Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Research Report: Freelancing vs Employment ( Semester1)


Our Critical Development 2 module task was to develop a proposal and to write a detailed case study of the digital media industry.

The brief states that we should choose a key industry leader and afterwards we must develop a full profile and critique of that company or individual.

It is expected that the learning outcome of the work will be that we’ll gain an in depth understanding of the area we want to specialize in.

It required primary (internet sources, articles) and secondary research (interviews) to compose my research report.
In my research I am going to outline what I have undertaken in order to be informed for my case study.  

Outcome of research

Initial ideas – David Kassan

After searching on the internet for possible topic for my study, I came up with David Kassan. I found out a lot of interesting thing about him on his website. (

David Kassan is a painter who creates portraits using the Brushes iPad app. He’s one of the most famous iPad artists.

Kassan is able to infuse his painting with life and realism. As for style and technique he cites Antonio Lopez Garcia, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Clyfford Still as influences as well.

“My work is a way of meditation, a way of slowing down time though the careful observation of overlooked slices of my environment. It is the subtlety of emotion in my acquaintances that inhabit the aforementioned environment which intrigues me. My paintings strive for reality, a chance to mimic life in both scale and complexity. The viewer is given an eye level perspective of the subject.
 It is my intent to control the medium of oil paint so that it is not part of the viewer to subject equation. The image stands alone without evidence of the artist. I displace textures from their natural environment by moving them out of the context they exist in. Taking the abstract form from the streets where they get lost and moving them into the gallery space where they can be contemplated as accidental abstractions.
The technical aspect of my work is a means to an end; an end rooted in the viewer's experience. I am interested the concept of a painting's technical and transformative powers.” – states Kassan.

His portraits looks like an oil painting you would see in an art gallery, but it is in fact a finger painting created using an Apple iPad. He paints his life models using a simple £5 app called Brushes. You can have a look at it on YouTube as a three-hour sitting has been condensed into a five-minute time-lapse video, during which Kassan uses a variety of virtual brushes. You can watch the painting take shape from blank screen to finished artwork.

Because I love arts his work interests me, but I realised this is not the area of industry I would like to specialise in, so I decided to look for a new topic.

New idea for case study – Web design

The reason why I’m doing the case study is, because I believe it will help me to explore and examine the area of industry I would like to focus on. Because I want to specialize in web design, I decided this should be my topic for the study.

I think it will help me to gain experience and it would prepare me for the negotiating project.

Web design is the process of planning and creating a website. Text, images, digital media and interactive elements are used by web designers to produce it. The process of web design can include conceptualization, planning, producing, post-production, research, advertising.
 Web designers/developers utilize markup language,  HTML for structure and CSS for presentation as well as JavaScript to add interactivity to develop pages that can be read by web browsers.

Freelancing vs Employment

I was very keen to know more about web design, what is its future and mine, so I decided in my study I would like to discuss how it is being a freelancer and how it is being an employee at a company.

The first step was done, I had the topic, I just needed a title. I debated a lot on it. First I wanted to call it: “The work of a website designer/ developer from two sides of view”.
Because it’s very long I opted to change it to: Freelancing vs Employment. The reason why I decided for this is it sounds more professional.

The next step was to make an outline for my study. In it I would like to include three main subjects:

  1. I want to evaluate the challenges a designer/ developer faces. I would like to point out the difficulties they face, the clients they handle, how they overcome problems, their achievements and successes. Also I would like to include a review of the softwares they use.

  1. I would also like to discuss the comparison and contrast of what it’s like to working for a company and working as a freelancer. I hope by the time I’ll finish my case study I’ll know what are the advantages and disadvantages of both.

  1. As a secondary research I would like to interview a few professionals and I would like to discuss with them some of their work and projects.

I like to play safe, so I opted to interview people I know, because they are easy to approach and then I don’t have to wait for weeks for someone to get back to me.

The interviewees for my study are Sanjar Feridoun and Robert Nagy.

Sanjar Feridoun works for the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, but he’s also freelancing. He did websites for David Heartwright (orthopaedic surgeon), for charities, architectural company and for many more.

