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  • Writer's pictureAlis Hâf

5 Essential Tools you need to be a Freelance Designer

So apart from the usual tools any small business or freelancer might need, like your laptop, desk or notebooks there are some specific tools which are essential for a graphic designer. If you're new to the freelance world or looking to start up on your own as a graphic designer then these are some of the things that you'll need to get set up. And if you're already a seasoned designer and branding expert and don't have these I'm not sure how you're coping!!!

Adobe Creative Cloud

The big one! If you're a designer and don't have a Creative Cloud subscription then you're not really a creative... are you?! If you haven't had to struggle with having Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro open all at once then you need to join the club! Access to Creative Cloud allows you to access multiple tools within Adobe's suite of programmes through one subscription usually paid monthly. If you are a first time customer, a student or recent graduate the cost is less and sometimes if you try and give up your subscription you can get cheaper deals or if you only need one programme you can also purchase it for a lesser cost.

Free Mock ups

Another tools which will help you to elevate your branding and project proposals. These also give your client an idea of what their business branding will look like in situ. There are some great mock up designers out there and you can purchase packs all in one aesthetic but you can also find mock ups for free on a few website like FreePik, MockUpWorld, FreeMockUpWorld if you can't afford to buy some and if you also have the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription you can find some through Adobe Stock too.

External Hard drives

You're laptop or desktop won't have enough space to store and save all the files you'll be creating on Photoshop so you'll definetly need an external hardrive and back up. Sometimes you'll need more than one and if you're super organised you might even have hard drives for separate projects and brands or organise them by year! Having all your files saved at least for a few years will allow you to keep projects safe in case a client comes back and needs further work and you can also refer back to them if you need content to promote your skills and design work. They'll also save you space on your computer so it doesn't slow you down!

Inspo images for moodboards

As a designer you'll most likely keep a folder of saved images which you have seen and liked and their just waiting to appear in a moodboard in one of your next projects. Having a folder or Pinterest board with these all saved under will come in handy when you're trying to get together a project under a quick deadline and will also give you inspiration before you start to work on a project.

A set process when you book clients

Ok so maybe it's not one tool but you'll definitely use many tools to facilitate this and keep a structured process in place. As a freelancer you will want to get a system in place as soon as you start working on projects for clients. Having a process will enable you to feel less stressed and will even help lighten the load if you have multiple enquiries at once. You could use email templates to help quicken the enquiries side of things or spend one day a week answering enquiries. Similarly when you come to the end of the project making sure you invoice on time and use the same template can help and make sure you're spendng more time on designing rather htan the admin side of things. By following a set process this can make you're life easier and also by working with clients can make them feel confident in your process, when they'll recieve feedback, when they'll recieve the work etc.

As I also work a 9-5 having all these tools deinfelty helps me keep my time for freelancing onthe things that are important - the design work so I would totally recommend investing in the above or even jsut implementing some of the points into your daily process.

If you're a fellow designer then you can find me on Instagram here and if you're a potential client and you have questions about branding work then get in touch.

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