Freelancer Insides Walter Mattos - Freelance Creative Director from Brazil


Making freelancing a full-time job isn't easy, especially when there are limitless routes one can take. How do you reach an audience? How do you deal with money? How do you balance your time? Check out the journey and advice of freelance designer Walter Mattos.

Hi Walter! It’s a pleasure for us to have you in our Insides series. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Walter Mattos, I’m 36 years old and I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My specialty is brand design. Currently, I’m also a content producer for designers on my personal blog ( and on YouTube (


What exactly made you decide to become a designer? How long have you been freelancing?

Amazingly, I only realized what design really is when I was in college.

I started a at a college of visual communication and graphic design because I had an affinity and ability with drawing, but I had no idea what design was de facto. We are talking about 2001 when the term "design" was not as widespread as it is today - at least not in Brazil.

Luckily it was love at first class.


You have a very popular blog and YouTube channel about design. Could you tell us a bit more about them?

When I created the blog in 2014, I never imagined that it would become popular.

Initially, the idea was to consolidate me as a brand designer and share some Photoshop and Illustrator tips. Over time I started expanding the topics and exploring all my passions in design.

Nowadays I write about several topics, from briefing to management, and from Photoshop tips to grid composition. I couldn’t really tell you the main focus of my content or even my preferred topics!


Was it difficult for you to start freelancing? Did you face many problems? Could you share with our readers the most important lessons you learned on the way?

The hardest part is not to start freelancing, but to keep living as a freelancer. The biggest problems are related to the inconstancy of incoming projects and the difficulty in managing the lack of money. As a freelancer you go through periods of having few projects – or worse, having no projects at all. That happens especially at the beginning.

In Brazil, we don’t have a culture that supports financial literacy and entrepreneurship. I felt very lost when I started freelancing and I had to learn on the way. Actually, I’m still learning.

You have to let go of the expectation of having a fixed amount of money every month in your bank account and start seeing and planning your business in an annual perspective. Avoiding unnecessary frustrations is the first step to face the freelancing life.


If you would search for your profile on Google, which are the 3 keywords you would type in the search bar?

I've never bothered to come up with strategies for putting my site on the first page of searches. So far, I've never spent a dollar on marketing. Maybe I would do it someday, but I honestly don’t care too much about it.

Curiously, after reading your question, I decided to search for "passionate designer" on Google and found my site on the front page. I do not think I need 3 keywords to define me. That's how I feel: a designer in love with what he does.


What do you love most about your work? Is there one particular project that you are especially proud of? 

My passion is for graphic design in general. I like to communicate, to exchange ideas and to learn new things. I do not see myself stopping being a designer nor interacting with the public of my blog and YouTube channel. I couldn’t live without any of them.

I can’t tell if I have a favourite brand design because each new project brings a new challenge. This challenge is what keeps the flame alight inside me.

About my content, I have a special affection for a design analysis that I made of the movie poster of "Doctor Strange". There were more than 70 hours of work in this study and production. Many books and other references were consulted to produce this single video. This may have been the most challenging content I’ve done so far because I had to put myself out of my comfort zone many times. You can find the analysis and the video here (in Portuguese only). 


I assume your life as a freelancer is very busy. How does your working routine look like? Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?

I don’t follow exactly a rigid routine of 8 hours of work, but I do keep track of the time invested in each project, be it a design project or content for the blog and YouTube.

I keep a worksheet where I set the start and end times of each task. These tasks can take from 40 minutes to 2 hours uninterrupted, sometimes with breaks that can last from 10 minutes to 1 hour between tasks. It depends a lot on the amount of work and the mindset I have in the day.

I do not have a strict method, but I avoid letting work interfere with my eating schedules, household chores, and health and leisure activities, such as football, movies, series, etc.

Today I can affirm that it is rare to let work hinder these moments.  However, it was not always like this.


Besides your work, what are you passionate about?

At the moment, the cinema will come at the top of the list. I'm in love with movies, series, and cartoons. I like to understand where the ideas come from for the stories to be created. I enjoy studying the script structures, the specific techniques of composition, and the language used. I enjoy everything that surrounds this universe.

I also love spending time with friends, playing guitar and eating good food. Honestly, I do not know if there is an order of preference here.


What tools are essential to your life?

For my professional life: Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, and Google (Gmail, Keep, Drive).

For my personal life: Internet, without it I couldn’t work or watch movies! (laughs)


Last chance! Is there anything more you would like to tell our readers?

First of all, thank you for the opportunity. I hope the readers will identify at some point and get something positive out of the reading.

I end up quoting Jim Carrey with a message that lives with me long before hearing through it: 

"You can fail at what you do not want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."


Where to find Walter Mattos

Walter Mattos Freelance Creative Director


Youtube Channel:

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  • Commented by Ana Glória on 13.03.2018 at 16:54 h

    Excelente profissional e pessoa.

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