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Michael A. Salario is a successful freelance graphic artist and web designer who has worked for major businesses and local charities.
Fresh out of college, Michael A. Salario has already found success as a freelance graphic artist and web designer. He currently resides in St. Louis, MO, where he works and studies. He graduated only two years ago and is already making a full-time living in his area of study. Salario is proud to have worked with charities including the Adoption Exchange, a special provider of expertise and support during the adoption process, and Agape Help House, a group devoted to helping low-income, disabled and elderly families with financial difficulties.
Michael A. Salario works with an array of clients from across the country who typically reach out to him through the Internet. But the majority of his business still comes from working with local companies and charity organizations. Salario especially enjoys working for philanthropic organizations, for which he willingly offers discounted design options. On occasion, Salario provides free designs for the benefit of these charitable organizations. Offering free or discounted contributions to charities is Salario’s own way of giving back to his community.
Salario can skillfully design a wide range of products, including:
• Posters, fliers and billboards
• Business cards
• Web designs
• 3D models
• Online banner ads
• Cover designs
• Photo edits
Apart from meeting and exceeding the design needs of his many clients, Salario engages in graphic art and design for his own satisfaction. This hobby enables him to continuously build on his portfolio and enhance his skills outside of his work with clients. When time permits, Salario also creates art projects for his impressive online following. As he explains, producing original works of art is a completely different challenge than his usual work for professional organizations.
Like many artists, Michael A. Salario grappled with his passion for art from a very young age. From the start, it seemed that Salario had a knack for creating. Yet while he easily impressed his family, teachers and peers, Salario was never able to satisfy his high personal standards. Whenever he tried to create “serious art,” he always identified some factor or characteristic that seemed a little off.
Michael A. Salario has always had a strong passion for art, but he struggled to find the right medium. In school, he tried various options, none of which were able to fulfill his distinct likings. Sculpture and painting just weren’t his callings. He tried every type of art that his high school threw his way, but nothing felt exactly right. Instead of giving up on his passion, he persevered and continued to explore his creative options.
With no distinct plan of action, Michael A. Salario enrolled in a local liberal arts college. At this point, he still had no idea where his life was leading or in what direction he should take his studies. Rather than declaring a major from the start, he took general education classes to get a feel for his interests.
All of his uncertainty dissolved when he took his first graphic design class. He enrolled and entered the class half-heartedly, but he soon realized that he had found his niche – the artistic area he truly enjoyed. Graphic art offered Salario the freedom to create while allowing more room for error. This medium offered the break from traditional art that Salario was looking for. Graphic arts enabled Salario to express himself in a precise way that the other mediums never offered. He was able to tweak his work in a way that satisfied his inner perfectionist.
In these classes, Michael A. Salario learned a valuable lesson regarding his new artistic outlet. As he learned from his professors, while working in graphic design, an artist needs to be completely open to the preferences of whomever he or she is working for. The design is for the customer, not for the artist. The customer needs to be impressed.
“I learned to relish even my failed visions,” explains Salario. “Mistakes aren’t mistakes. Even if my design is skewed from it’s original plan, those mistakes are intentional. Any so-called mistake should be spun in a positive, productive way.”
Michael A. Salario graduated in 2011 with his BA in Graphic Design and entered a career as a freelance artist and designer.
There are graphic designers of all experience levels trying to start their careers as freelancers. Some are straight out of college while others are seasoned designers stepping out on their own for the first time. Many designers decide to work as freelancers but don’t know where to start. Here are some tips from Salario to help prepare newbie designers for the challenges ahead:
1. Start Freelancing Part-Time.
Freelancing does not promise stability or consistency as a professional path. Because of all the unknowns, it is wise to start freelancing part-time while working a full-time job. This dual workload will put a lot on your plate, but it will also reduce the pressure to produce immediate income. You will still have your full-time salary to supplement your design earnings. Financial flexibility will give the freedom to focus on building your skills and your overall business.
2. Have at Least Some Experience.
There are many freelancer designers out there. Michael A. Salario notes that freelancers don’t need to have a particular degree or educational background, though these foundations can be extremely helpful. There are no professional regulations that require freelancers to have a certain level of experience. Because there are so many freelancers, you have to develop a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.
If you are just getting started in your area of work, try to gain some professional experience. This process does not require you to work for a top company. Personal projects and volunteering for a non-profit are great ways to learn, experiment and grow. Put yourself in a position that will expand your skill set. Experience in any form will make you much more valuable to prospective clients.
Insurance is one of the biggest things that designers forget when they begin freelancing. But in the end, insurance protects your business. Most companies are already enrolled in some sort of insurance program. Getting business insurance is crucial because it protects you against any negligence allegations and property damages that might occur.
3. Understand the Downsides of Freelancing.
A career in freelance requires a solid balance between work and personal life. Working from home definitely has its fair share of perks, but it is sometimes difficult for designers to separate their work time from their down time. Because of this challenge, many freelancers end up working more hours than they would have if they were employed with a company.
Freelancers must understand that they might not receive a steady paycheck. Steady income is a comfort that employed designers enjoy. Many freelancers won’t have this financial consistency. As a result, freelancers should recognize that there will be good months and bad months. This fluctuation is something you must understand and accept as an independent graphic artist.
A potential pitfall in freelancing is the lack of interaction. When you work in an office setting, there is a constant flow of people and ideas. Working at home may remove a lot of this communication flow.
4. Set Up Shop
Because freelancing poses problems when it comes to separating work and personal time, it’s important to set your hours. If you keep to a schedule that you can alter as needed, it will be easier for you to be productive and manage your time wisely. Make sure there is a designated work area in your home. Lounging in bed in your pajamas with your laptop is definitely tempting, but does this scenario truly invoke the state in which you do your best work? Michael A. Salario recommends keeping your home office separate from the rest of the living space. Keep this area comfortable and far from any distractions.
Michael A. Salario is dedicated to providing his clients with top-tier designs. He understands that graphic design requires an extensive skill set. Salario exemplifies the qualities found in highly-sought-after graphic artists and web designers.
Salario will continue to cultivate a unique creative style. Every designer has a different style of work. Great graphic designers have an innovative and distinguishable signature that leaves an imprint on the audience. Salario will continue to develop and adopt an array of styles to meet the designing preferences of his clients.
Salario has a keen eye for typography. He believes a firm grasp on typography will continue to separate excellent designers from mediocre creative professionals. Salario will continue to use his knowledge of font families, line-height, kerning and tracking to produce clean and well-formulated textual designs.
With every project he completes, Salario works towards enhancing his skills. He is currently taking on digital print production projects and utilizing the desktop publishing programs InDesign, Quark and Adobe. As Salario recognizes, prospective employers increasingly prefer a graphic designer who can competently complete these types of projects.
Michael A. Salario continues to act as a mentor to aspiring graphic design artists and freelancers. To these individuals, Salario recommends building a strong professional network. In any career, it helps to have the guidance and support of peers with similar backgrounds. He urges designers of all experience levels to start a blog which will help them to get their work noticed, while keeping them connected to other professionals in their field.
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