How to make more money as a graphic designer?

Different ways to make money through graphic design?

This article addresses some of the modern-day ways to maximise your skillset as a talented and skilled graphic designer looking to make money online. From working mums, building an e-commerce store to those just wanting some extra cash there are many ways to increase your disposable income.


Having been in the graphic design game for quite some the time it has been interesting how things have changed drastically with more ways than there has been before to make money from the stuff you, I and any graphic the designer loves doing. There is plenty more online entrepreneur than before and business proprietors now sell their products and services via many platforms and social media channels.

Those new to graphic design should picture this- you walk down the street and pass a bus stop poster and see a design. You are later walking through a shopping centre looking at the shop windows and see the display filled with graphic design or even that favourite online store you love. The point is no matter where you go there are graphics every day, everywhere and almost every minute of the day across social media, video ads, internet sites, Google, YouTube and all the places in between.

Increase income through graphic design

There are several ways to increase income through graphic design.  In order to make a half-decent living wage designing graphics, there is no doubt you will obviously need to know your stuff. You will unquestionably need an element of creativity, some proficient knowledge using Photoshop Illustrator and InDesign (these are minimal absolute requirements) to stand out from the crowd! That means lots of practice with the software, a good portfolio and a training course to make both of those things easier. Just so you know the Blue Sky Graphics deliver those very things online through their one to one classes.

Training aside find something you like and make that niche a specialism of yours. From my experience, a fair amount of people in the field move from one thing to the next for a few years, before finally finding something that they really love. I love logo design and was lucky enough to work on a couple of big names from the FTSE 250 company logos. As a graphic designer, I believe that tenacity and persistence are essential when it comes to being an income minded graphic designer aka serial graphic design entrepreneur.

To help you succeed in making money spread the risk too and diversify your streams of income in ways that all make sense, but appeal to different sectors of the market. Be aware there might be young professional buyer audiences looking for a holistic template for their new yoga business while simultaneously they’ll be women working on meticulous wedding planning needing fancy invitation designs. Make sure you have something to sell to everyone or as many people as possible.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be a design opportunist and make money for everything you do but just remember that there should be a balance so as to not to try to do it all yourself instead of hiring someone to help out of fear your wasting money. Money makes money and you need to spend, market, invest to accumulate and reap the rewards in.

How can working mums make money from home?

Working mums will often enjoy the freedom of freelance work as they need to balance motherly commitments and childcare duty with flexible working hours. Many of my friends are mother and graphic designers and they find generally through word of mouth, social media marketing that they get work to do at home. You want to generate leads through your website but not spend a fortune with organic SEO (search engine optimisation) methods that take time to build and PPC (pay per click) services. These mothers, when asked about running adverts, confirmed that they never run ads for a client-based business. Instead, they built business gradually through networking, word of mouth, LinkedIn as well as general word of mouth.

Being a graphic designer whether you are a man, woman, mum, dad or from mars is a valued job greatly in demand – and the freedom to earn as much or as little from the skills this job entails is available.

How to set up your own business and use graphic design

You must be dedicated and think outside the box about how you go about boosting your income. Here are the tips taken from 14 of our senior Graphic Design Tutors at Blue Sky Graphics to help you set up your own business and use graphic design.

1 Don’t waste a thing

Unfortunately, not everything you design is going to be appreciated by your clients just like you are not going to appreciate each one of your clients but don’t despair. Instead of letting those idle designs go to the rubbish, monopolise on them by trading your files on the many marketplace graphics design sites for cash. If you want to make a website and you have studied Web Design and know how to do it-using  your own site so that you are not paying a sales commission.

As an example, for those happy to lose a little bit of commission then a site such as Graphic Leftovers is a place where graphic designers can sell logos, icons, illustrations.

2 Hold a workshop

Real-time, real people, real world, group-based exercises is still in demand despite the digital era we live in!  If you are particularly trained about something, why not hold an educational workshop. Although this idea requires you to have a committed physical space to run, you could also look at co-working spaces or even your local library. Many people enjoy the interaction of real spaces and want to upskill and learn new software. As well as training your participants, holding a workshop is great business development and marketing for your networking credentials- you never know who you might meet and what work could come out of it.

3 Charge what you're worth

Many graphic designers are selling themselves shorts especially junior designers and it is important not to sell yourself too cheap on the fear of losing business. Your price is a projection of you and your brand so make sure you charge the right money to get the deal done and factor in your hourly rate too as well as your niche subject knowledge. You studied to get to where you are, spent money on equipment and software and you may have even taken a course at Blue Sky Graphics and now is the time to demand what you are worth.

If you have already done some spec briefs for a client and they want more of you please do not be polite about price and don’t forget if you do not ask you do not get!

4 Invest in tools and then sell online

Sometimes you must spend money to earn money, and that’s undoubtedly the case in design, where you need to spend money on tools or training most commonly to get the most out of the skills you already have.

If you know Photoshop and a little bit of CSS and HTML, you’re a triple threat! Capitalise on the opportunity and make the most of your skills by investing in selling platforms that are boxed up for resale- this could be a site like ShortStack and there are plenty more out there too!

Online sites (including ShortStack) enable graphic designers to develop time efficiency with various quirky and the not so quirky design and broaden their service offerings. In addition to websites, business logos, and posters you can use this tool to create custom opt-in landing pages, Facebook apps as well as social contests.

5 Design and Sell WordPress Themes

There is a market out there and you may have heard it already, but many designers are making a huge amount of money selling their own WordPress themes to other keen end users.  If they can do it then let me assure you that you can do it too!  Do not assume that other graphic designers all create their own themes just because they are in design. Time-poor and cash-rich designers want to source themes and so they too will corner where possible. Tools like Elementor Pro 2.0 and can take your extra cash-generating business to a healthy and steady income.

6 Sell Merchandise, build your own brand and do it with no setup cost

Enjoy creating and making practical solutions like branded t-shirts, USBs, cups and the hundreds of other products that companies use and buy.  Or maybe you fancy becoming a supplier and producer and want to start your own line of merchandise with bespoke designs and then take the retail space by storm?  Starting a t-shirt small business is not as difficult as people often think. I know many people that have launched pop-up shops with their own designs and done so well that they did it full time and created multiple stores.

There are many logistical solutions, such as Printify available that launching a successful clothing brand actually requires very little cash to start. Many graphic designers will use merchandise as a supplement to reinforce their brand and act as another revenue stream.

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