While working for a company, you would have definitely come across a situation when a design looks tacky and dull, but your boss wants you to finish it because he or she likes it.
A scenario like this never allows you to sharpen or hone your designing skills, doesn't it?
You might be wondering if there are any other way apart from a traditional office job to earn sustainable income.
You are in luck, since there are many ways to earn money as a graphic designer while keeping your regular job!
Lets take a look at 25 proven ways that will help you make money as a graphic designer.
1. Design Your Own Graphic Novels and Comics:
The comic industry contributes billions to the GDP. Reportedly, every month, hundreds of comics and graphic novels get released.
Hence, there is a huge demand for high-quality comic book illustrators.
You can also consider selling digital comics that will help you to build up your own brand!
2. Start a Monetized Blog:
Blogging has increasingly become one of the best methods to connect with your audience. What could be better than showcasing your creativity which can easily be accessed by anyone from across the world?
In case you have a massive portfolio and think that you can come up with engaging concepts consistently, it’s recommended that you start your own blog using WordPress.
Once you start attracting people and get an adequate amount of traffic each month, you can then monetize your blog.
3. Design and Sell Fonts:
Designing and selling fonts is definitely a lucrative way to earn passive income. Put your creative mind at work and come up with attractive scripts or fonts. This way, you can create something that will sell for years to come.
Not just on the internet, you can also sell your scripts and fonts for specific projects such as for creating wedding invitations, seminars, websites, restaurants, infographics, posters, brochures, and more.
4. Create Designs for Social Media:
Thriving on social media has become the ultimate success mantra for innumerable brands out there. On top of that, everybody wants to keep their profiles as neat and attractive as possible.
And to do so, a majority of businesses and brands require a professional graphic designers.
Be it informative posts for Facebook, highlight covers for Instagram, or infographics for Twitter, connect with businesses and sell them your services for a price.
5. Create and Sell Design Templates:
Nowadays, DIY has become quite a rage. This means entrepreneurs and small business owners look forward to getting such design templates that can be easily customized with minimal or no efforts.
You can easily showcase your design skills by creating such templates in a variety of formats, like brochures, posters, visiting cards, letterheads, and more. Sell them online as and however, you please.
6. Collaborations and Partnerships:
Look out for such companies or individuals that are willing to do the dirty work for you of converting clients. In return, you can give them a cut from the revenue that you will be making for that project.
Definitely, an easy way to make money and get recognized.
7. Come Up with Stock Designs and Graphics:
Stock graphics platforms have turned into one of the best ways to earn passive income while being a freelance graphic designer. Be it vector images, logos, or even icons; the market for customized graphics is definitely huge.
8. Create Website Icons and Elements:
With approximately 200 million active sites on the internet, the need to stand out is felt now more than ever. One way that can help companies to establish their personality among the crowd is by using unique illustrations and web icons.
Accordingly, custom illustrations are one of the primary web design trends. So, if you can create unique designs, this is definitely one the way to move forward in the professional world.
9. Begin Online Classes:
The youth is driven graphic design. However, not many of them are good at it. If you think you have already aced this art, why not share it with the world?
You can either create videos and sell them online, or take everyday classes at reasonable charges. So, plan it out and then begin your teaching sessions.
10. Sell Your Licensed Work:
Licensing your graphic design work surely takes time and a lot of work to develop that reputation. However, if you have already managed to attract a good number of people on the internet, try getting some of your work licensed.
Once done, approach organizations and firms and offer them to use your licensed work in their marketing strategies for a small royalty fee. It could be anywhere between 7-10% of sales. Since you wouldn’t have any intermediary, all you get here is a good amount each month.
To maximize your earnings, you can also partner with coupon websites who can drive sales to your graphic designs.
11. Freelancing Sites:
The freelancing industry is gaining momentum for the last few years. And, it has turned to be a consistently growing community that helps to make enough money.
If you are excellent at designing a logo, graphics, stock templates or reusable art, freelancing could be the best source of income for you. To further gain attention, you can publish artworks on different freelancing sites.
12. Build an Agency from Scratch:
To run a graphic design company, you’d need to lead a group of designers. Building a company from scratch gives a completely different sort of exhilaration.
While you’ll get to hire employees and help them create best designs, you’d also have to put in the same amount of efforts, or invest money in the beginning, to earn a lot from the agency.
