How to be a freelance graphic designer!
For a successful career in graphic design you will need:
- Ideally, talent! As a graphic designer, your job is to take a clients job brief and develop it into something stylish that suits their needs. You need the ability to understand what the clients themselves may not, and produce high quality pieces of art!
- Tools of the trade. The usual programmes associated with graphic design are Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. These programmes can be quite pricey and there are a few free programmes online you can use, if you want to learn the ropes before spending the money!
- A strong portfolio to begin with. The world of graphic design is very competitive, and having a strong body of work to show potential clients is essential.
There are several qualifications you can obtain that will help you massively in your quest to become a graphic designer, however not all are essential to forge a successful career. Obviously it may be easier to find work initially if you posses a Foundation, BA or Masters degree in a design based subject, but if not there are plenty of courses available online to gain an equivalent qualification. Often, a strong portfolio and some experience working in the industry will beat a BA qualification.
The key piece of hardware you are going to need in this profession is good computer, with a large amount of RAM and a fast processor. Although it is possible to survive without one, most designers also use a Wacom graphics tablet.
Where to find work online
There are many websites online designed to help you find work and get your portfolio out there. These include but are not limited to:
Coroflot: A site with over 1000 design jobs listed and an easy to use interface allowing you to narrow a search to match any specialist skills you may have.
Odesk: With over 1.5 million jobs posted in 2013, Odesk is a user friendly site with a range of jobs to match all skills.
Krop: Updated almost daily, Krop has become one of the largest and most popular sites on which to find design jobs.
How much to charge?
More experience means more profit! The new graphic designer may find it difficult to find work to begin with if they start off by charging as much as experienced workers. If you enjoy what you do and wish to make a career from it, you’ll have to start nearer the bottom of the pricing ladder to build both your client base and your portfolio – but never undersell yourself, and never work for free. (Find out more about why working for free is a bad idea at www.no-spec.com) You’ll most likely be asked to quote for fixed price jobs, but hourly jobs do exist out there too. When quoting for a fixed price job, be sure to keep in mind what you need to make per hour – I’d say if you’re a graduate and good at what you do, don’t go below $20 per hour.
How well does it suit the digital nomad lifestyle?
Ideally is the short answer, as the minimum amount of hardware required for this job can be packed in a large laptop bag there’s nothing (other than a decent internet connection) stopping you from taking your job with you wherever you want to be!
Other useful stuff
www.youtube.com (I can neither confirm nor repute the effectiveness of all of these!)