Earning potential for Graphic Designers: How to make the most money as a Graphic Designer?

With the ginormous increase in people using the internet in their everyday lives many businesses, both in the private and public sector use graphic designers to make and build their websites, content, logos, advertisements and many other projects. The online presence of multinational corporations and e-commerce sites has meant that there is an increased need for Graphic Designers who in turn make money of these jobs. Think about it! You see graphics every single day all around us from the road we live on or work on to the online realm of social media, video ads, Youtube, Facebook and Google to name a few.


This article is not intended as a guide of how to set these businesses up and running but rather a guide to demonstrate to you what’s possible in hope that you contemplate the varying ways that you can impact your career by using your creative talent in perhaps a seldom-thought of way.

While it is certainly possible for creative individuals to penetrate the graphic design industry, it does take 1) talents usually in the form of a good portfolio as well as 2) self-marketing to really earn a decent living as a Freelance Graphic Designer. Blue Sky Graphics offers online courses for anyone contemplating a Graphic Design career.
For those of you that are contemplating becoming Graphic Designers or even want to make extra money by designing alongside another job, you can make good profits by selling your pieces of art and designs or accepting projects from small and large companies. Each method of earning an income in this article will help you become a lucrative Designer although each way is different in some way despite all of them operating from the Internet and through graphic design.

The first step to making a living and earning some serious money as a Graphic Designer for those that are new to graphic design is to learn Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. There are courses available to learn this software online including Blue Sky Graphics online course. and then build a portfolio and after you’ve done that market your services.

The portfolio is like a resume for designers to showcase their skills. Every time you finish a project that you are proud of, include this example from the project to your portfolio. With the right training and the right marketing skills, you can make extra money on the side doing something that you really enjoy doing.

While this sounds fairly straight forward and non-time consuming in theory in practice it may take a little longer to learn because most schools or online courses take a couple of years however certain one-to-one tutor to student courses will accelerate this learning time such as the Graphic Design Course at Blue Sky Graphics.

In this article we look at 4 ways to maximise earning potential and make money as a Graphic Designer. All being well, these tips to make money as a Graphic Designer will give you the incentive to get out there and build some revenue. You can make money on the side as a designer freelancing and having flexibility doing it, or you can also make money getting hired as a designer with a design agency or become in house in business or even large corporation.

Most employers that are hiring a designer in-house are looking for someone who has a large portfolio and training- A university degree is NOT essential and is discouraged given the costs and time of a degree. There are shorter, faster and easier routes to becoming a Graphic Designer (read article on route to become a Graphic Designer) and for this reason more and more people are turning to online learning or going to college. 

 

If you do not have much success learning alone without a teacher designing on a professional level, completing a training course under a tutor’s guidance, learning about the software, its rules of design and operating Adobe Creative Cloud will help you get a foot in the door.

Here are 4 ways to make as much money as possible as a Graphic Designer.

Number 1

Accept Work and Take on Design Projects as a Graphic Design Freelancer

There is one common misunderstanding which is it’s apparently difficult for Freelancers to find clients, but as a matter of fact in the year April 2018 to April 19, 85% of those who were looking for work as Freelancers after they finished at Blue Sky Graphics actually found work within their first 5 weeks of finishing their portfolio. This is just a microscopic statistic from one online graphic design school, but the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of clients who need a designer to create an advertisement, a banner, a logo, a flyer, or artwork for their web site. One way to get consistent projects is by promoting your design portfolio (once you have one) and to register on a freelancing website where you can showcase your amazing designs, artwork and get matched to clients who suited to your style and work.

On most of the freelance websites, Graphic Designers can add some of their past design work, set how much money they charge and request reviews from past clients which is a useful marketing tool as well. The good news is newbies to the graphic world can take on small projects to start, but with after several projects a comprehensive portfolio and positive reviews, newbies come experienced designers can make a decent living.
Some of the popular freelancing sites include:

Odeskwork, GibgbucksFreelancer48HourslogoPeoplePerHourElance, and Upwork. My advice is to Stay clear of gumtree which is more generic and less of graphic design space.  In most of all cases, these websites that connect designer to client for commissioning project work are a reliable indication of a freelancer’s work quality. UpworkFiverr and Freelancer are all good spaces to connect Graphic Designer and Client and Toptal is one the best in my opinion. Why? Toptal is arguably the crème de la crème – an exclusive network of the top three percent of freelance software developers and designers. Not only are they fussy about who they choose since they only hire the top 3% freelancers across Developers and Graphic Designers, but many repeat customers are satisfied with the designs inventory.

Number 2

Create Fancy Font, Digital Files and Templates Then Sell Your Amazing Magic

For the creative lovers who enjoy to making beautiful templates there are many resources you can make and design only to have your work much-admired and then paid money for.  One way to get a name for yourself is to start selling your digital files or sidebar adverts, social media images and Facebook Images.  If you can make fonts, graphics, textures or designs you can sell the digital files online. There are a few ways to sell the images. You can either join a marketplace where the company will promote your files for you or you can run your own site, enhance and sell your files for all the profits.

Fonts are a huge part of any website and now more than ever before when Graphic Designers and Web Designers and Internet giant Google pay extra consideration to issues like website readability and usability.
According to Monotype, the US company specialise in making fonts, the interest in original typefaces is growing dramatically. The proof is in the pudding when you consider: last year in 2018, the company reported circa £299 million in takings, huge figures in such a creative space.

