Professional Studies

(Be Polite, Be Efficient, Have a Plan to Kill everyone you meet!)

Yes sir-e, now it’s time to stop mucking about and get professional. How? Well that’s easy, with the help of my self-titled: ‘Codex Professionalem’:

  • Don’t ever do anything as though you were an amateur, do it as a professional.
  • A professional learns every aspect of the job.
  • An amateur skips the learning process whenever possible.
  • A professional speaks and dresses like a professional.
  • A professional is focused and clear-headed.
  • An amateur is confused and distracted.
  • A professional does not let mistakes slide by.
  • An amateur ignores or hides mistakes.
  • A professional handles money and accounts very carefully.
  • A professional will deal with problems.
  • An amateur avoids problems.
  • A professional persists until the objective is achieved.
  • An amateur gives up at the first opportunity.
  • A professional produces a high-quality product or service.
  • An amateur produces medium-to-low quality service.
  • A professional earns high pay.
  • An amateur earns low pay and feels it’s unfair.

So, what is Professionalism? A professional is someone who has skills. Experience in their field, or from a broad range of knowledge.

A Professional is someone who is honourable – that is, who honours agreements and bonds set up by them and their clients.

A Professional should be constantly learning, improving and honing their skills. A Professional is someone who knows that all things can be improved upon, even in negligible quantities.

To be seen as a professional, one must hold credibility in the eyes of the public, and with time, this credibility will become legitimacy, both legally, and morally, meaning that more will listen to the professional and they can grow their influence.

Classically, A profession was only to be found in Law, Ministry or Medicine, where a professional of their respective class, must ‘profess’ upon a standard of accountability – in the case of Law, one must tell the truth, the truth and nothing BUT the truth or face charges for their crimes. In Ministry, one must swear upon god’s grace and to uphold the teachings of the holy book, or face damnation. In Medicine, one must swear upon the hypocratic oath, vowing to do no harm, or face charges for their negligence, as well as the guilt of injuring their charge.

Each of these professions require extensive knowledge in their fields, as well as training in the meaning and value of their respective oaths.

While there exists no formal – or informal for that matter – oath for graphic design, unwritten rules are still followed, mostly based off of morals, such as those mentioned above.

Building upon these morals and rules is how a designer; not only grows, but also gains fiscal benefits. Designers – often – don’t work for a set price, and may charge for their services differently, depending on the challenge they have been set, the timeframe they have to work with and how skilful they as a designer feel they are.

Commonly, designers charge on a ‘by hour’ rate, but only spend half their time designing.

Below is an example of how to calcite an hourly rate for an average FREELANCE designer.

Gross Annual Salary required                                                                  £25,000

Overheads:                                                                                                    £13,000

A        Gross annual income required                                                  £38,000

Total available working days per year                                                    230 days

Multiply average working hours per day                                                 6 hours

(Average working day of 8 hours, less time taken for admin and lunch break)

B        Total number of working hours per year                              1380 hours

To calculate the hourly rate, divide A by B = 38,000 divided by 1380 =  £27.53

Therefore, hourly rate   =   £28.00 per hour

This final hourly rate could be doubled, if non-design activities are to be considered.

Building upon this, is Time-sheets, and general time-keeping as a whole. Time is an important construct, and no where is it more important than when it governs someone’s wages. So, much like wages, time must be kept track of and valued accordingly.

The most common way of dividing up time is via a Timesheet: A board, denoting the customers and the designer who will liaise with them, and the activity that they will undertake together. Another is a method known as ‘The Job Bag’.

The Job Bag is a large board, with all the activities that all designers are working on, when they are to be completed by and by who.

Both of these are used more commonly in design studios, and both work by measuring the amount of time spent with the client/working on the clients brief in almost any form, from concept work, up to the final printing.

To further drive this metaphorical nail in, I’m going to write a mock-up letter to a client for some work that I’ve been commissioned to produce. Below is both the original as an image, as well as a transcript of the image’s content:


“I hope you’re doing well, Mr J. Statham.

