7 Steps on How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer

Team Pepper
Posted on 26/01/228 min read
7 Steps on How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer

Table of Contents

  • Who is a Graphic Designer?
  • 7 Steps on How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer
  • Why You Should Freelance as a Graphic Designer 
  • Key Takeaways 
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs 

If you are a professional in print design, it is hard to ignore the bountiful freelance graphic design business opportunities available today. Many designers make a living through freelance work, and you could be one of those talented few. 

However, becoming a successful freelance graphic designer is not a cakewalk. It requires time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. So, whether you’re looking to gain experience or have already decided that working for yourself is the way you want to go, this guide will help you cut through the noise and tell you how to become a freelance graphic designer. So let’s get started!

Who is a Graphic Designer?

A graphic designer is a creative professional responsible for the visual aspects of advertising, marketing, or public relations. This can include creating advertisements and other marketing materials, including logos and corporate identity programs. 

Graphic designers are often employed by advertising agencies or in-house marketing departments of large corporations. They work closely with other members of the design team and with art directors, copywriters, and photo stylists on the creation and presentation of marketing materials.  

7 Steps to Becoming a Freelance Graphic Designer

Wondering how to become a freelance graphic designer? As with any other job, you need to consider some things to become a graphic designer. There are certain qualities that one must possess to become successful. Here are some of the important steps that can help you become a freelance graphic designer: 


Step 1: Understand your field

This step is crucial and should not be overlooked by anyone who wants to excel in freelance graphic designing. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your field before diving in headfirst. If you do not understand your field, it will be challenging to market yourself to potential clients or know how much to charge for your services.

Step 2: Create a portfolio to market yourself

This is the most important step in becoming a freelance graphic designer. Your portfolio is your “calling card” to clients. It’s a compilation of your work and should demonstrate the range of your abilities, as well as the level of detail you’re capable of producing. Market yourself and build a portfolio to break into the industry and land gigs as a freelance designer.

Step 3: Get the right equipment

For some people, that means buying a computer and software; for others, it might mean buying an expensive drawing tablet. The best way to decide is to figure out what kind of work you want to do—are most clients going to want print-ready files? Are they going to want high-resolution files for websites? You might also want to get some books with examples from other designers so that you can study their techniques and learn how they achieve specific effects.

Step 4: Get your first client

Once you have your portfolio, the next step is to find clients. Picking the right clients is key to landing the proper gigs. You want to find a client who needs your services, but you may also want to find a client who is willing to invest in your work and pay you fairly.

So how do you find your first client? You can find your first client by doing the following things:  

  • Look for the company or project that needs your services
  • Using social media to promote your work
  • Getting contacts from friends or colleague
  • By cold calling and cold emailing

Step 5: Negotiate the pricing

You’ve done the hard part, for which you deserve a pat on the back. You found some potential clients and presented your work to them in an impressive manner. Now is the time to negotiate the pricing! Pricing is all about value. If you price yourself too low, you’re not giving yourself enough value and will end up with very little income. If you price yourself too high, you run the risk of not getting any clients at all.

The value of your offering is determined by three factors: your experience level, how long it will take to complete the project, and how much time it will save the client. With this in mind, try to calculate how many hours you’ll spend working on a project and multiply it by an hourly rate that makes you comfortable. Make sure to include any expenses such as internet access or printing fees in this calculation so that you can cover these costs without going into the red.

Step 6: Preparation and timely delivery of the project

Don’t forget about project documentation. Always ask your client for information about what exactly they need from your part of the project. Don’t just assume things – ask for details. It will help both sides to understand what should be done.

Furthermore, be on time with everything you do! When it comes to deadlines, people expect you to be on time. If you can’t do it, don’t promise it! It is also important to be honest with your clients from the beginning; if something takes longer than you thought it would, let them know in advance how much extra time it will take.

Step 7: Make necessary changes based on the client’s feedback

Keep in mind that clients will give you feedback on your design. This is why it is important to have your work critiqued. Although this is frustrating, try to be objective while listening to people’s opinions of your work. 

You want to be flexible and willing to meet your client’s needs. After all, they are paying you for your creative services, so they deserve the final say on the design. Hence, if a client or reviewer makes a valid point, you should consider the information and adjust your work accordingly. 

