How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer
The life of a freelance graphic designer isn’t always easy, especially in the beginning. The frustrations of finding clients, working with their intense requests, and getting paid can make people reconsider their career path. However, getting past the early struggles and heartbreaks of freelancing can also lead to a satisfying and fruitful career. Even more so if you want to pursue a sustainable job that you love outside of the usual confines of an office. Freelance opportunities are especially appealing to individuals with hectic, unpredictable schedules that are constantly on the move. For example, many military spouses are entering the freelance market so that they can take care of their kids and relocate with their significant other when duty calls without any trouble. Graphic designing, for one, provides plenty of opportunities to earn valuable contracts or even one-off gigs that can help any stay-at-home professional earn a competitive living on their own terms. If you have the creative flair that can impress clients of all kinds, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make it out there on your own. With more companies allocating more budget towards their digital footprint, the need for competent graphic designers is bigger than ever. Whether graphics designing has been your calling card the last few years, or you’re eager to prove yourself through your first project, check out some of these useful tips that’ll help you as you transition into a freelance graphic designer.
Learn the Skills
A lot of people wonder, what type of education is needed to become a freelance graphic designer? Traditionally, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in graphic design is the primary way to become a professional in the trade. However, more individuals are choosing to take online classes to teach them the skills needed to make it in the industry. Given that many choose freelancing because of its flexibility, it’s clear to see why so many are electing to do their course online in their own time. To become a freelance graphics designer, you should:
- Have a basic grasp of how to use of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
- Understand the graphic needs of businesses
- Grasp most commonly used graphic design concepts and terminology
It’s important to understand that not everyone is naturally gifted when it comes to design, but simple training can change that. If you’ve wanted to learn how to get certified in various Adobe products to get started as a graphic designer, the time is now. If you already have an excellent eye, studying the different aspects of graphic design will only fast-track your growth and allow you to take on high-level projects that would boost your earnings and portfolio.
Invest in the Tools You Need
Being skilled may help you do half of the job. The other half depends on the tools you have at your disposal. Having artistic skills on paper might help you with a career in graphic design, but most of the action takes place behind a computer screen. Understanding how to use standard software will be crucial in landing your dream graphic design job. There shouldn’t be that much difference whether you choose a MAC or a PC, as long it’s capable of running the most important tools you need such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, & Muse. Keep in mind that these tools don’t come cheap, but unless you invest in yourself, you’ll never be able to attain your full potential as a graphic designer.
Make an Eye-Catching Online Portfolio/Website
What a lot of graphic designers miss out on is how they express themselves online. We currently live in a digital world, and it’s important for new freelancers to showcase their work for the world to see. With the freelance market expanding, an eye-catching, visually pleasing website can really set you apart from others fighting for similar contracts. Today, creating a website is easier than ever. You don’t need experience with web design or even an understanding of HTML. Various platforms make it effortless to create strong, professional, elegant portfolios in just a couple of clicks. When showcasing your work, make sure to provide some background into what the goal of the project was, and why you think it’s successful. If you’re completely new to graphic design, try making some projects up to challenge yourself. This may even show your initiative when employers are looking for a freelance graphic designer.
Roles of a Graphics Designer
No freelance gig is the same, and when it comes to graphic design, you should expect a wide array of different projects. From creating online advertisements to designing logos for big brand redesigns, freelancers get a ton of experiencing through working with multiple clients. Here are a few steps most freelancers take when they get a new project:
- Discuss the requirements of the project (the brief) with clients
- Choose the most suitable materials and style
- Produce a rough sketches or computer visuals to present to the client
- Produce a final layout with exact specifications for typefaces, letter size, and colors
- Work with the allocated budget and deadlines
Your success as a freelancer will feed off of your commitment to continuously learn your craft, as well as your willingness to invest on the tools and equipment that will only enhance your talent. Considering that you’ll be doing most of your business online, you also shouldn’t hesitate to put in enough time and resources that will help you build a strong and effective digital presence.