Looking to gain experience while in school or when graduating… not sure where to start?

School work is a great way to start your portfolio. You are able to build projects from start to finish and be creative while doing it. Those projects can represent you and your inner creative! You gain experience in programs and start to understand the tools needed to start creating that masterpiece…

“Free gift at the bottom of this article!”

But what can you do now to start gaining experience with clients that prospective hiring recruiters are looking for? You can charge an hourly rate when you find a gig, but your just starting out so… you can trade your services for experience! Free! Get projects and client management under your belt!

Here are a few quick ways to start gaining experience today with simple projects that does not take up too much of your time!

Quick note: A few of these projects need a vendor to produce finals. Online sites like vistaprint.com or the social sites referenced make these an easy process for you or your client! You can hand off final files to the client or you can gain a tab bit more of experience by taking the project into launch!


1. Celebration Card

Birthday, graduation, baby shower or house party, these are quick projects for a custom card design for that special event! Start with family and friends for this. Children birthdays are the best! Superheroes or princess themes with event info and the birthday name. Graduation, cap and gown with school colors are easy and can be quickly done! (Vistaprint.com is quick for this)

2. Facebook Event Cover/Campaign Image(s)

Following the celebration card from above, is that friends party, family event or graduation promoting to others on Facebook to join in the fun? When they “Create the Event” ask if they would like an event cover photo to match the card.  Let’s create 3-5 post images to get engagement prior to the event to get their guest excited! Set up the engagement sequence of micro content creative post that allows the guest to play games prior to the event. This one sounds like a lot but it’s actually not! (Event creator can add you as an admin to the event to upload photos and post on their behalf)

3. Snapchat/ Facebook Geofilter

Heading to a friends party, family event or graduation? Let’s follow the above design if you want to continue the campaign!! This is the perfect opportunity to create a simple and clean geofilter that can be used and shared in photos through social media! Go the extra mile and set up the final files in Snapchat/ Facebook yourself!

4. Email Signature

This is one thing I see that is overlooked… When networking with colleagues or friends through email, check out and see if they have an email signature. If not, ask if they would like one created or just make one for them and suggest it! It’s ok if they say no thank you but you have a 50/50 chance of them saying yes! Maybe they say yes but suggest a different look. That’s a start! I’ve used NewOldStamp.com or WiseStamp.com. They both have free plans to get a great looking signature to start! You just fill in the info and go! No coding required.

5. T-Shirt Design

Most companies need their logo laid out on a t-shirt. Sure, you would think that most companies would have this ready but actually a lot of business’ don’t. They might have created a design but lost the actual psd, .ai or .eps files needed for the printer. This is a simple ask or if you see a business at an event, ask if they have designs ready or if they need help with one! (Vistaprint.com, Customink.com or Uberprints.com)

6. Business Card Design

Get with a fellow classmate, a teacher, friend of the family, your cousin, whoever and ask if they need help with a new business card layout. If they have an existing logo, great! A redesign could be in order for the layout. Maybe they don’t have their social handles or their website on their current card. Maybe they have an old photo and need to update an email address. The digital landscape changes rapidly and so does business cards and it’s info. (Vistaprint.com or Moo.com)

Okay, I know the heading say 5 quick projects so the 6th one is a bonus! These are just a few small projects that can get you going, face to face, in the door, but more importantly gain the experience and confidence to start taking on that next project! Each experience is a step forward!


Sign up to our email list and get all the templates I used for these projects – FREE! Fill in the info below and I will send them to your email!

Published by Orlando Ayala

Orlando Ayala is a Los Angeles-based Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Digital Marketer and Experience Strategist. Currently Orlando is the Creative Director with Pacific Park on the World Famous Santa Monica Pier leading the creative and strategic teams working in visual, traditional and digital mediums.