Freelance Graphic Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide 2024

May 16, 2024
freelance graphic designer

Quick Summary

  • Freelance graphic design is a growing career with 25,000 annual job openings, driven by technological advancements.

  • To become a freelance graphic designer, one must develop creative skills, learn design principles through courses, master tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, and build a strong portfolio.

  • Freelance graphic designers can earn well, especially as they gain experience and build a client base, with opportunities in diverse industries such as Deloitte, Google, and Infosys.

Table of Contents

who is freelance graphic designer

Unleash Your Creativity and Build a Thriving Career

Are you ready to transform your artistic passion into a lucrative career? Every year, around 25,000 job openings beckon freelance graphic designer, making it one of the fastest-growing fields. Thanks to technological advancements, the demand for compelling visual content in marketing and advertising is skyrocketing.

Graphic design is more than just creating beautiful images—it’s about storytelling and problem-solving through design elements like shapes, textures, and colours. As a freelance graphic designer, you have the freedom to serve diverse clients and industries, from top companies like Deloitte and Google to innovative startups. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to becoming a successful freelance graphic designer, covering everything from mastering design principles and tools to building a standout portfolio and marketing yourself effectively. Let’s dive in and turn your creative dreams into reality!

Graphic designers may work at graphic designing firms or can freelance their services. A freelance graphic designer can directly serve his clients and enjoy the rewards solely. In this blog, we will discuss how to become a freelance graphic designer and how to start as a freelance graphic designer. We will also cover the different types of graphic designers, the importance of a freelance graphic designer’s job, a freelance graphic designer’s salary and all the skills required to be a good freelance designer. So, let us get started on how to become a freelance graphic designer

8 Steps to Become a Graphic Designer:

If you are wondering how to become a graphic designer, here are the steps to become one.

Step-1 Assess your Creative Skills

The first thing that you need to understand is that Graphic design is not just about creating visually appealing designs; it’s about communication, problem-solving, and innovation. Before diving into the freelance world, assess your creative skills and passion for design. It’s essential to have a strong foundation in design principles and an understanding of the role of a designer.

Step-2 Learn from the Course

A graphic designing course will act as a guide in the process. The course will teach you the fundamentals of graphic design and its components. It will provide you with foundational to advanced knowledge and skills in graphic design. Starting from basics graphic designing courses will also teach you through practical projects to enhance your skills. The course will cover topics like technical drawing, colour & forms, layout, and tools & software.

You can find multiple course options, from scheduled academic courses to professional courses. There are also several online courses that you can enrol in. Based on your learning preference and schedule you can choose the best-suited ones.

Step-3 Get Acquainted with Graphic Designing Tools

Explore various graphic design tools to expand your knowledge, skills and your portfolio. Generally, graphic designing software is used that enable users to create multiple designs with its features. Adobe Creative Cloud is the primary software that graphic designers use. Besides, you need to be familiar with other designing software too like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, etc. as the majority of designs are created through these. You can refer to various user guides that are widely available or you can also watch tutorials for a practical training experience. 

Step-4 Do Projects and Develop Skills

Once you are familiar with graphic designing tools and principles, it’s now time to practice. You can practice making random designs or visuals. You can also recreate the logos of existing companies and assess how far they match. Self-assessment is the key to success, the more you practice the more you get your hands on this software. You can also offer your designs to NGOs to test your skills and gain real-world experience.

Step-5 Create a Professional Portfolio

A strong and enticing portfolio is highly essential, especially the freelance graphic designer’s portfolio, it is a very crucial element for their career. Your portfolio will be the first thing that potential recruiters or clients will see. You can include the projects you did during the course of your own projects. But while developing your portfolio you must ensure quality over quantity. Select those projects that define your potential, design skills, and interests better.

Step- 6 Market Yourself

In the freelance world, marketing is crucial. Use social media platforms to network, showcase your work, and connect with potential clients. Create a website or online portfolio to serve as a professional point of contact. SEO is also an essential tool for increasing your online presence and attracting clients.

