Becoming A Freelancer



Those of you seeking the life of self-employment have come to the right place, This Is It! will take you through the procedures of becoming your own boss.

Legal Mumbo-jumbo

Before you decide to say goodbye to the workforce  to embark on the joys of self-employment, you have to declare your decision to the old Gov through HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). It’s simply a way to regulate your conducting business above board, that means no cash in hand or doing a Wesley snipes (tax evasion). The government needs to keep tabs in order to combat an underground economy(unreported earnings), so make sure you start off your new life as a freelancer in compliance  with the law.

What is Freelancing?

Freelancing is simply an exchange of a skill for payment, in exchange for your skills a client commissions work, said work can come under an array of fields. Payment is  usually received by the hour, day or a deposit is payed upfront and the rest on completion of the project. Most freelancers typically hold a short-term contract with their clients. The origin of the word Freelance is an interesting one, it derives from the word ‘Free Lance’ a term given to  Knights during the middle ages, who had no commitment to a lord.


You are essentially a one man band-a solo company, that means you’re the receptionist, administrator, accountant and the service provider all rolled into one, having  a rounded skill-set is very important in the life of a freelancer. In a market saturated with self-employed creatives, standing out from the rest of the  crowd can be a very difficult thing to do. That’s where branding comes into play, in order to standout and give yourself  a good running chance of succeeding, you must execute perfect brand aesthetic. Keep in mind these important questions:

1) Who is my target audience and intended market?

2) What fees should I charge and what budgets can I realistically  work within?

3) How many clients can I take on at a time?



You should not only rely on a social media presence to drive in custom, marketing in person can be hugely effective, if not the best way to get brand recognition. People tend to enjoy one-on-one interaction, networking gives you a platform that allows you to let your personality shine through. You are your brand and nothing can represent you better than yourself. Through networking, potential clients are able to make inquiries and receive direct response straight from the horses mouth. This allows them to gauge if you’re the type of person they want to work with. Present the best you possible, a few “yes darlings”, “fabulous observation” and  “have you noticed the subtle nuance…” wouldn’t go a mess.



You are ultimately branding yourself so a perfect place to start developing your brand elements is through brainstorming. Break down your brainstorm into 5 sections then branch off e.g Skills-social skill, digital skills, etc. Make sure you stay consistent throughout your brand identity, listed below are staple brand elements.

Note: A major thing people seem to forget is the appropriateness of their email addresses. just wont cut it,  it’s time to upgrade, find something more appropriate for the professional world of business.


Sites to get started on

Peopleperhour: is a particular favourite, they have a system set up that keeps both freelancer and client happy. You don’t have to wait for a client to find you, you  can do the leg work and hunt through client proposals.

Freelancer: uses a bid system, potential clients post a project and you bid  against other freelancers for the job.

Getacoder: for tech head freelancers Getacoder is the perfect middleman to find clients on.

Envelop: if you’re a dab hand at illustration or photography, Envelop is for you. They offer an online print-on-demand platform, you upload your images and choose from an array of materials to print on.



Trendy Office space





Google campus: is located in the heart of London’s art scene. Google campus offers not only a work space but a constant flow of networking and speaking events.





Office Club Peckham: offers Incubator space in London’s new hotspot, the new hipster hangout, Peckham. If you like up-cycled furniture and local street food this office space will be just up your street.




UK Jellyis a workspace event, you can find a jelly event in your local area and if one doesn’t exist there is an option of setting one up. Jelly events offer free WiFi and parking with small charges made for food and drink.





Dukes Studios: This northern beauty is both cosy and super contemporary. If the website doesn’t scream cool and on trend, the office interior sure does.






Ziferblat: is one of the quirkiest spaces on this list, at 3p a minute it’s also the cheapest. The brain child of Russian artist Ivan Mitin, this coffee/workspace chain is a winner, a rare space where everything but time is free.







Fruitworks: is one of the fastest growing work spaces in the South East of England.








Central Working-Deansgate: offers flexible renting with no hassle of a lease, Central working also have four offices in London.








