How to do freelance graphic design

Hi there friends! We are really excited to announce that we have worked on different interesting topics by keeping in mind that many new readers have just started following our blog and we wanted to start from the basics once again so that our content is relevant to different age groups as well as fields. To start it off, we would like to talk about a freelance graphic designer and to help you guys understand the concept of freelancing, we will make sure that we explain it through easy words so, let’s get started!

In old days, a freelance job would mean that a person was supposed to give a certain number of hours to their employer and anyone who is a writer, designer, artist, performer of any sort could apply for a freelance job. Normally; a freelance job means that you do not have to check in at your workplace and you can deliver your projects and provide your services through internet or you can say that a freelancer normally works remotely. A freelance job is not a regular job where you have to go to a certain workplace and are only associated with just one employer.

It is also important to note here that now, things have changed a lot (for good) and freelance jobs have become even more easier for example; you can apply for a number of jobs as employers do not restrict their freelance employees within hours and they employees are allowed to deliver their tasks within days. In addition to that, you can work for as many freelance jobs as you would like to apply for given that you can manage the deadlines and all efficiently and responsibly.

How to do freelance graphic design

Let’s come to the actual question now and that’s: What is a freelance graphic designer? Now, that you know that a freelancer is someone who works remotely and cannot only make money without leaving their comfort zones but they can also improve their skills as they, comparatively have a good amount on time at hand and they are also not bound to work under a lot of pressures and everything.

Recommended Books for Designers:

  1. Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines
  2. Freelancer Manifesto 11 Big Ideas to stand out
  3. Increase 1000% of Income as a Freelance Graphic Designer
  4. The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing
  5. Freelance Jobs and their Profiles | Career Guide

A freelance graphic designer would mean a person who happens to receive task and assignments and has to deliver those after a certain number of days and if the freelance employer needs a task to be delivered within hours then that can be done as well. Okay so, as a freelance graphic designer, you will be get different design jobs from creating logos to working on brand architectures (design-wise of course), to designing digital posts for social media platforms. Be sure that you are open to all sorts of tasks as that will help you in learning new techniques and in exploring new opportunities.

We won’t say that a freelance job is everything easy or fun per say because well, you have to deliver nothing but the best and there are chances that you might won’t receive a consolidated feedback too and that can become a hassle as there are very less chances of setting up a one on one meeting where you and your employer can sit together and discuss the job in order to be on the same page.

How to do freelance graphic design

That being said, we would not try to help you all – the ones who are deciding whether or not they should accept freelance design jobs, know what it means to work as a freelancer and how you can become one of the successful freelance graphic designers in times to come. For starters, always remember that you will have to set a certain amount for your design options. In addition to that, be very open when it comes to the freelance per hour salary but also keep in mind that you must not set a budget for your skills but for the designs themselves.

Another important thing to follow is that you must always be open for negotiations. Although, there are no hard and fast “rules” for a set budget but do not create any tensions with the person you are going to work with. Be open to budgets so that both you and your freelance employer are on the same page.

Yes, we understand that there are also risks involved when it comes to working for a freelance employer like them not responding to you once you have delivered the job by saying that they never liked what you have done or them declining the salary that was decided but that does not mean that every freelance employer is like that. And it is always a good idea to sign contracts or communicate through emails so that both parties have record of the job, tasks as well as the payments.

As far as the feedback is concerned, you must be open to accepting it. The ones who are not defensive about their ideas and work are the ones who succeed. But that also does not mean that you should do whatever is being asked to do as it might have an influence on the design projects.

And that’s all for today! Let us know what other fields you are interested in, the comments section down below and we will be happy to respond to your queries.

What Is a Portfolio?

If someone were to look at your marketing portfolio, what would they see? In today’s competitive job market, it is crucial to have a strong and compelling marketing portfolio. Whether you’re seeking a full-time position or you’re a freelancer bidding for a gig, your work portfolio should contain samples of your best creative work to enhance your chances of being hired.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

A marketing portfolio needs to be a reflection of you. It’s a sampling of your very best work, clearly designed and presented with an easy way for someone to make contact.

