Do you think you’ve always been creative and original? Having the opportunity to use your creative muscles and work in the colorful graphic design industry is a huge perk. Not only that, working as a freelancer also allows you to work with a wide variety of clients, so no two days would be the same.
The reality is that starting freelance work can arouse a wide range of emotions, from fear to awe. Starting a graphic design business may not be the easiest career path if you want a sense of fulfillment and pride in knowing that your work, effort, and talents achieve every dollar you earn.
As a graphic designer starting your own business, you’ve arrived at the right place. On your journey to self-employment, keep these considerations in mind as you embark on your new career as an entrepreneur.
What is a Graphic Designer?
A graphic designer’s job is to translate abstract ideas and concepts into visual form. You may be working on a significant advertising campaign or brand redesign for a huge business, from product packaging through magazines and promotional campaigns.
Graphic designers employ images, graphics, and typography when working on a project, and they organize these elements in software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.
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In-house graphic designers are common in corporations. They might also work for a branding and marketing agency, which many companies use to manage their advertising and marketing needs on a contract basis.
Graphic designers, on the other hand, are frequently self-employed. You may choose your customers and set your daily pricing as a freelancer.
What does a Graphic Designer Usually Do?
By combining various design components for aesthetic and artistic purposes to communicate ideas, graphic designers use art and technology in their work. Advertising, brochures, periodicals, and corporate reports all benefit from their work in this area. Rough sketches of design concepts are generally produced first, either by hand or with computer software.
The ultimate objective of a graphic designer is to make the firm they worked for well-known and famous. They convey a certain idea or identity in advertising and marketing by employing text, pictures, and various media. Print design, photography, motion, branding, and advertising are examples of media.
Graphic designers frequently work with other designers, digital marketers, audiovisual artists, developers, creative directors, and website designers on projects. Copywriters create the wording for layouts, and graphic designers work closely with them to select how it will be used, whether it is in headlines, paragraphs, or lists and tables.
Do You Need a Degree?
The answer is no.
You may become a graphic designer by attending university, college, or working as an apprentice before going out on your own. Creating a portfolio that demonstrates your creative talents will be highly valued by many clients. All of your work might even be housed on your website.
However, note that some clients might require you to present credentials or certifications before employing you in their project.
3 Types of Graphic Designer
Graphic designers have different types depending on their working environment. Here are three types of the most common graphic designers based on their types of company.
Inhouse Graphic Designer
To work in-house is to work for an established company and focus on a single trademark or a set of closely linked brands. Graphic designers who work in these capacities are more likely to be generalists than specialists. As a result, they are well-equipped to handle any design challenge that comes their way.
Agency Graphic Designer
Outsourced clients commission graphic design firms to come up with original ideas and execute those ideas. Designers frequently deal with a wide range of clients in this setting. Short-term, project-based assignments are more common, and they’re usually tied to a single campaign.
Freelance Graphic Designer
A freelance graphic designer’s duties extend beyond simple design work. From promotion and customer interactions to accounting and invoicing, each part of their company is under their purview. Self-control and commitment are key requirements for this position.
7 Foolproof Steps to Kickstart Your Career in Graphic Design
While graphic design tends to be a side gig for many freelancers who are just getting their feet wet, it may become a full-time career with time, preparation, and a great work ethic.
To get you started, here are five simple steps.
Create a Stable Portfolio
You’ll need a strong portfolio if you’re going to be bringing in customers on your own. Please refrain from including anything you’ve done lately in your resume, no matter how tempting it seems. Include just those projects and samples in your portfolio that serve as exceptional examples of the sort of freelance work you hope to do. Use your portfolios as a platform to sell your work to prospective customers.
Make a Name for Yourself on the Internet
You need a strong professional and personal brand to be successful as an independent graphic designer. Start an online footprint as a visual artist by purchasing a domain, creating an email account, and updating your website. Think about whether you want to work as a freelancer under your name or you want to start a firm under a different name while building your brand.
Start Accepting Clients and Earning Money
Start hunting for work as soon as you’ve finished building your website or online profiles! It’s normal to feel nervous when sending out your first few applications, but remember that you have nothing at all to lose!
Making a modest first investment is a wise move. There is a possibility that your first clients or tasks will take longer than you planned. There will be meetings, changes, and identifying precisely what a customer requires, all of which will require time.
Get an effort to network and make oneself known. Invest some time in this. Participate in local meetings and networking activities if the bulk of your business is done in your region.
