Graphic design is everywhere. From product packaging to advertisements, brochures, social media images, animations, you name it. And there’s a simple reason for this: a picture is worth a thousand words. No description can convey meaning as much as the ingenuity of a creatively crafted image.
If you have a sharp eye for detail and a creative approach, graphic design might be just the right job for you. Demand for graphic designers has been, and always will be, high. And with today’s technology, graphic design jobs have diversified to cover many different fields.
This means that being a graphic designer today offers flexibility, with many fields available. You can focus on typography, logos, branding and advertising, motion graphic design, web design product packaging, merchandise, book design, desktop publishing, print or web production, as well as creating email blasts and newsletters.
While formal education in graphic design is mainly appreciated among employers, there are great chances of landing a freelance job even if you’re self-taught. The Internet offers many different courses and tutorials in graphic design provided by professionals and software companies.
So, if you want to contribute with your creativity and earn money doing so, here’s what you need to know about working online as a graphic designer.
Featured Graphic design job: designhill
Type of job
- Artistic talent
- Use of graphic design software
- Time management
- Computer with good graphics card
- Appropriate graphic design software
Pay varies but you can expect a good level of income, with an average income of around £22 ($29) per hour.
What Does It Take to Be a Freelance Graphic Designer?
Being a graphic designer means having the knack for creativity and detail at its base. However, this job isn’t simple. It takes basic knowledge, specializations, software mastery, and experience to be able to compete in the graphic design industry. Additionally, it’s always important to keep up with emerging trends and implement them in your practice.
Even if you have a degree, you need to constantly take things to the next level. For those of you who haven’t gone through formal education in this field, the challenges start at the bottom: you need to first understand the basic principles and theory of graphic design, learn how to use software effectively, and, finally, specialize in one of the many available areas.
If you’re thinking of starting in the graphic design career without any relevant education, there are many places where you can learn the most important things about this field. For instance, EnvatoTuts+ offers a self-study course in graphic design you can check out.
Additionally, you can learn how to use graphic design software on various sites, like Udemy, at low prices. YouTube also offers many videos posted by designers which can guide you into specific areas related to graphic design software and more.
Being a graphic designer also means investing in the right tools. As your computer and designing software will be your main weapons you’ll earn with, it’s imperative that you invest in the right equipment. Consider, for example, having an up-to-date computer with strong graphics and enough space to store your designs.
Building Your Website/Portfolio
The most important presentation element for every graphic designer is their portfolio. It showcases their talent, style, and experience, and it’s the best way to attract and convince customers.
Not only does your portfolio show your work, but the portfolio itself is a project you can use to showcase your skills. So, make it creative, interactive, intuitive, and informative. Show and tell your clients what you can do for them, and don’t only show, but explain the work you did on your projects.
You can also include practice projects, as a portfolio doesn’t have to include only paid work. This is great if you’re starting out in the graphic design business, as potential clients will be able to see your talent regardless of how much paid work you’ve done.
When it comes to your work, ask for testimonials from your clients and feature them! And why not allow people to grab some free resources from your site while they’re browsing? You can ask them to mention you and link to your portfolio when they use the resources, which can only increase your visibility and boost your brand.
Finally, don’t forget to add relevant sections about yourself, a contact section that’s easily noticeable, and social media buttons. This will all help you to reach a wider audience and more potential customers.
Starting Out as a Freelance Graphic Designer
Every start at a freelance career can feel slow and tedious. With so much already-established competition out there, clients are usually prone to choose experience over anything else.
To boost this process, it’s good to think of your starting work as an investment more than a way to earn a lot. Offer your services to start-ups at lower prices, offer free resources, and help your friends and family out by designing something suited to their needs.
Building your experience is very important, so don’t regret any of the hours spent with little or no earnings at the beginning – it may happen (although it’s not always a rule of thumb).
Earning Online with Graphic Design – The Places to Look
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve already established a portfolio showcasing your experience, getting a graphic design job online is just a few clicks away, and the opportunities are endless. So, here’s a list of places you can look for projects and gigs.
Designhill boasts to be the world’s #1 graphic design website, with a score of 5/5 at TrustPilot. It features graphic designers from different niches and allows employers to look for services and post graphic design contests. To join this platform, you need to create a profile and submit your portfolio. After your profile’s been reviewed and approved by an in-house consultant, you can enter the contests posted every day and submit up to 3 designs per contest.
Pay: Varies, depending on the niche.
Catering to all sorts of design, 99Designs lets graphic designers create their portfolio and get hired or compete for projects posted by clients. Their curation team constantly reviews designers’ portfolios and determine their Designer Level.
Pay: Varies depending on the job and the Designer Level (minus 20% of the price (max $100) when hired and a platform fee of 5%-15%, depending on your level)
By creating a freelancer profile at Hubstaff Talent, you get to feature your portfolio and gain exposure to a number of potential clients. You can either get contacted by a client or browse the job board and apply for local or remote jobs. There are no fees and commissions whatsoever.
Pay: Varies, you set an hourly rate
On this creative marketplace, you get to offer your services to potential clients and get hired. Clients don’t post jobs, but rather look for designers based on several preferences, such as the price, turnaround, location, and other criteria.
Pay: Minimum $50, you set the price
Freelancer is an outsourcing platform which features many different kinds of jobs. By creating your profile, listing your skills, and building your portfolio on the spot, you get to bid for projects or enter contests. The free plan comes with a limited number of bids which replenish over time. You can also opt in for paid plans which allow more features.
Pay: Varies, depending on the project and the bid (minus 10% or $5 fee, whichever is greater)
Similar to Freelancer, Upwork lets you create your profile for free and bid on jobs that fit your skillset. It has an easy-to-use interface and a variety of jobs to choose from. You bid by using up ‘connects’ which come in a limited number and are replenished over time. You can also purchase more connects.
Pay: Varies, depending on the project and bid (minus 5% – 20% fee, depending on earnings)
PeoplePerHour are a bit pickier when it comes to the freelancers they choose on their platform. Each application is reviewed and approved by their team, ensuring that only the best freelancers enter their platform. You can use your proposals to compete for jobs (which come at a limited replenishable number and can be purchased).
Pay: Varies, you set your own price (minus 20% – 3.5%, depending on lifetime billing per buyer)
Guru belongs to the same category of platforms like Freelancer and Upwork. It features a variety of jobs you can compete for by submitting ‘quotes.’ It’s free to create a profile and you can get paid in four different ways: by milestones, tasks, by the hour, or by using recurring payments.
Pay: Varies, you set the price (minus 8.95% fee, decreasing to 4.95% for a $39.95 monthly subscription plan)
Toptal is the toughest place a freelancer can enter, accepting only 3% of the applications. This means you need a lot of experience and background if you want to become part of their freelancer team. If you get accepted after the rigorous screening process, your profile reaches potential customers and they contact you.
Pay: Toptal charges clients the following rates for web designers: