How to become a free lancer Graphic Designer?


Graphics are almost everywhere around us. If you pay attention, you can see graphics in every single thing in our surrounding environment. As a result, many people intend to learn graphic design somehow because of the high demand in the market and the chance to gain a prestigious job. But do they have a real passion for art? or just need a prestigious position to make money? “Passion for art” refers to the addiction and desire to create something out of one’s imagination from time to time. One cannot live without doing it, without creating something. This urge can be seen in artists who cannot live without art. Further, you may be a good mechanic, baker, or chef, but not a graphic designer, because this is something inside your blood and your spirit. Thus, if you are  passionate about something, you give all the effort you can give to it.

What is a Graphic Designer?

Are you looking for a creative career in the design field that involves collaborating with other creative people or directly with clients? You may want to consider a career as a graphic designer!

How to learn Graphic Design and work a free lancer | Digiartu

Graphic designers are visual communicators who create concepts by hand or by using specialized graphic design software. They communicate ideas to inspire, inform, or captivate consumers through both physical and virtual art forms that include images, words, or graphics. By constant communication with clients, customers, and other designers, they ensure that their designs accurately reflect the desired message and effectively express information.

What does a graphic designer do?

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports.

Learn the graphic design skills.

So, you may ask yourself: What type of education do I need to become a graphic designer? Well, for me, I chose to obtain an associate’s degree in graphic design. You can choose to go after a bachelor’s, or a certificate, or even solely do your own self-study.

I highly recommend having the foundation that formal education provides, but it is not 100% mandatory, especially if you have an excellent eye for design to begin with and are a go-getter when it comes to seeking out the known experts in the field and going through their books or online courses to learn everything you need to know and set you on the path for success.

What you choose really depends on your lifestyle and how much time and monetary investment you can put towards building your all-essential portfolio of work samples.

Earn a graphic design degree if you have a passion about it:

Choosing the college route is a fantastic starting point if your time and finances allow you to partake in this option. There are so many great college options to choose between. You could start studying for a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree at a local or international university.

The benefits of obtaining a degree in the field are great because you will be provided with a well-rounded education that will cover all areas of graphic design. You will learn important design principles, how to meet deadlines, and how to accept criticism for your numerous design projects.

By going through formal education, you will come out with a great grasp on all of the foundational fundamentals that you will need to know as a graphic designer, so that you can be confident that you will be able to provide nothing but the best service for your soon-to-come clients. You could opt to only take a couple of college classes if you wanted and then pursue the rest of your education through self-study.

However, even if you do decide to pursue a degree, I would also definitely recommend supplementing what you learn in school with your own self-study. By doing so, your work and your clients will only benefit!

Study Graphic Design and Make Money | Digiartu

Why shouldn’t you do your own self-study if you wish to choose graphic design as your future career? 

Although you can put your best effort into learning some basic graphic design skills by self-study, I DO NOT recommend this to you at all. Why?

Because graphic design is not just working with Microsoft Office or Photoshop, etc., to become a professional designer, you must know the fundamentals of design. I emphasize that you need to know about shapes, images, color theory, typography, layout, and much more. The undergrad students in graphic design also spend 8 to 10 hours per day in computer labs working with 2D, 3D, and 4D design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, 3D Max, Maya, Blender, etc. to create masterpieces. You also need to practice and do a lot of different design projects. In addition, you definitely need an instructor to help you and show you the road to the specific design destination. However, there are plenty of uneducated and unskilled designers around the world who call themselves graphic designers but are not even able to make a simple PowerPoint presentation correctly. If you wish to learn these design skills and love designing, then find time and let your dream come true.

Do you have dreams of ditching your day job and becoming a full-time freelance graphic designer? Start putting your plan into motion.

Most freelancers start with graphic design as a side hustle, but with determination, business planning, and a solid work ethic, you can build as much business as you want to create a sustainable career.
Here are 10 step plans to help you get started.

How to Become a Free lancer Graphic Designer | Digiartu

Step 1: Create a portfolio as the first step.

A strong portfolio is a must if you plan to bring in clients on your own.

While it can be tempting to dump everything you’ve done recently into a portfolio, be selective. Only include projects and examples that are stellar examples of the kind of freelance work you want to do. If you plan to focus on print, don’t pack your portfolio with digital projects.)
Use your portfolio as a showcase to sell your work to potential clients. You’ll quickly find that the type of work you showcase often results in similar inquiries for future projects.
Even unpaid projects that you have a personal connection to can be part of your portfolio. Sometimes, these pieces can show your depth of work and love for design more than commercial jobs. (They can also lead to more of the kind of work that you want to do.)

Step 2: Create your own distinct brand.

Consider whether you plan to do freelance work under your name or create a business name.
You’ll need a strong personal and professional brand to make it as a freelance graphic designer. They might be the same (if you plan to do work under your name) or could include a business name that you represent.

Brand Identity Design | How to Make Your Brand Unique | Digiartu

Buy a domain, create an email address, and establish an online presence as a graphic designer. While you are doing this brand work, consider whether you plan to do freelance work under your name or create a business name. (You might want to do the footwork for both if you are on the fence.) There are pros and cons to both options.

  • using your name or creating another company name
  • making it a personal choice of how you want to do business as a freelance graphic designer.

