There are many different paths a designer can take throughout their graphic design career including (but not limited to) being an in-house designer for a specific company, being a member of a studio or agency, or pursuing freelance graphic design. No matter which route you choose, you’re going to need to decide how you’re going to tackle some of the design industry’s most common issues facing designers of all ages and experience levels. Learning how to market your graphic design skills and business can help you overcome these hurdles.
So you’ve decided to strike out and become a graphic designer. If you choose to branch out on your own and fly solo as a freelance graphic designer, let us be among the first to say congratulations and happy hunting for a stellar graphic design career! Choosing freelance graphic design comes with its own unique set of benefits and challenges:
FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGN BENEFITS:
- Work when you want
- Work where you want
- Pick your clients
- Set your pay rate
- Make your own dress code
FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGN CHALLENGES:
- Marketing yourself
- Finding clients
- Collecting payments
- Maintaining your equipment
- Finding a work / life balance
Marketing yourself is one of the most important and necessary things you will need to master if you want to succeed in a graphic design career. It doesn’t matter what you specialize in, who you work for, or where you live — making contacts, building connections, and spreading the word about how gloriously amazing you are is going to be what sets you apart for years to come.
To give you a boost and put you ahead of your competition, here are 5 tips for marketing your graphic design career or business:
1) GO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE
By people, we mean both other creatives as well as potential clients. Keep an eye out for mixers hosted by and for local businesses, and make sure that friends and coworkers know you’re always up for meeting new people and helping them to solve their design-related problems.
2) TALK, EVEN IF YOU THINK NOBODY’S LISTENING
Don’t listen to the little voice in your head that’s whispering to you about all of the reasons why you don’t need to and shouldn’t promote yourself online. Are there other designers out there? Absolutely!
Are they you? Absolutely NOT.
portfolio, and sign up for a social network or two and get started showing the world exactly why they should hire YOU… not that other guy.
3) DIVERSIFY YOUR OFFERINGS
Because you’re a graphic designer, people are going to expect things like brochures, text and picture tutorials, and stock materials like brushes, vectors, or actions. You can (and should!) offer these things while giving your visitors, fans, and followers a chance to take home even more value with no additional effort on their part.
How does that work, you ask? The simplest answer is a single word: Video.
Videos are perfect for explaining, illustrating, and demonstrating simple concepts or steps in a process. No matter what you do for a living, almost everyone has used YouTube at least once to see how something is done.
4) MAKE YOURSELF MEMORABLE
You might have to rock the boat a little to make the waves that you need, but trust us when we say that making your mark is worth causing a little disruption on occasion. We urge you to be smart about what you do when drawing attention to yourself, and of course we don’t encourage anyone to do anything dangerous or potentially harmful.This isn’t the audition stage for a reality show!
Many designers set themselves apart by appealing to their target audience in an unusual way. Everyone expects someone to try to sell them something — why not try adding a little humor to your copy, share a few witty memes and design-related GIFs, and then go for the soft sell? Anyone expecting the hard sell pitches to be coming in hard and fast will automatically focus on you, even if they’re only looking to see why you’re not pitching to them the same way that your competitors do.
5) FORGET THE BOX
Forget thinking outside of the box — if you want to truly master marketing your graphic design business you’re going to need to take that box and toss it into the nearest trash pile, because you don’t need it anymore!
When is the last time you saw a designer sitting in the lobby of a conference hall with a sign that offered free design advice? If you automatically answer that you’ve never seen such a thing…. There’s your angle. Please make sure that whatever you have planned is okay with the venue you’d be using and/or follows all relevant laws. Not all publicity is good publicity, and we’ve never heard of time in lockup being the spark that lit someone’s career on fire.
MARKETING YOURSELF AND YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN BUSINESS WON’T BE EASY!
That’s part of what makes it so much fun to do — if it was easy everyone would be doing it, and the little rebel that lives inside of every creative’s spirit knows that the road less traveled is the shortest path to reach your goals, because after all it’s never crowded.
INCREASE YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN SALARY BY ATTENDING AN ACCREDITED GRAPHIC DESIGN SCHOOL
F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Graphic Design and Web Development Program will give you the tools to become a graphic designer in just 11 months. From a faculty made up of experienced design industry professionals to a broad spectrum of courses and a dedicated Career Development department, we give students access to everything they need to succeed in the design industry, both in class and on the job.
If you’d like to know more about our Graphic Design and Web Development school, please give us a call or send us an email! Our admissions team are standing by to answer any questions you might have.