By my understanding, my task is to produce a 16 page brochure of: ‘The Robert Opie Collection at the National Museum of Advertising and Packaging”
My preliminary estimates for this job are £370.56 and I aim to reply to you within the next 10 days of the day this E-Mail is sent. (3rd of March)
I am to include all requested images and illustrations on the relevant pages from our talk from the provided pool at: (
I am also to ensure that the brochure is printed in full colour and that both the cover, spine and back-cover are to be of a higher stock than that of standard pages, (300 and 120 GSM, respectively) and that the paper be semi-gloss, as requested.
If you have any questions or desire another meeting with me, feel free to contact me at anytime at:
Sam Warriner”
It’d be worth showing that I know how to write an application to a potential employer – the first step in being professional is being in a profession, after all!
Once again, the letter will be found below:

Dear Sir/Madam
My name is Sam Warriner, I am a graphic design student studying at Sheffield College and I am writing to enquire about the possibility of an apprenticeship or work experience placement within your company, starting on the week commencing 13th of March.
I have produced many highly professional mock-up logos for fictional companies, as well as brand styles and corporate manuals for larger organisations. I also have a confident command over the written word, which I put to use crafting eloquent typographical pieces.
If you wish to see more of my work please get in contact with me at:
Please look at my portfolio available at: for an idea about my work and how it may benefit your company!
Yours faithfully
Sam Warriner

Addendum 2!
While all I’ve mentioned so far is important – it would also be favourable to try to learn more details about the company before applying, such as mentioning the recipient by name and/or title – if they have flexible payments, then mention what you would desire/expect to be paid – below is an example of a potential job, with my reply below it:

Junior Designer

We are looking for a talented and hard working, Junior Graphic Designer to join our team of creatives.

Spot-on is a well established, award-winning design company, with a growing and broad client portfolio.

This is a great opportunity to make your mark and produce some exciting work.

If you are passionate about graphic design, keen to flex your muscles, and are not afraid of hard work, then we would like to hear from you.

Preferably 2 years experience.

Excellent career prospects.

Salary negotiable (please advise of current salary or if college graduate, expected salary)

Apply in writing to

Bruce Willis

Senior Creative,

Spot-On Design

New York House,

Westmoreland Street,

Sheffield S13BG.


Dear Senior Creative, Bruce Willis
I am applying about your advertised position as a Junior Designer within your company, Spot-on.
My name is Sam Warriner, I am a graphic design student studying at Sheffield College, about to complete my second year on my course. I am applying as I believe I could add the fresh new perspective to your design roster that it seems you desire, as well as gain a better insight into the designing profession from a well respected and well known company.
I specialise in both Corporate and Professional design – as I note, do you, but remain curious about other areas and aspects of graphic design. I am proficient with the use of The Adobe Creative Suite, specifically; Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator; and am prepared to go the extra mile.
Enclosed within this letter, you should find a copy of my CV, examples of my Corporate Work, as well as my Business card.
I understand that both you and your staff have worked for everyone from one-man bands, SMEs and large blue-chip multinationals in just about every sector, field and industry, and am eager to join your ranks to learn from this rich environment.
As mentioned, I’m a recent college graduate and would expect £15 per hour, however, this is entirely negotiable.
If you desire to contact me for any reason, feel free to, at: or by phone at 07963 733562
Please look at my portfolio available at: for an idea about my work and how it may benefit your company!
Yours sincerely,
Sam Warriner
Here’s my business card variants. I decided to run with the idea of confidence and forwardness, as well as a tongue in cheek attitude – contrasted by a serious design. I did this to show people how I operate/tick/work – as it mirrors me; daft, with a serious mask.  A Brief rundown of how I sent off for them will follow, using the printing service; Moo.
Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 14.51.53Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 14.52.02Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 14.52.15
Here is my CV. A continuation of my style in the previous articles.
Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 15.01.49.png

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