CampusNorth: is a Newcastle based hub dedicated to helping the growth of digital startups, they have a varied membership package.

Work Stories: Jasmeen & Didi Luton Library

Not only is it somewhere nice for people to go to for some piece and quiet, but also it is a social hub, where people get to take stuff out for free. And who doesn’t like free stuff?

Jasmeen and Didi speak to This Is It! about working as Creative Employment Programme Interns for Luton Library and why they think Libraries are still important.


What were you doing before you started working here?

Jasmeen: Before I worked with Luton central library, I was looking for work. I had mainly been doing temporary work for a variety of different companies. Most recently, I was a research assistant for a pharmaceutical company.

Didi: I was working as a part time Receptionist/Administrator at a local charity.


What made you made you want to apply for this role?

Jasmeen: I was very excited about being given the opportunity to work in a knowledge filled environment. I had spent most of my time as a child in libraries, and had acted as a volunteer on many occasions. I loved it then, so when I saw that such an opportunity had arisen, I jumped on it.

Didi: I am enthusiastic about the importance of books and information. I was attracted to the opportunity of putting the communication and IT skills I had acquired from my previous role to help support people in the local community.

There’s always something to do, and something new to learn.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at Luton Libraries?

Jasmeen: At the moment I do a little bit of everything. I work both with the frontline staff and with the librarians. Working with the frontline staff includes providing customers with the library’s services. As a result, we are actively helping customers with their needs. I could also be stacking shelves and finding requests placed by customers from anywhere in the county.

Working with the librarians, I help to sort out the ordering of new books, and the withdrawal of old or unwanted books from the system. In addition librarians organise a lot of events in the library, part of my role involves recording feedback from customers who attended these events. I have also recently been writing a lot of articles for the newsletters and designing posters!

Didi: I spend half of my time as a Library intern in Luton Central Library working frontline. This involves working hands on to help customers borrow items and find information, to help run activities in the library, and to carry out routine duties like shelving and sectioning.

I spend the other half of my time working on projects based around the Universal Offers. The Universal Offers are the four key areas of service that are essential to a 21st century library service. I am working under the Reading Offer with Children. This involves promoting reading through reading groups, challenges, promotions and author events. Currently, we are working on the Summer Reading Challenge. This offer has been developed in partnership with The Reading Agency to encourage children to read books whilst on their summer break.

I believe that public libraries are at the heart of any community. It’s a safe place where you can meet people and access a wide range of resources for knowledge or pleasure as well as providing free entertainment.

What’s the best part about working in a library?

Jasmeen: There’s always something to do, and something new to learn. There’s always a way to explore the progressive skills that have been gained as an individual, which I am very happy about. On top of that, you get the satisfaction of helping someone find what they need, and their gratitude is always heart-warming. You also get to meet and socialise with people of all different cultural backgrounds, which has made me appreciate what a big, yet small world we live in.

Didi: I enjoy the variety of the job, from dealing with members of the public on some days to working on a project or visiting other local libraries on other days. No day is the same and that excites me.

logo 2

Why do you think it’s important to get more people using libraries?

Jasmeen: There is a very big community in the library. Not only is it somewhere nice for people to go to for some piece and quiet, but also it is a social hub, where people get to take stuff out for free. And who doesn’t like free stuff?

Didi: I believe that public libraries are at the heart of any community. It’s a safe place where you can meet people and access a wide range of resources for knowledge or pleasure as well as providing free entertainment. The services offered can help local people to learn and boost vital everyday skills needed to survive in an ever-changing society.


Find out more about Luton Library through their Website and Facebook page.


Young & Hungry: A Graduate Round-Up

Emma Palin gives This Is It! a round up of the degree show season and her top 7 design graduates to watch. So take a look at this years fresh talent.

There’s a mix of different designers below but they all share the same passion and dedication to get what they want

It can take a lot to stand out during degree show season – with so many talented students fighting for attention it can be visually overwhelming and careful curation of space is certainly needed. Many universities outside of London take the opportunity to showcase at the likes of Free Range and New Designers in order to reach target employers and other likeminded creatives and this can result in offers of commissions, jobs and placements. I scoured the shows this year in order to find the graduates who went that extra mile to be seen and I’ve been following them since to see how they are moving forward with their practise. There’s a mix of different designers below but they all share the same passion and dedication to get what they want so take a look, be inspired and follow suit.


