How to Earn Money As A Graphic Designer

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Graphic designers are in high demand. Whether you want stable employment or to establish yourself as a small business, there's plenty of work for the enterprising graphic designer. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry was projected to grow by at least 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. To earn money as a graphic designer, your options include taking a permanent position with a company, contracting your services and selling your individual works to a growing marketplace of graphic content pieces.

Secure employment. There were 286,100 jobs for graphic designers in 2008 (BLS). A diverse array of corporations, nonprofits, educational and medical institutions and other employers needs graphic designers. If you received a degree in your profession, your alma mater's career services can provide help finding a position. Network with your fellow designers and other professionals you know in all areas of communications to secure a job. Median salaries for graphic designers ranges from $32,600 and $56,620, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Consult and freelance. Be your own boss and hire your services out to companies and organizations. Common projects include publication design, logos and branding work and website design. Be sure to price yourself appropriately. Provide quotes for your services after you have a thorough understanding what the client wants. Take into account the time and revision process, as well as market rates for your area and your level of experience. Moreover, you can bid on projects using freelance crowdsourcing sites, such as eLance, oDesk, Guru, MycroBurst and VWorker.

Sell your wares. Whether you're dealing with an economic downturn or want to make extra money, there are plenty of sources to whom you can sell your art. A common technique for earning money as a graphic designer is to sell photos, drawings, illustrations, Flash components, website templates and logos as stock material to various online sites. FlashDen and iStockPhoto are two examples of hundreds of sites that buy materials by the piece. Some also offer passive income through revenue-sharing agreements (FreelanceSwitch). In addition, a network of graphic-related blogs, like Tutsarena.com, pay graphic designers to write easy-to-follow tutorials on how to use graphics-related computer software. Graphic designers also can pick up a few bucks by applying their designs to T-shirts and memorabilia and selling them via sites like CafePress.com

Tips & Warnings

  • If you freelance, protect your work and time with contracts. The American Institute of Graphic Arts has a template called the AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design to help you develop one with your clients. The institute also publishes standards of professional practice and statements on design business and ethics that offer guidance to independent graphic designers.
  • If you choose the freelancing route, your work life can be wrought with challenges common to contract workers, including time management and difficult deadlines, unrealistic demands of clients, late invoice payments and setting reasonable hours to meet the needs of your family or social life.

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