There are already a handful of graphic designers that are earning money online by selling digital a resource that otherwise may perhaps find itself not making any money. You’ll be amazed how much people are willing to part with their money for quirky and personable designs especially if it’s going to have a sentimental value or emotional element like a wedding letter template for example. There are also so many platforms for selling templates and fancy fonts which are all an increasingly big business and it’s a really great way to make extra money with your design skills.
If people subscribe to a subscription service, then you could charge a monthly fee for use of templates and by acquiring fans you can create a new revenue stream and it’s straightforward to sell your work on those sites. It’s surprisingly effortless to sell your work and there so many platforms for selling fonts. With good fonts and templates, you can start developing fans and then you can create a whole new revenue stream for yourself or a freelancing site!

One favoured choice among Graphic Designers is Creative Market, which is a magnificent location to market your artistic creations whether it be fonts, template or other graphics. There’s no exclusivity contractual period which allows you to set your own prices and bag 70 per cent of each transaction that is made.

New to the scene and popular among Graphic Designers too is Big Cartel – a great handy platforms for any creative looking to sell their design work online and feel the appreciation. People will sometimes pay good money for their favourite designs and the good thing about this site it that, it allows you to customise and personalise your own e-commerce store within theirs to give it a unique feel as well as even adapting it to your website (if you have one that is).

Art Web is an e-commerce website that focuses on selling art online and connecting international buyers and sellers. A community of different Graphic Designers and Artists of all kinds use this platform to grow their business as well as make connections and most importantly money too!

Finally, for those wanting to make a little bit of side money and for very little output I would suggest using Etsy. Create printable images and icons and selling these on Etsy is easy. Do you remember seeing all those catchy (sometimes cheesy) quotes you see on Instagram or Pinterest? Well, you can make (and sell) your own digital downloads on Etsy. It is simple to do, straight forward and allows you to play with fonts in a productive way and gets you using Illustrator because you’re creating things, and this can only be a good thing!

Number 3

Create Comic Books and Sell Them Online!

Through selling digital comics over the internet you’ll have the opportunity to claim a good a piece of the market share and see those golden shiny pounds (or your local currency) coming in!

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This is how and why?

Comic drawing is a huge business and one just needs to look at the likes of Marvel to possibly imagine just how big their business is- start small and grow is our advice. During the month of July this year 1289 new comic books and 355 new graphic novels were released, according to Wired. This statistic is somewhat assuring because it is encouraging to know that people are interested in this form of art, and more importantly willing to pay for it.
With that said, if you enjoy design and sketching then consider going into comic designing. People and companies will buy rights to use the comic image and sketches and you can make income for years after you’ve designed the these.

Number 4

Create Your Own Brand and License Your Graphic Design Work

Creating your own brand and licensing graphic design work is great way to make passive and residual income in the side by not necessarily doing a lot of work but you do need a few essential ingredients. To get started it is important to know that this business venture does not happen overnight, and it can take sometimes the building of a reputation and establishing your works and portfolio before you can launch into this fortune-making endeavour. Creating those little pieces of someone’s visual brand is both enjoyable for you and welcomed and paid for by the recipient.

Ingredient 1. To be successful you need a brand and a strong online presence or an omnipresence (well, almost).  This means you have must ensure you have a fabulous website with your work and designs; it means that you have an Instagram and Facebook account and an inspiring blog with a broad reach.

Ingredient 2. You need a graphic design portfolio of work you have created for all your clients, with references from those clients as well (references are extra helpful but not essential).

Ingredient 3. You are required to have some highly regarded designs and perhaps even awards even from small organisations, and you tweet, write, snap and you publicise these awards everywhere.

Ingredient 4. Using your brand, presence, portfolio history, you can create more designs, and you license them – simple right?  You can and should also license other designs you made prior to this point in time for items of work where the rights to which you have not transferred over to any client.

Ingredient 5. Here you need business development skills and need to sell your amazing talent to organisations and businesses and offer to allow them to use your designs on their websites, or their branding and marketing merchandise – for a royalty fee (that is the fun part). These typically add up to 7-10% of sales. This is great passive income while doing your other full time or part time work

Graphic Design Resources


In summary, Graphic Design isn’t all about money (but that important!) it’s about something higher. It’s about loving what you do, making the world more attractive and satisfying your never-ending need for intellectual stimulation. Good designers don’t see design as a job, but a lifestyle. There are
many ways to make a lot of money either as a freelance designer, In-house designer or part time Graphic Designer, and most of them require a tiny bit of effort to get them going. But whether you sell online or in a physical shop, there are plenty of ways to get some extra revenue by designing what you want to be designing.

This article was produced by Han Solomovich, Master Graphic Design Tutor and Director at Blue Sky Graphics – www.blueskygraphics.co.uk.
Learn graphic design with your own one-to-one tutor online.

Here are useful websites to help you on you way make logos, design and stock for your creative needs. They are good websites that we  recommend you visit as they offer many useful resources to any Graphic Designer…

www.canva.com/photos/free/
www.lifeofpix.com
www.all-free-download.com/
www.storyblocks.com
www.unsplash.com
www.kaboompics.com
www.gratisography.com

www.blueskygraphics.co.uk
www.freephotos.cc
www.pexels.com
www.freepik.com
www.splitshire.com
www.unsplash.com

Here are some other great sites we recommend that allow you to download graphical decorations:

www.freepik.com/
www.stockvault.net/

 

Getting started

When you are ready to further your graphic design career all you have to do is enrol and you can do so by contacting us here.

If you think that distance learning can really jump start your graphic design career as a freelancer or hobby, or In-House Designer, then you should sign up today. Our courses are very affordable and within 10 months you will be a pro using InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Start your distance learning online course now and see a dramatic difference in your creative journey.

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