Step-7 Price Your Services Appropriately

Determining your pricing can be challenging. Consider your experience, the complexity of the projects, and the industry standards. Research what other freelancers chrage and adjust your rates accordingly. Transparency in pricing can build trust with your clients.

Step-8 Find Clients and Grow Your Network

Finding clients requires proactive networking and self-promotion. Register on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, but also reach out to your personal network. Attend industry events and engage with the design community. Building relationships can lead to referrals and repeat business.

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Types of Graphic Designers:

Graphic designers are classified into different categories based on their work area and services. They are as follows:

1. Freelance Graphic Designer

Evident from the name freelance itself, freelance graphic designers run their own businesses. They are their boss and manage, regulate, and control the entire business solely. Freelance graphic designers work on a variety of projects for various clients at once. This is more like a sole proprietorship firm.

Freelancing has gained popularity in recent times due to its flexibility. Freelancing graphic designers can work from anywhere and at any time. They have complete control of the projects, they can be selective regarding the work. However, as a beginner, they need to grow a strong client base. They also need to market their services and handle the administrative activities of their business.

Suggested Read: 7 Tips for Freelancers to Help You Succeed as a Freelance Professional

2. Agency Graphic Designers

Agency graphic designers are the designers who work under graphic design agencies. They work with diverse groups of brands and clients. The needs of these clients vary as they are generally external clients who hire agencies for their projects. Agency graphic designers are more inclined toward campaign projects in the short term. Their work is fast-paced and involves working for multiple brands at once.

Agency graphic designers work with skilled professionals as colleagues thus they can observe the design processes and learn from them. Graphic designers who are new to the domain, or want to learn under specialized personnel, can consider being an agency graphic designer.

Stop hustling from 9 to 5. Work at your Own Pace.

Career as a Freelance Graphic Designer:

A career in freelance graphic design proves to be a fruitful one. There is huge scope in the field of graphic design. No matter which type of industry it is, from the textile to the automobile industry, graphic designers are in demand everywhere. Some of the top recruiting industries for freelance graphic designers are Deloitte, Google, Infosys, Accenture, R.R. Donnelley, and more.

Graphic designers can also freelance their services to their clients. Many platforms provide freelance graphic designers the opportunity to render their services to various clients. Some of such popular platforms are Upwork, SimplyHired, Fiver, 99Designs, PeoplePerHour, and many more.

Also Read: 15+ Best Freelance Marketplaces and Platform

How to Become a Graphic Designer without Experience:

As a graphic designer, you can also establish a successful and prosperous career without any prior experience. Here are some tips that can help you become a graphic designer without any experience:

1. Internships

Internships are the best way to start a professional career. They serve as a great opportunity to gain real-world experience and skills. You can take up internships at agencies according to your interests. This will help you to get a deep insight into the actual workings of such firms and will build your connections with various professional graphic designers. You can also work with NGOs or non-profit organizations. This will not only let you aid the community but will also build networks that can help you in your career.

Suggested Read: List of Top 12 Internship Websites in India

2. Contact Design Agencies

Keep a touch with your favourite designers or design agencies. Introduce yourself with your portfolio and work samples. You can also ask for an information interview to learn more about their work processes. Captivate them with your work so that they can reach you during any future opening in their agency.

3. Connect with Other Professionals

Stay in touch with your batchmates or professors of your graphic designing course. Your peers may provide you with future opportunities or recommend you for any opening. Also, keep in touch with professional designers through social media handles and share your work samples with them. They may provide you with an opportunity if they feel you have the required freelance graphic designer portfolio.

Skills required to become a Freelance Graphic Designer?

