Designers: nurturing their creative nature

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Designers are one group of professionals whose value proposition is primarily based on their creative ability and ingenuity.

While this group must have the freedom to express themselves to create original work, it must be finely managed to yield commercial results. A graphic designer’s natural creativity needs to be complemented by an understanding of the brand, client or market they are working within. Many now choose to harness their creative skills and business acumen in a freelance capacity.

According to data from the Office of National Statistics released in August, over 40 per cent of designers are self-employed on either a full-time or part-time basis. In fact, this sector has the seventh highest number of self-employed professionals.

“Since going freelance I have learned so much," said freelance graphic designer Martin Harling-Coward.

"I can really get to know my clients and their business, and by understanding their needs, it allows me to deliver work more efficiently. Also, by working in agencies, I get to work with new and hugely talented senior designers, day in day out.” 

A freelance creative can be inspired by working on multiple projects and by being around other likeminded individuals. If they pick up private clients, they could benefit from an extremely steep learning curve.

They could quickly understand how their ‘art’ translates best in the digital and print world. They could learn to some extent, how to emotionally detach themselves from their favourite ideas. And more often than not, they can learn the importance of compromise.

IPSE highly encourages universities, especially the creative faculties, to educate and support their students towards the benefits and requirements of freelancing. To not only equip them for a career after graduation, but to empower them to start freelancing now and capitalise on their current skills.

University of the Arts London is one of IPSE’s university partners, who are great at engaging their creative students in this way. Through this partnership, students are able to develop into well-rounded and employable individuals through their freelance business.

Training is important to stand out as a freelance designer – it helps them learn new skills and develop their talent creatively and commercially. Through IPSE Academy, we offer freelancers access to training from the UK’s top training providers such as Media Training Ltd who run many design and business courses which members are eligible for a 20 per cent discount.

IPSE is committed to the training and development of our members. To find out more, visit 

Meet the author

Olaitan Ajimobi

Education and Training Officer