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Become A Freelance Designer

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Working As A Freelance Designer

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $48,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Freelance Designer Do

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Duties

Graphic designers typically do the following: 

  • Meet with clients or the art director to determine the scope of a project
  • Use digital illustration, photo-editing software, and layout software to create designs
  • Create visual elements such as logos, original images, and illustrations that help deliver a desired message
  • Design layouts and select colors, images, and typefaces to use
  • Present design concepts to clients or art directors
  • Incorporate changes recommended by clients or art directors into final designs
  • Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them

Graphic designers combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images and the layout of websites and printed pages. They may use a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

Graphic designers work with both text and images. They often select the type, font, size, color, and line length of headlines, headings, and text. Graphic designers also decide how images and text will go together on a print or webpage, including how much space each will have. When using text in layouts, graphic designers collaborate closely with writers who choose the words and decide whether the words will be put into paragraphs, lists, or tables. Through the use of images, text, and color, graphic designers can transform statistical data into visual graphics and diagrams, which can make complex ideas more accessible.

Graphic design is important to marketing and selling products, and is a critical component of brochures and logos. Therefore, graphic designers, also referred to as graphic artists or communication designers, often work closely with people in advertising and promotions, public relations, and marketing.

Frequently, designers specialize in a particular category or type of client. For example, some create the graphics used on retail products packaging, still others may work on the visual designs used on book jackets.

Graphic designers need to keep up to date with the latest software and computer technologies to remain competitive.

Some individuals with a background in graphic design teach in design schools, colleges, and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become A Freelance Designer

Graphic designers usually need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Candidates for graphic design positions should demonstrate their creativity and originality through a professional portfolio that features their best designs.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required. However, those with a bachelor’s degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Most schools include studio art, principles of design, computerized design, commercial graphics production, printing techniques, and website design. In addition, students should consider courses in writing, marketing, and business, all of which are useful in helping designers work effectively on project teams.

High school students interested in graphic design should take basic art and design courses in high school, if the courses are available. Many bachelor's degree programs require students to complete a year of basic art and design courses before being admitted to a formal degree program. Some schools require applicants to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs. For many artists, including graphic designers, developing a portfolio—a collection of design ideas that demonstrates their styles and abilities—is essential because employers rely heavily on a designer’s portfolio in deciding whether to hire the individual.

Graphic designers must keep up with new and updated computer graphics and design software, either on their own or through formal software training programs. Professional associations that specialize in graphic design, such as AIGA, offer courses intended to keep the skills of their members up to date.

Other Experience

Graphic designers often gain their initial experience through internships. It provides aspiring graphic designers an opportunity to work with designers and experience the design process from concept to completion while completing a design program.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification programs are generally available through software product vendors. Certification in graphic design software can demonstrate a level of competence and may provide a jobseeker with a competitive advantage.

Advancement

Experienced graphic designers may advance to chief designer, art director, or other supervisory positions.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Graphic designers must be able to look at their work from the point of view of their consumers and examine how the designs they develop will be perceived by consumers to ensure they convey the client’s desired message.

Artistic ability. Graphic designers must be able to create designs that are artistically interesting and appealing to clients and consumers. They produce rough illustrations of design ideas, either by hand sketching or by using computer programs.

Communication skills. Graphic designers must communicate with clients, customers, and other designers to ensure that their designs accurately reflect the desired message and effectively express information.

Computer skills. Most graphic designers use specialized graphic design software to prepare their designs.

Creativity. Graphic designers must be able to think of new approaches to communicating ideas to consumers. They develop unique designs that convey a recognizable meaning on behalf of their clients.

Time-management skills. Graphic designers often work on multiple projects at the same time, each with a different deadline.

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Freelance Designer Career Paths

Freelance Designer
Designer Project Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Designer Owner Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Data Analyst Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Visual Designer User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Artist Owner Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Product Designer
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Writer And Editor Senior Copywriter
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Event Coordinator Logistics Coordinator Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Specialist Graphic Design Manager Creative Services Manager
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Digital Marketing Specialist Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Artist Studio Manager Traffic Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Specialist Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Freelance Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Freelance Designer 3.0 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Designer, Printer 2.7 years
Media Designer 2.6 years
Marketing Designer 2.5 years
Visual Designer 2.3 years
Top Careers Before Freelance Designer
Designer 10.2%
Internship 9.8%
Volunteer 1.8%
Cashier 1.7%
Artist 1.6%
Top Careers After Freelance Designer
Designer 12.1%
Internship 4.4%
Owner 1.9%

Do you work as a Freelance Designer?

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Freelance Designer?

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Top Skills for A Freelance Designer

  1. Company Website
  2. Company Logos
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Completed company websites for local business.
  • Edit all product description for company logos and provide suggestions for improvement
  • Created conceptual designs of promotional website content using Adobe Photoshop.
  • Designed mailers for art gallery productions using photography and graphic design.
  • Designed logos for upcoming products and created advertisements for publication in international magazines, while working under strict art direction.

Freelance Designer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 18,794 Freelance Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Freelance Designer Resume

View Resume Examples

Freelance Designer Demographics

Gender

Female

47.3%

Male

42.8%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

9.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.8%

French

11.5%

Italian

6.6%

Chinese

5.5%

Japanese

5.1%

Mandarin

4.7%

Korean

4.3%

German

3.9%

Portuguese

3.5%

Russian

2.5%

Arabic

1.9%

Cantonese

1.4%

Hebrew

1.2%

Polish

1.1%

Dutch

0.6%

Turkish

0.6%

Swedish

0.5%

Vietnamese

0.5%

Tagalog

0.5%

Bulgarian

0.4%
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Freelance Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

15.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

11.8%

Parsons the New School for Design

7.3%

School of Visual Arts

7.1%

Academy of Art University

6.7%

Pratt Institute-Main

6.0%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.2%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.2%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

4.1%

Full Sail University

4.0%

Columbia College Chicago

3.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.3%

Syracuse University

3.1%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.1%

Art Center College of Design

3.1%

Art Institute of California - Inland

3.1%

International Academy of Design and Technology

2.3%

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

2.3%

Otis College of Art and Design

2.3%

New York University

2.3%
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Majors

Graphic Design

52.9%

Fine Arts

9.3%

Design And Visual Communication

6.8%

Computer Applications

3.5%

Interior Design

3.2%

Communication

3.0%

Business

2.5%

Animation

2.3%

Architecture

1.9%

Photography

1.9%

Marketing

1.9%

Graphic Communications

1.6%

Advertising

1.5%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.3%

Drafting And Design

1.2%

Computer Science

1.2%

Apparel And Textiles

1.1%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.0%

English

1.0%

Education

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

60.3%

Other

13.8%

Associate

11.7%

Masters

9.6%

Certificate

3.5%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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