Choose Digital

Online portfolio examples are ideal. Print versions can seem dated and are challenging to keep current. Plenty of platforms are available to showcase your skills, whether they be copywriting , journalism, photography, graphic design or other forms of creative services.

Select Your Strongest Samples

It may go without saying, but you want to illustrate your strongest work and your best client relationships. Anywhere between seven to 10 samples should suffice to give the employer or prospective client a good idea of your skills. Online portfolio examples should also represent your core competencies, industry experience and technical ability and range. They should be current pieces – nothing older than 5 years old, and make sure your work portfolio can be customizable to your specific audience.

Keep It Organized

In your marketing portfolio, create clear categories when organizing your work, so the person viewing your samples has a clear idea of who you are. Consider organizing your work portfolio by industry, media specialty or chronological order. Ensure that it makes sense and that your readers can find what they are looking for easily. You want potential employers and clients to be able to look through your online portfolio and get a clear picture of your brand and what you do well. The key is to be consistent and clear in your messaging.

Make It Easy to Contact You

The purpose of a marketing portfolio is to showcase your best work and to inspire people to call you for more projects. It’s essential that people have an easy and straightforward way to contact you, so don’t stop at simply providing the basics like a phone number and email address. Add a subscription sign-up, links to follow you on social media, and contact and lead capture forms. Be proactive and make it as easy as possible to enhance your chances of gaining business.

Be Authentic

If there is one thing to remember when you’re putting together an online marketing portfolio, it’s to be authentic. You need a descriptive internet presence to tell your story. Be personal. Talk about how you got into your area of work and what drives you. Make the information relatable and personable. Remember to let your personality shine through and help people to get to know you. That is the best way to attract your ideal work projects and clients.

  • Robert Half: Digital Portfolio Best Practices: How to Make a Portfolio that Pops
  • HubSpot: How to Craft a Standout Online Portfolio: 7 Tips & Tools
  • Creative Live: 5 Things You Must Include in Your Creative Portfolio

Liz Gold has been published in a variety of capacities writing about everything from Kennebunkport and southern Maine municipal government, art and cultural events, to cloud technology and business transformation. Her experience extends to both corporate and freelance; she’s a former Senior Editor at the B2B publication Accounting Today, writing about public accounting firms with a specialization in diversity, technology, best practices, and business development. During her tenure, she was also co-founder and editor of AccountingTomorrow, a blog focused on intergenerational workplace issues that is still thriving today. Most recently, Liz has been writing about accountants working in the cannabis industry on CPA Trendlines and reporting on cannabis trends for Southern Oregon Good Herb magazine in Oregon.

Say no to the status quo! Here’s how to push your creative boundaries, cut through the noise, and succeed as a freelance designer.

How to do freelance graphic design

If there’s one thing that every designer knows, it’s how hard it is to stand out.

As a field filled to the brim with creators and innovators, the design industry can be an incredibly difficult place to make a name for yourself. In fact, if you’re new to the design grind, the task of breaking in can feel like it’s going to swallow you whole.

While everyone has their own style, brand, and way of doing things, when making a career for yourself as a designer, you have a choice to follow one of two paths – to either follow the rules, or break them. The truth is, that if you want to stand out as a designer, you have to do things differently.

For the rule breakers, trendsetters and go-getters, here’s five ways to break convention and truly stand out as a freelance graphic designer. Ready to push those creative boundaries? Let’s get started!

1. Create a killer digital portfolio

How to do freelance graphic design

Creating a killer portfolio isn’t easy. You have to curate it, plan it, design it, personalise it, not to mention regularly update it as you create new work. But as a designer, your portfolio is essentially the first (and often, only) impression you get to make on prospective clients, to acquire jobs or opportunities – so you gotta make it count!

While it’s tempting to just opt for the easiest, quickest or most comfortable way of presenting your work, adding a little bit of sparkle to your portfolio will increase its chances of catching a client’s eye. After all – it’s outside your comfort zone where the magic happens.