Katie Alderson | Decorative Artist

Katie Alderson

An organised student if I ever saw one, Katie truly went above and beyond with her Individuality Vessels and Element Lamps. Each vessel represents a star sign and different materials have been used in order to emphasise the characteristics such as peacock feathers embracing the flamboyant Leo character and white feathers showing the carefree attitude of a Sagittarius. As well as her own exhibition at Nottingham Trent University, Katie also featured at New Designers where she was awarded Highly Commended by The Contemporary Glass Society and selected by Absolut Vodka as one of their top 30. As well as exhibiting at Mission Gallery, Coombe Gallery, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and Lustre, she’s currently interning for a designer and looking to start a 2 year programme with Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield. This will provide her with mentoring and studio space to help with the development of her collection – as you can tell she is already a very busy lady so keep an eye on this one and get in there early for commissions!



Jess Rose | Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Jess Rose

Jess’s digitally printed scarves and vivacious portfolio called out to the colour enthusiast in me. Some of her designs are actually based on looking at a common cold through a microscope resulting in a mix of grimy bacteria transformed into a beautiful array of organic shapes. Jess’s scarves allow you to literally wear your illness, making for a very unique concept. With an obvious fascination for risograph printing Jess has now taken residence at the Dizzy Ink studio in Nottingham as part of the Santander SME internship scheme. She is currently helping them get up and running by creating content and running workshops whilst learning more about printing techniques. Having previously collaborated with pARTicle magazine – a new visual science publication which aims to break down jargon with colourful graphics, illustration and photography – Dizzy Ink seems like the perfect next step for Jess to continue creating and mastering her diverse style.



Samuel Bellamy | Furniture & Product Designer

Samuel Bellamy

Selected as part of the New Design Britain Awards at May Design Series, Samuel was already exhibiting his Moroccan Lamps before others had even completed their final major projects. This extra publicity has certainly held him in good stead and he walked away as winner of Accessories category and People’s Choice Awards. He then went on to exhibit at New Designers along with the rest of Nottingham Trent University and was again swamped with positive interest. Samuel’s designs are very luxurious and he pays meticulous attention to detail, creating high quality finishes and intricate parts within his products. Having previously been awarded Boss Design’s Student Designer of the Year at Clerkenwell Design week all the way back in 2013, Samuel has grand plans to continue with the Bellamy Design brand and get his Moroccan Lamps into production.



Emily Meghann Taylor | Illustrator 

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Emily’s work is honest and to the point. She stood out from the crowd immediately as someone who was addressing topics through her illustration, all whilst being subtle and decorative with her designs. The idea behind her final project was to look at different shapes and sizes of women by combining female nudes with a variety of cacti. The two have been intertwined making for a great image composition and a beautiful blend of salmon pinks and greens. Emily also created cushions for a chair using her illustrations showing her versatility as a commercial illustrator – it’s the extras such as this that set her apart from others. After graduating from Swansea University with a first class honours Emily has been exhibiting this summer and will be starting her masters in September. I love the thought process behind Emily’s work and she has plenty more featured on her site so make sure you check it out for more clean lines and eccentric doodles.



Emma Buckley | 3D Design 

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I was first taken by Emma’s earthenware due to the pastel hues and dip-dye effect. After investigating the technique used the project became even more interesting as a dye typically used for the tie-dye process, Procion MX, is used to create the ombré finish. The dye is inserted through a sandblasted gap in the glaze, which depending on the size of the gap ultimately controls the end result in this highly unpredictable process. A unique end product emerges which is highly appealing for decorative purposes. It’s lovely to see someone experimenting with materials and pushing the boundaries of their practise in order to create inspiring products – Emma has since been featured by both Dezeen and Confessions of a Design Geek so others obviously agree!  She is currently interning for designer Fernando Laposse where she is working on lots of projects and commissions leading up to LDF which will hopefully make for great experience to do it all on her own in the very near future.



