You've got to spend money to make money
January 8, 2010 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Five years ago I was a senior marketing coordinator and graphic designer at a successful start-up. I left to be a stay-at-home mom. Bring me up to speed on what equipment I would need to do freelance graphic design and marketing work at this point of time. What has changed in the last five years?

I have a substantial portfolio and a yearning to get back into that line of work. I also have a BA in English and about 10 years of experience in marketing/graphic design.

Ideally, I would like to provide the following services:
- graphic design
- editing
- proofreading
- writing
- photo retouching
- illustration

posted by Ostara to Work & Money (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think from an equipment standpoint, the fundamentals are the same. The latest versions of whatever software you used then (Photoshop, Illustrator and Word?) and an up-to-date computer are really all you need.
posted by cCranium at 5:35 AM on January 9, 2010

Best answer: Computer monitors got bigger and cheaper. Most people at my work have multiple monitors. It helps speed up workflow and looks cooler too.

RAM - 4 GB is now the bare minimum. Get more than that if you can.

The web is used a lot more for contact/collaboration. Many people use basecamp to post items for client review.

I am assuming you don't do any web design. Although it will be worth chatting with an interactive designer some. That way you can see if you have interest. I am assuming that most clients will bring up interactive in some capacity.

As a freelancer you will need your own website. As a designer it would be confusing if you didn't design it although development would probably make sense to outsource to a dev freelancer.
posted by rdurbin at 7:18 AM on January 9, 2010

Best answer: Definitely the Adobe CS4 suite. CS3 if absolutely unable to get CS4. Broadband internet for exchanging large files/scans. You don't need MS Office (Word, Excel) if you don't mind using Google Docs for those things (I find it works almost perfectly). It opens Word files and saves them, and you can even share them with others for editing purposes. I also use the Google Docs spreadsheet function for billing; simple - one column for time, one for rate, third for total. Print to a PDF and email to client.

A good scanner is useful, though if you're scanning photos for print you might want to develop a relationship with a local color house who will scan and color correct, as well as printing proofs. For home, a fairly good color printer (ideally one that does larger than 8.5 x 11).

A domain and at least a simple website. Email that comes from (or whatever) looks more professional than from Gmail or Hotmail (yuck).

A quiet workspace where you can work without interruptions from cats, babies, etc. and where your reference materials can live. Inspiration on the walls.

Good luck! I'm also trying to transition to freelance, away from the corporate world. I'll look forward to further advice from MeFites!
posted by TochterAusElysium at 11:44 AM on January 9, 2010

I don't know many people who use Quark anymore as InDesign seems to be the standard now (although there are plenty of hold outs).
posted by Bunglegirl at 4:29 PM on January 9, 2010

Damn I guess my comment was one that got deleted from the glitch!

Make sure that your marketing materials (website, brochures, business cards, etc) are up-to-date.
posted by radioamy at 8:41 PM on January 9, 2010

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