On Becoming a Freelance Graphic Designer

As I am a visual arts and design teacher, my students often ask, “Mr. Morrill, how can I become a graphic designer?”  When I awake from that dream, I think of what my response would be for the moment that question might miraculously slip from the lips of my middle schoolers.  Well, it’s a good thing I’ve come up with an answer.  Today, perhaps for the first time in three years, one of my eighth graders asked me that very question.  Of course it was for a project in another class which is due TOMORROW, but it was still a good feeling.  Thank you Marques.

How to Begin:  The answer is very long and isn’t linear.  There are many paths to becoming a freelance graphic designer.  Some might say the first step is to buy a computer, or get a sketch book, or even to market your skills in a unique way.  I say the first step is getting a client.  After that, as long as you have problem solving skills, you can do anything.  I’ve hand drawn logos before, then scanned them at the school library and saved them to a floppy disk.  Such jobs earned me $20 in 1993.  I was just 14 years old and looking for some fun money.  If you are employed by the IRS, please disregard the prior two sentences.

Tools:  As time has passed and I’ve accumulated tools, such as a MacBook, Photoshop, GIMP (free on the web), Inkscape (free on the web), iMovie, and several other computer programs, I have taken on far more complex jobs.  If you cannot afford a computer, you CAN still become a graphic designer.  Even in the digital age, you don’t need all your own stuff.  You can go into business with a friend.  If your friend has a computer, you can rent it from him or bring your friend in as a sales person for your work.  Pay him or her for their skills and be partners.  So, as far as tools go, see lists on other websites, I’ve already given you a few ideas.

Skills:  It takes a well rounded set of skills to become a successful freelance designer.  Are you good at managing time, setting goals for yourself, completing projects on time, or working with others?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, you have a good start as far as skills go.  There are many more skills you need to gain, but you can pick them up along the way.  I will say this:  You need to be highly self-motivated!  Get on task and stay on task.  If you don’t stay focused, it will show in your work, or lack there of.  Check out some of the these books to get more information on skills you will need to become a successful freelance designer.

I’ve only covered a tiny area of the freelance design field, but it’s a start.  I’ll post more on this topic later.  Marques, I hope this helps you pass Mr. Huff’s class.

For more immediate information, check out the links below.

http://www.creativepublic.com/becoming-freelance-designer.php

http://www.eworkingwomen.com/experts/artist.html

http://www.adigitaldreamer.com/articles/freelance-graphic-design.htm

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