Are you someone who did a lot of graphic design jobs in the past and is now looking for a way to use those skills to earn online? Are you someone who wants to break into the freelancing world by offering graphic design skills?
Either way, you have come to the right place. I may not be earning now as a graphic designer, but I had contracts in the past that required me to do some graphic designing tasks.
In this article, you will learn the various graphic design jobs you can take on as a freelancer.
We will also discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic including the potential pay and where you can possibly find clients.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents:
- How much can you potentially earn from the jobs?
- What graphic design jobs can you find online?
- What to do if you don’t have a portfolio?
- Where can you find clients to work with?
- Earn Online as a Graphic Designer
How much can you potentially earn from the jobs?
One of my past clients asked me to create a t-shirt design for their team…
My rate then was $35 per hour as their technical writer and was working on the same rate for this graphic design job which netted me hundreds of dollars (due to all the iterations they asked for the design).
The amount you can possibly earn from graphic design jobs largely varies depending on what you’re designing and the number of deliverables.
Logos typically cost $5 each while website design (mockup) services typically cost $100 upwards.
Having a logo designing contract with five clients where you’re primary task is to give them ten variations of their logo for $5 per logo (total of $250) would be more beneficial than having a one-off website design project that costs $150.
It’s also important that you could earn more when a client decides to retain your services for further work. What started out as a five-dollar logo design contract could turn into a full-time team graphics designer position.
What graphic design jobs can you find online?
The good news is, there would always be graphic design opportunities available…
Someone wants to create a new company? He will need a designer for the logo and the website.
Someone wants to publish a new book? He will need a designer for his book cover and possibly, the ads he will be running on Facebook.
That’s why you don’t have to worry about opportunities…
The only thing you need to worry about is being the last person to know when someone needs a graphic designer. Other than that, there are lots of opportunities to choose from.
1. Designing Logos
Designing logos is one of the easiest graphic design jobs anyone can take, especially now that there are free tools available like Canva and Crello that come with a lot of logo templates.
Typically, most designers start with a rate of $5 per logo design plus extra charges for variations, additional concepts, and a shorter turnaround time.
Last month (April 2021), I watched a guy on YouTube create a Fiverr logo service that asks for more or less the same rate.
On the more artistic side, if you’re confident with your design skills, you could be like the guy below that sells modern minimalist logos on Fiverr for $250. His basic package includes two logo concepts in every file type.
Now, the only problem I see with selling logos is that you will have a lot of competition.
Unless you’re already connected with a client, selling logos might be a bit hard. In addition, others who are on a tight budget might decide to design their own.
If I were to sell logo designs (and assuming I’m really good at it), I would probably start showing existing companies a variation of their logos.
I’ll design variations of their logo first, show them the designs, and sell them whichever they like.
You can then use social media to spread the news and document your process. All brands need a logo (and believe me, there are days when founders kept thinking about whether or not they should change their logo).
2. Designing Brand Paraphernalia
Designing a brand element (like the logo) is like blocking the door with your foot. Once you’re hired to design an element, you’re opening yourself to more potential projects that involve branding.
You could be asked to design:
- Even banners
For demonstration, I found this perfect job ad in Upwork that illustrates perfectly what I meant…
My suggestion is that, if you’ve just started offering graphic design services, include “brand style” in your package as a freebie or part of an upgraded package.
If they like your design, they would probably need more of your services to design the rest of the elements.
Some guys on Fiverr also sell complete brand identity style guide packages. It’s like an upgraded logo design service that includes a color palette guide, typography guidelines, iconography, and even do’s and don’ts.
Like I said (wrote), once you win the client over with your designs and concepts, you’re most likely to be the person who has to design the rest of the elements…
3. Designing Print and Ebook Covers
If you’re the type of reader who falls in love with a book just by its cover design, then you know how important designing print and ebook covers is.
Some authors on a tight budget may wing it using online tools, but the end product is really different when done by a designer.
One time, I talked with an acquaintance who worked at a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) company…
I asked him what he does at work (since work at BPI companies could vary). He told me that all they did (at his department) was design ebook covers.
From that conversation, I reckoned that there really were a lot of demands…
Thousands of books are published every day by various publishing houses and individual publishers. Imagine landing a contract with one or two of them.
The approach to landing such opportunities is a little bit tricky.
Yes, there are a lot of job ads on popular freelance platforms and graphic design websites. However, those are usually one-off since authors typically publish only a book or two per year.
But if you ever decide to use freelance platforms, I found a lot of designers in Fiverr and Upwork with hundreds (and some, thousands) of orders. Most of them have basic packages that cost anywhere between $50 and $100.
4. Designing Slides Presentation
One of my very first freelance contracts was assisting a Turkish inventor and CEO as his virtual assistant…
One of my tasks was to convert his documents into PowerPoint presentations. Over time, it evolved into designing his presentations.
If you know your way around PowerPoint, then you could also take on jobs involving slide designs. Again, there may already be some tools for this out there, but lots of clients still prefer a breathing human to do the designs for them.
An example of such client posted this job ad on Upwork:
For the work in the image above, the client is proposing a rate of $4-$12 per hour.
