Graphic designer (freelance)

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Sarah, mid-20s

“It’s so exciting when I see my designs out in public, and I know that people are embracing and enjoying my work − that’s a really satisfying feeling!"

Although her days as a local radio presenter may be behind her, busy freelance designer Sarah still tries to catch live gigs and listen to new music when she gets the chance – in between managing her own business and designing and launching a new range of stationery.

Sarah, what do you do?

I’m a freelance graphic designer and I run my own design business, Licorice Frog. I design logos, brochures, banners and flyers for corporate and not-for-profit clients.

I‘ve also just launched my own range of greeting cards, diaries, and notebooks featuring my designs, which I promote and sell on my website (which I also designed!).

Where did your ICT career begin?

During high school work experience I was lucky to have a great manager who really inspired me – he taught me the principles of design, and all about proofreading, product briefs and the printing process. He even let me design a few things for the company – and listen to Triple J!

This encouraged me to go to university and really pursue my design career, so I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Multimedia) at Victoria University.

After uni I worked for a while in community and commercial radio, before finally heading out on my own as a freelance designer. I haven’t looked back!

What do you like most about your job?

I love the freedom and flexibility of not being stuck in a 9-to-5 office job. Working from home, I don’t have to wear a suit or battle through peak-hour traffic, either.

And as a freelancer I’m always working closely with new and interesting clients to create the perfect design for them. It’s so exciting when I see my designs out in public, and I know that people are embracing and enjoying my work ¬− that’s a really satisfying feeling!

What skills do you require for your job?

As a graphic designer, you need creative flair and excellent knowledge of the principles of design. You also need strong skills with the Adobe Creative Suite – it’s the bricks and mortar that build the house! Some programming knowledge is also handy if you’re interested in website development.

Freelancers definitely need a lot of self-confidence and tenacity – you need to get out there and network to promote your business and develop contacts. Working for yourself, you also need to be quick to pounce on useful new ICT tools and trends (especially when they cost you nothing!). My Licorice Frog Facebook page lets me market my products 24/7, for free. Visitors can recommend my page to their friends and leave feedback about my products.

Do you have much interaction with others?

Definitely. Clear communication is essential for my business. I spend a lot of time discussing projects and designs with my clients to make sure I’m giving them exactly what they want. Advances in ICT like online social networking and Skype let me interact with my customers on a much more personal level than I could have imagined even five years ago.

I also use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to keep my customers updated on new website links, and promote my products and special offers.

Where do you see ICT taking you, and your business, into the future?

Since starting my own business, I’ve been determined to keep my skills up to date. I‘ve studied an Advanced Diploma of Information Technology, specialising in eBusiness and website development. I’m excited about the endless possibilities of e-commerce and e-business – with my new website I can share my designs and market my products to customers anywhere, anytime.

And what advice would you give to someone considering a career in ICT?

Remember that we’re living in the Information Age, and business isn’t conducted like it was 10 years ago or even 12 months ago. ICT today means that you don’t need to sit back and rely on a boss to offer you a career any more. If you’re interested in ICT, do what you like and what you’re passionate about – your skills and passion will put you in the box seat to shape your own future.

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).