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How to Become a Graphic Designer & Make Money as One



Every year, it seems like the demand for graphic designers is increasing, and with that increase comes a great need for talented designers. If you want to become a graphic designer, then there are some tips you can use to become one. Whether you have experience or not, these tips will help you gain valuable insight into what being a graphic designer is all about.


Becoming a graphic designer takes time. It is important to know what skills are necessary to succeed in this field so that you can build them up before applying for new jobs or internships.

Many people want to become graphic designers because it seems like a fun and rewarding profession. However, there are many misconceptions about how to get into this field. The purpose of this article is to help you make informed decisions about how to become a graphic designer and make money as one.

What is a graphic designer?

Graphic designers are an integral part of producing and marketing products or services. They create graphics for everything from advertisements to business cards, from packaging to websites and software.

Many graphic and type designers work with computer-based design tools, but sometimes computers cannot figure out what the designer wants to do. Often, graphic designers will use hand-drawing tools to design logos or editorial layouts. They work with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for digital illustration and layout tools such as Fontographer for print production.

Their job requires that they are a good communicator who can be flexible enough to think outside the box to produce high-quality work efficiently. It also involves being creative since some of their clients may have different requests than the designer anticipated.

What Does A Graphic Designer Do?

A graphic designer creates graphics for everything from advertisements to business cards. They work with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for digital illustration and layout tools, Fontographer for print production, or hand-drawing tools such as a pencil if it’s appropriate.

They can be creative because some of their clients may have different requests than the designer anticipated to produce high-quality work efficiently. The job involves being flexible enough to think outside the box to produce high-quality work under time restraints and constraints.

It also involves being dedicated because some of the clients require ongoing professional relationships as well as career refreshments, whereby it is important that designers stay current with their industry, constantly learning more about new advances so they can remain competitive within the job market.

Skills required to become a Graphic designer

1. Creative Imagination

The ability to conceptualize ranging from real-life facts, feelings, and sensations; in persuasions. For example, I know there are lots of people with a lot of negativity out there, but still being able to show life’s positives by creating an image, for instance, “Inspiring.”

2. Communication skills

Making excellent use of written or spoken language, especially as it relates to marketing applications such as layout/design on various materials like Web pages and marketing campaigns.

3. Ability to work in an environment

Ability to work in an environment with a team of people under stressful deadlines require timely execution, productivity optimization, and flexibility for the designer when working on larger projects or those having many different clients needs that call upon creative solutions or facets involved; 3-5 times each week generally in their business

4. Plain English Editor

The ability to cut through any jargon, especially not communicating anything that is processed, confusing, or seems too technical to a client.

5. Time management

The ability to manage time spent and meet deadlines is critical in any design field due to the nature of work as most designers are freelance people that may be out of town handling other engagements at times.

Therefore requiring them to prioritize their role with clients once they arrive back while still using resources available during remote tasks such as internet research or collecting data via phone calls from associates when the need arises requires the designer to navigate through a variety of applications for research or calls.

6. Tailoring a message for each different target market

Knowing the needs of your current customer base, prospects, and their likes/dislikes is key in creating not only good design but a compelling copy that triggers those wants within minds along with identifying competitors’ resources to be aware of when looking at existing products or services as an example working on new product development activity.

7. Working effectively within a small team and distributor environments

Understanding the competitive environment among design agencies is critical to creating an effective overall marketing concept for each client’s business using material disseminated to other designers that can be used simultaneously or processed later.

Competitors also may find a particular resource after researching and analyzing it, thus creating an effective marketing strategy by consolidating, planning, and distributing information for your target market in different forms of communication resulting in repeat business through referrals from previous customers; improving visibility, gaining brand placement with their current clients as well as giving them credibility when working on new product development.

8. Flexibility in Picking a Position

Understanding how each client business functions is critical to not only suggesting material but providing an effective marketing strategy used within different positions; whether it be design or retail accounts depending on the nature of your business and also understanding their buying cycle as well as for deciding when they need help from outside resources such as assisting clients with research or having interns utilize technology during presentations can increase knowledge by keeping them involved while growing their understanding of the creative process.

9. Considering financial goals before starting a project with clients

Understanding what products or services requires resources for producing an appropriate budget and ensuring that it’s done in such a way as to keep within any specific guidelines can only increase one’s profits through repeat business resulting from satisfied customers who remain loyal after discovering new, inexpensive yet quality product designs to buy; enabling the client themselves gain knowledge overtime on how they can have more control of the process.