It might sound like a good deal. But personally, I think it’s better for you to ask the client to go with a fixed-price instead and propose a price for the presentation.
In fact, I think all creative work should be fixed-price instead of hourly.
Why? My rationale is, if you’re already too good with your craft, whether or not you have your own portfolio, then you would need a shorter time to create or design something.
If you’re running an hourly rate, then you would be at a disadvantage. Finishing a design faster (with the highest quality possible) deserves a higher rate, not the opposite.
5. Designing Social Media Images
Having a designer take care of all social media images takes off the burden of the marketing director or the solopreneur. I know this for sure, seeing I also run my own blog and social media channels in addition to my client work.
If you have a flair for creating catchy social media images that go with timely posts, then this type of opportunity is perfect for you.
I regularly scan my Upwork feed and so far, it hasn’t failed to show me job ads for social media banners and ads designers.
Here’s an example:
This work is quite interesting as it’s a little bit easier to find clients even without using a freelance platform. You can even monetize your work even without freelance clients by partnering with brands.
A lot of designers are gaining engagement and recognition from potential clients by simply posting their work on social media through their own pages.
If that is your cup of tea, then you must show your work too on popular channels like LinkedIn and Facebook.
6. Designing Websites and Application Interfaces
Most founders in the tech space are tech engineers.
If you’ve been playing the graphic design game for a long time now, then you know that programmers and code engineers have some sort of design blindness (no offense).
Fortunately, they know that they have a weakness in the design field, which is why they usually hire someone to take care of their graphic design needs by posting on popular freelance platforms like Upwork.
One of my contracts that ended in early 2021 was writing for a new ecommerce video platform that’s supposed to rival the likes of Shopify (the final product hasn’t been shipped yet as of the time of writing this article).
I had direct communication with the CEO who also oversees the content marketing efforts of the company.
Because he wants me to deliver the content about the product as best as I could, he showed to me the mock-up of the design, the web app, and the mobile app.
Naturally, the designer was also a freelancer that he got through Upwork, which is where I also found that client.
That experience showed me that tech startups really do hire freelance graphic designers before having their in-house developers code the actual product.
7. Designing Game Arts and Graphics
A few years ago, there was this popular YouTube channel that published videos that talk about how to design game character sprites and assets.
Though I wasn’t interested in creating a game myself, it was useful in creating character designs.
If you got a skill for creating game assets, then you could design elements like:
- Game characters
- Game illustrations (backgrounds)
- Game assets
Here’s an example of a Fiverr seller that creates character designs with a basic package that costs $250:
Out of everything I listed here, this is probably the rarest skill of all enough that some local folks I know are having trouble finding someone who could do this…
Prices for this work vary too. I saw some people selling 2D character designs for $5 per character and some people selling game illustrations for $80. There are others that create the concept art for the game for $30.
Now, if you’ve got even more advanced designing skills, you can sell character modeling designs. They’re basically 3D model designs for game assets or characters instead of the usual 2D designs.
What to do if you don’t have a portfolio?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions on every freelancing guide no matter what the skill.
Fortunately, this is easier to handle compared to others that are somewhat more complicated (like programming and web dev).
If you don’t have a portfolio, then there’s only one thing you need to do — create one. You don’t need paying customers to fill out your portfolio, though it would be helpful if there would be others who could provide feedback.
No previously designed logos? Pick out a few popular companies and redesign their logos. No experience design book covers? Go and check out the top ten non-fiction books from Amazon and redesign their covers.
After doing that, create an account on at least three popular online art galleries and communities like DeviantArt, Behance, and Dribble, and upload your designs there.
You could also make use of Pinterest to find potential clients there.
Where can you find clients to work with?
There are a lot of places where you can find potential client work. The simplest and easiest places to find graphic design opportunities are on freelance platforms like Upwork where you can browse through listings.
Like I wrote earlier on designing social media images, you can also make use of social media platforms and add potential clients to your friends’ list or connections. Then, you can start uploading your designs and posts ads about your services once in a while.
You can also use a more aggressive approach and contact potential clients right away. If you do this on social media, be careful not to sound too salesy. Create a connection first before mentioning your services.
On the other hand, you can also send an email directly to various companies. For this, don’t send out empty messages and simply telling them about your services. You’ll have to do the work first and show them design concepts.
That last one is more of a cold email approach. Since you’ll have trouble tracking out the emails you sent and to whom, you should use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep track of your progress.
Earn Online as a Graphic Designer
Graphic design is one of the best ways to start your online freelance journey…
If you already have the skills, then all you need is to find clients. If you’re still learning, there are a lot of resources out there and tools that will provide you with almost finished designs.
When I worked as a virtual assistant, around 30% of my contracts had some sort of graphic design tasks on them.
Those helped me improved my skills in graphic design which helped tremendously in designing the elements of this website.
Now it’s your turn…
- Are you an experienced graphic designer who’s simply looking for online work? How are your efforts doing so far?
- If you’re a new freelancer who wants to offer graphic design skills, how is your progress? What kind of designs can you do now?
Let me and all the readers know your thoughts by dropping them down below.