Adventures in Freelancing

Congratulations! You just graduated with a degree in graphic design, web design or web development and now you are ready to take on the world and help make the online or offline worlds more visually stunning and cutting edge. Maybe you have already interviewed with companies looking for someone with your skills and knowledge, but as a creative person, you just aren’t into cubicle-surfing the hours of your work day. You want adventure, you want to make your own hours and pick and choose your clients. You enjoy the thought of juggling various projects, deadlines and other commitments from the comfort of your own home. You want to be a freelancer.

Freelancing your services as a web or graphic designer or developer can be a difficult road to take. For those who need the security of a steady income, freelancing may not be the ideal option. Clients may be project-based, short-term or long-term, but there are no laws protecting you if a client decides to discontinue your services. Freelancers are generally responsible for their own taxes, insurance and retirement accounts as well as finding clients and convincing them to pay for your services. The life of a freelancer is fun, fast-paced, adventurous and frustrating (and so much more!) and can lead into business ownership or consulting.

Finding clients can be the hardest part of freelancing. You can advertise your own services on freelance websites like eLance or oDesk or within the classifieds of your local newspaper or online at Craigslist. Responding to ads or gigs on these sites is where the adventure really begins. Many times, especially within classifieds, you will run across ads from a person who wants help with a website or design projects, and are willing to compensate you generously with things like referrals to friends, promises to share in profits or even allowing you to insert your own ad codes into the work you produce. Another hurdle are the jobs and gigs listed that are asking for (no-pay) interns, or actually say that their idea is a fantastic way to build your portfolio (at no cost to the ad poster, of course). Specialty freelance websites are not much better, but they do have to guarantee payment of some sort. Unfortunately, that payment may be less than you pay for a movie ticket or even a cup of coffee.


When you do decide to start freelancing, keep in mind that aside from the technical or creative skills needed as a graphic designer, web designer or web developer, a freelancer must also be a salesperson. This means that you have to attach a value to your work and to yourself, and be ready to explain why you are the best candidate for the job/project. Always remember to price your services competitively, but don’t undervalue your work. You will be judged not only on your portfolio and salestalk, but also on the amount of money you charge for services. So, if you charge too little, you may come across as inexperienced, and if you charge too much, you will find it hard to secure clients.

Freelancing as a graphic designer, web designer or web developer is an adventure of epic proportions. You do get to be your own boss, set your own hours and work from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere else that offers WiFi. You also get to face the challenges of finding and securing clients and managing other financial and legal issues that arise when you choose to work for yourself.

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Designing Homework Spaces for Children

There is a lot of work that goes into a child’s education. From typical academic subjects like math, science or language arts to creative experiences in art or music, the day-to-day educational needs of children are great. Rarely does the work stop at school, however, and when it comes time for a child to sit and do homework, many parents get frustrated or are unable to help because they simply don’t know the basics of how to help. One place to start, however, is the area in which the child will complete homework assignments and projects. More often than not, it is recommended that children have a designated space in which they can complete homework or other projects. These spaces have become a focus of interior designers, educational specialists and concerned parents.

Homework spaces vary according to the space available, the environment and the individual child’s needs in terms of noise, access to homework help, the Internet, other learning-style accomodations and supervision of the homework itself. While many spaces do vary according to the child’s needs, there are some basic ideas to keep in mind when designing a homework area for children.

  1. Ask for your child’s input. Do they need to have a quiet environment, or do they work better with background noise? Is it more distracting for them to be away from family activity than it is to be in the middle of the mix? Find a space that will help your child feel comfortable, but ready to work. Keep distractions to a minimum and remain available to help if any problems arise.

  2. Have extra school supplies handy, either in bins or within the child’s reach to minimize the distraction of finding a pencil or markers. If you have more than one child, consider giving each child their own set of supplies at home.

  3. Make sure the lighting, chair and homework surface (desk, counter, table, etc.) are all appropriate for the child’s age and size. An uncomfortable environment can make homework time hard, but also be sure the space is not too comfortable, so that the child’s focus remains on the homework.

  4. Keep computers out of the shadows. Computers should always be in the "public" areas of your household. If you are able to monitor the computer activity, the child is less likely to try to sneak a game or message a friend. Also, by keeping the computer in a visible area, you can monitor any access to social networking and other sites that can potentially harm your child.

  5. Consult an interior designer for ideas on how to best utilize the space you have or suggest items that can help with organization of supplies, papers and other homework-related materials.


Designing a homework space for your child can help with academic success and confidence. A dedicated area that is used for studying, projects and homework can benefit the child’s ability to focus and can keep you more aware of how their homework is progressing, where their strengths and weaknesses lay, and can help to eliminate the inevitable fight over homework versus play time.

