practical tips for aspiring motion graphic designers

Freelancing, 10 tips for the “aspiring motion designers”

Working as a freelance motion graphic designer can be complicated due to the many skills needed to get jobs!

In this article, I will give 10 tips to widen your bits of knowledge in this area:

Let’s have a look!

1_Fornisci delle opzioni ai tuoi clienti

2_Non aver paura di parlare di soldi in fase di ingaggio

3_For a freelance motion graphic designer, Negotiation is not optional

4_Be a better writer to become a better freelance motion graphic designer

5_Set up an agile contract for your motion graphic design projects

6_See “the big picture”

7_Be selective about your works as s motion graphics designer freelance

8_Listen carefully and make practical questions

9_Unleash the VALUE of your motion graphic design skills

10_Became THE indispensable motion graphic designer

1_Fornisci delle opzioni ai tuoi clienti

If you provide options, the reaction won’t be YES or NO, but which option is the better?

Evaluating this simple perspective, you can easily see the hidden value of options.

In the beginning, you could think: That is true but why do I have to do more work?

Because by providing options in the early phases of a project, you will work less later.

The rule can be suitable for many motion design aspects and is ideal for freelancers.

You can make “options” on prices or creative explorations; in whichever area you make them, the magic number is 3!

Try also to differentiate the proposals in terms of style for the creative productions or the outputs you will provide in terms of costs.

Using options will provide your client with a wide range of opportunities and kindly guide him to choose a clear path for both parties in the very early stages of a project.

I advise you to provide options when you’re working on your next motion design project; they seem to be a bit extra work in the present but can save you a lot of time in the future!

2_Non aver paura di parlare di soldi in fase di ingaggio

In the essential book for every freelance motion designer, “Win without pitching” by Blair Enns, he says about the rule of money: “Those who cannot talk about it, do not make it.

Think about the last time you spent a lot of time with a client by listening to his requests and then discovered that his budget was under your expectation and not enough for the requested effort.

Was it frustrating? For me, it was.

Talking about money early in the process of recruiting is crucial both for you and your client.

In the initial phases, I suggest setting ranges of prices based on output expectations.

To me, the key is the word RANGE. 

It is challenging to set a price when you need more information about a project, but setting ranges of prices is easier and more effective, especially in the early phases of a project.

The other advantage of setting up ranges is that it leaves little room to define the effective cost of the project when you have all the details about the output requested.

3_For a freelance motion graphic designer, Negotiation is not optional

You have to accept it. To become a better freelance motion designer, you should focus on going deeper in Negotiation.

Becoming more confident in negotiating will help you to be more persuasive in your job and make better business choices.

I want to focus on an aspect: Negotiation is not the ability to make all your conditions acceptable, but it is the mediation between parties.

To make your negotiations effective, focus on the aspects that make both parties happy and aim for a win-win situation.

Negotiation is about understanding the other party’s problem and finding the best solution.

In the context of human behaviour, there are some aspects related to cognitive psychology that are important you are aware of. 

My advice is to go deeper in Negotiation, as it will allow you to be better equipped to avoid unpleasant situations and do your job in better conditions.

One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is doing your job as a freelance motion graphic designer, underrated in terms of time or money.

Spend some time readings books about negotiation.

You will see how much it is present in everyday life, and you will get the power to influence your decisions and not act as a passive player in the motion design industry!

4_Be a better writer to become a better freelance motion graphic designer

Being good at writing is a skill that is too underrated. Writing correctly to explain a concept and present an idea is one of the key and most challenging aspects for the motion designers of the future.

Developing a concept and supporting it with visuals is one of the top skills required by companies before hiring a motion designer for a project.

You can be very good at animating in after effects, but if you can’t communicate your idea to the client before developing it, you have a few chances to make great results!

Writing could also be beneficial in your marketing tools such as Linkedin, blog or Facebook.

Tell a story using words is essential, as do it with images! Sometimes images are not enough to communicate a story, and you can do it very effectively by writing!

The combination of visuals and text is potent and can allow you to reach unexpected goals!

You should also master writing if you plan to work as Creative Director and Motion Design Director.

But, How do I get started?

In my personal experience, the best way to learn how to write is by writing!

It seems obvious, but it is true. What I found particularly useful is “Free writing”: Open your laptop or take a pen, choose a topic ( you could start by writing how you spend your day or write about something significant that happened to you) and start to write for 10 minutes without stopping.

Do not read your text to see if it sounds good, and do not take care of grammar mistakes; go on writing for 10 minutes without stopping.

After 10 minutes, go back to the beginning of the text and reread it. Now you already have something to work with!

You can begin editing the text, remove sentences and refine it until it is clear and sounds perfect!

Take deep consideration to show your text to others people. Sometimes we think that a concept is clear just because we understood it and not because it is well explained in our text.

You will discover that writing is fun; it sets your mind free and helps you develop crucial and often underrated skills for motion designers and future creative motion design directors!

