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The Ultimate Guide To Get Started As A Freelance Graphic Designer

by Charles Darwin Tweet - in Graphic Designers

Last updated on September 16th, 2021

Graphic designers are always in demand for creating a wide range of design items. Right from logos to mobile apps, there are immense possibilities of employment in designing business. Instead of depending on a day job, start your freelance graphic designer career. There are plenty of design opportunities you can explore and earn more.

Are you thinking of starting a career as a freelance graphic designer? If so, then we can help you by revealing some essential things to do on how to venture into this exciting field.

In this blog, you will learn about the ways to get started out in the world of freelancing. You will also come to know about some learning resources that are so crucial for growth in this career.

But before that, here is an outlook of graphic design industry. It is estimated that graphic designing industry will grow by 7% from 2015 to 2022. During this period, the employment of graphic designers will increase by 35% in computer related designing.

Here Is Ultimate Guide To Get Started As A Freelance Graphic Designer

* What Does Graphic Design Actually Mean?

First, know what do we understand by graphic design. A graphic design is an art of communicating ideas with visual and textual content. A graphic designer uses colors, typefaces, lines, and other elements to create a visual impression. That, of course, is basic to creating graphic designs. Skillful graphic designers go a step further and gives a purpose to the visuals.

A trained and experienced graphic designer always plans a design. Here, a purpose of planning a design is to convey an intended message. In fact, the test of the designer is in conveying a brand message successfully. So, talented designer knows how to use design elements to communicate.

Graphic designers research their clients’ businesses before starting to draw a logo design, business card design, etc. It is part of the designer’s job to find out different backgrounds of a client’s target customers.

Graphic Design

With all such information, a graphic designer can now decide on the right design elements for a certain graphic work. For instance, if a brand wants to project aggressiveness and passion as its core values, the designer will probably choose red color.

If the brand’s intended message is related to happiness and joy, then yellow may be the choice. The choice of colors, typefaces, etc. depends on target audience’s profile also.

The designer conveys a brand message by creating a ‘feel’ of the message in a design. The designer wants audience to ‘feel’ the message when they see colors, lines, symbols, images, typefaces, etc. in logos.

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* Types Of Graphic Design Works

You now have an inkling of what graphic design is all about. Now, know what types of graphic designing projects a designer is supposed to handle. They typically create visuals such as logos, brochures, letterheads, business cards, flyers, websites, advertisements, catalogues, packaging, invitation cards, social media pages, postcard designs, and many more.
This is important.

Graphic Design

Broadly, these graphic design works can be put in 7 major categories – brand and identity, business and advertisement, clothing and apparel, illustration and art, product design, social media pages and website and app design.

Clients may ask you to do any of these projects. You will take up the work depending on your interest and experience of the field.

* Acquire Skills

Now that you know what you are supposed to design, find out what set of skills are required in this profession. Every body has to learn skills, and graphic design is no exception. But where do you learn them? well, I will say that you have two choices. You can get a formal education in graphic design from an institution. If you can’t go to a design school for any reason, teach yourself and become a self-taught designer.

Formal education in graphic designing will fetch you degrees of bachelors, or a certificate. It is excellent for laying a solid foundation in graphic designing. But, formal education is not mandatory. I will say that it is your interest and keenness for design that matters in the end.

If you have an eye for graphic design, that is a good starting point in your career. With your hard work and dedication, you can make a place for your self in this field. The point here is that you must learn everything about graphic designs.

Acquire Skills

And remember one more thing in this regard. You should be prepared to devote your time and money. Your complete dedication will help in making your freelance graphic designer career a success.

I will discuss the option of formal education and self knowledge a little more here for your benefit. Here are some more suggestions to follow when you decide to educate yourself on graphic design.

* When Joining A College

If you think of going to a college to learn graphic design skills, that is an excellent choice. I will suggest that you prefer going to your local community college to get your basics of designs right.