13. Offer Printable Wall Art Services:
As per research analysts, the global home décor industry is growing at 20% each year. With trends changing, posters have become the best-selling products of all time.
If you have a knack of décor designing, you can offer wall art services. Simply create a printable design and leave the rest on customers.
14. Sell Pre-made 3D Designs:
3D designs offer such changes that would have been impossible to reach on the internet. According to experts, realistic 3D graphics are going to stay for a long time.
Right from big-budget campaigns to movies and games, if you think you can step up your designing game, have fun creating 3D designs.
15. Come Up with Funky Merchandise:
Selling merchandise is one popular way of garnering income. As per Statista, the retail eCommerce of accessories and apparel is expected to create $194.4 billion of revenue by 2024.
So, come up with a handful of staple designs and get them printed on a variety of merchandise, be it t-shirts, books, notebooks, mugs, bags, pillows, pens, or anything else that you can think of!
16. Create a YouTube Channel:
There is nothing better than taking your art and knowledge on YouTube. If you are comfortable facing the camera and know how to connect well with the audience, you can create a channel dedicated to your graphic design knowledge.
You can consider creating graphic design tutorials. If not, review art tools and supplies in your videos and help fellow designers. You can even shoot vlogs, depicting your life as a graphic designer.
17. Launch a Podcast:
If YouTube doesn’t seem to be an option, begin a podcast. You can try interviewing some of the best designers. If not, you can at least share some valuable information, including tips and tricks.
18. Go Offline with Gallery Shows:
Being a graphic designer, you surely would have worked on an array of designs. It’s time to scrounge for old creations. Find some of your best work and frame them.
And then, you can search for art galleries in your area or city that may feature your post-modern, contemporary work.
19. Participate in Design Contests:
Many websites and companies organize design contests periodically where they offer a specific prize to the winner. These contests are surely going to pay you well for designs like logos, flyers, postcards, and more.
The best thing about such contests is that you easily get a chance to hone your skills.
20. Become an Assistant for a Renowned Graphic Designer:
This one is specifically appropriate for those designers who have just started their careers. Let’s accept it, the more you sharpen your skills, the better you become at the art.
Keeping this in mind, you can search for some of the best graphic designers and work with them as an intern or an assistant for an additional stipend. Along with earning some money, you are also going to learn a good deal.
21. Expand Your Network:
The more you network with people, the more work opportunities will make their way toward you.
Moreover, once you know a handful of people and work for them, they are most likely to refer you to other knowns and associates. So, irrespective of the clients at hand, never stop networking and expanding your network for more chances.
22. Offer Graphic Consultation Services:
If you don't want to work for a company, you can dabble in design consulting where you can exchange your ideas and plans in return for a small fee of course.
For instance, assume there is a new startup. Despite having an in-house graphic designer, they seek the advice of an expert. In such a scenario, you can step in to offer your consulting services and let them know a few ideas and alterations to enhance their designs.
23. Guest Blogging to Establish Integrity:
Before you start connecting with clients for work, you need to establish your integrity and trustworthiness in the market. Considering that there are innumerable designers out there, why should anybody trust you and your skills?
The ultimate way to do so is by guest blogging. You can write blogs and articles for design companies and link them to your profiles. Reading the information you have to provide, people would be able to assess whether you are good enough for the job or not.
24. Publish Printable Coloring Books:
By designing coloring books for adults, you’ll get a chance to design in complete glory.
While everybody enjoys coloring, people today prefer buying these books from the internet or small self-publishers. So, get your mandalas straight and publish a few coloring books with enticing designs.
25. Wait for the Ultimate Hit:
Don’t you know how artists wait for that one single hit and work consistently to achieve that stature? Be it a musician, a writer, an actor, or a singer – just a single piece of work can change their aura completely and make them the “hot selling artist.”
Take Massimo Vignelli, for instance. His success rose higher after he designed beautiful subway maps for the city of New York. Even the head designer at Apple, Jonathan Ive, found his success with one single piece of work.
So, before you can claim a higher fee for the work you do, make sure you’ve got the much-needed success. Until then, keep working and experimenting.
Now that you are familiar with top methods to earn money with your graphic designing skills, you shouldn’t have a reason not to pursue your dream. Pick the best option from this list mentioned above, show your ability to the world, and start creating your own brand!