Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to Freelance as a Graphic Designer

Business tips from the Ascentive team

Although working as a freelance graphic designer has many advantages, there are several things to consider before making the transition. First and foremost, a freelance graphic designer is an entrepreneur, and has to keep in mind every aspect of their business, not just the creation of graphic design assets for a client. Here are the most important things to consider when making the transition to freelance graphic design.

Where You Work
The first thing you need to consider is where you will actually do the work. You may decide to rent space, work at a co-op, or even work from home. Working from home can reduce start up costs significantly, as there is no need to pay yourself rent, and you may be able to claim your home office on your income taxes. If you decide to work from home, check whether there is any legislation concerning the use of a residential property for business where you are based.

Your Equipment
Hardware and software costs can often make the process of transitioning to freelance graphic design expensive. Although the graphic design industry tends to favor Apple Macs and OS X over Windows PCs, choosing a PC can reduce costs as there is a wider range of lower cost machines, and more freeware programs available for download. Once a Designer has chosen their hardware, they need to select appropriate software. Quark Xpress and Adobe products are still the industry standard for graphic design, specifically Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

The cheapest route to legally purchase these software suites is through one of Adobe's packaged sets, sometimes with an additional student discount. In addition to these applications, there are several free software options, such as Gimp, Inkscape and Scribus, which can be useful tools for designers who are just starting out.

Your Clients
Without a doubt, the most challenging part of transitioning to freelance graphic design is finding clients. In order to acquire clients, you must be as adept at sales as you are graphic design. In addition to job sites such as odesk, elance, and guru, be sure to use your personal contacts to be your client list. Reach out to everyone, not just those apparently involved in some way with your industry.
Graphic Designers making the transition to freelance should also investigate their local area and consider what they could do to help promote specific businesses. Approaching businesses directly with ideas can be difficult at first and lead to lots of rejections, but it can be worth it if just a few approaches lead to jobs. Often, one job may lead onto to others. Remember, a personal recommendation is always the best form of advertising.

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