5_Set up an agile contract for your motion graphic design projects

To defend your clients’ rights and yours when you are hired, I highly recommend setting up an easy and agile contract.

It doesn’t have to be articulated and complex; you only need to write down the agreement you and your client have reached.

Making an agile contract is also a way to think deeper about the agreement you reach and know if something is missing and you need to clarify it with the client before starting the job.

In the contract, you can include the time frame needed to develop the project, working days, assets you need to begin the project, budget, time for payments and rights of usage.

Then, at the bottom of the page, make a spot for you and your client to sign! If you are working with a client with a business, I advise you to leave a place for his business stamp.

If your document has a signature and stamp, it is “official”. If you do not request the stamp it could end up being legally “vague” because the signature sometimes is not enough to defend the document legally.

I advise setting up an agile contract for your projects to defend your and your client’s rights. By asking the client to sign it and put it on his business stamp, you will quickly see how he is reliable!

Beginning a project with all the terms and conditions written on paper and signed by both parties is a great way to start a job and be focused on.

6_See “the big picture”

By saying, “See the big picture”, I refer to what is intended to be a global vision.

How can I apply it to my career? You can use the idea of the “big picture” about everything; I prefer to apply it to something I do not like doing very much because it is a way to make it more appealing.

For example:

Are you struggling with learning 3D? See the big picture: if you add 3D to your motion design skills, you could get more money. 

Do you think that the budget for the project is too low? Consider if the brand or the kind of job you will be doing can help you somehow in your career; maybe you could attract more big clients in the future. Sometimes you could make some investments that will give you the results you expect only after some time!

I do not want to tell you to do stuff that you do not like or do not want but sometimes, it I do not want to ask you to do things that you do not like or do not want, but sometimes, it is worth stopping for a few seconds and thinking about the benefits or damage that you can give in the future.

My advice is to think about the consequences of your actions but not stop there! Think about the implications of the effects and go as far as you can with your imagination.

Now you should clearly understand the situation and estimate if it is worth the value of doing it!


7_Be selective about your works as s motion designer freelance

Nowadays for a motion designer, there are plenty of job opportunities!

I am not joking; everyone needs a motion designer, as everyone needed a graphic designer a few years ago.

The real challenge is to set “high” the quality of your jobs. By quality, I take count of the kind of output you deliver, the quality of your clients, the budgets you manage, and the environment you will be working in.

There is a massive request for motion design jobs, and, as a freelancer, you could find yourself “lost in the jungle”.

My advice is to take a direction you want to specialise in and be coherent!

Decline the job offers with a budget that you do not think appropriate, decline offers of roles that are out of your specialisation and so on. One important thing to know is how to decline an offer kindly.

Be sure to be respectful and kind to other people because you may meet them again one day!

Time changes things, and the world of motion design is smaller than you imagine!

My advice is to be selective with your jobs but keep good relationships with clients and colleagues; by doing so, you will be ready to take part in the next opportunity at the right time!

8_Listen carefully and make practical questions

Becoming an effective listener is a practical soft skill that will boost your career.

People focus on their problems, which is why listening effectively and understanding others is valuable.

The advice is efficient when you work as a freelance motion graphic designer.

The next time a client calls you for a project or a consultancy, try to focus exclusively on his problems and put him at the centre of the conversation.

A consequence of this behaviour is to learn to ask practical questions!

By asking questions, you will uncover unexpected things and help you better understand your situation and the context in which you will operate.

Practice active listening, and focus on essential questions that will help you better understand the client’s needs and the project’s purpose!

9_Unleash the VALUE of your motion designs skills

The value you provide as a motion graphic designer is the number one aspect you should focus on when talking with a potential client.

Instead of thinking about you as someone that solves a technical problem, think of your work from the perspective of the benefits the client will get with your outputs.

Will Your animation make it easier for your client to increase sales?

Will your video increase the social media presence of the client? If so, he can generate more followers and potential clients.

If you frame your job by unleashing the value you provide, you will be hired easier and with higher budgets.

Your daily rate cannot be your exclusive rate because the more you become good and fast as a freelance motion graphic designer, the less money you will gain!

That has no sense!

Focusing on your client, try to understand the project’s specific goals in tangible results, and make them clear and explicit for both of you!

If you unleash the value of your work, you will find it easy to justify higher rates that contribute to generating the objectives you set with your client as a goal for the project!

10_Become THE indispensable motion designer

We always heard that everyone could be replaced by others, which is true if you want to act as “everyone”.

My advice is to become indispensable; do not limit yourself in what you SHOULD do but in everything you CAN do to achieve better results.

Use your brain to come up with new and better solutions to face problems, make that “extra mile” that will allow your projects to exceed expectations.

As a final tip, collect excellent feedbacks you will receive from your clients and display them as “testimonials” on your website or Linkedin profile.

You will soon find your profile will be much more requested as a freelance motion designer, and you will get better clients looking to work with you! 

If you place yourself in a position to be essential, you will always find a better spot in the industry.

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Leggi: Come diventare un motion graphic designer freelance di successo