Neil Tortorella

Neil Tortorella is a graphic designer, writer and marketing consultant with over thirty years experience. He is the author of Starting Your Career As A Freelance Web Designer and a frequent speaker at conferences and business organizations. His site can be found at

Neil has authored 38 posts. Website:
All 38 articles submitted by Neil Tortorella:

Finding Your Graphic Design Muse

By: Neil Tortorella on Oct 1st 2013
Finding Your Graphic Design Muse

For Toronto-based, Ronnie LeBow, owner and creative director at LEBOW, inspiration often comes while taking a shower. Susan Barnabee Long, a graphic designer based in Illinois, prefers to tuck problems away in a corner of her mind while they percolate. Design inspiration is all around us. It can be found in music, literature and other creative disciplines such as architecture, interior design, product design, illustration and photography. It’s simply a matter of paying attention. For example, children can be... CONTINUE READING

Presentation Tips for Graphic Designers – Part Three: The Design Presentation

By: Neil Tortorella on Sep 4th 2013
Presentation Tips for Graphic Designers – Part Three: The Design Presentation

After the project research, brainstorming sessions, thumbnails, rough layouts and such you’ve arrived at what you believe are, say, three solid solutions to your client’s quandary. It’s time for show and tell. The design presentation, when handled correctly, can cement your relationship with your client and have them doing the happy dance. Blow it and you can easily find yourself doing a myriad of revisions or worse. Worse would be your client saying, “Well … um … thanks for... CONTINUE READING

Presentation Tips for Graphic Designers – Part 2: The New Business Presentation

By: Neil Tortorella on Aug 31st 2013
Presentation Tips for Graphic Designers – Part 2: The New Business Presentation

However, don’t think designing is all you’ll be doing. There’s a good chance you may be recruited to attend a new business pitch at some point. That’s especially true if a small shop employs you. Even if there’s an account executive or two, many new business presentations include some creative folks. Prospective clients like to meet the person or persons who will be creating their materials. I’ve written this often, but it bears mention again – People buy from... CONTINUE READING

Presentation Tips for Graphic Designers – Part One: The Employment Interview

By: Neil Tortorella on Aug 23rd 2013
Presentation Tips for Graphic Designers – Part One: The Employment Interview

Presentations go by several names – the dog and pony show; the pitch; the presentation. They’re a necessary evil that can strike fear even into the hearts of many seasoned pros, let alone novices. Mush mouth, failed equipment or software, questions you didn’t anticipate, a hostile audience. They can all come into play during a pitch … and you’d better be ready. As mentioned, there are typically three types of presentations for graphic designers: • The employment interview •... CONTINUE READING

The Delicate Art of Saying No

By: Neil Tortorella on Jul 31st 2013
The Delicate Art of Saying No

When you’re out hunting down work because the well is drying up, it’s tempting to take on whatever comes through the door, rings the phone or chimes the inbox. There are loads of reasons to take on a job you probably should have passed up. Here are just a few: • The fridge is empty • The landlord’s knocking on your door • Creditors are calling to say, “hi” • You go to your car only to see Guido... CONTINUE READING

Finding Your Freelance Niche

By: Neil Tortorella on Jul 26th 2013
Finding Your Freelance Niche

Niche noun, adjective, verb, niched, nich•ing noun 1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object. 2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the business world. 3. a distinct segment of a market. 4. Ecology – the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals. adjective 5. pertaining... CONTINUE READING

The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here – Passive Income for Graphic Designers

By: Neil Tortorella on Jul 20th 2013
The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here - Passive Income for Graphic Designers

The sales cycle for service businesses, such as graphic design, takes a long time. “Long time” means six months to a year or more from first contact to closing the deal. Yikes! Here’s more not-so-good news to consider. Many freelancers and small studios only have a handful of clients. Typically, one in that handful is the cash cow, representing the majority of revenue for the designer. Picture this. You’re happily designing away for Cash Cow, Inc., minding your own... CONTINUE READING

Estimating Web Design Projects

By: Neil Tortorella on Jul 2nd 2013
Estimating Web Design Projects

As a 21st Century graphic designer, you’re still expected to do all the print-related stuff as well as provide site designs services and other online eye candy for clients. Many client types don’t see a distinction between print and Web work. This is particularly true for small businesses, which are the revenue bread and butter for most independent graphic designers and many smaller firms. Let’s say you’ve landed a client. They need a site. The conversation usually goes something... CONTINUE READING

The Graphic Designer’s Business Survival Guide

By: Neil Tortorella on Jun 18th 2013
The Graphic Designer’s Business Survival Guide

The truth be told, there are loads of very talented designers out there competing against one another. But, it takes more than graphic design talent to be successful. It also requires the core business and managerial skills all small businesses need to master to be successful. That means a balancing act of wearing many hats including office manager; sales person; bookkeeper; human resources manager; janitor; chief cook and bottle washer, as well as graphic design. It tends to be... CONTINUE READING

Is Your Head in the Cloud?

By: Neil Tortorella on May 23rd 2013
Is Your Head in the Cloud?

Adobe offers a variety of subscription levels for Creative Cloud. The 30-day free trial provides 2GB of storage, but allows for only limited access to the array of applications. Its standard $49.99 US/month “Complete Individual” subscription provides full versions of Adobe® Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Acrobat®, and more, along with full access to services to help subscribers create mobile-ready content and apps; 20GB of cloud storage for file sharing and collaboration. It does, however, require an annual commitment that is billed... CONTINUE READING

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