So this was all about how to become a freelance graphic designer and how to start freelancing graphic design. Still, you must be wondering if freelance graphic designing is even worth it or not. Let’s see why you should start freelance graphic designing in 2022.


Why You Should Freelance as a Graphic Designer

A graphic designer designs artwork within the scope of a professional project or commercial product. Freelance graphic design is always welcome by organizations and institutions. The demand for graphic designers has increased tremendously over the years because of their capability to understand client preferences and provide efficient service.

Today, freelance graphic designing is one of the most lucrative professions globally because it’s time-consuming, requires expertise, and people are eager to have their ideas transformed into images. Furthermore, bloggers and website owners use many graphic design resources to brand their businesses. 

An attractive headshot, beautifully crafted website images or catchy social media graphics can make or break their social recognition. So If you have a knack for computer graphics, then freelance graphic designing can earn you a handsome amount of money.

Key Takeaways

Here are some important key takeaways about how to become a freelance graphic designer and how to start freelancing in graphic designing.

1. Prepare to be your own boss: Becoming a freelance graphic designer is hard work. You will have no one to answer to but yourself, so it’s important to have the right attitude and be ready to take full responsibility for your business.

2. Know what you’re getting into: Before you decide to leave your day job as a graphic designer, know that becoming a freelance graphic designer is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to succeed in this industry.

3. Research the market: Be sure that there is enough demand for your services before you leave your job as a graphic designer. Conduct research and find out how many other designers are doing exactly what you want to do in your area. Then consider the competition you may face from other freelancers in other areas. If there isn’t a significant demand for your services in your local area, consider moving or branching out so you can attract more clients.

4. Build your portfolio: Once you’ve made sure there is enough demand for freelance graphic designers in your area, it’s time to build up your portfolio by creating some samples of your work. You may also want to join different professional organizations to show your work. This way, you will market yourself and land on new clients.

5. Adapt to changing market trends in graphic designing: A big part of becoming a freelance graphic designer is learning to adapt to new market trends. As a freelance graphic designer, you should learn new skills and techniques to stay relevant in this highly dynamic and competitive field.


Starting a freelance career as a graphic designer is exciting, but it can also seem daunting. The truth, however, is that it’s not hard at all. Some of the most successful freelancers began by picking up contract work on freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr. If you want to become a freelance graphic designer, you need to find ways to market yourself and your work, whether through social media or out in the real world.

Hopefully, the information above has helped you kickstart your freelance graphic designing career. From that point on, it’s all about making your name known in the design community. To make it simple, think about what you have to offer, decide how much your time is worth and use it to reach those goals. Maybe start working with an agency if the initial budget is tight and then move on when the time is right. 

To conclude, there are many ways to begin your career in freelance graphic designing, but starting it by making educated decisions and getting the most out of them, rather than just getting started, will ultimately get your business further in the long run.


1. How much do freelance graphic designers make?

There is no one size fits all answer to this question since it depends on many factors such as location, work experience, etc. However, according to Upwork’s data, freelance graphics designers’ salary range lies anywhere from 10$ to 30$ per hour.

2. Is it hard to freelance graphic design?

Like anything else, it can be a little bit daunting to step your feet in the world of freelancing. However, it is totally worth it once you get the hang of it. Today freelance graphic designing has become a jam for all website owners and bloggers. Thus, one can earn good money using the right tools and resources.

3. How long does it take to become a freelance graphic designer?

Again, it is a very subjective question. It depends on whether you are starting as a fresher or have some knowledge about freelance graphic designing. However, to be specific, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to master the skills required in graphic designing. Furthermore, it is a highly dynamic field; thus, prepare yourself for adapting to the changing marketplace.

4. How to become a freelance graphic designer without a degree?

If you are keen to become a freelance graphic designer but don’t have the time or money to study, many online resources can teach you everything you need to know. There is an abundance of free tutorials written by individual designers on sites like YouTube. The learning curve is steep, but you will soon be creating impressive graphics with perseverance and practice.

5. Is graphic design a dying field?

Not at all. Graphic design is the future. The demand for graphics designers will be ever increasing with the continuous evolution of digital marketing.