The tried-and-tested portfolio styles and layouts are popular for a reason – they work! But, if you want yours to stand out from the crowd, you have to push your portfolio beyond its limits. How can you present it differently? How can you make the experience more engaging? How can you challenge yourself?

“Try to think of ways to make your portfolio more dynamic, for example with movement or interactivity,” says Envato Designer, Camilla Anderson. “You could add some subtle animation to elements on your website or within the mockups themselves, or include a playful interaction to make your folio more memorable. You could also create a demo reel for your design work to include on the homepage of your website, or to email out to prospective companies and clients.”

Whether it’s integrating motion, breaking the desktop grid, or even going off-screen and creating a physical look book to complement your digital portfolio, challenge yourself to create something that cuts through the noise.

Say no to the status quo! Here’s how to push your creative boundaries, cut through the noise, and succeed as a freelance designer.

How to do freelance graphic design

If there’s one thing that every designer knows, it’s how hard it is to stand out.

As a field filled to the brim with creators and innovators, the design industry can be an incredibly difficult place to make a name for yourself. In fact, if you’re new to the design grind, the task of breaking in can feel like it’s going to swallow you whole.

While everyone has their own style, brand, and way of doing things, when making a career for yourself as a designer, you have a choice to follow one of two paths – to either follow the rules, or break them. The truth is, that if you want to stand out as a designer, you have to do things differently.

For the rule breakers, trendsetters and go-getters, here’s five ways to break convention and truly stand out as a freelance graphic designer. Ready to push those creative boundaries? Let’s get started!

1. Create a killer digital portfolio

How to do freelance graphic design

Creating a killer portfolio isn’t easy. You have to curate it, plan it, design it, personalise it, not to mention regularly update it as you create new work. But as a designer, your portfolio is essentially the first (and often, only) impression you get to make on prospective clients, to acquire jobs or opportunities – so you gotta make it count!

While it’s tempting to just opt for the easiest, quickest or most comfortable way of presenting your work, adding a little bit of sparkle to your portfolio will increase its chances of catching a client’s eye. After all – it’s outside your comfort zone where the magic happens.

The tried-and-tested portfolio styles and layouts are popular for a reason – they work! But, if you want yours to stand out from the crowd, you have to push your portfolio beyond its limits. How can you present it differently? How can you make the experience more engaging? How can you challenge yourself?

“Try to think of ways to make your portfolio more dynamic, for example with movement or interactivity,” says Envato Designer, Camilla Anderson. “You could add some subtle animation to elements on your website or within the mockups themselves, or include a playful interaction to make your folio more memorable. You could also create a demo reel for your design work to include on the homepage of your website, or to email out to prospective companies and clients.”

Whether it’s integrating motion, breaking the desktop grid, or even going off-screen and creating a physical look book to complement your digital portfolio, challenge yourself to create something that cuts through the noise.

How to do freelance graphic designWorking as a freelance graphic designer sounds like a dream to many. They picture themselves staying up late, working when they want to work and sitting back as clients come to them. It’s nearly impossible for you to launch your business and make a comfortable living as a graphic designer without doing some work first. You need to promote your business so others stop and take notice of you. Here are a few key ways you can promote yourself and your work to increase your annual earnings.

Create a Website

The easiest way to promote your graphic design skills is with a website that shows your skills. Graphic designers often need a portfolio of their past work that they show to potential clients. A website lets you create an online version of your portfolio. You can use designs you created in class, on your own time for fun, or work you did for former clients. Just make sure you have their permission to use that work or links to your work on the site. Your website should also include your contact information and make it easy for potential clients to get in touch with you about the work they need done.

Target Local Companies

Did you know that you can promote your skills by targeting local companies? The next time that you find yourself searching for a local business, take some time to view the websites you come across. Make a list of what you would do differently and a few reasons why the site doesn’t work as effectively as it should. You can then contact those companies online or through standard mail. Include a business card or your contact information and a link to your website. You never know when those companies might need help.

Connect With Other Designers

The more connections you have, the more work might come your way. Joining professional organizations and visiting forums and message boards are a great way to connect with other designers. Include a link to your site in your signature on each board, and use the sites as a way to chat about new software, get help with projects and offer advice to other designers. Joining professional organizations is an easy way to meet and greet with local business owners who need work done and form connections with other designers.

