Five signs you are a workaholic freelance designer

After a couple of weeks of hard work without a day off, you force yourself to take an evening off and at 9.15pm you find yourself writing and illustrating an article on ‘Five signs you are a workaholic freelance designer’, then I guess that’s me then.

1.When to relax from work, you open a copy of Computer Arts magazine ‘to unwind’.


2. When you have design dreams in your sleep.

designer dreaming

3. Unable to not check your phone.





4. When you get some time off and you go ‘finally, I can work on animation!’.




5. When on a date in a nice restaurant you are thinking, ‘This place is nice, if I did their website it would look great on my portfolio’, how can I get the conversation on to web design?.





All work and no play…

Overwork is not good, is not smart. One of the hardest things for me as a freelance designer and illustrator is to switch off. I am passionate about my work, there are things I want to achieve. We are living in a time of great creativity open to everyone. If you have a computer, Adobe software and an internet connection, the world is your oyster. The gatekeepers have been removed, the creative industry is open, open for talent and a strong work ethic.

But switching off, rest, sleep, eating healthy and regular exercise all make you a better person, and a better designer. So don’t over work, and take good care of yourself.

I sound like I am giving a lecture. I am just talking to myself. Or blogging as other people call it.


A re-launch of my side project Iain, my cartoon website


My cartoon website has just been re-launched. As with my other side project, my football website it is an opportunity for me to develop skills and express myself on my own terms. I greatly enjoy working with clients, but it is nice on my personal projects to do exactly what I want. It also makes me a better designer when working with clients, and a bit less of a control freak.

The drawing style for is very different from my commercial illustration style. And is a very enjoyable way to work. I now have a brand new Facebook page to bring people into. It currently has precisely six! Hint, hint.

Follow Iain on Facebook



Barmaid formerly of the Folies Bergère

This is from my cartoon website at As a huge fan of Edouard Manet’s paintings, when I’m in London I always visit The Courtauld Institute gallery to visit Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergère. It is a sensational painting. Situated about a two minute walk from Trafalgar Square on The Strand it is also a lot quieter than the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.



Fake it until you make it as a designer

Fake it until you make it is a great piece of advice for designers. Or a slightly more accurate piece of advice that doesn’t scan quite as well, is Fake it until you become it. Act like you believe in yourself, act like you are a serious professional, act like this meeting or whatever is an every day occurrence, and eventually it will be. It also gives you something to concentrate on (the acting) rather than dealing with nerves or stress.



And once you have made it, sit back and watch everyone else faking it…

Here is a fascinating Ted Talk on the same subject.

WordPress designer cartoon




Cartoon design history of the RAF logo

The classic RAF logo is something of a design classic. It is simple classy and instantly recognisable. You can read about the logo (roundel) from the RAF’s site here.




Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A by NamelessFaithlessGod on deviantART



Hipsters in the design studio cartoons







My top 4 tips on starting a design and branding agency

1. Don’t blow all your start up capital on toys!


2. Do you want to work with your friends or lose your friends.


If you are starting a business with friends because it will be fun, you are going in with the wrong attitude. If they don’t have the same work ethic and/or commitment as you, you may well ruin a business and a friendship.

3. Be wary and be prepared


In business as in life the vast majority of people are hard working and honest. However every now and then you meet a bad one. Some are such skilled con men and women they will have conned you without you even knowing. Read about contracts. Look at contract templates. Cover yourself. Alternatively find yourself a hit man in need of a website/logo design. Just kidding… for legal reasons.

4. Get an accountant


Unless you really love accounting just get an accountant. Take away the hassle and stress of dealing with the tax man/woman…

Lies graphic designers say to art directors




equally spaced




‘Lies graphic designers say to Art Directors’ is based on my time working in agencies as a graphic designer working under Art Directors. Some of whom have been incredibly inspiring, talented people, who have taught me an immeasurable amount.

Hopefully that covers me should I run into any of them…