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How to Start Your Own Graphic Design Business

How to Start Your Own Graphic Design Business

Graphic design has become so popular that even small businesses can benefit by getting graphic designs on their websites, brochures, business cards, and social media posts.

You can start a graphic design business without the fancy degrees and the substantial startup costs. This is an excellent option for designers looking to start a side business that brings in extra monthly cash. However, it would help if you thought about what you are getting into before jumping head first into a business venture. There is a lot to learn when starting your own graphic design business. Here are some things you need to consider before you start.

A new career path could be ahead if you have a knack for graphic design. There's a booming graphic design industry waiting for you.

Learn the essential tools of the trade

Adobe Creative Suite Graphic Design Software

How long does it take to get the basic skills in graphic design? What kind of software should I use to create graphics? And what's the best free online course for graphic design?

Graphic design is a field that is often confused with web design. A graphic designer is someone who designs everything on a computer, from brochures to logos. 

Most designers usually work in print media, like newspapers, magazines and books. Some graphic designers also work in motion pictures, music and television. However, you don't need to be good at drawing. You can use a graphics editor to create logos, business cards, flyers, etc.

It takes experience to be a professional graphic designer. Graphic designers have to be creative and have an eye for detail. To be a successful graphic designer, you must know how to use the right tools. These include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, InDesign, Photoshop Express, and Microsoft Word.

The free online courses available on YouTube are perfect for beginners. Practising is the best way to learn how to design a logo. Try to design something different every day. There are many online communities where you can ask questions. I also recommend reading books on graphic design.

Find a mentor

When we talk about graphic design, it includes designing logos, business cards, brochures, etc. Graphic design is one of the best ways to build a career for people. A graphic designer can earn a good amount of money through freelance gigs.

Graphic design is one of the most popular professions. Every day, you'll come across business cards with great design. It's not surprising to say that if you can design a logo and business card, you can start a successful business. 

Graphic designers have many options for making money from their graphic design skills. They can get jobs from freelancers. Many companies and organisations have a graphic design team

Some of these companies include Adobe, Walmart, and Google. So, if you want to start a graphic design business, there are many ways to do it.

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Now, let's discuss how to find a mentor. A mentor helps you grow as a professional, and you can learn much from them. A mentor can teach you a new skill or learn a new skill from them. In the graphic design business, it's always better to have mentors.

There are many benefits to having a mentor. A mentor can teach you a new skill. You can ask your mentor about a skill when you don't know anything about it.

A mentor will guide you through difficult times. When you face a problem, you need to have a mentor. Your mentor will be able to help you solve the problem.

Start building your portfolio

Graphic Design Portfolio Template

Creating a portfolio can be a daunting task for anyone who is just starting. However, if you have been working as a graphic designer for a few years now, you already have your work portfolio.

You can use your portfolio or create a separate portfolio for your business. In this section, we will discuss the different types of portfolios and how to market yourself using them.

The portfolio is a collection of images, texts, videos, and other files related to your graphic design business. Your portfolio must contain the following things:

Client Samples

You must provide samples of your work. This will help your potential clients see what services you offer and what your work looks like. You must ensure that the sample images are relevant to your services. For instance, if you offer web design, you can use sample websites you've designed. You can also use samples of your print designs.

Project Samples

Projects are the results of the services you've offered to your clients. They include the final products that you've delivered. You can create different project samples so that potential clients can see what kind of design works well for them.

Build your client base

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The graphic design industry has been multiplying over the years. Today, there is a strong demand for skilled and talented graphic designers. Most people do not know how to build their client base as a graphic design business. Let me give you a few tips on how you can build your client base as a graphic design business.

1: Start small

Before starting your own graphic design business, consider starting small. This means starting with the design for a single project. You will gain experience and learn the skills needed to create graphics for others with a single project. Once you feel confident with your abilities, you can start your own business.

2: Build relationships

When building relationships, it is crucial to work hard. By doing this, you will build a network of contacts. These contacts can be potential clients, or they can be people in your social circle who may be able to help you out. If you have a good reputation, you will soon develop a network of clients.

3: Use social media

Today, many companies use social media platforms to promote themselves. This is a great way to reach potential customers. To take advantage of this, you must make sure you have a profile on social media networks. Social media presence lets you communicate directly with your customers and prospects.

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4: Offer services online

You need to offer your services online to make your graphic design business more successful. In the past, people would have to visit brick-and-mortar stores and shops to get information about graphic design. Nowadays, some websites have information about graphic design and graphic design services.

You can post information about your services on these websites or advertise your graphic design business. It does not matter where you advertise your graphic design business; make sure you put effort into advertising. You can use search engine optimisation techniques to promote your business.

Develop a clear business plan

Business Plan Creator

A business plan is a document written to plan the activities a business needs to carry out to achieve its goals.

Different types usually require business plans to show how they plan to achieve their goals.

What should you include in a business plan?

A business plan aims to help you develop an idea about what you want to do, how much it will cost and whether it will be profitable or not.

Your business plan should include the following information:

  • The products/services you intend to sell (this will include the details of your logo, colour scheme etc.).
  • A summary of who you are (including your name, your address and your telephone number)
  • Your financial position (this includes how much money you have available and how much you will need to start the business)
  • Who will be involved in running your business (this includes any relevant staff members and how they will be paid)
  • What support services can you offer (e.g. accounting software, marketing, networking and advice)
  • An estimate of the amount of time and money you think it will take to complete your project
  • What your long-term strategy is (e.g. what products or services you intend to sell in the future)

It would be best to write the business plan in the present tense because this is what you intend to do. You shouldn't write what you might do if you were to win the lottery.