Use the Web

As a freelance graphic designer, it’s important that you use the web to your advantage. Genevieve DeGuzman recommends that you create a Facebook page and find a way to connect that page back to your personal or professional website, your business cards and any other promotional tools that you use. This shows potential clients that you are serious about the work that you do and that you have a strong presence online. Many designers also find it helpful to include images of their work on Facebook and to use Twitter and Instagram to showcase their work and reach potential clients.

Some freelance artists and designers make more money working from home than they would working for an employer, but others have a hard time promoting themselves to others. As a freelance graphic designer, you need to show clients the type of work you can do for them, which you can accomplish through your own website and forming connections with other designers.

by Doug Farrick

With the advent of open source software and low-cost hardware It has never been easier to start and operate your own successful freelance Graphic Design business. Here’s what you need to know:

1. You will need the necessary software and a computer – without any computer or graphic software you certainly will not get far 🙂 that being said, you do not need a brand new Mac Pro or new Dell to get started. Use what is available with an eye toward upgrading when you have the means.

Keep in mind the system your are working on DOES need an adequate amount of RAM (Minimum 1 Gb) in order to work efficiently with your larger memory intensive graphic files..

The other large expense you will run into is software. The standard is the Adobe Creative Suite ( link) but the basic package will cost about $900. The alternative to this is no cost open source software that you can immediately download.

These include the Photoshop equivalent, Gimp (www.gimp.org), the page layout equivalent to InDesign/Quark which is Scribus (www.scribus.net) and the Illustrator (or vector) program Inkscape (www.inkscape.org) Some of the programs do have there own idiosyncrasies but are well worth investigating.

2. You will need a place to work – finding a relatively quiet place to work is important. Some people I know have actually started out doing design in their local libraries. Set up a space that is conducive to your style and way of working.

For example, some designers like complete quiet, others like loud music. Some people like “creative clutter” and others prefer a “zen-like” sparseness. The important thing is make it your own. You will need basic office supplies and a filing and storage cabinet would be best.

3. You will need a way to market your design services – Initially, be certain you have a business card designed and take some with you wherever you go. You never know when you might find a new customer. Make sure your business card has your name, company name, web site address, email address and a brief description of the kinds of products and/or services you offer.

Additionally, join a few networking clubs like: BNI (Business Network International), your local Ad Club, AIGA, Chamber of Commerce or Business Association. This is the place to introduce yourself and hand out your cards. Shoot to attend 2-6 networking meetings per month. You can find freelance designer jobs here.

4. You will need to schedule your time – I am beginning to think *most* problems can be solved through proper preparation. This includes creating a schedule for your month/week. When starting you will want to devote at least have of your time to marketing. Schedule these times and be adamant about keeping these appointments with yourself.

Purchase a notebook, a weekly calendar book, an electronic organizer or schedule via a software program. You may need to experiment a bit but find what works for you. And use it. I like to do my weekly planning on Sunday evenings as you can plan in peace and “oversee” the important goals and activities you would like to accomplish.

5. You will need a to show previous work/experience or an online portfolio – Even if most of your work is local and you can bring your design samples with you, it is in your best interest to have a website where potential clients can see your work.

To start, it can be nothing more than a single nicely designed web page with some basic intro text, contact info and a link to a PDF file where people can see your samples.

6. You will need some basic forms – these include forms like a creative brief, invoice, proposal/contract, terms and conditions. A signed contract is a necessity and will protect both you and the client. Of course, you can enter into a verbal agreement but you look that much more professional by outlining the project responsibilities so both parties are clear on expectations.

7. You will need a basic idea of how to price your work – so what should I charge for my work? Ah, the question everyone wants to know. Hmmmm, wish I could tell you *exactly* what to charge (and pricing strategies and models would take a month of seminars to explore fully), but . . .

Typically you can price per project or by the hour. I have found most clients like a per project fee as it is easier psychologically to handle than per hour. But to give at least a guideline for getting started I would charge somewhere in the range of $20-50 for production work and $50-125 for design/creative. This varies based on your geographic location.

