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Knowing When to Leap Into Freelance Design

There's tons of articles out there telling you how to dive into freelance design. Most of them are inspirational. Others can be vague, leaving you wondering what your next steps are. How do you really know when you can safely leave your current job and become a full-time freelance designer?

Here's two different ideas to consider:
  1. Un-Reliance On Software Tutorials
  2. Sufficient Nest Egg
One way you can know that you're ready is when you don't have to look up tutorials on YouTube every time you need to perform basic functions in the software you use. If you use photoshop a lot and you constantly have to re-watch tutorials on how to use layer masking, you are probably not ready quite yet. Once you feel like you have a strong command over the software you use (or other tools you use), then you're ready to tackle any project that comes your way.

The other way you know you're ready is financial: make sure to have enough funds to cover 6 month's worth of expenses, plus a little extra for emergencies. There's no magic number, but the more you save, the less risky your leap into freelancing will be.

There's more ways you can know, but hopefully these two ideas will help you look at this challenge from a different angle.
Sam Torrey

This week's .design site spotlight goes to...!

Darrell Estabrook, the creator behind, starts off with a clear and compelling message: "I create, lead and love design"
. There's a neat interactive node web at the top of the page that adds a nice visual touch. It's great to see when designers are involved in the community, and Darrell's site showcases some examples of design workshops and critique sessions to promote design thinking.

Have a .design site you'd like to nominate? By nominating a .design site that reaches the spotlight, you could win cool stuff like a .design sweatshirt, or a .design mug and more.

Building Your Color Palette

RefactoringUI published an interesting article discussing the process of designing your own color palette for projects. Lots of good insights here when thinking about color theory and UI design.
10 Free Dot Textures
Thanks to Bart Wesolek for uploading this set of textures. You can use these files as backgrounds for retro themes or to achieve an old-fashioned magazine style look. 

An Ode to Usability

Katerina Karagianni's article is a breath of fresh air amidst complicated design methodologies that lose site of a key user experience goal: usability.
ODE TO USABILITY Design, Leadership, and Ambiguity

 This interview with Senior Product Designer Diógenes Brito discusses what's ahead for slack, the product.
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