Start marketing yourself

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Most people would agree that successful graphic designers will always be able to market themselves better than they did as an individual artist. However, it would be best if you started understanding how to do that. You could get into trouble if you don't know what you're doing.

For many years, I have been trying to create the most effective means of marketing myself as a graphic designer. I have had a few different ways of doing this, but I have finally found the most effective one.

The basic idea of starting a business like this is that you have to be able to show your work to clients. This is the first step toward building successful graphic design business.

Your portfolio

The first thing you will need to do is create a good portfolio. You want to start building your portfolio because it's what most people will judge your work on. You want to make sure you have great images of your work, and you need to make sure you have high-quality prints that you can sell.

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The most important part of your portfolio will be the images you use. It would help if you only used images of the highest quality possible.

If you look online, you will probably find some cheap stock photo sites that let you use their images free of charge. These sites have images you can copy and paste into your portfolio.

However, these types of websites can be a bit hit or miss. They are often not well-maintained, so you might find the images too low-resolution or don't have copyright information.

The best way to ensure you use the highest quality images is to buy your images. You can buy them from a company that specialises in the type of images you need or get them from a stock photo website.

If you want to get fancy, you can even have your studio where you can make your custom images. However, this is not something you need to worry about right now.

It would help if you tried to be as original as possible when making your portfolio. You want to ensure that the images are in a similar style to the rest of your work.

You can get inspiration from looking through portfolios of other designers. You can also visit social media groups and see what other designers post.

Start taking on clients

What Is Customer Experience

Designers sometimes need to learn how to take on clients as a graphic design business, or if they are already working as freelance designers, they need to learn how to take on clients as a business.

This is because there are many other challenges in running a freelance graphic design business. So here are some tips and tricks to start you off in the right direction.

First thing first – you need to get a website up and running.

If you don't have a website, you need to build one. If you have a website, you must ensure you promote your services online. And if you're already doing both of those things, you must ensure that you are building the correct links.

And finally, once you have a website promoting yourself online, you need to get in touch with potential clients.

You can do this in many ways, but I will share some free and easy options. One way to do this is to use tools such as Upwork or They have thousands of freelancers in many different skill areas.

They have an excellent reputation among people who need graphic designers and offer competitive rates, so it is a great place to start.

Another option is to go to places like Facebook groups for freelancers and offer to help out other designers with projects.

These groups are often filled with people looking for graphic design work, so it is a great place to advertise and find potential clients.

You can also post projects on websites like Dribbble or Behance and sites dedicated to graphic design like Creative Market.

But what if you are not interested in working for clients as a freelancer? That's ok. There are many ways to start your own graphic design business.

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You can start by becoming a graphic design student. This is a great way to learn about graphic design and also network with other designers who may be willing to hire you as a student.

You can also start a side business while you are in school. You can do this by creating graphic design posters, flyers, business cards, and other graphics.

You can sell them online, and you can even sell them at local craft fairs.

And finally, if you have some extra money, you can buy stock images online and resell them to other designers.

Start networking

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Networking is an integral part of any business. It can help you grow and expand your brand. It can also give you access to new clients, leads, and opportunities.

Networking can be much fun, and it can be frustrating too. But the key is to get over the initial hurdles because once you reach a certain point, it's hard to turn back. You can start by meeting with local businesses, potential clients, and contacts.

The best way to approach networking is to go for coffee. If you go to a networking event, it's easier to meet people who already have connections, and it's more likely that they will introduce you to others.

But if you meet someone at a networking event, ask them about their company, services, and the kind of people they work with.

They might want to introduce you to someone else if you're lucky. If you're fortunate, you might get introduced yourself!

It's also essential to be proactive. If you go to a networking event, try to network. And don't be afraid to talk to people. Tell them about your work and what you do when you meet someone.

Remember, your goal is to expand your business, so think about how you can work together with these people.

Get your name out there

Influencer Marketing Platform

Getting your name out there as a graphic design business is not always easy. It can be pretty challenging to get your name known. Many people think that only big companies have great logos, so they don't need graphic designers to create them. 

However, to make your mark as a graphic designer, you should know that you do not need to go through a big company. You can quickly get your name out there by creating your logo.

The first thing you need to do is to find an excellent graphic design website. Many sites offer you the opportunity to create your logo for free. This way, you are not limited to one design and can choose the one you like the most. 

Another thing you should consider is the colour scheme. You can use the colours that you already have, or you can choose something different.

When creating your logo, make sure to include everything that you feel represents you. This can include things like your name, your business name, your company, or even your profession. Once you finish the design, it's time to make the logo. The best way to do this is to print a few samples of the logo you created and show them to your friends.

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You can also use social media to let people know about your brand. Make sure you share your logo on your personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. You can also add your logo to your website's footer.

Get referrals

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The number one thing that will get you clients is word-of-mouth marketing. The second thing that will get you clients is a solid social media presence. The third thing that will get you clients is a robust online portfolio showcasing your work. All three are essential, but there is another way to get clients that are not often discussed. This method is to build a client referral system.

A client referral program can be a powerful tool to generate more business and be easy to start. Once you are done, you will have a simple system that will give you more referrals. You can start this today, and it will not cost you anything.


The key to creating a successful graphic design business has core skills that allow you to quickly deliver exceptional creative solutions for your clients and a portfolio of completed projects that prove your ability to deliver. 

Having a portfolio of samples is the quickest way to show a potential client that you've got the skills to produce quality work in the time frame they're looking for. Here are some core graphic design skills to consider developing to help you start your own graphic design business.

Find out why graphic design is one of the fastest growing job markets and how you can get started right away.

Last update on 2024-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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