How to become a freelance graphic designer


This is a question I get all the time from young students about to finish university. They are wondering what it takes to become a freelance graphic designer. Anyone can be a graphic designer, but it takes some extra skills to be a freelance graphic designer.

My advice on being a freelance designer is this;

  • Get a formal education – this does not have to be a University degree. Get some training either via a private collage or TAFE. If all these are out of reach due to cost, try platforms like, Skillshare, Creative live etc.
  • If you don’t yet have experience in a studio, get it. There are so many parts to being a designer. Most you cannot learn at University, being in a real studio is the best place to learn these!
  • Pick a design niche – design on what you are good at, and stick to it.
  • Keep reading, Keep learning – just because you are now out on your own, does not mean you can drop the ball when it comes to your personal development. If you want to stay competitive you need to stay up to date with your skills.
  • Keep up to date with tools and technology – keep your programs up to date, and ensure when new verisons are realised you find out what is different and what you might be able to change in the way you work to save you time.
  • Start small. Don’t think that to be a serious freelance designer you need some city office, start at home to save costs or looking into a co-working spot if working from home is not an option. Make sure you setup up a dedicated work space.
  • Market yourself – tell everyone and anyone what you are doing and ensure you have an online portfolio for people to view your work.

Photo by Ilya Pavlov.