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Best Ways To Make Big Money As A Graphic Designer

Graphic design isn’t just about creating visually appealing images or layouts. It’s a thriving profession that can be a lucrative source of income if you play your cards right. But how do you turn your creative skills into a money-making venture? That’s what we’ll explore in this article.

From freelancing to launching your own design agency, there’s a plethora of opportunities in the graphic design industry. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a novice, there’s always room to grow and increase your earnings. So, let’s dive into the exciting world of graphic design and discover how you can maximize your income potential.

Understanding the Graphic Design Industry

Understanding the Graphic Design Industry

Diving into the graphic design realm demands comprehension of the industry’s landscape. Insights into the industry dynamics can provide a significant advantage when attempting to monetize your skills as a graphic designer.

The Demand for Graphic Designers

High demand exists for graphic designers across various industries. From an established corporation requiring a logo redesign to a startup needing a visual identity, graphic designers find themselves in high demand. Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics dictate that the graphic design field is expected to grow by 3% from 2020 to 2030. Rapid business growth, technological advancements and intensive competition amplify the need for unique visuals, inducing expansive opportunities.

Key Skills for Success

Success as a graphic designer hinges on an array of technical and soft skills. For instance, technical abilities in usage of Adobe Creative Suite, which includes essential graphic design software like Illustrator and Photoshop, hold paramount importance. Alongside them, an understanding of typography, color theory, and layout principles prove critically beneficial.

In addition to technical abilities, soft skills also play a substantial role. Communication, creativity, and attention to detail allow a designer to understand client requirements, deliver innovative designs, and avoid errors. Time management and adaptability to changing demands and trends aids in meeting deadlines and staying relevant respectively. Meshing these key skills can certainly pave the pathway to success in the graphic design industry.

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Freelancing as a Graphic Designer

Freelancing as a Graphic Designer

Freelancing provides graphic designers with flexibility and control over their work, opening up unique avenues for making money. As a freelancer, your success hinges on being visible to potential clients, creating standout designs that meet their needs, and delivering consistently high-quality work.

Finding the Right Freelance Platforms

Selecting the right freelance platforms constitutes one of the first steps to making money as a freelance graphic designer. Numerous websites cater to freelancers, each offering different features and opportunities. Some, like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr, span across many fields, while others, like Behance and Dribbble, specifically target creative professionals.

As a graphic designer seeking freelance work, you’ll benefit from variety. For instance, Upwork offers a robust set of tools for project management and collaboration, while Behance and Dribbble provide ideal environments for showcasing your talent to your peers and potential clients.

Freelance Platform Pros
UpWork Robust set of tools for project management
Behance Ideal for showcasing your talent
Fiverr Wide range of project opportunities
Dribbble Ideal for peer interactions and feedback
Freelancer Offers a broad range of job categories

Tips for Building a Strong Portfolio

Building a noteworthy portfolio constitutes another pivotal step towards effective freelancing. Your portfolio represents your skills and creativity to potential clients, setting the stage for their understanding of what they can expect from your work.

Here are some tips that will help:

  1. Put your best work forward: Organize the work that you’re most proud of at the forefront of your portfolio. Here, the adage ‘quality over quantity’ rings true.
  2. Present clear, concise descriptions for each project: Highlight your role, the tools utilized, and the objective of the project, ensuring it’s easy to comprehend.
  3. Incorporate testimonials: Leverage positive feedback from previous clients, as it assists in building trust.
  4. Show versatility: Include a mix of industries and design styles to demonstrate your breadth of skills.
  5. Update regularly: Keep your portfolio current with fresh designs to underscore your continuous growth and progress as a designer.

A strong portfolio, coupled with the right freelance platform, paves the way for potential clients to notice your skills. Freelancing puts you in control of your graphic design career, facilitating both financial gain and creative satisfaction.

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Working for a Design Agency

Working for a Design Agency

Transitioning from freelancing to an agency comes with unique benefits. It’s a realm I’m not unfamiliar with, having navigated the ropes at the early stages of my graphic design career. So, let’s delve into it deeper.

Benefits of Agency Employment

Joining an agency offers several benefits that can kickstart your income generation capacities as a graphic designer. Here’s what you can expect.

