When you’re working as a freelance graphic designer, there’s a very great potential for a project to go awry, be it in the moment or weeks, months, or even years after completion. Clients come with their own unique set of headaches, and if you aren’t taking the proper measures to ensure the lasting integrity of your work, you may find yourself in a real pickle. Thankfully, there are steps you can take now to safeguard yourself against such heartaches. Starting with:

  1. Keep Good Records: If you perform any sort of service, be it a logo redesign or a simple invoicing, make sure to keep a record of it somewhere. We don’t care if you archive everything and shove it onto an old hard drive, so long as it’s around. Doing this prevents any number of common problems. Clients have a nasty habit of asking questions about your materials often months after you’ve sent it off and have been paid. If you have log-in details, resolution grades, etc. saved to a record that’s easily accessible, these sorts of requests will be no problem. Obviously, organization is key here, and the more you can do the better. Take it easy on yourself and invest in a quality, cloud-based architecture. Evernote, even, is a great place to start.
  2. Keep a Calendar: Another simple step you can take that will streamline your life is keeping a calendar. The minute you set a milestone or deadline, log it away on an app like iCal. This way, if the client should want to dispute dates or stages later, you have a record on hand to show what you agreed to. Even better, if you can save all contracts or agreements as they’re created, you can even use the paperwork on hand to back-up your statements. And on a day-to-day level, keeping a calendar allows you to keep a better eye on what’s due and needs doing.
  3. Be Clear About Costs: Often times, an unprofessional client will try to pin all the extra printing costs on you. Not only is this unfair, it’s also not in your job description. Don’t let a client saddle you with extra financial baggage: Specify up front that you will only cover design costs, and that matters of printing, hosting, etc. are to be taken up with another professional, and are to be paid for by the client.