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Animated New Releases

Animated films touch the lives of adults and children alike and are a way for families to spend time together while enjoying the magic of a movie theater or the comfort of their couch. Animation and animated films have changed since the early days of Disney; the story lines have evolved into entertainment for all ages and with the advances in computer-generated graphics and 3-D animation, the visual elements of animated films or TV shows bring characters to life in a way that most hand-produced animation never could. That’s not to say that 2-D animation is any less entertaining. If the story is engaging and has elements that both adults and children can relate to, then animated films or series will continue to entertain the masses for years to come.

In November, 2010, Disney is releasing their latest animated film, Tangled, based upon the fairy tale, Rapunzel. According to Gawker, Tangled is a CG-animated film that was intended to look hand-drawn. The goal of the animation team was to be able to bring realism to CGI, but keep the same softness and depth as a painting. New technologies were applied to the film, giving it a different look and feel from previous Disney animated films. Tangled is Disney’s 50th film, and with the advances in technology and mass appeal, it may be the best Disney film yet.

The popular animated film, How to Train your Dragon, will be coming to your television soon as an animated series. While no new technologies were invented for the creation of the movie or its television series, the animation itself was intended to be realistic, but not too realistic, because the animators didn’t want the realism of dragons to make children, their main audience, cry.

Not to be forgotten, the popular, independent movie, Napoleon Dynamite, will also be joining the ranks of animated series for television. Fox is reportedly asking for six episodes of the hand-drawn animation for their next season.

The advances in animation technology have brought about many changes in animated films and television shows. While many people appreciate the realism that CG and 3-D animation can bring to a movie or series, many others appreciate the more simple images that are created “by hand.” Animators across the world are looking for ways to integrate the ease with which computers are helping to generate images at a faster rate than humans with not-too-realistic imagery that may be a hindrance to the actual storylines of the films and series.

Animated New Releases

Animated films touch the lives of adults and children alike and are a way for families to spend time together while enjoying the magic of a movie theater or the comfort of their couch. Animation and animated films have changed since the early days of Disney; the story lines have evolved into entertainment for all ages and with the advances in computer-generated graphics and 3-D animation, the visual elements of animated films or TV shows bring characters to life in a way that most hand-produced animation never could. That’s not to say that 2-D animation is any less entertaining. If the story is engaging and has elements that both adults and children can relate to, then animated films or series will continue to entertain the masses for years to come.

In November, 2010, Disney is releasing their latest animated film, Tangled, based upon the fairy tale, Rapunzel. According to Gawker, Tangled is a CG-animated film that was intended to look hand-drawn. The goal of the animation team was to be able to bring realism to CGI, but keep the same softness and depth as a painting. New technologies were applied to the film, giving it a different look and feel from previous Disney animated films. Tangled is Disney’s 50th film, and with the advances in technology and mass appeal, it may be the best Disney film yet.

The popular animated film, How to Train your Dragon, will be coming to your television soon as an animated series. While no new technologies were invented for the creation of the movie or its television series, the animation itself was intended to be realistic, but not too realistic, because the animators didn’t want the realism of dragons to make children, their main audience, cry.

Not to be forgotten, the popular, independent movie, Napoleon Dynamite, will also be joining the ranks of animated series for television. Fox is reportedly asking for six episodes of the hand-drawn animation for their next season.

The advances in animation technology have brought about many changes in animated films and television shows. While many people appreciate the realism that CG and 3-D animation can bring to a movie or series, many others appreciate the more simple images that are created “by hand.” Animators across the world are looking for ways to integrate the ease with which computers are helping to generate images at a faster rate than humans with not-too-realistic imagery that may be a hindrance to the actual storylines of the films and series.

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Video Game Wars

If you are online, on Facebook, own an iPhone or other web-enabled mobile device like an Android or BlackBerry, then you are likely contributing to the loss of traditional video game and gaming system sales. With the popularity of handheld mobile devices with which mobile games may be played, and games like Farmville and Mafia Wars that are played on Facebook, traditional video game sales are slumping. In fact, video game software sales fell 6 percent to $614 to million while hardware sales tumbled 19 percent to $383 million, according to the research company, NPD. That is a huge loss for video game companies, especially considering that non-traditional sales were over 2 billion dollars.

video game warsNon-traditional video game sales are those that involve mobile devices, used games and systems and the downloading of extra content to enhance current games that are being played on tpersonal computers or gaming system. More people are downloading video games, especially those that will play on mobile devices, than ever before, and are opting to enhance their current games through digital downloads or taking advantage of the Internet’s ability to provide free games in exchange for little more than an e-mail address. AllFacebook.com reports that 53% of Facebook users play games, 50% of Facebook logins are solely to play games and 20% of users have paid cash toward enhancing their Facebook game experience. With over 500 million Facebook users, a large market has formed and will likely to continue its growth.

