dog leashes, those random front door accessories. Randomly browsing the web I came across a Kickstarter project called Clip Tree, which was exactly what I was looking for. I found out about the Clip Tree through this article on Fast Co. Design who instantly turned this recent grad student into an industrial designer in the spotlight. All he had to do was put his work on the Internet.
I think it’s an absolute must to have some sort of web presence. When I speak to design students my advice is always the same – put your work out there for the world to see. Having a web presence doesn’t need to be complicated either. I personally prefer for a designer to use a portfolio site that’s out of the box like Cargo than try to be artsy and make your own website. Even sites like Dribble, Behance or Flickr will showcase your work in a clean, organized manner that gets the point across. I’d even be happy to know that a designer has a Twitter so I can get a sense of their personality to see if I’d want to work with them.
Granted, my totally inflammatory headline more to freelance designers, but even so as a designer you should maintain some sort of blog or Tumblr to express opinions and ideas. I honestly can’t imagine a designer who doesn’t have strong opinions. Isn’t that the whole point of designing to make something the way you see it?
Honestly though, this piece should probably be titled If I Can’t Google You You’re Not Real.