One of the most popular work from home jobs today is graphic design. You basically just need to have the skill and proper equipment, and you’re bound to earning money right at the comforts of your home.
We all know that times are really tough these days. Not even one of us knows when this all is going to end.
However, no matter how challenging it is now, one thing’s for sure. We need to keep moving. We need to cope and learn to live our lives based on the current situation.
With safety protocols to follow, particularly social distancing, one of the best ways to earn money these days is by working from home, which is something that is quite familiar to a lot of American people.
In fact, in a report published by Fundera, it says that in 2020, there are 5 million people, which makes up 3.6% of the whole workforce in the United States, who are working from home for at least half the time.
In relation to that, according to a FlexJobs report, from 2016 to 2017 alone, remote work increased by 7.9%, and that between 2005 and 2017, there was a 156% increase in the number of Americans working from home.
These numbers are expected to grow even more especially with the current situation in the country (and globally) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With health and safety at risk, people will surely look for a better alternative to continue earning a living –
Good thing is, there is a lot work from home job choices out there. It is probably safe to say that there is a remote job available across many industries.
One of the most popular work from home (that has been there for quite some time now) is graphic design. A lot of companies (even individual clients) look for graphic designers to do creative jobs for them.
Basically, as a graphic designer, your work involves creating visuals like a business logo, poster, advertising material, album cover, mobile app, a website, and more. This job makes it ideal for creative or artistic people. Needless to say, you could earn a good amount of money from being one.
So, having said that, today, we are going to answer some of the most common questions surrounding this industry (or should we say this job). In particular, we are going to tackle the following:
- What is graphic design?
- What does a graphic designer do?
- What are the skills required for a graphic designer?
- What tools do you need to do graphic design?
- What training do you need to be a graphic designer?
- How much do graphic designers make?
- Where to find work from home graphic design jobs?
- How to start your graphic design business?
WHAT IS GRAPHIC DESIGN?
According to the Interaction Design Foundation, graphic design is “a craft where professionals create visual content to communicate messages. By applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, designers use typography and pictures to meet users’ specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs, to optimize the user experience.”
Graphic design is an old thing. In fact, it has been there since “past Egyptian hieroglyphs to at least 17,000-year-old cave paintings“.
The term graphic design originated in the 1920s’ print industry. It covers a wide variety of activity including logo design, website creation, the building of advertising materials, and more.
Graphic design uses different creative forms like photography, typography, as well as illustration, and iconography.
Graphic design is considered as a subset of communication design, as well as visual communication.
WHAT DOES A GRAPHIC DESIGNER DO?
A graphic designer is someone who does visual concepts to be able to convey information through art or photos.
As mentioned earlier, a graphic designer creates visuals, which include billboards, bus wraps, logos, posters, packaging, as well as marketing and advertising materials. What a graphic designer specifically does depends on the industry he or she belongs to, which could be at a publishing house, an advertising and marketing agency, and many more.
A graphic designer has so much on his/her plate. As part of the job, he or she may also be tasked to select photos, typeface, as well as develop layouts — basically depends on the requirements for a certain task or project.
Furthermore, graphic design also does photo editing, choosing fonts for title treatments, selecting color combinations, and more.
It may sound like the job is challenging, but when you have a creative and artistic mind, plus the right skills, any requirements will not bother you at all.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS REQUIRED FOR A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
Earlier we mentioned being artistic and creative. But what does one needs really to be successful in a graphic design job?
As a graphic designer, you must have the following:
- Ability to design eye-catching visuals
- Familiarity with design software, particularly Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign
Additionally, experience with color theory, typography, as well as web design would also be very helpful to succeed in this industry.
Before moving on, in the video below by Paola Kassa, she shares about how to become a graphic designer. It talks about finding your niche, as well as going to school or being a self-taught designer, as well as other topics like marketing yourself and the different jobs available for graphic designers. Hit the play button to watch and learn:
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED TO DO GRAPHIC DESIGN?
When you are into graphic design, it would be an advantage if you know or are familiar with some of the basic design tools like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.
In reality, though, there are a lot of available graphic design tools – while some are available online for free or for a certain membership fee, there are also graphic design software like the ones we mentioned that usually costs a lot (although if you are planning to make the graphic design as a career, buying design software is a really good investment).
To give you an idea, here are some commonly used graphic design tools that are available online:
- Font Squirrel
Meanwhile, here is some other graphic design software that you may want to consider purchasing (and be a master of) in the future:
- Clip Studio Paint Basics
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Astute Phantasm for Adobe Illustrator
Apart from online resources, as well as design software, a graphic designer must also have the following hardware:
- Excellent computer (most graphic designers prefer Mac Computer or Macbook Pro)
- iPad Pro + Apple Pencil
- Wacom Bamboo Tip Stylus
- Wacom Bamboo Slate
- Wacom Cintiq
- Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch
- Wacom Intuos Art
While all of the above is ideal if you really are serious in pursuing a graphic design career, it’s not like mandatory that you buy everything all at once. You can purchase them one by one – as the need arises.
WHAT TRAINING DO YOU NEED TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
If you want to be a graphic designer or you want to eventually get into a graphic design career, it is important to really excel in the craft.
The industry is very competitive. Thus, the more skilled you are, the better.
While a course is not really a prerequisite to becoming a graphic designer, having a formal background will surely help a lot to be ahead of everyone else.
Now, there are a lot of graphic design courses out there. Just the same, there are also a lot of book references where you can learn a lot from them.
