The Designer’s Guide to Freelancing

Disclaimer: Dieses Buch ist Teil meines Versuches in diesem Jahr 12 Bücher zu Ende zu lesen. Dies ist Teil 1/12.


The Designer’s Guide to Freelancing ist ein E-Book vom walisischen Designer Nathan Powell, der zur Zeit in Spanien lebt. In seinem Buch versucht er auf humorvolle Art und Weise zu vermitteln, wie man sich in die Welt der Freelancer begibt und nicht sofort mit Schnappatmung wieder abhaut.

Das Buch ist auf 182 Seiten in 36 Unterkapitel eingeteilt. Diese ziehen sich von der Einstellung eines Freelancers, über Kundenmanagement und Preisgestaltung, hin zu Design Workflows. Zwischen den kurzen Kapiteln tummeln sich vier auflockernde Interviews u.a. mit Paul Jarvis.


Für mich ist dieses Buch ein super Ratgeber. Ich befinde mich gerade in einem Moment, wo es für mich darum geht, ob und wie ich meine Selbstständigkeit als Designer aufbauen kann. Das Buch ist wohl auf genau diese Leute ausgelegt. Wer schon länger im Geschäft ist, wird wohl die meisten der Erfahrungen schon gemacht.

Nathan Powell schreibt die meiste Zeit über Beispiele, die er selbst erlebt hat. Dadurch beschreibt er nicht den einen Weg zum Ziel, sondern wie er zu seinen Erkenntnissen gekommen ist. Ich mag diese Art Erfahrungen subjektiv zu schildern sehr. Jeder weiß doch, dass es auch noch andere Wege gibt…

Wer sich also am Anfang seiner Karriere als Freelancer befindet oder überhaupt mit dem Gedanken spielt selbstständig zu arbeiten, kann viele Ideen und Anregungen aus dem Buch mitnehmen. Einzelne Bereiche, wie „Focus“, “Self Belief“ oder „Motivation“ auch für andere Branchen sehr interessant sein.

Wenn ihr euch lieber selbst überzeugen wollt, bietet Powell auch ein Probekapitel kostenlos zum Download an.

Soulwax Cover Tutorial

Disclaimer: I have taken many ideas from a Photoshop video tutorial I found. For this “how to”, I will only mention the steps that I have done. You surely are smart enough to take the idea many steps further… The post originally appeared on my blog Kassettenkiste.

I believe this is the first time, that I actually write a short tutorial on anything. Last days I got one of those mails again, asking how I recreated the Soulwax CD-cover some time ago. Since I am fairly lazy, I will now write a blog post on how to do this cover in Adobe Illustrator. You will be able to use this for printing purposes.

I would love to see what you have done with that idea. Please send me a tweet or an email with your work, so I can share it.

Soulwax Tutorial Illustrator Any Minute Now

Step 1

Create a new document and set a black background. Create a small white circle with no border in the top left hand corner. Select the circle and Object – Transform – Move horizontally and vertically while also duplicating the circle. It is easier when you create one row, then group it and copy it vertically.

Step 2

Group all circles and duplicate that layer. Now insert the text of your liking. It should above the circle group. I used a fairly bold sans-serif font, because I found it the most readable. The bigger and bolder, the easier to read. Then Object – Expand. I do not remember, if this step was really necessary.

Step 3

Now take the text with the duplicated circles and use the Pathfinder to Intersect the objects (use Alt-Click). What you have left is only the circles overlaying the former text. Put a Gaussian Blur of around 8px on it. You may have to play around with that, when you use bigger or smaller text.

That should get you to the final image. Have fun recreating your own version and confuse your friends and co-workers. Walk away from the image and squint your eyes a little to read the text properly.


Jetzt sind wir alle im neuen Jahr angekommen und trotzdem hängen noch so ein paar Gedanken am letzten Jahr. Das habe ich 2013 geschafft und abgeschlossen:


  • Sommerlager 2013 in Wildflecken – das erste Jahr Leitung
  • Dear Jos – ein Nebenprojekt über einen Dozenten in der Uni dessen Sätze zu 90% aus „more or less“ und „or, whatever…“ bestanden
  • Imagefilm für den Schulverband Aachen-Ost

Communication and Multimedia Design

  • Noli Me Tangere – ein Videoprojekt aus dem 3. Semester
  • Uncommon Ground in Maastricht (4. Semester)
  • Interactive Media Conception in Genk (4. Semester)
  • Creativity, Innovation and Management in Maastricht (4. Semester)
  • Innovative Mobile Apps in Aachen (4. Semester)
  • Mediengeschichte in Aachen (4. Semester)
  • Konzeption und inhaltliche Ausgestaltung eines UX-Einsteiger-Workshops (4. Semester)
  • The Narrative in Maastricht (5. Semester)
  • Integrated Business Communication in Aachen (5. Semester)

Und sonst…

  • mein ElevationLab Dock ist angekommen
  • habe ich mit Lena in Florenz eine Freundin besucht
  • habe für die CampusBahn in Aachen gestimmt
  • die Hunger Games Trilogie gelesen nach dem ich den zweiten Teil im Kino gesehen habe
  • zu viel White Collar geschaut
  • zu viel Person of Interest geschaut

Schulverband Aachen-Ost

(Disclaimer: The video is produced in German.)

