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If you have a sharp eye for visual composition and love being entrepreneurial, then you may want to launch your own graphic design business. Whether you've just completed your training or you have years of creative agency experience under your belt, the chance to be your own boss is one that appeals to many.
Use this guide to learn the key information you'll need to start a graphic design business.
A graphic design business works with brands to bring to life their ideas and concepts. Graphic designers use captivating imagery, shapes, colour and layouts to get across the brand message.
Before you start your own graphic design business, identify and home in on the specific niche you're interested in. Then obtain the necessary skill set. Graphic designers can pick from a variety of skills including:
It's hard to master all of these, so many designers specialise in one skill and offer services in that area. For example, designers who focus on logo design offer logo services. Those who focus on infographics, on the other hand, seek out clients wanting this on a regular basis.
When you are just starting out, use a portfolio to attract clients. Getting paying clients will give you the motivation to continue your graphic design business. Create a website and include a portfolio of your best work to showcase your skills. Create social media pages for your business and regularly post your finished creations there. As you build your audience, you can convert some of them into clients. You can also buy ads, both digital and in print.
Another option is to list your services on online marketplaces like Airtasker, hipages, Upwork and 99designs. These platforms can match graphic designers with paying clients. You can also list your services on online directories like True Local and Yellow Pages.
You can learn graphic design through formal education at a higher education institute. Another option is to take an online graphic design course. Once you've completed your learning, you can work with a senior graphic designer. This way, you get real-world design experience before setting out on your own path.
Some essential furniture and equipment for your graphic design business could include:
One software option is to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. This will give you access to essential graphics tools like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. An alternative to Adobe is CorelDRAW.
Once you've sharpened up your graphic design skills and purchased your equipment, you'll need to think about how you're setting up your company.
Here are five key steps to take to get your business ready:
As a graphic designer, you may need to use the following legal documents:
These are just a few of the legal documents you may have to use as a graphic design business owner. Thankfully, you do not have to prepare any of these from scratch. Simply access customisable templates from one of the services below.
If you need legal assistance in the customisation process, you can hire a lawyer from the same services.
You can charge your clients by the hour or offer a flat fee per project. On Airtasker, for example, graphic designers typically charge between $50-$500 per project. The equivalent median per hour is $50.
Is starting a graphic design business expensive?
If you don't have a background in graphic design, you'll first want to pursue training in the area and this can be costly depending on the course you take. However, if you already have a background in the field, your biggest costs will be equipment purchases, including a quality computer as a starter.
How can I make more profit?
You can make your business more profitable through collaborations. For example, you could collaborate with a marketing and advertising agency to offer add-on graphic design services to the clients they already have. Similarly, you can collaborate with another graphic design business owner who specialises in a niche different from yours to offer comprehensive design solutions.Back to top
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