Aside from relationships at agencies and organizations, you may also have contacts at creative conferences or particular clients that provide you with many assignments.
Locate a Niche Market
While working with a wide range of clients and projects is advantageous, certain freelancers may benefit from specializing. What do you do when there is a strong demand for your services but a shortage of qualified people to provide them? It’s conceivable that narrowing your focus will be crucial. However, this does not rule out the possibility of future growth and development. The needs of the market and the client are always changing. Make sure you’re in charge of your company. Make sure you’re doing what’s best by performing frequent evaluations.
Take on a Personal Project
The everyday grind of work might prevent you from progressing in the directions you’d like. As a result, make it a personal goal to explore that idea further.
You may also volunteer to assist a buddy with a little project as a way to freshen up your portfolio. To learn and try out new ideas and approaches without the pressure of deadlines, take on some of these tiny side projects on the side.
Collaborate with Other Designers
As much as possible, strive to collaborate with your employees, whether fellow designers or not. We might become too focused on our particular tasks at our desks and lose sight of the bigger picture.
Increase your involvement in all facets of the project. Find out what other people are doing to help with the initiative and join in on the action yourself. You’ll gain a greater knowledge of the entire process, show appreciation for your coworkers’ work, and perhaps learn something new about it. There is no such thing as a foolish question, as many of us learned in elementary school.
Don’t Forget Budgeting
As a freelance designer, you need to be your boss, staff, and accountant. Hence, never forget the importance of budgeting your cost.
While people might think that graphic design doesn’t need much money, it does. Purchasing font, graphics, and other design assets can break your bank if you don’t plan it accordingly. However, you can always find high-quality fonts at an affordable price here.
How to Set Your Prices
It isn’t easy to start over zero when determining prices as a freelancer. Many aspects specific to you must be taken into account when setting your prices, but just picking a figure out of pure nothingness will not help you arrive at realistic charges that are both fair to you and beneficial to your consumers.
No matter how experienced you are as a freelancer, finding the proper graphic design prices is still challenging.
5 Things to Consider Before Setting Prices
Let’s speak about how to tailor your prices to your job and your clients’ requirements, given that you do have some starting points. You can’t just use the following benchmarks as a starting point; rather, use them as a guide to help you get started.
You’ll need to consider several other factors when determining your actual rates as a freelance graphic designer.
If you’re new to freelancing but have 10 years of expertise in graphic design, you shouldn’t charge $20 an hour. It is the most apparent rule of thumb. On the other hand, if you’re designing your first logo, don’t charge more than $500 for it.
Your Payment Scheme
Set a rate for yourself and stick to it. What are the costs associated with a given project? How will you recoup the costs of other services, such as making minor changes to the original website’s appearance or providing a customer with more logo options? Is there a fee for additional revisions?
The most significant drivers of your fees, especially if you quote per project, are the project’s size, depth, complexity, timing, and other specifics.
Value You Get
A client’s ability to provide consistent, steady hours or the value of your name being associated with them may influence your final pricing.
Duration of the Project
Even if you choose hourly pricing, you must consider how long the job is likely to take before setting your prices to make sure your costs are covered.
3 Mistakes to Avoid During Setting Prices
While figuring up your freelance rates, it’s simple to make mistakes that limit your earning potential and make it difficult to predict your revenue.
Some of the most typical errors an independent graphic designer may make when determining prices are summarized here.
Underestimating Your Craft
Establishing your prices is not the time or place for insecurities, which may plague creatives. Your labor adds genuine value to your client’s businesses, and you’ll be paid accordingly. Asking customers for testimonies or other data they may give about the effectiveness of your work might help you avoid making this blunder. Whenever you want to boost your rates, or if imposter syndrome comes, pull these out of your swipe file and use them as references.
Keeping the Same Rate for Years
Rates shouldn’t stay the same year after year, even if you just alter them to take inflation into account. In addition, when your knowledge develops and your availability decreases, you should raise your prices.
Impulsively Determining Your Rate
Project-based pricing, as opposed to flat charges, is what you should do. However, that doesn’t imply you should pick numbers on a whim. To accurately predict your revenue and have confidence in your rates, you must have a clear pricing plan in mind that you can use in every project and client.
As a self-employed graphic designer, you have the option to work from home. A job in the creative industry may no longer be considered a pipe dream in today’s global gig economy, and having a graphic design job can be the best decision you’ve ever made in your life.