You can also think of joining an online college. That also is a great option. Full Sail University is one such online resource you can explore to get design education from home.

Joining A College

One of the great advantage of formal design education is that it fills you with confidence. This is because you get education from experienced teachers. You will have a clear understanding of the design that you are working on.

Formal education from a college will equip you with the desired set of skills. You will learn the basics and principles of creating different graphic designs such as book cover designs. You also learn how to analyze a design work.

* The Option Of Self-Study

You should consider the option of learning it on your own when you are lacking in adequate finances. The option is also best if you do not have enough time to devote for your community college. Do not hesitate to take the option of educating yourself from home. Just sit behind you computer desk and start learning your design lessons.

I can tell from my own experience that clients do not ask designers to show a college degree. They offer work based on the quality of past design works and experience. They want to see your quality work and not your educational certificates.

So, put together an impressive design portfolio that should have your excellent design work samples. That is mostly enough to impress clients and get work.

Start reading all the available design books. Get some design inspiration from iconic graphic designers’ works. Try to emulate their design style initially as part of your work practice.


You can start taking design course on Treehouse and or other such platforms. Sites such as Skillshare will teach you specific set of skills to create a particular design. There are dozens of online courses available. Explore them.

In case you already know your design basics and can use Adobe design programs, I will advise you to focus on a specific area of design. For example, you can educate yourself more on creating a simple website design. Or, you may be interested in brochure design, business card design, WordPress design etc.

But ensure that you put your select design sample on the web for clients. If you are interested in learning useful tips on building a nice portfolio, then this blog on how to create a design portfolio that attracts clients will help.

* Tools You Should Be Using

Now, let’s talk about some essential tools you must be using for designing jobs.

Here Is A Short List:

  • Get a computer. First, have a reliable computer such as a Mac or a PC to download design programs.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Programs. These programs are a must for every graphic designer. So, start downloading the programs like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Muse, and InDesign. Such programs will help you refine your design skills a lot.
  • Adobe InDesign CC. It is an absolute must for creating scalable illustrations, logos, booklets, eBooks, magazine cover design, and simple websites.
  • Pantone Color Matching System. This system is highly useful for maintaining the consistency of colors in printed material. It also helps in ensuring color consistency on the website pages.
  • Scanner and printer. You will need good quality scanner and printer. These devices will help you test your designs for their print quality before sending it to clients.


* How To Get Started

After you have learned about the ways to get your graphic design education, know how to start your freelance graphic designer career. You would be eager to put your design education into practice.

First, explore freelancing sites like There are many other freelancing online sites for the freelancers. You will get plenty of design jobs that you can complete from home.

I will also recommend you to explore crowdsourcing sites to start your design work. There are graphic design platforms where design work is available from business owners. You will have plenty of work such as logo design, website design, and others.

Get Started

Designhill is one such leading platforms where business owner clients launch their design contest. Start designing for them. You may not be winning the contest right away. But you will learn how to satisfy clients with their design needs. You will also be able to build your design portfolio this way.

I would recommend that you build your own graphic design portfolio website. Your potential clients will visit the portfolio to see your work and if impressed, be sure you can get ample amount of graphic design jobs. Such a website helps in winning the trust of your clients.

The next step I will advise you to take is that you start submitting applications to the sites of your potential clients. Post your applications whenever you locate some opportunity for freelance design work. That will be your starting point after you are ready to meet your potential clients’ design needs.

And one more advice. Learn also about how to tackle fear in graphic design. I will advise you to never be overwhelmed by the expectations of your clients. Just follow your design instinct. You will steadily learn to refine your design skills. Build your list of clients in a steady way.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation

Freelance graphic designing is a bright career. But you need to follow some basics. You must either get a formal education in graphic design from a college or do self-study online from home. Equip yourself with all the fundamentals of graphic design and skills. Then, work for some freelancing sites and build your portfolio that has your quality work. Build your portfolio and list of clients steadily and continue to hone your skills.

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