Creative Review’s January issue is all about the dollar, dollar bills. It’s left the design industry questioning: do I earn enough?
The facts and figures focus predominantly on the earnings of those within design consultancies/agencies as well as in house designers and they have certainly sparked some debate. Many are questioning who exactly these junior designers are that, in today’s climate, are actually earning £21,000 as the Design Council suggests, particularly when you consider nearly half of the UK’s design studios only benefit from an annual profit of £50,000. Seems highly unlikely that the average, budding new designer would be earning nearly half of said profits!
Of course, this then raised the question of freelance work and it’s foothold in the design industry. Is it worth taking on the odd freelance job to keep things afloat? Is it worth jumping ship and starting up on your own? Or is it better to just bury your head in the sand and pretend everything is gravy when frankly, it ain’t.
According to the stats, 26% of designers in the UK are already freelancers – that’s 65,900 people. An off putting number. And reading that the average junior designer earns a day rate of £100, it doesn’t sound worth it. But let’s put that into perspective people:
Junior designer: £100 per day – 6 weeks glorious holiday = £23,000 per year.
Middleweight designer: £130 per day – 6 weeks glorious holiday = £29,900
Senior designer: £250 per day – 6 weeks glorious holiday = £57,500
Design director: £275 per day – 6 weeks glorious holiday = £63,250
That’s more than you’d supposedly earn in an agency.
And you get to work where you want.
If you hadn’t noticed by now, here at FYG we are huge advocates of freelance work. Why get bogged down with the rationales and rules of agencies and consultancies not to mention deal with the cost of the infamous middle man when you can earn the same amount, if not more, so long as you are savvy enough?
At the end of the day, that is what success comes down to: savviness. Let’s face facts: maybe you are a full time Dad, have a full time job, you’ve only got a couple of hours at the weekend or you live in the middle of nowhere. And yes, in this depressing and frustrating economic climate, times are tough and competition is fierce. Businesses and agencies can’t and won’t commit, frankly most of the time, job propositions come down to who you know, not what you know. But what’s the point in having not only the technical ability but the creative mind frame if it is to be lost to the big, bad wolf that is the current climate? Remember what it was like taking on a random brief, thinking fast on your feet and working to a tight deadline? Put your portfolio to work, showcase yourself and take on the challenges of freelance work.
As one wise man, Nick Crouch, commented on CR’s article:
“projects come and go, teams form and disband. The trick is to stay nimble and plugged in.”
Here at FYG, we are committed to improving and encouraging the freelance industry. Bringing freelancers together to promote their talents and find work.
“If you’re interested in creativity and you are creative and you can see and you have got curiosity and you do appreciate things and you have got imagination, take it anywhere. Go and work in any company. Go and bring it to anyone who’ll listen to you.” - Michael Wolff