How Do I Become a Freelance Graphic Designer?

If you are creative and artistic, you may be wondering how to become a freelance graphic designer. The field of graphic design is great for freelancers because a designer with solid networking skills can earn a good income. If you are curious about how to begin a career in design, read on for tips on how to stand out in this exciting field.

Get a Well-Rounded Education

The best way to become a freelance graphic designer is to attend a college, university or technical school that has a robust design program. While school is not required, the field of graphic design is extremely competitive, and designers with formal training will have a noticeable edge in the industry. Look for a program that has a good balance of technical hands-on training paired with a well-rounded education in liberal arts and business. Designers need to have technical skills, communication skills and business expertise to become and remain successful.

You can begin working on your career with a 2-year degree. In a typical program, you will learn design basics, software applications, web design and history. If you desire more training, a bachelor’s degree would be best. Here, you will take advanced design and liberal arts courses that can help round out your education. Taking a minor in business, accounting or marketing can be extremely useful. Being a successful freelance graphic designer will require solid marketing, accounting and networking skills. While you will spend most of your time in Photoshop, a good portion of your time will be spent marketing your services and finding paying clients.

Create an Eye-Catching Portfolio

Once you have finished school, you should begin working on a design portfolio that you can use to obtain clients. Consider making both a print and online version of your portfolio. Purchase a professional case and fill it with your best designs. A well-rounded selection of works that highlight your many talents is best. A mix of finished drawings, sketches, photographs, corporate branding materials and package designs can attract clients who are interested in working with a versatile designer. For your web portfolio, create a professional website and upload scanned copies of your print work. Be sure to include any links to websites you have worked on. For wider exposure, you can become a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, or AIGA, and add your portfolio to their member gallery.

Prospect for Clients

This is where your business savvy and creativity will come in handy. To obtain clients, you will be engaging in a mix of cold calling, emailing and networking. It is important to think outside the box when searching for clients you would like to work with. For example, consider attending trade shows, fashion shows, music concerts, book signings and art gallery exhibits with your business cards on hand. Businesses, fashion companies, musicians, writers and artists can all make use of a professional designer’s services.

Graphic design is a great field for freelancers who are comfortable with networking. Good business skills and an ability to think outside the box can help you get far in this career. If you are interested in becoming a freelance graphic designer, just remember the above tips and you will be well on your way to a long and fulfilling career.

Click “How to Become a Freelance Graphic Artist” for more information.