National Freelancer Day: How are things looking for product designers?

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The number of product designers doing freelance work is increasing

The workplace is changing, and freelance 3D designers are no longer an anomaly in the system: new technology is benefitting them, the internet is embracing them and there’s work out there.

Seeing as today’s National Freelancers Day we thought we’d investigate this a little further amongst the confines of design as a whole – freelance design is far more common in graphics web and VFX due to the short-timeframe nature of the work.

Speaking to freelance specialists PeoplePerHour it told us that there’s been a 70 per cent increase in the number of jobs that brands have completed using industrial design freelancers in the last year.
In addition to this the research found that there has been a two fold increase in the number of industrial design jobs offered so far this year compared to 2013.

If you compare the number jobs completed against the number of industrial designer freelancers available on PeoplePerHour’s platform there is enough work for each of these freelancers to undertake a minimum of 7 industrial design tasks a year.

This is hardly going to buy you that penthouse flat you were dreaming of, but in terms of building contacts and beer money it makes sense if you have the time.


In total, 4.5 per cent of the freelancers on PeoplePerHour have some sort of 3D design certification.

Things are expanding in similar areas, with people even turning to PeoplePerHour to find people for 3D printing work. Not the traditional way of going about it, but since the first enquiry cropped up in May the requests have kept on coming.

Business models are changing: crowdfunding is making hardware startups a feasible reality; cloud computing is allowing collaborative working, and sites like PeoplePerHour and GrabCAD are in place to help feed the demand for 3D designers.

Alternatively, for others, it might be a case of getting help for a small design studio with a specific skill, during peak times, or when the design skills of someone in-house could be best spent doing something less time consuming.

Whatever the reason, more change is coming to the product design workflow.

Whether you view the rise in freelance designers as a mercenary threat to good design, or as a modern way to control the work you do and when, we’d love to hear your comments below.

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