I started doing small freelance projects under my own name nearly a decade ago. As my business and reputation grew, I incorporated the freelance business. This is a common path for many freelancers and shows how a strong personal brand can grow into and contribute to a business name or brand as well.

Step 3: Establish your brand online.

Part of building your brand is to establish yourself as an authority on all things design, with a specific focus on the type of freelance work you want to attract. That probably starts with a website as well as social media and portfolio sites.
Think of how new clients will look at you. It will likely start with a Google search – even for clients that come from referrals.
A strong online presence gives you credibility as a graphic designer and makes you “real” to potential clients. It can also provide a point of contact. So don’t forget to include a note that you are available for hire and how to get in touch.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan and Set Goals

You need to think about time, taxes, and the balance of revenue and expenses.
So much of becoming a freelance graphic designer isn’t creative at all. It’s laying a solid business foundation to facilitate future success.
A full business plan might not be necessary if you plan to use freelance work as merely a side gig. But you still need to think about time, taxes, and the balance of revenue and expenses. (The goal is to make money, right?)
If you plan to enter into freelancing as a full-time job, you need a business plan and goals. How much income do you need to make it work? What about the costs of healthcare, taxes, software, computers, and marketing? What services and contractors do you need (legal, CPA, licenses, and insurance)?
Create measurable goals to help you figure out if your plan is working. And have a fallback plan if the freelance lifestyle ends up not being for you.

Step 5: Start Accepting Clients

Start taking freelance clients. While you are probably ready to jump in, it’s a good idea to start small. The first few clients and projects might take more time or work than you anticipate. From meetings to revisions to figuring out exactly what a client needs, you want to give yourself plenty of time to be successful (and not burn out right away).
Over time, you’ll get an idea of what client time looks like, how long certain projects take, and where you can focus on making the most money and getting creative fulfillment.

Step 6: Establish and Maintain the Appropriate Networks

What does your ideal client look like? Where do you find them?
Spend some time putting yourself out there through intentional networking. If most of your business is local, attend meetups and networking events in your region. If client work comes from other sources, develop those networks.
Other networks might include contacts at agencies if you do a lot of sub work, through design conferences if you have a wide network, or individual clients that send a lot of business your way.
Strong connections will help you generate the right type of business and not lead to problems with clients or projects that aren’t a good fit.

Remember that networking happens in person, online, and through other channels such as guest blogging, referring clients, and attending industry-specific events or conferences.

Step 7: Don’t focus solely on one aspect of design or local clients only.

  • Don’t spend all your free time working for one local client or on just one type of project. You never know when that business might dry up.
  • It’s a good idea to create a diverse client base.
  • The ideal mix? Aim for: A few regular clients with predictable needs
  • A couple of big projects that you can complete and move on
  • A few new clients or projects
  • A passive income source, such as selling UI kits or tools in marketplaces or reselling hosting to website clients.

Step 8: Create a Referral Network

Creating a referral network can work reciprocally when other freelancers refer clients back to you. There will come a time when every freelancer is maxed out. You just can’t take on another project because you are busy or need a little time off. And that’s OK.

Refer clients to other graphic designers that you trust. Creating a referral network that you can send clients to establishes your reputation and can work reciprocally when other freelancers refer clients back to you. Only send clients to other designers that you trust.
Have a conversation with designers that you might send clients to. These might be others that you work with regularly (or even contract work with) or designers from your extended network. Make sure they know you may be sending work their way. (It’s good for business in the long run.)

Step 9: Finding a Niche Market

While it is good to have a mix of clients and projects, some freelancers can benefit from specialization. Do you do something that there’s a strong demand for but not a lot of people to meet it? Specialization might be the key.
Before you jump into a niche market, do your homework. Is there enough work to support your business? Can you work efficiently in this area? Will you be satisfied with one line of design work? Is there a demand for the product, service, or design technique you are specializing in?
Just because you decide to specialize in something doesn’t mean you can’t take on other projects. The main benefits of working in a niche market are that you should be able to create a system and produce work quickly—you aren’t reinventing the wheel each time—and you will have a strong familiarity with the work.
Niche markets include content or industry-specific design work.

use of specific techniques, such as designing for voice or artificial intelligence interfaces, specialization by project, such as websites or print design, outdoor media, or product design. Working with a specific type of client, such as small businesses in a certain region, Specialization doesn’t mean that you can’t change over time. The market and client needs change. Stay on top of your business and the industry. Evaluate your projects and clients periodically to make sure you are doing what’s best for your career.

Step 10: Reward Yourself Without blowing your budget!

Now for the fun part—make sure to reward yourself!
Separate business and household funds. Use different accounts and credit cards and keep track of everything. Operate the freelance work as a business to make everything more manageable in the long run. (Believe me, your accountant will thank you.
Then, from the business, pay yourself a salary. (Hopefully, you’re doing enough business to pay yourself well.) Don’t pay household bills from your business accounts. Keeping business and personal accounts separate will make for easier and less stressful accounting over time. Try to spend a part of your initial income on developing your business.
In conclusion, you can be a freelance graphic designer. It’s more than a dream, and in a growing gig economy worldwide, you can find a place in the creative industry on your own. You will have to work at it. But if freelance graphic design is something you are interested in, you can use this plan to get started.

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