Nurturing connections – becoming a freelance graphic designer in Portsmouth

November 29th, 2022

Written by:

Meet Charlotte Simonsen – she’s a local designer, freelancer and all round amazing talent. This year we decided to collaborate on some artwork for the upcoming Christmas party on the 15th December. Each attendee will be getting a little Christmas goody bag which will include this exclusive mug, designed by Charlotte herself and funded by our lovely sponsors Starboard, Applied Brilliance & Port 57.

Each attendee of the Christmas party on 15th December will get one of these exclusive mugs!

I’ve known Charlotte for a number of years now, we actually met at the PFMeet Christmas party back in 2015. She very kindly agreed to share her knowledge on working as becoming a freelance graphic designer here in Portsmouth.

JL: You’re always doing something exciting and creative, can you tell me a bit about what it is you currently do?

CS: I’m a bit of a ‘does it all’ type of creative. I mostly identify as a graphic designer but I have worked with music for years, on film sets, writing scripts, editing videos, and planning social media strategies which have involved photoshoots, copywriting, scheduling and analysing the data to know what is performing. I’m so passionate about the creative industry that I try to get involved in all stages where I can, whether that be in personal projects or within my work. 

JL: When I first met you you were working for an agency if I remember correctly, when was it you first went freelance?

CS: I went freelance after the pandemic hit in 2020. Like a lot of us, I was made redundant and had to find a new job or a new source of income. I wasn’t planning on going freelance at the time, it just sort of happened. I reached out to my network of industry connections, got a few requests for small jobs here and there that quickly grew, and before I knew it I realised I was freelancing full time.

JL: What did you find the most challenging part of going freelance?

CS: The biggest challenge as a freelance graphic designer was finding the work. But it always worked out as long as I kept staying in touch with my network of other freelancers, agencies and businesses. If I hadn’t attended PFMeet regularly and made sure to nurture the connections I had within that group as well as my extended connections, it wouldn’t have been as viable within that time frame. 

JL: Can you tell us about some work that you’re particularly proud of?

CS: The work that I am most proud of is all the work I have done within music. I worked for Ticketmaster for a few years and it was so exciting being able to be ‘in the know’ of what tours were coming up and creating assets for them. On the side of that I picked up odd jobs for small bands. Designing logos, band merch and album covers, for bands across the globe. I follow quite a few of them still on socials and it’s so exciting to see the artwork still being used today, years later!

Some of Charlotte’s work for Ticketmaster

JL: Do you have anything exciting in the pipeline right now?

CS: Currently I am in full time employment where I work as a Content Creator. Meaning I plan the content for our clients, write up the posts, design the assets they need and schedule them out. What’s been exciting to see is the client’s engagement has risen since I started working on their content across multiple platforms.

JL: As you know, we met at PFMeet, can you tell others who have been thinking about coming along what your experience at the meetups has been like?

CS: Portsmouth Freelancers meet is pretty much where I met all my Portsmouth friends. I moved to Portsmouth for a job and barely knew anyone in town. There were a couple of people from my network that I saw who attended Portsmouth Freelancers Meet after having the Facebook group suggested to me (thanks Facebook algorithm!). I’ve since attended as many meet-ups as I have been able to which has resulted in me having a wide professional and local network as well as meeting my best friends! It’s been about 7 years since I first attended my first one, and that’s 7 years well spent! 

JL: What’s the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone wanting to start out as a freelance graphic designer?

CS: If it’s not clear from everything else I’ve written here, it’s networking. Not just to get jobs but also to learn from others. Seeing other peoples work, learning what tools they use, how they solve complicated projects and work with their clients. If I would have started out for myself without talking about it with others, I would have no clue of how to start or what would be the most efficient way to work with my clients. 

JL: Can you suggest any useful tools for freelancing?

CS: Thinking about this, I would list so many tools that I use. It depends on what I need. I use Adobe for all my artwork, FreeAgent for my time tracking and accounting (sometimes Toggl, depending on the project) and Miro for when I need to structure and map out ideas. But when I need a source for inspiration or moodboarding I always go to Behance and Pinterest. There are so many incredible resources out there that really makes working so much easier, and a lot of them are free.

JL: And finally, what is your favourite app or website at the moment?

CS: Usually I’d say TikTok, but recently I’ve not had time to use it. I used to be like everyone else, thinking it was a silly dancing app for young teens. However, it’s been a great resource for inspiration and learning on multiple levels. I love saving videos in my folders so I can go back to them. Whether they are design tricks, life hacks, film recommendations or tasty recipes. I’ve had many tasty meals and done some cool designs, from my hours on end scrolling on the app.

Check out Charlotte’s website

Written by:

Freelance front end developer, organiser of Portsmouth Freelancers Meet, Director of Starboard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for event updates!

We'll drop you the occassional newsletter about upcoming PFMeet events

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Posts


Design Talks 2015

Portsmouth Freelancers

Our Sponsors

We try and keep our events as free/cheap as possible for attendees, and we can only do this with the help of sponsors. Want to become a sponsor? Simply get in touch to find out how we can work together!

Ask about sponsorship