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How To Be a Freelance Graphic Designer? If you have always had a knack for drawing and painting, you can put them to practical use to earn money in the gig economy.

By Debroop Roy

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If you have always had a knack for drawing and painting, you can put them to practical use to earn money in the gig economy. With changing times, even large companies have become more conducive to the idea of working with freelance graphic designers considering not all of them have enough work to need a full-time person on their payroll.

Cover the Bases

Learn the Technicalities

Putting ideas to paper is one thing but that wouldn't solve all your problems. You must know the technicalities involved, from choosing the color palette to keeping an audience in mind and ensuring that the design goes along with the brand's already established image. A small design course may be a good option.

For the Digital

In the modern world, you must always remember that your design is likely to go digital. And so it is important that you understand what works and what doesn't on a smartphone or a computer screen. You would need to keep those in mind while designing for different interfaces.

Modern Tools

To digitize your designs, you must have the knowhow of the tools. Adobe Photoshop can be a good place to begin, before you head to Illustrator. Different tools serve different purposes in a single project and it is important to have multiple ones in your arsenal given the competition.

A Solid Portfolio

As is the case with most freelance jobs, building a portfolio is perhaps the most important step. Identify trends before the rest and think out of the box, be it a historic game of football or a celebrity's birthday, it could be your chance to make a viral design.

A lot of designers try out mock designs for ongoing campaigns by major brands, which is a good way to garner instant attention.

Unless you need a high profile website, as an amateur, there are a lot of websites such as Wix which let you build a website for free. Considering the advent of Instagram, and given that everything about your job is visual, it is important to build an aesthetic Instagram profile and keeping your audience engaged everyday.

What It Costs

If you have a fair idea of how designing works, becoming a freelance designer doesn't require a lot of investment. If, however, you want to start from scratch and need a design course, the costs would go up significantly.

The first thing you would need is a good computer or a tablet. Tablets are preferable since they are easier to put illustrations on. An Apple iPad would be a good option to look at. A third generation iPad Pro would cost you close to INR 80,000.

For software tools, Adobe's suite of products are fairly good. A subscription for the entire suite of products comes down to about INR 3,500 per month if you choose the yearly subscription. It also comes with 100 gb of cloud storage.

Marketing on social media could cost as little as INR 100 a week but it would go up according to the number of people you want to reach.

How To Earn

There are multiple ways to charge your customer, depending upon requirements. If it is a one-off gig, you may do well to charge on a project basis. However, if it is a customer that comes back with work, charging per hour of work could prove to be more beneficial to your finances.

As an amateur with little to show for, you could consider charging INR 200-500 per hour and move up your rates as you become more familiar with the workings of the industry.

One of the other ways of earning once you have a little experience and have a following on social media is making video tutorials and building a YouTube presence.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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