Top tips for freelance graphic designers
Graphic design is a fruit of creativity. It is communication. For some, it is more than just a living – it is life itself. Before you think about being a freelance graphic designer, you need to be a “graphic designer”. Your product is your artwork and the raw material is your mind, the fuel is in your heart.
Whether you have been designing for a company for many years or you’re fresh out of the campus, or even if you are still inside the campus, you can be a freelance graphic designer. Here are some quick tips for the raw and medium rare when it comes to making freelance graphic design a substantial source of income.
Brand yourself. A good name is quick to query. People should be able to relate your work to the name it represents. You can use your name if it sounds catchy enough but do not use it if nobody would connect it to graphic design. Attaching “design” at the end of your name does not always work, especially if your name is difficult to pronounce or too long to remember. Also, the big clients would require more than one person to work on a project, so having a brand name that could later be used for a design team will come in handy in the long run.
Make your own identity as an artist. Like Monet is known for impressionism and Picasso for cubism, you should find your own style. This is usually the difficult part since art and design has existed for hundreds of years and the Internet has exploded into a new age. Still, history could repeat itself. If your style resembles someone else’s, do not hesitate to keep doing it. The market is huge and that one graphic designer cannot cater to all demands. On the contrast, keep a foot on the ground by practising other styles as well, especially if the demand is trending towards it. Be versatile and put a touch of yourself in every piece of graphic design work that you do.
More importantly, do not just brand yourself with the output you deliver but also establish a professional character when it comes to dealing with clients. Word of mouth travels faster than the speed of sound. Client’s feedback and recommendations will give you the good reputation you need to stay in business.
Use everything available on the web to your advantage. Since freelance means being your own boss, you are also in charge of marketing yourself. The best show you can put up is a website with your own domain containing your best work. Some graphic designers say it is a requirement, however if you are still just starting out and you are from a th ird world country with a really fast internet connection, you cannot even get a credit card to pay for web hosting. You can try to use a free hosting platform or make use of the social networks to showcase your work instead.
Nowadays, you can find anyone in Facebook even by doing a Google search. Your page should pop up right away whenever prospective clients search for you. That means having a unique name and frequent traffic, even to your social network pages. This will help people find and contact you more easily.
Aside from having your own site and social network pages, it is also a good move to join graphic design communities like Deviant art or other forum sites. This will allow you to interact with other designers and see what they are capable of. It is a way to check your competition and gauge yourself for improvement.
To apply for jobs and browse for potential clients, the best places are freelance marketplaces such as oDesk, Elance and vWorker. Most freelancers flood to these sites because of their established payment and organized hiring system. You can also create a portfolio in these sites but most buyers would still ask for samples, so have them ready when they do.
Keep an eye on the online graphic designs contests as well. Winning contests is a great way to get noticed and show off your talent. Some of them also have prize money and project contracts. Winning could offer a quick ticket to freelance graphic design stardom.
What separates a good graphic designer from a great one is the ability to touch another person’s soul through visual contact. Graphic designers are like dancers, musicians, and sculptors – their passion shines in their work and it is what drives them to continue what they are doing. Just as David Carson said, “Graphic design will save the world, right after rock n’ roll does.” If you do not know who David Carson is, you could be far from home, but it is never too late to find it.
So, now you have read our little guide to starting out as a freelance graphic designer and you are ready to find work, use the our freelance marketplace search and comparison features to find freelance marketplaces and competition sites which support graphic design related projects.