Faith Earle | Illustrator

Faith Earle

Purely decorative vibes can be just as good as the projects that have a concept but the work does need to be visualised in a certain way. Birmingham City University graduate Faith Earle nailed this and had a lot of buzz around her work from some of the more commercial companies. With her designs transferred onto wrapping paper, cushions and lampshades, Faith advertised how businesses could use her illustrations whilst also showing her potential to create her own brand. She incorporates textures into her designs with a splash of ink or a scribble of crayon and this adds a playful, youthful essence to her work. She is currently working at Next on a placement within the boys wear department and will also be taking some work experience with Hallmark cards later on this year.



Jeddediah Presland | Furniture Designer 

Jeddediah Presland

As a recent graduate from The National School of Furniture Jeddediah’s main impetus in design is simplicity and functionality but with a touch of multi-culturalism. His Mameluk Plate instantly caught my eye due to the beautiful symmetry and organic shapes created for the digital design of his Corian ® plate. The material was used to rework the traditional Turkish copper trays which serve as both table and plate throughout Islamic culture and you can eat directly from the plate, place it on the floor, on a table or hang it as a decorative wall piece using the purpose made peg. This multifunctional aspect is addressed in all of Jeddediah’s projects making him the perfect designer to create solutions within small interior spaces. With a wide range of live projects and collaborations Jeddediah was ready and waiting to be commissioned at his degree show and this prompted a lot of positive interest in his work plus a backing from the wonderful Bethan Gray.


Author Emma Palin

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Emma is a freelance writer / blogger in the design industry who is always on the lookout for new talent mainly within illustration and graphic design. You’ll probably find her at a local design week along with her pooch George!


For more of Emma’s writing have a look at her website 

Kusheda, Printmaker



This Is It! speaks to Kusheda a budding Printmaker about the path that led her to Printmaking , the process and much, much more.

There’s a method to the madness, but I also love when I make mistakes

How did you get into printmaking?

After making the choice not to study Fashion Design I found myself in a bit of a creative hole. I was unsure of the next step to take – all I knew at the time was I loved to draw and I was bursting for a creative outlet to use my skills in- something tangible. During that time I attended a lot of exhibitions which got my creative juices flowing again, which’s when I decided to study at Kingston College on a short course to keep the creative momentum going.

Whilst working in retail I made a friend who was extremely excited about the course she was studying at LCC called Surface Design. She told me if drawing was what I loved to do, then a course in Surface Design would be right up my street. It was a course that offered a range of transferrable skills – the printing method could be utilised in many mediums such as ceramics, wallpaper, textiles, etc. She also mentioned that you can print onto pretty much any surface which sparked some excitement for me. I liked the fact that I could print onto textiles as it was still within my fashion background. After a few conversations with her I decided print design was the way to go.


Can you give us a run through of the process of textiles print?

I do experimental screen printing. On occasions I come up with a hand drawn pattern and expose it onto a screen to print, or sometimes I expose random torn bits of paper, shapes or textures onto the screen and start playing around, it’s a varied process. There’s a method to the madness, but I also love when I make mistakes – some of the prints are finished pieces and sometimes I feel as though I could take them further. When I feel the urge to take a print further I scan my fabrics onto my computer and adapt the colour, shapes and composition to create a different outcome. It’s all very experimental.

What’s your favourite part of the design process?

It’s how free I can be, I can be as expressive as I want to be with colour and shape. Patterns can come about from anything, a water mark, a stain, a squibble, you just have to be loose and play around with your screen or digital skills and a whole other 50 prints can be made from one small thing. I’m an experimental screen printer so I try and go with the flow as much as possible. A print’s outcome has a lot to do with  how I feel on the  day a piece is created, my work’s heavily influenced by emotion and mood. It’s a very abstract method.


It’s all very experimental.

What or whom inspires you?

