No job is easy, but when you are producing something that is neither wrong nor right, and is based on personal taste, it can be hard. It takes a special kind of person to be a Graphic Designer but, if you think you’ve got that creative streak and you believe you’ve got the determination to work under your own steam, check out this useful guide to becoming a successful freelance graphic designer.
What’s your specialty?
The job of a graphic designer is to produce designs based on a customers specifications and requirements. This can vary widely from corporate identity (logos) or web/email based designs and in today’s world, it is beneficial to have as broad a skill range as possible.
Many universities now offer a degree in graphic design, which will assist you in learning the basics and may assist you in getting work. According to The Times Good University Guide 2012, 38% of students enter graduate level jobs with an average salary of £17,000. The Interactive Design Institute also offer an online-based course allowing you to study whilst working.
We all know that money will be tight when you’re starting out, but it important to have the best equipment you can afford. The industry standard for graphic designers is the Apple Mac; whether it be the powerful Mac Pro desktop or the portable MacBook Pro. Remember, these items don’t have to be brand new, why not see if you can pick one up second hand or go for a refurbished model? The second must have is Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard which includes programmes such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign – must have software for all serious Graphic Designers.
Be ahead of the curve
Keep up to date with modern trends. As with fashion and music, design also has trends. It may be colours, text fonts or layout, but if you are to keep clients and attract new ones, it pays to know what is popular.
Make sure that you are confident and have faith in your designs. Not everyone will like your designs and clients may ask you to make alterations. Don’t take this as a negative criticism; it’s just all about personal taste. Everyone is always learning and it will probably help you in the future.
As a freelance graphic designer it is important to let people know you are there. As nice as it would be to have people queuing at your door as soon as you start out, this is probably just a dream. Take adverts out in local papers, or contact local companies who you think may require your services. Use this to earn a good reputation, as word of mouth is always the best form of advertising.
As with all businesses, you need to find a gap in the market. The chances are you are going to be competing with some big companies so to avoid this, find a form of graphic design that no-one in your area yet offers. Play to your strengths and make sure you do some research as to what people want. There is no point providing a service that no one will use.
Finally, start working. Always provide excellent customer service, do what the customer wants even if its not to your taste, if there’s something the client wants changing, do it for free and lastly, give your client more than they expect. Following these tips will hopefully leave you a successful freelance graphic designer and most importantly, with a good reputation.