In today’s creative world graphic designers are in high demand. Many of them prefer to switch to freelance work, which allows them to have control over their own working schedules and earn additional income on the side.
According to Glassdoor freelance graphic designers earn $43,321 per year in the United States. In this guide, we will discuss how to start a freelance graphic designer’s career path and explore needed tools.
Required Skills for Graphic Designers
If you decide to become a graphic designer, the first thing you should do is to hone the required skills by learning different software as well as having a clear understanding of current design trends.
When it comes to software, graphic designers should at least have advanced skills working with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and so on (more about needed software in an upcoming chapter).
Knowledge about color combinations is also important in order to ensure content harmony and contrast. In today’s ever-changing world design trends are rapidly changing, so adaptability is also a must-have skill for designers.
Designers should also be aware of design principles. A Visual Design Guide can assist to understand how to create cohesive and appealing designs.
Collaborative work is crucial for success in any field, including design. In order to understand customers’ needs and create a design according to the brand’s tone of voice, designers should have excellent collaborative skills as well as be familiar with brand identity
Tools Graphic Designers Need
Each designer is required to have proficiency in design software. Here are some key tools each designer should have in his armor.
Computer: It’s an obvious yet very essential tool for designers. They need a computer which can support the range of software they are going to use. A high-definition monitor is also required.
Storage device: As designers work with large files computer storage can be not enough. So designers should consider storage devices such as external hard drives or cloud storage.
Tablet and stylus: This one is perfect for designers who work with sketches and love drawing by hand. Compared with pen and paper tablets provide various filters, editing tools, colors, etc.
Software: There are numerous platforms available to cater designs according to your needs and preferences. In today’s market, you can find diverse tools tailored for various purposes, from creating Custom Printed Packaging to sketching in digital sketchbooks.
One of the software without which designers can’t go far is Adobe Creative Cloud with its well-known software like InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, etc.
Those who enjoy working in real-time with prototyping tools can work with Figma. Others who need a vector graphic editor can use CorelDRAW.
It’s also possible to find pre-designed templates and customize them according to the client’s brand. Canva is a reliable and user-friendly choice for this purpose.
Portfolio Platform: Each designer, especially those who want to switch to freelance work, should have an online portfolio and include it on their CV or freelance accounts.
One of the most popular platforms for portfolios is Behance. It is quite appealing because of its global exposure. Works that are shared with Behance gain a wide audience opening opportunities for new collaboration and customer requests.
Best Platforms for Freelance Graphic Designers
There are many platforms for freelance graphic designers to help them propel their freelance business. But before embarking on your freelance career, it’s essential to understand the tax obligations that come with being self-employed. To report your income you should provide a report about your earnings. You can get a pay stub as proof of income with the help of a paystub generator.
Here are the top 5 platforms that are worth considering. In these platforms, a graphic designer’s hourly rate starts from $10. An average hourly rate can be up to $25.
Upwork: You probably are not surprised to find Upwork at the top of this list. It is the perfect platform for people with various professional skills. Upwork suggests a variety of jobs, besides it is quite a reputable platform, so many companies prefer hiring freelance designers through Upwork.
Fiverr: This is a highly popular platform that bridges the gap between freelancers and businesses. With a selection of over 500 categories, Fiverr offers a wide range of digital services for freelancers to sell their expertise. Graphic designers can create gigs and offer their services. It is possible to set up basic, standard, and premium pricing.
Behance: Apart from being an ideal platform to create a portfolio, Behance is also a good platform for freelance graphic designers. Your eye-catching portfolio will be a big plus to engage clients through this platform. All you need is to add the “Hire Me” button to your profile.
99Designs: 99Designs offers a wide range of designs, including business cards, web, and mobile apps. It is a popular platform connecting clients with professional graphic designers. There are many interesting projects offered for designers in 99Designs. All freelancers on 99Designs undergo thorough screening to ensure companies receive top-quality talent.
DesignCrowd: Another platform to connect customers with freelance graphic designers worldwide is DesignCrowd. It’s quite famous among designers. The platform offers free access to 286 logo & graphic design jobs for designers.
Final thoughts: Required Skills for Graphic Designers
As a freelance graphic designer, your earning can depend on many factors such as skills, experience, etc. The price of your work is determined by the specific project you undertake. So, first, start creating your strong portfolio, choose the platform which suits you best and start freelancing.