10. Overseeing and planning client events

Having a company’s brand proper represented graciously at an event by using outstanding stationery, color schemes, professional signage as well as providing any necessary service; such events include weddings receptions or conferences, to name but a few are key to establishing efficiency in customer relations resulting from repeat business through referrals from contacts made during their attendance along with each guest receiving a reminder card for future events they might be interested in.

Steps to Becoming a Graphic Designer

•Start Building Your Skills in High School

It is preferable to start learning graphic design skills in high school, especially if you are already interested in the field and have a desire for a career or passion. You will learn about designing graphics by taking classes related to textiles, apparel, and fashion illustration.

This type of class may seem insignificant but will allow you to build your knowledge from the ground up. Your skills will be developed by being able to use creative tools such as Adobe applications and a variety of drawing styles which is one essential trait to becoming a good designer.

•Earn a Degree in Graphic Design

A degree in graphic design may be the best route for accessing a good-paying job. Graphic designers are skilled at organizing large amounts of information into formats that can easily display to clients, and with education comes higher degrees of proficiency, such as being able to create various types of forms, including posters and brochures within a given time frame; this way you will know necessary when working with your projects on how they need to be designed diplomatically or by committee work thus increasing efficiency and urgency when deadlines are being met.

•Complete Internships

Graphic design internship opportunities are seemingly plentiful, but they do indeed exist. You will be able to work in advertising agencies to learn how designers need to utilize the strategies when working on different projects such as posters and advertisements like Facebook advertisements.

Such internships may require your skills, mainly being those of organizational efficiency, photo imaging technology, and proficiency in speaking out loud in a language called English which is crucial for project communication purposes. After all, you will be handling clients on the phone and communicating with different departments such as media, editorial marketing experts, etc.

•Create a Compelling Portfolio

Many designers keep a portfolio if they want to be picked up by another design agency. This also makes it easier for you if you are interested in freelance as other agencies will contact your one, rather than emailing a resume to get back and forth replies from them all over again.

Let’s say you show an advertising agency your website that has great images but no text on the homepage. The person looking at the site is either going to reach for the phone to find out more about your work or go to another site that provides text on the home page.

So, it is best for you as a freelancer if you have enough material and skills to show off without having worked specifically with a design company, so the agency will fully appreciate what opportunity they might be interested in working with.

Available Degrees for a graphic designer

•Associate Degrees

An associate degree program focuses on design basics and general studies such as English and history. The two-year degree may be completed in a community or online setting or at a school’s campus.

These students are then eligible for jobs that pay entry-level wages around $30,000–$45,000 per year with little to no experience on their resume alone (assuming they already have work experience).

Associate’s Degree graduates can expect to find well-paying job opportunities at design firms within the United States, as well as international companies dispatched abroad.

• Bachelor’s Degrees

A four-year bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Graphic Design can be completed at traditional colleges and universities, as well as non-traditional programs tailored to the needs of students like freelancers and independent designers.

Some colleges and universities are even offering bachelor’s degree programs in graphic design as a part-time course or just an after-hours elective. These students work full-time on their creative projects.

At the same time, they still carry full toil duties associated with traditional college courses, including the classroom, library, research labs, student activities, etc.).

• Master’s Degrees

A Master of Arts Degree in Graphic Design is a five-or six-year program that can be structured as part of an extendable master’s degree or bachelor’s and post-baccalaureate program.

These students may eventually earn higher wages, work longer hours (often up to seventy-two hours per week) and start their careers with more management responsibility. Students are learning how graphic design connects with all other disruptive technologies-scanners and computers, photography, and film.

How Much Does a Graphic Designer Make?

Graphic designers and illustrators in the United States typically make $52,110 and up. The average salary for graphic designers is significantly higher, with a global workforce earning their living designing and illustrating products that range from magazines to websites to movie posters.

In addition to salaries and work perks, freelance graphic designers can expect to earn a high amount of money by continuing their work on publishing layouts from one company onto another or by self-publishing a portfolio booklet.

10 Ways to Make Money as a Graphic Designer:

1. Create and Sell Templates

Create templates that are professionally designed but easy to use. The number of templates out there will depend on your skill level and if you’re a designer or an illustrator, choose some timeless ones. You can create collections with different themes like seasonal, wedding, etc., offer as a one-time fee for purchase or even sell them in individual styles.