In early 2013 I was contacted by the coordinator of the school union of eastern Aachen to produce a corporate movie. These three individual schools are threatened to be closed due to lack of pupils. To counteract the closure, the headmasters decided to try out a concept of cooperating to grant their pupils better learning possibilities.

The main goal of the video was to catch the interest of possible pupils and their parents. Thus, getting them to attend one of the three schools: GHS Aretzstraße, Hugo-Junkers-Realschule or Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium. With the idea of showing the product during open house days, we decided on creating a short video of a maximum of four minutes with a bright and fun atmosphere. Further, we had to make sure that viewers understand the difference with the three individual schools, though them working together closely.

For potential pupils, we integrated short statements by one pupil of each school. They were the best missionary for the school union we could imagine. It was a lot of fun working with them and hearing what keeps them going and I think viewers will share that feeling.

Lessons learned

It was quite the challenge to work in a school environment. We underestimated the noise generated by hundreds of pupils, even in class. Additionally, trained teachers are not necessarily the best on-camera speakers. Also, working in a creative area it seems natural to respond to requests in a matter of hours or a day. When teachers are on school vacation, we could not expect to get a response until they were available again.


Summer Plan

So for a change, I actually made a list of things I wanted to do during the summer break so that I can later on check, what I really had done. So here goes my list:

  • One City A Day
  • Tift Bootcamp (done)
  • Showcase Bootcamp (done)
  • Read three books (1. The Legacy)
  • Summer Camp (done)
  • Personal Branding
  • Finish corporate movie (done)

Communication and Multimedia Design

(Disclaimer: The video is produced in German.)

As part of my university studies, I had the opportunity to create a corporate video together with Christian, Christoph, Julien and Nina in our third semester. We were asked to let mostly students speak about their impressions and experiences studying Communication and Multimedia Design (short: CMD) at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen. Our main consideration was to target the lively spirit and small classes.

One of the obstacles to tackle was a time limit of three minutes. This can both be a very short time for fitting lots of interesting content in, but also enough time to become boring for viewers. We worked around that, inviting many different people and personalities with various background to speak in front of the camera. Thus, viewers would be able to both see the variety of CMD, but also identify with one or the other character.

Lessons learned

In the end, it was quite a challenge to find enough motion scenes to underline the precise statements of all students and professors. Had we taken the interviews beforehand, we could have figured out the different scenes we needed for emphasis. Also, we had difficulties adjusting to the new sound equipment. A more extensive test could have avoided some problems we faced along the way.

Nevertheless, I am really content with the final product. It really reflects Communication and Multimedia Design (German) as practical course with interesting personalities and small classes. The final result is now also featured as the official corporate movie.

Music: Colin O’Dwyer – Subterranean Blue


2013-07-28, Aachen

JulianPeters Aachen 01

That Sunday 28th was one of these days, were I needed to get outside, grab a camera and just tour around fishing for nice shots and a great time with friends. It was Christian und Christoph accomponying me through my adoptive hometown, Aachen.

Lately, I have been rather stuck sitting in front of the monitor. So it was a nice change-up to see parts of Aachen from a whole new perspective, as this was my first photo tour through Aachen. I somehow wanted to capture the different settings of Aachen. Contrasting old town with new buildings, graffitis and alike. Personally, I like the first picture and the lonely guy sitting in front of the mayor’s house best.

JulianPeters Aachen 06

JulianPeters Aachen 04

JulianPeters Aachen 03

JulianPeters Aachen 02


Ideas are bonfires

A couple of days ago I had the joy of meeting a very close friend of mine in Aachen. We talked about how we could make the world a better place. Not through the donation of money, but how things could be better spiritually and ideally.

You question why things are the way they are. Is change inevitable?

Changes are like bonfires. At first you need a spark to light the smallest fire. Teachers, friends or parents, books and experiences; they will make you aware of certain situations or a thought processes. After that you need lots of fresh air to kindle the fire. This might be going for a walk reflecting upon past experiences and living in the moment to experience known incidents from another view. You question why things are the way they are. Is change inevitable?

In the end you need firewood, the best you can get. They we act and behave keeps the fire burning. You have to implement your ideas into your everyday life. You have to be conscious of your surroundings and yourself and act accordingly.

Only then is it possible to start a bonfire. Only when there is a spark, only when there is enough air and firewood. Only then we can warm up others. Only then is it possible to set a new spark.

This text is a spark.