Because of this trend, video game designers may have to scale back their attempts at video game designs that utilize the latest technology and go back to more basic games that promote social interaction and integration with social networks over realistic graphics, enhanced game play and other standards of video game development. Some of this can be attributed to the economy and the affordability of games and gaming systems, as well. Many people are choosing to purchase used games and gaming systems in order to save a few dollars. The good news is that for video game designers who are able to create newer games that fit the social and mobile requirements of this market, there will likely be more jobs available in the future.

Video games continue to be a staple of entertainment in our world, but the means with which people acquire these games is changing. The popularity of mobile devices and the ease of game play on a social network are overshadowing the way video games wind up in the hands of users. The development of video games that satisfy the needs of the public may be changing, and while the stereotypical video game player may be disappointed by this trend, those who prefer the simpler games and their ability to interact and cooperate with their friends may become a new and larger market for the video game industry.

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25 Interior Decorating Blogs You May Not Know

Welcome to our collection of our favorite interior design blogs on the Internet!best design blogs

  1. Made By Girl - Blogs about interior design, art and more.

  2. Fokal - modern design and home décor inspirations.

  3. Please, Sir – modern and vintage design by native New York textile designer now living in North Carolina.

  4. 2021 - mid-century and modern design

  5. Bright, Bold, Beautiful - Bright Ideas, bold vision, beautiful living.

  6. Lolalina - Find your sweet life.

  7. Your Interior - Interior Design Tips and Tricks

  8. Manhattan Nest - A couple of rising sophomores at NYU moving into our first NYC apartment and determined to make it home.

  9. Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet - Decorating a small space on a small budget.

  10. WHORANGE - celebrating craveable style & design.

  11. Still Dottie - Daily coveting.

  12. Décor 8 - Fresh finds for Hip Spaces

  13. Decorology - Interior design & decorating.

  14. Make a House a Home - The story of how two people who know nothing about home owning make a house a home.

  15. Nest Egg - Nashville Interior Designer

  16. Door Sixteen - Detailing the renovation of 1885 Victorian row house.

  17. Bohemian Hellhole - A designer, a photographer, a musician, a seamstress, a scavenger, a gardener, a maid.

  18. Lotus Haus - Enliven Your Inner Space.

  19. Carolina Eclectic - Residential design with a modern and eclectic slant.

  20. Happy Living Designs - Make your home a place you love.

  21. CoolBoom - Aa “personal taste” in architecture and interior design.

  22. The House of Turquoise - Obsessions with blues.

  23. Home Décor Arcade - home decorating & improvement, interior design, furniture, lighting, flooring, garden and wall finishing

  24. Addicted to Decorating - The Latest Interior Decorating Trends

  25. Remodelaholic - DIY at its finest.

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Fashion Show Coordinator

fashion show coordinationFashion shows are testaments to the artistry and design skills of today’s greatest fashion designers. The runways, the catwalk, the clothes and accessories all come together in one moment that showcases the latest fashion trends in apparel, accessories, shoes and even hair and makeup styles. Fashion shows are produced by anyone from top designers to high schools to the independent fashion designer with a love for eco-fashion, high-end design, restaurant staff uniforms or anywhere in between. They are ways to display not only clothing and accessories, though. The show itself is a work of art, and with the right coordination and effort, a fashion show can even upstage the fashion it tries to showcase.

If you love fashion, but have little desire to create the designs themselves, fashion show coordination may be an option to keep you involved in the industry. Fashion show coordinators are experts in visual communications and event planning. They are responsible for the fashion show's stage and props, the fashion lines that appear on models as they walk down the catwalks and the coordination of all of those elements together. They are also responsible for booking space for the show, audience seating, refreshments and marketing. Fashion show coordinators bring together the visions of fashion designers and retail establishments for the enjoyment of audiences, reviewers and the media. There is a great deal of administrative ability needed, as well as a good eye for fashion and even an understanding of theatrical aspects of stage design such as lighting and sound.

Whether you are an avid shopper with a good eye for fashion design, a person who enjoys the entertainment value in coordinating multiple people and aspects of fashion artistry, development and visual communications, or just want a unique way to have fun and entertain others, coordinate a fashion show for your local charity, school or community organization. Before you know it, you could be designing fashion shows for the designers you love.

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Women & Video Game Design

women video gamesWomen make up 40 percent of video game players, from online fantasy games like World of Warcraft to arcade-style games like the Super Mario series of games. With such a large percentage of the game playing market being attributed to women, some say that there is a lack of consideration as to what a woman wants in a video game.