Bonus – pick a memorable name – you have a few options here. You can go the standard route and use your name (or a variation of it) ie; Fred Jones Design, Jones Design, Jones Design Associates, etc. Or you can hint at what you do, ie; Jones 3D Design, Jones Light and Animation, Jones Direct Mail Design or a “non sequitor” type of name like: Tizzy, Razor Fish, Modern Dog, Sapient.

Ultimately it is a personal decision and the name needs to “fit” with your market and must (to a degree) fit your personal style. Keep in mind you ideally want the same company name as you web site (address) name – so you will need to do some research. Take your time and have fun with the process.

Bonus #2 – you will need to set up a type of entity – at some point you will need to set up a business entity so as to keep your business and personal accounts separate. You will also need to do this so potential clients can write out checks to your business name.

Entities include an LLC, corporation, DBA (doing business as) . A DBA is probably the easiest to begin (and least expensive), just inquire at your local county clerk’s office for information. All states can be different so do your research and consult with an attorney if needed.

Final thoughts: you can use almost any excuse not to get started on any project but just begin, moving and doing despite contrary thoughts goes a long way toward getting things done.

Bit of wisdom: really, just begin. Buy a pad of paper, then jot down a few notes. You will be on your way to becoming a graphic designer in just a few short weeks!

How to do freelance graphic design

Consider the arty glitzy world of graphic design. It is one of the fastest emerging career options and many people have made tidy sums of money through graphic design. Some of you freelance full-time and still manage to make enough money as your corporate counterparts.

The trend only looks to rise as the amount of work available and the pay scale offers a more lucrative option to office work.

Many people have begun taking up work as freelance graphic designers. It is a cosily lucrative lifestyle. It pays well and is an ideal option for people looking to earn extra money on the side, or people looking for a change from the daily grind of corporate existence.

Job Duties For Freelance Graphic Designer

Graphic designers need to be creative and analytical, i.e. the balance of these two mindsets is crucial.

Most designers work closely with marketing teams, product teams and content teams to understand the service or the product offered by an organisation, the importance of the product and its value to the organisation, and finally create a design that can imbibe these qualities of the organisation.

Some of your job duties as a graphic designer may include:

  • Continually liaising with clients and managers to determine the objectives and requirements of the job
  • Accurately interpreting the client’s business needs and develop suitable concepts
  • Creating design briefs using data through research, and creating concepts
  • Working with a wide range of media like Photography and CAD design
  • Demonstrating illustrative skills with rough sketches
  • Working on layouts and art working pages ready for print
  • Developing interactive design

Skills

There are many skills that you must develop and or hone to be able to land some decent freelance projects.

Many of you may already know how to use platforms like Dreamweaver, but remember that the ones with all that cash stashed away in the bank mastered these platforms. If you wish to count yourself among the latter bunch of rich graphic designers, here are some skills that are the cornerstones of the industry.

  • Design Skills
  • Adobe Skills
  • Free-hand skills
  • Storytelling skills
  • Conceptualising skills
  • Technological skills such as a working knowledge of technologies like InDesign, QuarkXPress, FreeHand, Illustrator, Photoshop, 3ds Max, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver and Flash

The internet provides many websites for budding graphic designers like you to develop and hone the skills you will need as a designer. Udemy , Tutplus , Aiga , Skillshare and Vector Diary offer many online and free courses on most aspects of Graphic Design, Udemy lists the most number of graphic design courses available online.

Being Successful As A Freelance Graphic Designer

Freelance graphic design is among one of the six top-paying freelance career options available. It isn’t doing too bad, it seems to be doing excellent. So, how do you become successful in this high-paying world of graphic design?

As a graphic designer, there are certain things you can do to do become more successful:

  • Brand yourself
  • Create an effective online portfolio, where employers can look at the kind of work you have done in the past
  • Create an even more impressive print portfolio, resume, business cards
  • Network with other designers, potential employers and even friends who work in related fields like website development, or content creation
  • Practice and continuously keep up-to-date with technologies like InDesign, QuarkXPress, FreeHand, Illustrator, Photoshop, 3ds Max, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver and Flash

Average Remuneration

Having determined that Graphic Design is one of the highest paying freelance jobs, you must be now wondering what kind of money are you looking at, and what kind of payment models exist in this sub-sector of freelancing.