You can make money directing people to websites where they can purchase the templates. If you’re a designer and often team up with others, create organized presentations or even portfolios of your work on Tumblr or Google Drive. Buy products or services where you can design and compile the template to fit the specifications of websites.

You should suit up this product with a professional label like “Publisher’s Web Friendly Template” so that designers get hired out for much higher rates. Open source templates are mostly free but too complicated to be used as long as they require all kinds of plugins, plugins, etc., which is not ideal because many clients won’t even know about the effort you put in.

The best way is to create professional templates that are very simple yet functional but with a design flaw or two (like placing text below fillable space), which will allow designers’ readability and their special characters. Think of different colleges using things like “designer” tools because they’re glitchy and unprofessional-looking as though they were made by someone who doesn’t get paid enough to hire a designer anyway!

2. Share knowledge through workshops

Your knowledge is good for the industry but you should get involved also with workshops in order to expose new people to your skillset. If you can lead a workshop or present, there are many advantages including mentoring and networking opportunities — which will help build up an aesthetic image of yourself by working alongside professionals and gaining experience. You can likewise exhibit at conferences like national conventions or even showcase once-in-a-while just because it builds relationships along with credentials.

3. Sell Stickers

You can get small sets of business cards/stickers printed and sell just that as stickers for your clients, so you don’t have to worry about the logo and title design, etc., because they’ve already got a colorful sticker on top; of their card! This whole thing doesn’t make any money since it is mostly self-made, but it improves audience engagement over time — probably even if the results might not be as good.

Selling stickers is still another good way to make some money at home since they can be used to personalize profile pictures or advertisement messages of digital product sites a lot more easily than just writing stuff on bills and things.

If you are worried about running out after selling 1000 sticker sets, ask around various forums and see if people might want stickers made with a specific design other than your logo × Wig For Sale Logo, etc., because there is no limit (it’s like the saying goes, “limitless opportunity in this world”).

Being able to make a hundred sets of stickers may seem laughable until you see how many other business cards are being printed. Another brilliant idea is selling a full-color sticker with your logo or design. When placed on any computer screen as an image will trigger internet search engines results automatically all overboard!

4. Be A Design Consultant

You can be a design consultant to create your logo by really having an understanding of the needs, wants, and desires of companies in that business area. You can earn money by being a design consultant, and once you start creating logos samples and simply selling them to companies in different industries, the possibilities become endless.

Again, this makes money and introduces you as a specialist who can come up with “pin-up” designs specifically tailored so that people looking for a logo out that they are almost always creative enough to help get their business projects off on running right.

If you want to be successful and make money from your company, starting it isn’t easy. It’s really expensive to start a business, but luckily there are several ways for people who want that kind of life to make their dream come true.

The job market may not always be as caring or compassionate as what we might individually expect, so to run any company on our terms and have businesses pay attention towards us, it’s very important to have a business plan, even if that means making it paper.

5. Design Fonts for Creative Market

One great new way for aspiring creative businesses to make money is by starting a font and becoming the go-to person for design and seeking out designers who can use your fonts. This is also one of my favorite ways to earn large amounts quickly that doesn’t need much aside from knowing how to do it yourself.

By selling custom made (personal) professional quality fonts, allows you to charge quite a bit more than if you normally went ahead and purchased one, and if that weren’t enough, you can create an offer where your customers can buy all the fonts they need through a specific agreement while giving them access to special discounts on future font purchases. You can make money from these as well from the profits you make with your fonts.

If you’re serious about making money, then getting on board contributing to this font market is a fantastic way of making some fast cash and letting people know that their messages will look amazing when put into one of your typeface designs, for example, if you start working entirely through creative market anything over 50 work hours would be considered paid work so in order to charge less per hour then it’s best to be sure you are charging for every hour you work instead of billing a client/designer an hourly rate.

6. Make Pre-Made Logo Packages

Create logo packages of your best work, maybe one that includes a couple of different color schemes, and then sell them through Creative Market or when you first start out selling websites. Keep in mind that this “is” client work and should be treated just like a normal job.

As a graphic designer, here are some packages that you can quickly and easily make off of just one logo. These come prepackaged, meaning they have the font pack (if not already presented) as well custom layouts installed; all you need to do is download your fonts.

