When you think about it, our days are filled with so much visual stimulation from the TV screen, to ads on our phones, and even the billboards we drive by. Maybe you’ve wondered who created those images; the answer would be a graphic designer. If you have an interest in this field, keep reading to learn how to become a graphic designer from home.
Graphic design isn’t just slapping some cool pictures together with a splash of color and calling it done. It’s an art, which means it is a process to create designs. There are many variables in place to create those momentous images and it is also fun to get creative.
Someone with a gifted brain can make a fulfilling career by becoming a graphic designer. However, there are some things to consider before jumping into it. Use this guide to start your career as a graphic designer from home.
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What is a Graphic Designer?
Graphic designers use pictures and words to create ads, magazines, book covers, various images for marketing purposes, and so much more. There is no limit to what graphic designers can create. As a designer, it is your responsibility to create designs that align with your client’s brand colors, messaging, and overall feel.
The beauty of becoming a graphic designer from home is that you can set your hours, which determines the amount of money you make. If you start out working part-time online just to test the waters, you’ll quickly see that this can become a full-time job. There is always a need to create graphics now and in the future.
Does Graphic Design Require Certification?
Oftentimes, designers are hired for a project based on a variety of qualifications. Some companies require a designer to have a degree in graphic design while other companies may not require certification of any kind. It will depend on the clients’ desires.
Experience can trump certification, so don’t be discouraged when applying for a position or reaching out to potential clients if you have the experience and skills to show why you are the best fit but not the right certifications.
Other Graphic Design Requirements and Qualifications
Attention to detail and the ability to effectively communicate with clients are key qualifications in learning how to become a graphic designer. The only way you can complete a project to the client’s satisfaction is if you ask the right questions, listen to feedback, and apply that information appropriately to the project.
For example, if a client shares their preference for warm, calming colors, you wouldn’t want to create a graphic with magenta and neon yellow colors. Your attention to the client’s overall brand feel will keep them coming back to you.
Some companies will require a bachelor’s degree in graphic design to hold an actual designer position. There are other voluntary certifications you can obtain as well to exceed the qualifications when applying for a position. If you have a combination of experience, skills, and education, you may be more qualified than you think.
Graphic Design Salary or Pay Expectations
Graphic designers can make a comfortable salary depending on their proven experience, knowledge, and skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a graphic designer in the U.S. is around $53,000 per year. However, there are graphic designers out there who make six figures. It is not impossible to make the money you desire by doing graphic design.
Most companies that designers work with will pay per hour or per project. There are also options to get paid on a monthly retainer if the client needs your services often. As a beginner designer, you can expect to make about $15 per hour. This rate can quickly increase with the more experience you gain and the faster you get with producing the work.
How to Become a Graphic Designer
Take the right steps to become a graphic designer and give yourself the best start to your new career.
1. Find Your Market
Making yourself known in a specific niche or market can give you a boost in attracting the right clients. It may seem like graphic designers can work for anyone and everyone. However, it is a smart choice to decide the type of market you want to work within and build your authority.
Different markets will have different needs, but the clients in the same market categories will have similar goals in mind. If you are working within one specific market, you get a feel for what these clients typically are looking for in their graphics and can therefore understand clients better. The more experience you have within a market, the more clients will trust that you know what you are doing and will hire you for your expertise in that area.
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2. Practice Your Skill
Use a tool like Canva daily to practice your design skills. Canva has an abundance of design templates and options you can play around with and create eye-catching graphics for any occasion.
Decide the market you want to work with and practice with the design templates Canva has for that market. Notice the font pairings, color schemes, and different tools you can use.
3. Become Familiar With Graphic Design Tools
Graphic design tools will help you become a more versatile designer for clients. Educate yourself about the different software programs out there.
- Canva – a graphic design platform that can be used to create book covers, social media posts, marketing material, and much more. It offers a free or a paid plan. Depending on the graphics you will be creating, this might determine if you need the paid plan or not.
- Adobe Creative Cloud – a highly prominent design software used worldwide, Adobe Creative Cloud is the top dollar of design software. This is a paid platform and offers many hands-on features to explore and create with.
- Crello – a software best used to create animated graphics for professional-looking designs.
4. Create Your Portfolio
There is no better way to land design jobs than to set up a business portfolio to back it up with. Clients want to see that you know how to create visually appealing graphics that will get them the attention they want. Using past projects as examples to show those clients what you can do is the best way to get your name out there.
Start by offering free services to family and friends. Use the experience to gain testimonials and feedback about the designs you create. Additionally, you can offer your services to others at a highly discounted rate for even more exposure.
5. Set Your Own Rates
The best part about learning how to become a graphic designer is that you get to set your own rates. While the rates might be on the lower end in the beginning, you have the ability to give yourself a raise whenever you want to in your career. The more experience you gain and the faster you can complete projects, the more you can charge.
6. Apply or Send Cold Pitches
Find clients in the market of your choice and begin reaching out to them to inquire if they need a graphic designer. This is considered cold pitching. Describe why you are a great fit and give them an example of what you would create for them based on their needs.
You can also find jobs posted online seeking graphic designers specifically and apply for them. This method lumps you in with all the rest of the applicants so be sure to include something in your application that sets you apart from the others.
Questions New Graphic Designers are Asking
If you truly desire to become a graphic designer, take a look at some common questions new designers are asking to see if this is the right job for you.
Is graphic design a good career?
Everyone has their own opinion about what a good career is versus what isn’t. Someone who is interested in becoming a designer might find that it is a good career to pursue. There are no limits to what you can create and how much you can evolve as a designer after each experience.
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Is it hard to become a graphic designer?
If you have the desire and drive to pursue graphic design plus a foundation of knowledge of how to start, then no, it is not hard. The true answer lies within you; are you willing to put in the work to make this a successful career? The answer to that question will make all the difference. Just like anything else in life we pursue, we have to do it with passion and a plan to get the outcome we desire.
How do I get into graphic design with no experience?
Start with offering your services for free to businesses in your area, volunteer to design for charities, and make yourself known online. Use the experience you have gained to show off online for potential clients to review. Now is not the time to be shy; display the work you’ve done as much as possible.
Can I learn graphic design on my own?
You definitely can learn graphic design on your own. However, it’s not something you can learn overnight. There are various software programs you can use for practice, follow YouTube channels of other designers to learn from, and you can also take tutorials like the ones offered through the Canva Design School. Set time for yourself each day to study and enhance your skills.
Is graphic design a dying career?
Graphic design is not a dying career. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that graphic designers are expected to face competition in the future. With all the businesses that thrive on graphics to entice sales and revenue, designers will continue to be in demand.
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Who Should Become a Graphic Designer?
A graphic design job or business is not for someone who is looking for an easy career. This career requires hard work and dedication. It is a fast industry that also requires attention to detail. If you’re up for the task and crave a job that gives you some creative freedom, then this is for you.
Take your time setting yourself up in the market you decide to work with, become familiar with tools offered by programs like Canva, and allow yourself to explore with your creativity. Don’t hold back.
To become a graphic designer from home requires patience. Start out doing it as a side hustle to get comfortable and then eventually replace your day job with graphic design full-time. You’ll be surprised what you can do if you put your mind to it.