  1. Stable Income: Unlike freelancing, where income fluctuates based on the number of gigs, agency employment provides a steady paycheck, offering financial security. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2020, the median pay for graphic designers was $53,380 per year.
  2. Professional Development: Working in an agency environment fosters growth as you interact with diverse projects and professionals. It’s within agencies where I sharpened my skills in design strategy, typography, and branding, paving the way for career advancement.
  3. Resource Access: Agencies often possess necessary tools and software, saving designers from incurring personal expenses. They also provide a structured work routine, boosting productivity and efficiency.

How to Stand Out When Applying?

So, how do you position yourself to be selected by a design agency? Here are some of the strategies I’ve used and found to be effective.

  1. Portfolio Showcase: Employers are interested in your creativity and problem-solving abilities. Demonstrate these skills through a strong portfolio of diverse projects, similar to what we discussed in the previous section.
  2. Value Addition: Highlight how your unique skills could add value to the agency’s mission. I remember landing my first agency role by showcasing my proficiency in 3D modelling, a skill that was in demand at the time.
  3. Effective Communication: Don’t underestimate the power of a well-articulated cover letter and resume. Paint a clear picture of your abilities and aspirations. Additionally, illustrate your team-playing skills as collaboration is common in agency setups.

Working for a design agency can be a great avenue for financial and professional growth. And with the right approach during application, you can secure your spot and optimize your graphic design career.

Selling Digital Products

Selling Digital Products

In addition to agency work, selling graphic design digital products offers a lucrative opportunity to generate income. Shifting from a service-based method to product selling enables passive income generation. Let’s explore this further.

Types of Marketable Graphic Design Products

Various types of graphic design products hold a high market value. These include:

  1. Digital Prints: Landscapes, abstract art, portraits, and typographic quotes are few examples. Create saleable digital prints, upload on a platform, and earn when someone buys your work.
  2. Logo Templates: Small businesses often seek pre-made logo templates. Your creativity, coupled with understanding the target audience’s taste, could make these templates an ideal purchase for them.
  3. UI Design Kits: As a designer, I know how useful UI design templates are for developers and other designers. Kits with components for websites or mobile applications save time and enhance productivity, making them marketable products.
  4. Social Media Graphics: Businesses frequently buy customizable templates for social media platforms. Well-designed bundles, including posts, stories, and banner templates, come in handy, increasing their appeal to buyers.
  5. Fonts & Typefaces: Custom-made fonts are unique selling propositions. If you’ve got the skills to create them, consider this creative and attractive asset for sale.

Best Platforms for Selling Your Designs

Choosing the right platform is crucial for maximizing sales. Here are effective options:

  • Etsy: A widely popular marketplace, Etsy’s specific targeting toward creative products makes it my recommendation for starters.
  • Creative Market: It’s a fantastic platform for all kinds of digital design products. It amounts to 70% royalties on sales, a figure quite appealing to designers.
  • Design Cuts: This platform, best for fonts, templates, and graphics, offers a unique bundle system, driving quick sales.
  • Dribbble: While not a marketplace, Dribbble acts as a portfolio showcasing site, potentially attracting buyers through likes and interactions.

Professional networking, promotional strategies, and quality of products act as the winning factors for success in selling graphic design products digitally. With evolving trends and high commercial demand, making digital sales formation as a key income level in a graphic design career is a viable strategy. Remember, creativity sells.

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Teaching Graphic Design

Teaching Graphic Design

After exploring avenues such as freelancing, working for a design agency, and selling design products digitally, let’s delve into the potential of leveraging your skills to teach graphic design.

Opportunities in Education and Workshops

Empowering others with knowledge creates significant opportunities in the world of graphic design. Graphic design teaching assignments can span from K-12 schools, colleges, or universities, to community centers, art schools, and nonprofit organizations. Pay varies depending on the level of instruction, with college-level adjunct faculty earning an average of $50/hour according to an Indeed survey in 2021. Importantly, teaching allows graphic designers to stay up-to-date on industry trends and techniques, enhancing one’s design practice.

For freelance designers, offering workshops represents another viable economic venture. Workshops may be physical or virtual, with the latter increasing in popularity due to its accessibility. These workshops can cover specific software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, or specialized design techniques like logo design or website layout. Pricing for these endeavors hinges on the duration and complexity, encompassing a range from $50 to $1,000 per workshop, as reported by Skillshare in 2020.