Some of the courses available online that are really good for aspiring graphic artists or even those who are into it already but wanted to learn more:
- LinkedIn Learning
- Become a Freelance Graphic Designer
- How to Create Printables
Meanwhile, here are some book references that you may also want to check out:
- Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
- Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills
Some colleges and universities also offer graphic design courses, which is ideal for young people who want to do graphic design in making a living in the future.
If for instance you want to learn graphic design but you do not have extra money or that you cannot afford to take a course or buying the book, you may also learn through YouTube tutorials. There are a lot of them in there.
You know, some people are just blessed enough that they do not need a formal education to be a master of something. Who knows, maybe you are one of them!
HOW MUCH DO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS MAKE?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, currently, there are 290,100 graphic designers in the country.
Do you want to add up the numbers?
Well, you definitely can! As we have said earlier, as long as you have the skills, and the tools, you can surely start a work from home graphic design career.
Now, when entering into a new job or a new career, one of the most commonly asked questions is how much are you going to make out of it.
Well, that’s a very legit question.
Similar to any other jobs out there, a work from home graphic designer earns depending on several factors like your expertise, your work experience, and if it is a project-based job, the type of project you are going to do (if it’s easy or tricky).
According to Glassdoor, a freelance graphic designer in the country earns an average of $59,000 a year. Experts meanwhile could earn as much as $85,000 annually.
Meanwhile, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers earn an average median salary of $52,110 annually.
Again, how much you earn depends on you. You can even earn more if you are hardworking and you are not picky with projects or clients.
Comparing it to other jobs, freelance or work from home graphic designers do really earn good money.
WHERE TO FIND WORK FROM HOME GRAPHIC DESIGN JOBS?
One nice thing about being a graphic designer is that you have a lot of options when it comes to where you can work.
Graphic designers can work for a design agency, or you can opt to work with different clients as a freelance graphic designer, or you can put up your very own graphic design business.
If you opt working for a company, or an individual client, you may try looking for a job in the following sites:
- Design Observer
- Envato Studio
- People Per Hour
There are actually a lot more options, but these are some of the popular ones.
HOW TO START YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN BUSINESS?
As mentioned earlier, as a graphic designer, you have the option to either work for a company or a client, or you can opt to put up your very own graphic design business.
Now, if you want to put up your own business, keep in mind the following tips in building your graphic design empire:
Select a Niche
There are a lot of different design formats out there that you can work with. While you can opt to be like a jack of all trades, the key to a successful graphic design business is having a specific niche.
Don’t get us wrong. There’s totally nothing wrong with being a generalist and work for a wide variety of projects, but if you are just starting, it would be more ideal, needless to say, easier to choose a specialty.
Sit down and think about what niche you want to focus on. What particular specialty will your business be known for.
The process may be a little challenging, but keep in mind your experience, your expertise, passion, as well as your interest, and knowledge. When you focus on your strength, you can narrow down the options, and eventually come up with one particular niche to focus on.
To give you an idea, some niches that you may want consider include:
- WordPress Designer
- Logo Creator
- e-Book Cover Designer
- Pin Designer
- Printable Template Designer
- Annual Review Layout Designer
Again, it all boils down to knowing what you do best and focusing on that. Eventually, once the business is running, you can add other niches, but as you start, just focus on your expertise first.
Build a Website
The graphic design industry is a very competitive industry. Thus, you have to make sure you know how to play the game and get ahead of everyone else.
One way to do that is to have your own website where you can showcase your work, which essentially attracts more clients.
Apart from showcasing your work, you can also use your website to provide a list of services you offer, as well as provide customer feedback or testimonials.
Having a website creates a very good impact. It actually helps make you look more professional.
It’s a good thing if you know how to create one, but if you don’t, do not worry as websites these days are easy and cheap.
By the way, when building your website, make sure that you create an experience for your potential clients. Meaning, your website has to reflect the quality and type of work that you are offering. It’s basically allowing them to judge your work through your website.
Market Your Graphic Design Business
No matter how beautiful your website is or how great you are as a graphic designer if you do not know how to properly market your business, it’s not going to do well.
There are several ways to market your graphic design business. But, that does not necessarily mean that you need to do everything.
We recommend choosing at most three methods. Focus on these methods, and we bet you, you will surely reap what you sow — as the saying goes.
Anyway, here are some ways to market your business:
- Social Media Marketing
- Online Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Lead Generation
- Facebook Groups
- Cold Calling or Pitching
While you can choose to do it on your own, we suggest, if you have an extra fund, let the experts do it for you. We personally believe that it would be a waste of money if you do it by yourself especially if you do not have the expertise or experience.
If you want your business to succeed, sometimes, you just need to rely on the experts and focus on what you are excellent on.
Invest in Your Business
Surely, you need to invest in software and hardware to ensure you are able to provide the best design for your client.
But here’s the thing, in business, you also need to invest in yourself. You need to allot a certain amount for you and your people (if you thought of hiring some) professional development.
There are several ways to learn depending on how much you have. There are conferences, teleconferences, books, events, webinars, online courses, as well as membership sites, coaching sessions, and mastermind groups that you can choose from.
By investing in yourself as well as in your business, you gain the appropriate knowledge, skills, and information to make your work from home graphic design business a success.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON GRAPHIC DESIGN
Based on the information we provided you, graphic design is actually very broad. There are different niches, as well as industries to choose from.
Unlike other careers or jobs, you can start a graphic design career without the need for a college or university degree. As long as you have the skill, and you have enough knowledge on what you are doing, you can definitely start off as a work from home graphic designer, or put up a freelance graphic design business even.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a graphic designer or to put up your very own graphic design business?