What It Takes to Be a Freelance Graphic Designer

A graphic designer always has the option of freelancing. Many small businesses hire freelance graphic designers to design their business cards, menus, brochures, fliers, t-shirts, and other visual materials. The primary reason small businesses gravitate toward freelancers over advertising agencies is freelance designers are more affordable - and freelancers don't push small businesses into long term contracts.

Here are the tools and procedures necessary to make it as a freelance graphic designer:

Computer, Software, and Printer

Research all available graphic design software programs and choose one that will serve as your primary program. This program should be as thorough as possible and encompass all of your basic needs. Additional software can be purchased later.

Have a computer that is compatible with the graphic design software.

Invest in a high quality printer that is able to print a wide variety of media. Freelancers who can't afford this purchase in the beginning can opt to use a printing company until they can purchase a high end printer.

Portfolio/Business Cards

Assemble a portfolio to show prospective clients. Portfolio designs can include graphics created for past clients, or sample designs. Include a wide range of designs so clients can see your true abilities. Add to your portfolio as new designs are created.

Create business cards that are eye-catching and show off your talent. Hand them out to anyone you think may need your services, or to anyone who may know an individual who can use your services.

Marketing/Finding Clients

Advertise your business. Freelancers who want to work in their local area should place ads in neighborhood newspapers and list themselves in the business section of the phone book. Mail-outs should be created and sent to local businesses. The mail-outs should be professional, yet creative, and they should mention the services offered - menu design, business cards, logos, posters, advertisements, t-shirts, and so on.

Freelancers who want to target online business should set up a website that displays a portfolio of their work. Online freelancers should place online advertisements, peruse the Internet job boards daily, apply for projects, and make online contacts through forums and social networking sites.

Fees and Payment Options

Freelance graphic designers generally negotiate fees with clients on a project by project basis, yet all freelancers should have a general idea of what they charge per type of media produced—or have an hourly rate they strive for per project type. This rate serves as the freelancer's guide, or base, and this is generally where negotiations begin. Freelancers must decide how they will be paid. Options include upfront payment, payment after product delivery, or half upon project acceptance and the remainder upon delivery.


All projects should be completed in a timely manner and meet the exact specifications of the client. After the project is complete and you've collected your payment, send out a thank you note to the client. Add the design to your portfolio and list the project on your resume.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Graphic Design

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Graphic Arts (AAS)
            • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
            • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
            • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
            • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

            Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

            Show more [+]
            Graphic Design/Desktop Publishing
            ABCO Technology , Inglewood
            • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
            • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
            • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
            • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
            • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
            • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
            • Military friendly school.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Graphic Design (AS)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
            • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
            • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
            • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
            • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
            • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses

            Latest Graphic Design Articles & News

            Designers to submit artwork to wine label contest
            Graphic designers and artists are now able to enter the annual Artist Series Wine Label Design contest for The Capital Grille, and can submit their creations until October 7, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

            Graphic designers fighting against new design opportunity at Huffington Post
            The Huffington Post has recently issued a contest, asking graphic designers to create a new logo. However, the winning individual will not be paid for their design - they will only be recognized by name, rather than compensation, according to AdWeek.

            What Skills Will I Learn as a Graphic Designer?

            Putting Together a Graphic Design Portfolio

            Graphic Design for the Advertising Industry

            Scholarships for your education

            What is graphic design?

            What is design?

            Does Graphic Design Apply to Other Fields of Study?

            Getting Hired as a Graphic Designer

            Graphic Design Career Options

            Graphic Design Course Overview For Your Degree

            Graphic Design for the Publishing Industry

            Graphic Design Schools and Universities

            Graphic Design Schools in CA

            Graphic Designer Salary Survey Guide

            How Competitive is the Field of Graphic Design?

            How Long Does Graphic Design School Take?

            How To Get A Great Internship For Graphic Design

            Networking in the Field of Graphic Design

            Things to consider before choosing a Graphic Design School

            Thoughts on Graphic Design

            Trends in the Graphic Design Field

            What Does a Graphic Designer Do?

            What to Expect in Your First Year as a Graphic Designer

            Where Do Graphic Designers Work?

            Who Hires Graphic Designers?