The idea of being able to work on your terms, pursue your style of designing and at the same time regulate your work timings can be alluring. But, freelancing as a professional can come with its own set of responsibilities and discipline. Freelancing as an architect is a great way to manoeuvre your path and learn as you stumble and progress. It provides a great lens to get an in-depth understanding of the field as you step into it. However, at the beginning of your freelancing journey, it is more likely that one has to take up multi-faceted roles individually.

Here are some tips and tools from industry experts that will ensure a smooth curve in your freelancing journey :

Build a Design Portfolio

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Portfolio _©Freepik

This might seem like the most obvious thing to do when starting a freelance journey. However, a powerful first impression is always important. Your design portfolio is your superpower to reflect your design thinking skills and solutions and put forth your magical ability to convert imaginations and dreams into reality. 

Nowadays, many websites and YouTubers provide design templates for a neat and visually appealing portfolio. These design portfolio templates are usually from Adobe applications like Indesign, Illustrator or Photoshop. The design tools for portfolio building vary according to one’s style and workflow.

Websites : ; ; ; ;

Youtube Channels: The Architectural Insider; Show it Better; Upstairs

Build Networks and Connections

Once you have your portfolio of work ready to be shared, it’s time to socialize and connect with like-minded peers. This is important as we can find individuals with the same design ideologies and work ethics. These connections can lead to further work opportunities and collaborations. Many websites also post about freelancing projects for designers and architects.

Social Media: Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook.

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Portfolio _©Freepik

Talk about your Work and Share it

Communication is a really important skill set for an architect to possess. Building a visual, emotional and intellectual connection with your followers and audience is really important, this will make them connect more with your work. Many designers and architects have taken the aid of social media to share their design journey and work along with design solutions and gained massive exposure leading to prospective clients. Here are some inspirational designers and architects who have taken up a dual role of an influencer to create a platform on social media for their work.

Instagram Handles: Essajees Atelier; Rooshad Shroff, Ashiesh Shah

Engage in Industry Projects

It is really important to know about the latest projects in the industry. This gives you exposure to new design styles in trend, new materials in the market, upcoming colour trends, and leading design studios‘ projects. This information can be gained by following the social media platforms of leading architectural design firms you vibe with. There are many publications and online architectural magazines which come up with new articles and projects every day. and collections of new. Some magazines feature architecture and design brands to source your resources from for your upcoming projects. You can also subscribe to their newsletters to get updates daily!

Magazines: Architectural Digest India, Archdaily; Elle Décor

Improve your Computational Design Skills

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Portfolio _©Freepik

Over a few decades, the language of architecture and its communication with clients has drastically changed. We must keep ourselves updated with the latest technological advancements that will push our design sensibilities and understanding of structures. As the world develops sensitivity towards sustainability and with technological advancements, we can now understand the environmental effects of the structure in the built environment. The Associate Principal Architect, Neil Katz at SOM says, “One of SOM’s unique characteristics in the field is the integration of architecture and structural engineering. It has led to a new aesthetic in architecture where the structural aspect of the building has a significant impact on its form and expression.”

Leading software used by large-scale firms today are- Rhino, Grasshopper, and Lumion.

Several websites and youtube channels teach this software at a minimal rate or for absolutely free!

Websites: Udemy, Coursera, 

EdX, Khan Academy.

Youtube Channels : Gediminas Kirdekis, Show it Better , Nuno Silva

Develop your Visual Storytelling

Just like our unique set of designing skills, each designer must develop their language to express their creativity best. Along with computer 

it’s important to convey a story with your project renderings to develop an emotional connection with the project and its clients. 

Websites : Illustarch ; pngwing ; pngimg

Use AI to your benefit

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz related to the usability of AI tools for and against the designers. However, the launching of these AI tools could simplify our life and convert our long working hours into simple clicks and commands.


which is – An independent research lab exploring mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species, claims David Holz. A tool like Midjourney could easily shape our imaginations and provoke new ideas. They could push our design thinking abilities while developing a concept for a new project.

ARCHITEChTURES analyses site conditions, climate dynamics, budget constraints, and client aspirations. This wealth of knowledge unveils an array of design options, flawlessly harmonising form and function while bringing architectural visions to life.

ChatGPT is a powerful language generation tool that can enhance communication and collaboration, streamline the design process, and boost creativity. With ChatGPT, architects can generate detailed design documentation and explore new and innovative design ideas. 

Jack Lynch from architecture Studio Hickock Cole while talking about his experience using ChatGPT while designing a 24-storey residential, retail and office and hotel spaces. He claims, Working with ChatGPT is similar to working with a young designer; whenever new constraints are introduced one by one, ChatGPT responds by coming up with new ideas.

He further says, ‘ The bot itself introduces all-new architectural features of having a double height space to implement natural daylight and suggests a combination of materials for modern and sleek aesthetic, parts of the roof would be stepped back to create a garden which would help create an interesting roofline’

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Portfolio _©Freepik

Project Management Apps

Individually taking up and performing multiple tasks in multiple roles can be daunting. With new mobile and computer apps, it’s easy to record activities and tasks to be managed and undertaken at various sites at once. Certain software helps in managing projects, including budgeting, scheduling, planning, staffing, and invoicing. 

Softwares : Monograph(designed by architect for architects) ; ArchiSnapper ; Newforma

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Portfolio _© Freepik

Nandini is an architect and loves to illustrate motifs & patterns inspired from her travels. She photographs to keep her memories always alive. One could spot Nandini donning bright Indian textiles and chomping on ramen. She is an avid Sitar player and an Indian classical dancer.