Colours inspire me. I love colours in paintings, what they symbolise and the mood they can put you in. Sometimes looking at a painting or an image can take you away, I try to create that same feeling in my print. I like to create mini abstracts, a form of escapism. I try to mainly focus on colour and a feeling and it all seems to come together. Texture is always a main focus in my work; textures have the ability to inspire a print straight away.

A while ago I realised there was another constant theme that reoccurred in my work, I called it the Diamond Life. The Diamond Life was a kind of escapism I used to create my print. The theme originated from dreaming about a life of no worries, a life of no worries equaled a life of luxury. As a girl who grew up on a council estate in Peckham with big dreams, I always let those dreams drive my work.  Looking at images of a life I aspired to, as materialistic and frivolous as it may sound, helped me formulate colours and conjure a mood that I transferred into my work.

 no one else can produce the work that comes from you, so stick to it.

Give 5 words that sum up your aesthetic style

Abstract, painterly, boisterous, experimental and current.

What are the current hot trends in the world of textiles design?

I honestly don’t know, I don’t look at what anyone is doing currently. There are a few brands I like that do print design like e.g. Takanaka, Loewe Dries Van Noten  but I don’t look at trends. I make what I like, and often look to design inspiration from artists. I’ve recently been looking at Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly or Richard Diebenkorn works for inspiration.


Where would you like to be in the next five years?

Working freelance ideally, producing my own work as well as doing collaborative work with designers who need prints for fashion or interiors. I would love my own studio or showroom of classic design work. I want to be kept constantly busy creating new work and projects and putting on exhibitions. I would also like to talk with young kids with dreams as big as mine to reassure and reaffirm to them that their dreams are possible. I’m also into interiors so maybe one day making my own furniture would be nice, but one step at a time.

I called it the Diamond Life

What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting in to textile printing?

Have an open mind when it comes to designing. Have patience when it comes to print practices because it doesn’t always come easy and last but not least practice makes perfect. Don’t try to produce things like you’ve seen before, no one else can produce the work that comes from you, so stick to it.


Why the Creative Industry is Important

Dominic tells This Is It! why he thinks the Creative Industry is so important and predicts what it’s future might be. If you want to write a piece for This Is It contact Izzy to get involved.


According to an article published this year, the Creative Industries are now worth ‘£8.8 million an hour’ to the UK economy. That’s a total of £76.9 billion a year. So the creative industries are hugely valuable right?

For me the largest impact the creative industries make on society is the ability to change the way we interact with one another.

The economic impact film, music, art and design have on society is obvious. However the numbers don’t tell the entire story, largely because, as most creative types will tell you ‘it’s not about the money!’

Films like Pulp Fiction and Fight Club first exposed me to dark humour and cinematic violence. While I was definitely too young to watch these films, they inspired me to want to watch more and more.

For me the largest impact the creative industries make on society is the ability to change the way we interact with one another. We can now contact anyone, anywhere, at anytime and all you need is a smartphone. A tool designed by a ‘creative’ that people will now spend hundreds of pounds to own. Apple and Steve Jobs managed to create an entire lifestyle around beautifully designed products, cinematic commercials and stores with patented staircases.

Personally it has been film that has had the largest impact on me. Films like Pulp Fiction and Fight Club first exposed me to dark humour and cinematic violence. While I was definitely too young to watch these films, they inspired me to want to watch more and more. The impact these works had on me is something I still feel today.

While this all sounds warm and fuzzy you can’t ignore the fact I’m still talking about an industry. An industry that for me, is about to face some interesting times.

Will the next batch of graduates look to pastures new? I hope so. I believe the Internet (as usual) is the answer.

Traditionally creative folk gravitate toward cities like London and New York due to the established arts scene and job prospects. However the cost of living in London has made it harder for young talent to establish itself.

Will the next batch of graduates look to pastures new? I hope so. I believe the Internet (as usual) is the answer. It’s a platform for creation, promotion and networking allowing you to base yourself nearly anywhere while still reaching a global audience. Soon we’ll be seeing new creative hubs springing up outside of London, New York and Paris with young people seeking a lower cost of living.

To read more of Dominic’s work have a look at his This Is Us page HERE.