Cristina Martinez

Cristina Martinez

This week we are so excited to talk with Cristina Martinez, a graphic designer and art director currently residing in Madison, WI. Cristina creates thoughtful designs that capture the voice and personality of each one of her clients by working closely with them every step of the way. Though she specializes in branding, Cristina is also known for her lettering, illustration work, and beautifully minimal product styling. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Zooey, Bust, and Dote Magazine. You may also know her work from her popular blog and gorgeous instagram: Cautiously Obsessed. Cristina, thank you for taking the time to chat! 

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance graphic designer, art director, letterer, and illustrator.

I began taking on a few unpaid freelance projects here and there a year before I actually graduated just to gain some experience and to build my portfolio. After I graduated with a B.A in Studio Art from The University of Mary Washington in Virginia, it felt completely natural to transition into freelancing full-time. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of working and connecting with a number of talented and creative individuals.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

In the beginning I really began to attract clients through social media, specifically through Instagram. My blog (Cautiously Obsessed) also played a huge role since I would regularly blog about recent design projects which in turn lead to some of my readers reaching out and eventually becoming clients. Also, regularly updating my portfolio with new projects has helped me attract my perfect clients.

"...regularly updating my portfolio with new projects has helped me attract my perfect clients."


Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Get organized! It sounds so simple, but having a decent planner as well as a system to prioritize tasks/projects helps tremendously. I also try to wake up at the same time everyday in order to keep a consistent routine, though I’d be lying if I said I weren’t tempted to sleep in now and then since I do work from home.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

My biggest struggle as a freelancer has to be trying to find that perfect balance between my work and my personal life. I’m definitely guilty of working super late nights at times.

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

My absolute favorite thing about freelance is the freedom that comes along with it. I love that I’m able to travel freely without it affecting my work.

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients?

I continue to attract ideal clients by being consistent on social media as well as networking with other creatives. I find that connecting with fellow designers or illustrators often can lead to collaborative projects or referrals.

"I continue to attract ideal clients by being consistent on social media as well as networking with other creatives. I find that connecting with fellow designers or illustrators often can lead to collaborative projects or referrals."


Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

Do your research, I firmly believe that what works for some individuals may not work for you so it’s important to first find out what your business needs are and then research what’s out there as far as programs that may assist you to keep all of those important business details in order.

"Do your research, I firmly believe that what works for some individuals may not work for you so it’s important to first find out what your business needs are and then research what’s out there as far as programs that may assist you to keep all of those important business details in order."


Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

I’m honestly still working on this! I think it’s especially difficult to separate your business/personal life when you work from home, but hopefully one day I’ll get there.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Determination / Patience / Passion

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