  • Design Software Proficiency: It’s crucial for freelance graphic designers to be proficient in software such as Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), Sketch, or Affinity Designer. These tools are used to create and edit visual content.
  • Understanding of Design Principles: A strong grasp of design principles such as balance, contrast, hierarchy, and alignment is essential. These principles guide the creation of visually appealing and effective designs.
  • Creativity: It is a creative field, and having a creative mindset is vital. Designers should be able to generate unique ideas and solutions for various design problems.
  • Communication Skills: Being able to communicate effectively with clients to understand their needs and present your ideas is key. This includes verbal and written communication, as well as the ability to listen and incorporate feedback.
  • Business Acumen: As freelancers, graphic designers need to have some business skills such as marketing, networking, negotiating, pricing, and managing finances. These skills help in running the freelance business efficiently.
  • Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The field of graphic design is always evolving with new trends, tools, and technologies. A successful freelance designer must be adaptable and committed to continuous learning to stay current in the industry.

Freelance Graphic Designer Earnings:

A freelance graphic designer can make a quite good amount of money if he/she possesses the necessary skills and have a knack for creating innovative and attractive designs. As a freelance graphic designer, you work independently, which means you got no supervisor to above you. This also means that there is no fixed salary that is paid by anyone.

But the plus point is there is no package limit on your earnings. However, if you want to know what can be your estimated earnings then the answer is 3 LPA in India. This is quite good for a beginner, and as you gain experience and work with various clients you can charge higher as per your skills and projects.

Is Graphic Design a Growing Field?

The graphic designing industry is witnessing constant growth. The demand for graphic designers is rapidly rising in the industry. Implementation of new technologies, systems, and designing software is resulting in the creation of demand for graphic designers throughout the industry.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics Report, the demand for graphic design professionals is likely to increase by 5% by 2026. There are constant growth opportunities for graphic designers, they can work in diverse industries and grow more as they gain experience. Graphic designing is indeed an astounding and rewarding career option. 

Dive into our Freelancing guide, to learn strategies to find full-time/ part-time freelance projects to generate more income.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1: Is freelance graphic design easy??

Ans: Graphic designing is easy once you have acquired the necessary skills. The one problem that new freelance graphic designers face is right their freelancing contracts right, mentioning every term & condition clearly, quoting their price rate etc. However, with a few projects you will gain this experience too, and everything will become easier.

Q 2: How can I learn freelance graphic design?

Ans: Although there are several ways to learn about it, starting from the basics is the best way. You can learn to become a freelance graphic designer by following these steps:

1. Learn basics from free learning resources
2. Take up Courses and practice the assignments given
3. Start taking a few freelancing gigs
4. Update your skills and start earning

Q 3: How much does a freelance graphic designer earn?

Ans: As a freelance graphic designer, your earning capacity depends on your skills and level of experience. But on average, it can make 3 LPA which will increase eventually to 8-10 LPA as years go by.

Q 4: What skills do you need to be a freelance graphic designer?

Ans: Skills are the things that a professional must possess. The set of skills that a graphic designer needs to do their work are:

1. Creativity
2. Knowledge of Graphic Designing Principles
3. Usage of necessary software and tools
4. Typography
5. Branding

Q 5: How can I start freelance with no experience?

Ans: So many talented and hard-working graphic designers don’t pursue their dreams just because they lack work experience. But there are ways through which you can gain experience and kick-start your career. These methods are:

1. Doing Graphic Designing Internships
2. Work for Designing Agencies
3. Connect with Professionals, and work under them

Q 6: What does a freelance graphic designer do?

Ans: A freelance graphic designer is a professional who creates visual content independently to communicate messages. They design graphics for a variety of media like websites, advertising, books, magazines, posters, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays. Freelance designers are self-employed or contract workers who often manage their own businesses, find their own clients and handle all aspects of their design projects from concept to completion.

Q 7: How to find clients as a freelance graphic Designer?

To find clients as a freelance graphic designer, leverage platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, build a professional website showcasing your portfolio and utilize social media to network and display your work. Attend industry events for networking and seek referrals from satisfied clients to expand your client base.

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