This past Thursday there was another AIGA “meet and drink” event in Cambridge, MA. These events are great opportunities to network and see some fellow designer buds. I was anticipating this one to be no different than any of the other countless “AFTA’s” I have attended, but I must say, this time the word FREE was buzzing in the air.
Usually when I talk about free things, its mainly Open Source software or great places to learn technology for free. But in this case, free refers to “Freelance”. Out of all the people I talked to (about 12 in 2.5hrs), five have either quit their job or got laid off, and are starting to freelance and independent contract regularly. Of course, Freelancing is not free, you will get paid, but what a connection.
This trend is just one of the clear examples I can see, that proves that the web is still in an infant stage, and efficient technology drives design. Freelancing and independent contracting gigs are out there, lots of them. Business’ still need designers, just with no strings (salary, benefits, etc.) attached. What is a pension anyway?
I am excited to see that designers are getting themselves out there. By using social media and Open Source technology, plus some smart branding, you can make a business for yourself. Set up your website to give the user instant gratification; the faster the better.
In this economic climate, if you can deliver good, efficient design, companies will hire you. They just want to know that you can make it work.