Robert Nagy while working for Southampton General Hospital, he’s also assists a company called Asis. He used to create websites as the employee of  Solve PC, which was based in Southampton, but it closed.

If  I’ll have time, in my study I would also like to include Tom Lawton inventor, because he’s lecture inspired me very much. After listening to him, I did a profound research on him.
He’s an inventor who is living and breathing original and innovative ideas. With the help of his design skills, energy, passion, determination he made his visions a reality.
Tom’s imagination for new product design is not bound to one industry or market sector, he’s an everyman and he has ideas across many fields, for every day and for esoteric application. His inventions are devices such as BubbleScope 360° (panoramic imaging technologies), a novel kitchen gadget and a new camping device and Firewinder (wind-powered lights).
Tom loves to work collaboratively with interesting clients who have challenging briefs.
He was always an independent mind and for many years before working for himself felt an entrepreneurial and inventive fire burning. He became an inventor by accident, I could have been many things, he followed what he enjoyed the most.
“The obvious place to start is with imagination, without that you’re never going to think in an original way. You have to dare to dream and be prepared to reject most of your ideas, but that’s the fun – Imagineering is what I heard someone once call it. It definitely helps if you’re optimistic. People so often seem to create their own barriers through negativity and pessimism and not allow themselves to dream. Then, if you think hard enough and ask the right questions, you start to invite inventive ideas.” – Tom states.
“Nothing comes easy – even if you have all the money in the world you might struggle and fail. Cash is always something I have been short of, but hard work comes naturally.” – he said in an interview.
After reading this interview I started gathering questions for my ones with Sanjar Feridoun and Robert Nagy.

I made a list which is the following:
1.      Could you tell me how you started your career?
2.      Have you studied Digital Media at university or was it something you loved doing?
3.      What persuaded you to be a developer/designer?
4.      Which softwares do you use?
5.      Which is your favourite one and why?
6.      Are you planning to expand your knowledge and learn new softwares or markup languges?
7.      Do you believe that a designer/ developer have to always be up to date?
8.      What is your opinion, are new versions of the softwares better than the older ones?
9.      Do you think people can learn Digital Media by reading books and tutorials or do they need mentors?
10.  Could you tell me what projects you done so far?
11.  Which was the one you enjoyed doing the most?
12.  Which was you least enjoyed?
13.  Which one was your biggest success?
14.  Have you ever been in a situation where you had to handle difficult clients?
15.  How did you manage to overcome the problem?
16.  Is there any part of your job you don’t like?
17.  Could you tell me what it is like being a freelancer?
18.  What’s you opinion, what are its advantages and disadvantages?
19.  Could you tell me what it is like being an employee at a company?
20.  What do you think are the benefits of it and what is the pitfall of it?
21.  Is it better working for a smaller company (in Winchester for example) or do you think bigger companies are better (in London)?
22.  Which one did you enjoy doing better, freelancing or working for yourself and why?
23.  Do you like working in teams?
24.  Do you work on more projects simultaneously?
25.  Do you work at home as well, if so how many hours?
26.  What do you think, is web design a popular profession and is there a demand for it on the market?
27.  Do you know what the current trends employers expect from applicants are?
28.  Do you think it is ever late to start doing web design?
29.  What advice would you give for someone starting this profession?
30.  Looking back, was it a good decision to become a designer/ developer? If you could start over would you do something different?

I managed to interview the two professional and found out interesting things. I’m going to include this information in my case study.
After my presentation, Lisa gave me a new idea for my research. She suggested I should have a look at Anna Debenham’s website and the work she’s doing.
Anna builds websites, she’s a freelance front-end developer, which means she creates the part of the website that users interact with using HTML and CSS.
She also launched an online magazine in 2009 called “Scrunchup, for young designers and developers. Anna publishes articles, interviews and tutorials to help those who are planning on getting a job with an agency or setting up as a freelancer. She guides people through the first few weeks and months of working in the web industry, gives advise on what qualifications are relevant, and gives some tips on how getting established in the industry. She also explains essential business issues like taxes, how much to charge, and how to write a contract.



The research I’ve done was very interesting and I learn a lot of it. I believe this will help me to compose my case study and it will help me to get started as a web designer.


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