Creating and Monetizing Online Courses

Online course creation has surged as a prominent revenue stream for graphic designers. Platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare provide the infrastructure to distribute and monetize your courses. For instance, on Udemy, an instructor’s share per purchase varies from 37%-97%, with the highest percentage applicable when instructors promote their own courses directly.

Creating an online course involves distilling your expertise into digestible lessons. Based on current popularity, topics such as 3D design, UI/UX design, and typography have the potential to attract substantial enrolments, thus increasing revenue. An appealing course title, engaging content, and high-quality graphics are factors contributing to the prominence of a course in competitive online landscapes. Getting online courses right can be a lucrative endeavor—a survey by Teachable showed that over 40% of course creators earned more than $5,000/year in 2019, and top earners surging well over $100,000.

By teaching graphic design, whether through a traditional education system, workshops, or online courses, you don’t just spread knowledge. You monetize your expertise, evolve as an industry stalwart, and continue of your lifelong engagement with this dynamic field. Remember, the best teachers are often lifelong learners too. So, this path enhances your own skills as much as it does your students’.


So there you have it. Making money as a graphic designer isn’t just about creating designs. It’s also about using your expertise to teach others, staying current with industry trends, and learning new techniques. Freelancing, agency work, and selling digital products can all be profitable. But don’t overlook teaching as a revenue stream. There’s a high demand for these skills and platforms like Udemy provide a great opportunity for you to cash in on your knowledge. Remember, the key to success in this dynamic field is to be a lifelong learner. Keep evolving, keep learning, and you’ll find numerous ways to monetize your skills as a graphic designer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can income be generated in graphic design?

There are three main routes cited for income generation in graphic design: freelancing, working in an agency, and selling digital products.

What are the skills needed for success in graphic design?

Successful graphic design requires a deep understanding of the industry, as well as a blend of artistic, technical, and business skills.

How can teaching graphic design be a lucrative opportunity?

Teaching graphic design in educational institutions, workshops, or through online courses allows designers to monetize their expertise while staying updated with industry trends and techniques.

Where can I create online graphic design courses for income?

Online platforms like Udemy allow for the creation and sale of graphic design courses, with top earners surpassing $100,000 in revenue.

Apart from income generation, why is teaching graphic design beneficial?

Teaching graphic design benefits the individual by providing a platform to continually learn and evolve with industry trends – highlighting the importance of being a lifelong learner in the industry.

Author Profile

Kathy Hardtke
Kathy Hardtke
I am thrilled to have been invited to blog about my experiences trading stock and options with Rich Dad.  Since 1998, when I picked up my first Rich Dad book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, I have been hooked on Robert and Kim’s philosophies on becoming financially free through investing.  Their books and courses have changed my life as well as my daughter’s life, whom I am now teaching all I have learned about trading stock and options.

My experience has been in the real estate and finance industry for 20 years.  I was a Realtor with ERA, a Mortgage Loan Officer with Bank of America, and a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  Each time I chose a career that I thought I would get “the inside track” on investing and each time I learned it was just a “job”, although very good job and I was lucky enough to enjoy my career.  Simply put, these jobs would only get me a paycheck but never take me to financial freedom and the dreams and lifestyle I was looking to achieve.

With that said, I have no desire to make millions to have expensive “things” but I do have a dream to not only become financially free for myself and my family but also for others.  I started an organization called GROW Africa to help others.  We build wells in the farthest reaches of the earth in the bush of Zambia.  The women and children have to walk up to 4 hours each way to carry as much water as they can carry back.  I thought that was such a basic human need, that I felt I needed to do something about it, and did.

What is super cool about the training I received through Rich Dad Education on trading stocks and options is, now that I am educated on the Rich Dad stock trading system, I can trade anywhere in the world, including while I am in remote Africa building wells, providing water for those with little or none, as long as I have a power source and a satellite internet card.  Now that is freedom!

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences about trading stocks and options and walking with you on the path to financial freedom.  This is a process of building your wealth consistently over time, then passing it on to your children creating generational wealth.  I wish you all success and can’t wait to hear some of your stories of success as time ticks on!

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