If a client orders these logos after first seeing them in my portfolio, he will likely order more than 1; most clients order 3-5. In total, this makes them cost $300, which is a pretty good deal.

Keep they are not made to be used as standalone logos (you’ll need to download the font packs themselves, and of course, you have saved your workflow). So I was hoping you could make sure not to over package them, at least with the ones I’m talking about here. It doesn’t matter how many different logo ideas/color schemes you show off or even so much as if it’s better than anything anyone else is doing. You are smart about how much to charge and what your services are.

7. Sell Customized Branding Packages

Another way to make money as a graphic designer is through customized branding packages. Branding, whether it’s for an individual or even just yourself, can be pretty time-consuming, in the end, though if you are skilled and have good reviews, then people will likely want your help.

Branding packages can be created to help with social media, email services, and even websites. These packages can cost anywhere from $75-$1000 depending upon the overall package you create (it’s important to know this upfront before creating a project).

Making money through branding packages doesn’t pay top dollar, but they are a good way to get your name out there. Selling customized branding packages is similar to selling logo design, but less focus is on an icon or a single piece of art and more on branding.

It’s easier for other graphic designers in the same niche (especially ones with fewer reviews) to sell their branded resources rather than starting from scratch themselves, which can take many hours.

What you do here is combine logos, social media banners, images even web elements into unique designs that are attractive enough, so they don’t look like blank canvases.

8. Create and Sell Printables

Creating and selling printables is a newer way to make money as a graphic designer. With the current popularity of printing online, more people are looking for ways they can be able to use their home printers to create products that others would buy.

Whether you’re creating it yourself or having another company generate one on your behalf, some competition will always persist out there, too, so this isn’t going away anytime soon either. You end up with a downloadable printable you want to sell online.

The best part about it is that your potential buyer can use their existing or new printer after downloading the file and printing them themselves for whatever purpose (in most cases, this would be an organizer, homework sheet, etc.).

Generally speaking, these offers don’t pay much as receiving income from selling printables isn’t easy, but they’re definitely profitable if done correctly. Matthew’s Printables, Etsy, and Minted are the top online printable providers.

9. Work With Clients As A Freelancer

This can produce multiple sources of income, but it’s probably the most time-consuming way to make money as a graphic designer. The same considerations that apply in freelance opportunities apply here too, and you have to know how to communicate with your clients and what their expectations are from both you and the job.

Additionally, since many individuals aren’t very familiar with this type of work, it tends not to receive broad exposure, so there might be initial rejection plus hearing back about getting other applicants ahead of you as well.

With that being said, this is still one of the more popular ways to make money from a graphic designer because when done correctly, it can yield incredible results for both parties involved once all are considered (remember if yourself or your clients aren’t satisfied with the whole relationship might be rendered useless).

This will no doubt require hard work and dedication, but with enough time invested in this type of project, you could end up earning multiple income streams in the long run and have a satisfying career as well.

Though there are many freelancer graphic designer sites, some of which can be offered through crowdfunding, it’s still generally done via word-of-mouth referrals and networking with other professionals who might want to invest in one way or another. This isn’t easy, but with enough work, you should find that this type of job leads to hiring several different companies on projects at once.

10. Design Social Media Graphics

Though not specific to graphic designers as a whole, designers should probably be the ones doing this. Businesses around are hungry for original social media graphics designed by an expert in their field since it comes across as more distinguished and will help clients stand out among competitors.

You can usually get paid per image or part of a project depending on what type you offer your customers if they ever choose to hire you again (which is rare). Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest are the most common internet forums to design graphics for.

Still, dozens of others exist depending on what type of niche you’re in (music or electronics look down if you’d like). Social media graphics are a great way to create passive income for yourself with very little work.

Some graphic designers decide to do freelance design part-time, so their business output increases much more than one job ever could offer on average. So it means you can make money as a Graphic Designer even if you don’t have any clients at this point.

However, designing isn’t as simple or quick like they say. It’s boring and hard, but in reality, that’s the good part of designing work as you will always be learning new things every week. You learn how to put together ideas, design and change a design or image into different looks at the end, and make sure your customer feels pleased with what they got.


Graphic design is a fascinating career choice that can help you find work in the creative industries, but it’s not an easy one to make. You have to have a real passion for art and design and a willingness to put in the hours of study necessary to improve your skills.

To get started on this journey, we recommend that you take some time today to learn more about graphic design and what it takes to become a successful graphic designer. Which steps will you take?