Its common to see female characters in video games wearing clothing that accentuates their bodies, and this is largely attributed to the large male presence in the video game design industry. While the aesthetics of gaming may not stop women from playing their favorite games and equipping their female characters with weaponry that rivals that of their male counterparts, there is evidence to the point that women may want more than to be considered eye candy, even in the video game world. Some of this comes from the line of thought that video games are an adolescent boy's realm, but also because there are far less women employed in video game design than men.

In order to rise to the occasion and help diversify video games, several companies and organizations are even offering scholarships to women who are interested in video game design. Sony is awarding up to $10,000 to women pursuing a degree in video game design and production and the ESA Foundation is offering several $3,000 scholarships to women and minorities pursuing their degrees in the video game arts.

Video games are no longer just for boys and women are increasingly becoming a market for games, online and off. The need for women to not only play these games, but help design them, is growing at a rapid pace. Companies are taking notice of this market by offering scholarships and other incentives to women who want to do more than fight mystical magicians, but to those who want to be a part of the next generations of video game releases.

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Super Bowl Commercials

With the Super Bowl only four months away, the anticipation of those over-the-top commercials has begun for many, including the corporations that are paying out millions of dollars for their 15-30 seconds of fame. If you are one of those people who only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials, beer and snacks, you are exactly who the advertisers are looking to sell products to.

The best Super Bowl ads are funny, flashy or otherwise surprising in their content and visual concepts. Over the past 10 years, the majority of Super Bowl Ad “winners, ” according to the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter have been created by beer companies, specifically by Budweiser. These commercials have included several incarnations of their Clydesdale mascot or the dalmation who led the Clydesdale's wagon, and even one featuring the two competing animals for the honor of driving the wagon. Other products have also been winners in the Super Bowl ad race, such as Pepsi-Cola, Doritos and the 2010 Snickers commercial featuring Betty White and Abe Vigoda.


The easiest way to compete in this competition within a competitive sport is to design your own commercial (and have good financial backing) to entertain your audience, get celebrities to endorse your product, or find a unique way to present your product to a living room full of sports fans. Advertisers and advertising consultants may also have some great ideas about how to best showcase your product, even if you cannot make it to the Super Bowl. The 2011 Super Bowl Ad season promises to be even more interactive than in previous years with more and more companies turning to social media websites like Facebook or Twitter to engage fans.

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Fonts and Advertising

Whether you advertise in print or online, one of the basic concepts to keep in mind is what your font or typeface says about your business, organization or presence in the world. A font can influence your audience in its style (bold, italic, underline) or size, but most importantly, the actual “feel” of your font can be the most important method of delivering a message, even moreso than the words the font displays.

fonts Designing your own font is one way to capture the essence of how you want your readers or audience to relate to what you are saying. Some people prefer unusual fonts, even if they are not web- or print-standard to convey their message, while others just want something different, but still within the realm of standard typography. It is common to see websites related to children use the standard “Comic Sans” font that is reminiscent of comic book script, while other websites use “Arial” for a more modern feel over the ubiquitous “Times New Roman.” Several websites offer tutorials on font design, or free applications, while others give you tips and ideas for designing your fonts through professional graphic design programs such as Adobe Illustrator or professional font design programs. If you are a graphic designer, you can always create your own line of fonts and see how they spread across the web, virally.

No matter how you choose to create your font or typeface, or how you intend to use it, keep in mind that the font itself sends a message about you and your business or organization. Stand out from your competition, but be sure that you do not go overboard and choose a font that is unreadable or unsuitable for your business. Fonts can relay your business' brand even faster than the words they spell, and can be one of the most important tools in all of your print or web advertising.


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Web Developer vs. Web Designer

When hiring a web professional, who do you look for: a web designer or a web developer? There is a lot of confusion between the two titles in terms of which specialist is best for your website and which can produce the best website for your business.

Web designers are typically concerned with the visual aspects of a website. They are experts in HTML, CSS, graphic layout, animation and establishing the visual flow of your website from a design perspective including where to place text, images, navigation elements, menus and icons. They can also be your best guide in how to present the brand and “voice” you wish to portray through colors, fonts and the styles of images that appear on your website, from photos to illustrations.

Web developers are more involved in the structure and basic programming of a website, plus should have a fair knowledge of what sort of programming to use in order to best achieve a website’s goals. Developers are rarely true web programmers, those who can write code in their sleep, but do have at least a basic knowledge of what type of programming is needed, as well as the ability to tweak code as necessary. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the actual navigation and linking within a website fall under a Web Developer’s skill set, as well as the overall functionality of the website.


Since websites are rarely the same in terms of looks, feel and their ability to generate information or products to the end-user, there can be a lot of overlap between the Web Designer and Web Developer. When trying to find someone to best suit the needs of your website, be sure to include a list of what you would like implemented within the site and let the designer or developer tell you if they are a good fit for the job.

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