One of the hardest things to do when starting out as a designer is to get your name and work out into the world. It can be an intimidating feat, as more designers are popping up all over the globe, but here are a few things you can do to get people interested in your work.
1. Keep a blog or online portfolio.
“Misha” by Dan Matutina for GOOD Magazine
This is a cause for argument, but putting your work up online is one of the easiest, most immediate ways to circulate your work. Dan Matutina, or Twisted Fork, says that a lot of his work were commissioned because of the samples he posted on his website and Behance portfolio. Clients stumbled upon his work, were impressed and hired him.
While you run the risk of copycats, chances are you will get to reach someone you might not get to meet otherwise. It helps if you actually get your stuff out there. If you’re not comfortable yet, try uploading 400-pixel wide “screenshots” of your work up on Dribbble.
Setting up blogs is easy and free. See what happens when you do.
2. Create and cultivate passion projects.
“Self Portrait” by Mark Weaver
From March 2008 to December 2009, Mark Weaver created Make Something Cool Every Day, a collection of exercises. This helped him work on his style and get people interested in him and his work. Another designer, Nicole Meyer, started Branding 10,000 Lakes, which was circulated quite a bit last year.
“Woodpile Lake” by Nicole Meyer
These projects challenge you as a designer, and you end up creating output even on your downtime. Plus, when you generate buzz for these fun personal projects, you also pique a widespread interest towards your other design work.
3. Go to design workshops, galleries, and events.
Networking is a big and important part of this line of work. Getting to know similarly-minded people will not only help your growth as a designer, but also helps you create ties with the current scene in your area.
When someone respectable gets to know what you can do, and can vouch for you and your work, it will go a long way, in terms of support, credibility, and circulation.
4. Make a business card.
A common argument may be that the main source of communication these days is done over some digital means. But this doesn’t mean that business cards are obsolete.
Put your contact information, website or portfolio on these babies and hand them out at gatherings, events and parties. After a busy night of socializing, it will help new acquaintances and potential clients attach a name to a face. It also puts your contact information—literally—right at their fingertips.
“Fitzgerald Business Cards” by The Heads of State
5. Get to know people outside your field.
Once you’ve established connections with the people in your own industry, branch out and meet other people from different walks of life. Small business, enterprising individuals, and companies outside the creative bubble need design services, too!
It’s a big world out there, and it may be tough for you to start out, but these steps will help you at least get your name out there, ready for possibilities.