How to become a freelance graphic designer : How to start?

How to become a freelance graphic designer : How to start?

If you are a visual learner and love to create beauty, try themselves in graphic design. How to become a graphic designer without a degree, we tell in the article.

One of the most important professions in the digital sphere is a professional graphic designer.

Graphic design surrounds us everywhere in cyberspace and real life. This includes the creation of banners, flyers, presentations, layout of magazines and other graphic design materials for advertising and business.

There are different areas of graphic design, but the main:

  • Signature style
  • Business cards
  • Logos and trademarks
  • Presentation
  • Posters and billboards
  • Books and magazines
  • Illustration and advertising in publications
  • Outdoor and transport advertising
  • Advertising banners
  • Infographics and graphic scheme
  • Calendars
  • Leaflets and stamp booklets
  • Packaging and labels

Think about what you are interested in: to create a corporate seal identity for business or label and packaging, infographics or interfaces.

Select multiple adjacent fields: for example, you can dedicate yourself to working with the business to develop corporate identity, logos, business cards, and presentations. Or learn the features of printing and typesetting and engage flyers, brochures, calendars, posters and other printed materials.

To understand what do you like, you need to try in each direction.

What skills are necessary

The first thing you will need is a good command of graphic programs. In the first stage you will need:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Corel Draw

or their free equivalents, for example:

  • Krita,
  • Paint.NET,
  • GIMPShop,
  • Inkscape,
  • Gravit,
  • Vectr,
  • Vecteezy Editor.

But if you want to develop in the profession, you will need knowledge of the more significant programs:

For the layout: InDesign, Quark Xpress, Ventura Publisher, TeX, FrameMaker.
For the animation of objects and characters: After Effects.
For 3D-modeling: 3DMax, Blender, SketchUp, ZBrush, Cinema 4D.

The next item is knowledge about the visual side of design. The most important: the theory of composition, colors (science about colors and their compatibility) and typography (the science of fonts). In their study will help the specialized literature and online courses.

Best graphic design books

  • Designing Brand Identity. Author: Alina Wheeler.Publish date: 2017
  • Branding: In Five and a Half Steps. Author: Michael Johnson. Publish date: 2016
  • Logo Modernism. Author: Jens Muller. Publish date: 2015
  • The Elements of Typographic Style. Author: Robert Bringhurst. Publish date: 2013
  • Why Fonts Matter. Author: Sarah Hyndman. Publish date: 2016.
  • Just My Type. Author: Simon Garfield. Publish date: 2011
  • Show Your Work! Author: Austin Kleon. Publish date: 2014
  • How to do great work without being an asshole. Author: Paul Woods. Publish date: 2019

The third thing that a graphic designer needs are a continuous improvement. Follow trends daily, regularly review the work of other designers at Behance. Broaden your horizons and develop artistic taste, turn to the classics of fine art and design, draw inspiration from the works of recognized masters. This will help you not to stand still and not get stuck in your templates.

How to get a portfolio

Finding a job without a portfolio will be difficult, so during the training process, create several jobs that you can show to a potential customer. The easiest way is to open any freelance exchange and see orders there. You will see what customers need, what their requirements and budgets are. The last paragraph will help you determine the most profitable destinations.

Another way is to create what you want, to realize your own idea. Create a portfolio plan for yourself.  For example, create an advertising banner for your favorite brand of clothing, a business card with an interesting idea, or your own logo. The main thing, remember that the work should look professional and meet the trends in design. Just in case, keep your graphic design pdf portfolio. Customers don’t always want to get a portfolio link, perhaps they want to show the portfolio to their colleagues. Make your portfolio as high as possible.

Where to study

You can learn the profession on your own from books and video lessons or take an online course with a teacher who will not only provide structured theoretical knowledge but also talk about the state of the industry, about the features of working with clients, about the pitfalls, typical mistakes of beginners. Well, if you will have graphic designer certification, but it’s not necessary to work as a freelance. Most important believe in yourself.


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