There are two payment models, which exist in the field, The Fixed-price, and the Hourly model. Hourly models usually pay anywhere from $5- 500 an hour, with averages usually falling at $100 an hour.

However, the amount of mini projects has forced the average amount to $35 an hour. Fixed Price models can usually fetch you anywhere from $10-1000. For instance, a logo design job at a mid-sized firm could fetch one around $500. The average pay scale of a graphic designer is $21 an hour.

Finding Work

There are hundreds and thousands of jobs available to graphic designers in sub fields like Logo Design, UI Design, Presentation Design, and Illustration among others. It is not difficult to find work as a Graphic Designer and many portals offer jobs to graphic designers.

It is not tough to find work as graphic designer if you are good enough; chances are that you might face an onslaught of offers for work.

Some websites and portals you should consider looking at include Freelancer , Elance, Odesk, Getacoder and Peopleperhour . These websites offer many jobs for Freelance graphic designers and are just the sort of places you need to register with to make a name.

Resources:

Graphics designers have loads of information available to them online and there is no shortage of websites catering to online courses for them.

Of the many websites available some of the important ones include websites like Udemy , Tutplus , Aiga , Skillshare and Vector Diary offer many online and free courses on most aspects of Graphic Design, With Udemy heading the list of graphic design courses listed, in both paid and free variations.

The gig economy is growing. 40 percent of American workers are likely to be independent contractors by 2020.

Well, that doesn’t mean you’re beyond Uncle Sam’s reach when you begin doing freelance graphic design. As a freelancer, you need to file your tax returns just like a regular employee.

In this post, we’re going to guide you on what to do. Read on to learn more.

Independent Contractor Tax Laws

If you’re just starting out in freelance graphic design, it helps to understand independent contractor tax laws.

Essentially, you’re considered self-employed. In this case, you’re required to file tax returns every year and pay estimated tax quarterly. You have to pay self-employment tax (SE tax) and income tax.

SE tax is a Medicare and Social Security tax for the self-employed. The tax is usually 15.3 percent of your income.

However, before paying the SE tax, you need to determine your net loss or net profit. Just subtract your expenses from your income to result. If your expenses are more than your income (net loss), you don’t need to pay it.

If your net profit is $400 or more, you have to file income tax return. For more information, it helps to understand Form 1040 .

Gather All the Relevant Details

If you work for multiple clients or companies, take the time to gather and report all sources of your freelance income. They will always issue you a 1099-MISC form is your earnings for a particular year are $600 or more.

However, PayPal also issues 1099 form to eligible users. If you receive your payments through PayPal, you may want to consult your client regarding the form.

If you get numerous 1099 forms from your clients, be sure to file them together. Having paystubs also help to ensure accurate calculations. If you don’t receive one from your clients, you can create free pay stubs easily online.

Deductions

As a contractor in freelance graphic design, you can deduct expenses for:

  • office bills
  • lodging
  • tuition for related education
  • business related food
  • software, equipment and material costs

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the expenses to be necessary and ordinary to be eligible for deductions. For your home office, you can write off everything from equipment, utilities, and rent. Your home office is only the portion of your home you use for work.

Travel costs incurred as a result of your job are also deductible. Meals and entertainment with web design clients can be deducted at a 50-percent rate.

Freelance Graphic Design Contractor Tax Help

When you work as a freelance contractor, your client will require you to complete W-2 form alongside work contracts and NDA agreements. They are supposed to calculate your yearly earnings for you and issue the 1099-MISC form in January of the following year.

Make sure you consult your clients to help understand how you should handle your taxes. In most cases, since you’re an independent contractor, their contract agreements will stipulate that you’re responsible for managing your taxes.

Do you have any question about filing for tax returns as a freelancer? Be sure to share them with us in the comments or contact us .