Orun is one of the most highly regarded designers in London who has worked on some awesome projects for companies such as Conran Design, Brand Union and DixonBaxi.
Hey Orun, so how long have you been freelancing for now? And what made you take the leap in the first place?
I started freelancing in January 2015. Before this I was a senior designer at agency Rufus Leonard. I had an amazing 4 years there but towards the end I felt the challenge was starting to wane. My initial thought was to go full-time elsewhere but after a few months of researching agencies I was at a loss. I decided to go freelance to get a taster of different agencies and then make an informed decision.
Has your reason for freelancing changed now you've been doing it for a while?
It definitely has. Initially I wanted to explore different agencies and go full-time but the past two years has been really exciting, working on a range of projects you may not find at just one agency. I’ve really enjoyed moving and defiantly want to continue doing so.
What are the main challenges/issues you face as a freelancer?
Being at the right place at the right time. Ideally I’d like to only work on projects where at the end there’s a finished body of work that I can be proud of. However, you often go into an agency for just a a few days or weeks and you don’t come out with anything that’s portfolio worthy. I get that’s part of the gig and take it on the chin with no complaints. I hate when I’m midway into a short booking and I get a call from an agency wanting to book my time for 3 months for a great new project but I have to say “sorry, I'm booked"
What sort of things have you been working on? Can you mention any clients or projects?
It’s been varied but the mainstay has been branding projects, from brand refreshes to new product branding. These all had elements of traditional brand VI work to experiential and digital. In April I was working with agency ODA on the UK’s biggest coffee brand Costa. We designed the graphics for a new store offering in Covent Garden. It was a great project as the store required a new concept rather than a standard store design.
How did you land these jobs? Do you do much self-promo at all?
I haven’t done any self-promotion at all. The majority of roles was through contacting the right people in the agencies and sending them my work. My first freelance role was with DixonBaxi. I actually interned with them back in 2006 and kept in contact with Simon since.
How do you finding being part of teams for short amounts of time? What makes a company better at managing freelancers?
It’s a mixed bag. Some of the larger agencies where they constantly have freelancers, you often go unnoticed. The one thing I enjoyed in a full-time role is being part of a core team. The camaraderie is something as a freelancer you can miss out on. However, some agencies are better at integrating freelance designers, especially if you're on a longer booking. When an agency does welcome you in and take the time to see what you’re good at, they’ll get more out of you as a designer.
What are you next big ambitions or goals? Do you want to work on anything specifically at the moment?
I’m really interested in retail and interior graphics. It’s a sector I’ve not worked much on but it’s something I’m keen to work in.
You've taken a look at Availo, what do you think of it? How does it differ from other ways of getting work and do you think it will help?
It’s great. I’m surprised it doesn’t exist already. I usually rely on contacting directly with agencies but sometimes it isn’t that easy as the person I’m in contact with isn’t always the person looking for freelancers. I think it will defiantly help as it makes it easier for agencies to get in contact with you directly.
What do you think we should be focussing on, are there any features we should build into it?
Having an easy to follow UI thats the same on all formats (web, app etc).
Top tips for new freelancers?
Treat everyday like it’s your first day and be nice to everyone. It's not 6 degrees of separation but more like 2! If you’re difficult word gets out and people will put you on their blacklist, I’ve seen it happen.