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Thread: Are there any successful freelance structural designers out there?

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    Junior Member MSquaredDesigns is on a distinguished road
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    Are there any successful freelance structural designers out there?

    Hey there...

    For the past couple years, I've been itching to go freelance and work for myself offering structural design services to the packaging industry. anything under 40" or so with no perimeters other then the sheet size. What's plagued my mind and kept me from moving down that road is the fact that I do not know of anyone doing this independently and being successful with it. I realize the trade can be pricey.... you have material costs, a plotter, and shipping costs that need to be paid to get samples to the clients.

    Aside from the list above, what other variables come into play which may impact whether or not a freelance structural designer would be successful?

    Is it supply and demand? Consistency of work available?

    Enlighten me!

    Mike

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    Banned mossydenis is on a distinguished road
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    What about if you started up a 'Rapid Prototyping' type company?
    I can imagine 'Packaging Designers' might need to make perfect 'mock-ups' (with cutting tables) that could be sent to the client for review. Maybe you could hire a 'pre-press' operator to fix the files and such, along with someone who can print 3D bottles.

    It's a niche market indeed. I think there are opportunities there though (with some proper investigation). I personally would make an online presence (website and such) and offer your 'Structural design' services - and see how it goes. This road would take a good year or two (maybe longer) to build up your reputation (slower the better).

    Graphic Designers will always need another professional to check things over. Like - most can build basic websites - but only a proper 'web designer' will know how to sort out the website for all the different web browser versions, tablets and mobile (and millions of other bits and pieces). You - as a 'Structural designer' could be used to check that packaging 'structural designs' are feasible for production and offer consulting advice for example.

    Take a chance man!! - but don't over stretch yourself on the 'financial front'.

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    Junior Member MSquaredDesigns is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossydenis View Post
    What about if you started up a 'Rapid Prototyping' type company?
    I can imagine 'Packaging Designers' might need to make perfect 'mock-ups' (with cutting tables) that could be sent to the client for review. Maybe you could hire a 'pre-press' operator to fix the files and such, along with someone who can print 3D bottles.

    It's a niche market indeed. I think there are opportunities there though (with some proper investigation). I personally would make an online presence (website and such) and offer your 'Structural design' services - and see how it goes. This road would take a good year or two (maybe longer) to build up your reputation (slower the better).

    Graphic Designers will always need another professional to check things over. Like - most can build basic websites - but only a proper 'web designer' will know how to sort out the website for all the different web browser versions, tablets and mobile (and millions of other bits and pieces). You - as a 'Structural designer' could be used to check that packaging 'structural designs' are feasible for production and offer consulting advice for example.

    Take a chance man!! - but don't over stretch yourself on the 'financial front'.
    Thanks man, I appreciate the response and advice! It is good to get other people's perspectives on things because they often see things completely different then you or I see them. I didn't think about creating a 'rapid prototyping' sort of company. Although I'm not a fan of possibly building samples all day in order to earn a living, this may actually be the best way to enter this. This wouldn't be something challenging and would be easy for clients to say yes or no if the price were right. That is what it would come down to...price, not talent or design. If the price were right per sample, I could see overbooked CAD departments looking elsewhere to have their comps cut and assembled as well as die vinyls (mylars) plotted.

    One downside to becoming a sample house rather then a design house may be inventory. The substrates client's generally ask for are all over the place. Some want heavy stock while others light. Some coated on both sides and others not. Recycled or sbs. Kraftback or claycoated news back. etc etc. Maintaining an inventory of stock to meet a customers needs on an on-demand basis would be very difficult. Now, if it came in and needed design work as well as comps, it would add more time before the deadline which would work to an advantage so stock could be ordered.

    I do like the idea of incorporating graphic design and making it a package deal. This is similar to a branding company I think. Maybe I should learn about graphic design? hmmm...

    Thanks!

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