You have been creating designs for years. It’s an important hobby of yours, something that has grown slowly over time. You have a passion and a drive for it. Now you want to take it to the next level. You may have been making a small sum of money off of it in the past, from friends, acquaintances looking for your services. But now you want to get serious. You want to become a professional.
You want to turn it into a business, something you can work full-time at and make a living from your passion. It’s something you have grown personally, you have plans for it to grow even further and have envisioned an end goal as to what you want the business to be. You know its something you love, you’ve let the passion flourish naturally. You love the act of doing the work. Now you can start to monetize your services professionally.
But now you have exhausted the work from most of your friends and acquaintances and the jobs are coming in slowly. You want to branch out, make new clients, and have them approaching you. How do you grow your client list organically, without you approaching potential clients and asking them to do the favour of working for them? Because that’s what you are doing when you approach a client for work. Your asking them for a favour.
So how do you get approached by clients? First, you need to be good at what you do. When you’re good. You need to display case studies.
Case studies allow you to go into greater depth about the work that you do. It’s a behind the scenes look at how you work, how you solve problems, and provide solutions. It provides the reader/viewer a transparent look at the way you work, and instills trust and confidence that you have the ability to do the work. It’s a form of proof of your competency and professionalism.
Case studies are the difference between you getting hired or not.
That’s the power of case studies. It provides the potential client a look at your professional process, how you approach the work, and all the challenges and problems that are considered. This shows them that you’re not designing and creating work at your own whim, only making artwork and designs for yourself and not providing a valuable solution for the client you worked with.
Case studies demonstrate your professionalism, process, and knowledge of your skill.
In your case studies, which should be displayed on your website, you need to show the start to finish process and break-down the step by step as to how you approached and executed the piece of work for the client. You’re showing them how you work in different scenarios, under different sets of challenges. Case studies, because of their transparency, establish a trust in potential clients.
Now that the importance of case studies has been identified. What do you include in your case studies? Depending on your work and industry, these may vary, but in a general creation process, you should document;
- Introduction – When the client came to you, what situation they where in, who the client is and what they do. An overview of the beginning of the client conversation and planning stage.
- Goal & Brief – What the client wants as an end goal, what services they want from you and what problem they wanted solved by doing so, what outcome they wished to see from this solution, who the target audience is and what they are trying to convey with this piece, Why they wanted you to solve this problem, what you wish to do with the problem, initial thoughts and the direction you will take the project.
- Sketches – Show the start of your work through sketches, this is where the physical work should begin with any project. What direction you brought it in and the considerations for the project. Show the sketches of various styles you could have went in, and explain why you didn’t. The final sketches of the style you went with.
- Execution – The how, what, and why of what you did. Every decision you made during the process and why you made the decisions. The colour, the font, the style, your artistic flair. Any problems or challenges you faced and revisions that were made because of these problems. How you overcame them to get to the place you are at by the end of the piece.
- Vectors – Show the final piece of your artwork. The styles, alternative colours, sizing and scaling for different mediums (mobile, desktop etc.). Mockups in difference project specific scenarios. Meaning, don’t provide a logo mockup on a shop window, if it’s only intended to be placed in a digital space.
- Summery – How the project went, the problems you solved for the client, the challenges you overcame, why you choose to go in a certain direction. Any final thoughts on the project.
Providing case studies on your portfolio is a window for potential clients to look through at your process. It’s their very own space to see your work as in-depth and transparent as possible. It shows your competency and knowledge in your industry.
This is your best chance to demonstrate your professionalism. This is how you take the next step to becoming a professional freelance business with new clients who approach you, not the other way around.
Case studies transform your portfolio into a destination site.
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