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graphic designer

How To Work From Home as a Graphic Designer and Earn an Income

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Are you a graphic designer wanting to work from home but don't know how? 

 

There are a number of websites that serve as an intermediary between graphic designers and businesses. Here’s a go-to guide that highlights some of the lucrative opportunities that graphic designers can cash in on from the comfort of their homes.

1. Upwork

 

Upwork is the most popular global platform for not just for graphic designing but also writing, translating, advertising and more. It’s free to create an account and upload your portfolio. We recommend spending a good few hours working on your profile because this is what will attract clients. 

Take up the first few jobs for little or nothing – think of it as an investment. Once your clients leave positive reviews and recommendations, it will help you bag the next project. Do remember that UpWork has 12 million registered freelancers so you need to get noticed!

Initially, you will need to reply to jobs ASAP and step up your communication game. 

  • Pros: Provides professionals with a choice between short-term projects, recurring projects and full-time work.  
  • Cons: High level of competition, hard to get jobs without feedback, Upwork fees are 5% - 20% of every project.

 

2. Fiverr

 

Easy and user-friendly, Fiverr is an “online marketplace” for freelance services. It allows you to ‘Post a Request’ and get offers from sellers worldwide. It is most popular for micro-jobs (one-off ‘gigs’) like designing logos, brochures, flyers, packaging, business cards, social media, merchandise and more. Unlike Upwork, you don’t have to ‘bid’ for a job. Through Fiverr, you can make a quick buck, sometimes underpaid, but hey, some work is better than none! 

According to the The Times of Israel (https://bit.ly/2J5xl9A), Fiverr says its freelancers have earned over $1 billion since its launch 10 years ago. 

  • Pros: User-friendly, most clients leave a tip, don’t have to bid to get clients.
  • Cons: Fake reviews are rampant, takes a 20% cut from every transaction. 

3. GraphicRiver

 

Good with design templates and graphics that can be used to design fonts, logos and icons? Then GraphicRiver.net is the place to start. 

There are two ways to earn money on this site. First, by selling your graphic work and second, by becoming an affiliate. When you sign up, you will be asked to choose between becoming exclusive or non-exclusive author. Selling exclusively on GraphicRiver.net will give you more earnings per sale but you won’t be allowed to sell your templates & design assets elsewhere. 

As an affiliate partner, you get a referral code and if a purchase is made using the code, a commission is guaranteed. 

Plus, if you make it to the weekly ‘Featured’ collection, your next couple of gigs are sorted! 

  • Pros: Useful, quick and effective. All the ‘graphic assets’ on the platform are hand-picked by the team so clients are assured of quality content. 
  • Cons: The graphics sold exclusively on GraphicRiver.net cannot be sold elsewhere. 

4. Envato Studio

 

‘A Network of Experts’ – is probably the best way to describe Envato Studio. Envato Studio provides businesses with a marketplace for logo designing, Wordpress customization or application development. And highly-skilled professionals are a click away thanks to the simple interface of the platform.

The process? The client visits the website and advertises about the job required. The ‘expert’ collaborates with the client and meets his / her requirements. The process comes to an end after careful review of the work and approval from the client. 

Exchanging ideas is made easy with the software’s messaging tool, which also allows each party to transfer files. 

  • Pros: Easy-to-use (you can post projects in as quick as 5 minutes!), pool of experts, smooth communication. 
  • Cons: Fees are 30% of the published price of a service.

5. 99Designs

 

If you focus on doing your best work and less on the money, 99 Designs might surprise you! The platform works on ‘Contests’ created by clients. There will be many entries for the contest and the client can rate each submission. Agreed, most of the time, it is quantity over quality with everyone scrambling to just put something out there instead of paying attention to the client’s need. But if you’re good, you can stand out in the crowd and well, who doesn’t like winning? 

It is free to sign-up and start freelancing. Payment is processed in 3 business days or less once you become a ‘Top Designer’.

  • Pros: A great way to experiment with new styles; winning a ‘Contest’ is definitely an ego boost. 
  • Cons: Working for free with only the possibility of compensation.

6. Design Bundles 

 

Launched in 2016, Design Bundles bridged the gap between premium design products and friendly pricing. As a freelance graphic designer, the site gives you access to a network of sites with over 1,000,000 visitors per month. Most clients who head here look out to bag a bargain because design graphic bundles are often available for a fraction of the retail price.

The expert in-house technical support team leaves you free to focus on what you know best – creating a good design product. 

  • Pros: In-house tech support, access to a talent pool of ideas.
  • Cons: Competitive pricing 

7. Creative Market

 

Creative Market describes itself as “a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world”. Once you open a ‘shop’ and put out your first product, be it a vector graphic or font, you earn something each time it is purchased. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds. The trick is to sell something of value and invest time – much like royalty. 

Creative Market has over one million users and more than 2,50,000 purchasable items. On behalf of its shop owners, Creative Market handles the distribution, payment processing, support, and assisted marketing. 

If you happen to get featured in Creative Market’s bundles, consider it winning the jackpot. 

  • Pros: Create what you love, get paid over and over again, and be your own boss. No exclusivity limitation. 
  • Cons: Customer service; invitation-only sign-up 

8. Premade Pixels

 

Templates make life so much easier. Don’t we often wish that life itself offered templates? Imagine picking a template that said, ‘Childhood’ that allowed us to remain youthful forever?

When Premade Pixels (yes, that’s us!) was built, the idea was to provide “designers and customers on a budget” with premade quality templates that required minimal effort to edit. Just a change of text and hey, presto, you have a readymade design in no time at all. Premade All templates on the website are designed by skilled graphic designers who've earned a name in the graph. Corporate business flyers, album cover templates, church posters & flyers, club flyers, creative business cards, resume templates, wedding invitation templates are some of the templates available on the website. Premade Pixels allow you to sign up for an annual or monthly membership at a minimum fee which allows to you download every template on the website and in the pipeline. That's a steal! Grab a membership here.

Premade Pixels is also the first design company to review your old, used or unused photoshop files and if we like what we see, say hello to incentives!  

PremadePixels are hiring graphic designers and this is a good time to cash in while working from home. You can apply to join the design team here - Apply Now

While you’re home, consider building your portfolio and working on your communication skills.

Create and establish your online presence. An online portfolio is beneficial to all graphic designers, whether you’re seeking new clients or generating more business from existing clients. Using websites and social media as a tool to market yourself, showcase your projects and highlight your skills and talent will go a long way in attracting more business. 

If you don’t have a digital portfolio, you can make one at dribbble.comdeviantart.com or behance.com. These platforms provide you with a place to create your graphic design portfolio and add a ‘wow’ factor that will help attract more business. 

    • dribbble.com: Discover and connect with creative talent and designers from across the world. To join, you need to get invited by a member, who is called a ‘player’. This gives one a sense of community and exclusivity. Illustrations, animations, UI/UX design and web design is the hub of the platform’s content. Here’s a tip: Relevant tagging will ensure that your design shows up in more searches!

 

    • behance.com: If dribbble.com gives a sneak peek at your design work, behance.com allows you to present your project in depth. You can show the progress of a project – from concept through the different stages and even create collections. Plus, it is an open platform (not by invitation).

 

  • deviantart.com: Specifically made for art, the best part about this platform is that it encourages interaction through its ‘comment system’, the groups and the forums that you can post art in.

Develop your communication skills. Since all communication will take place virtually using virtual channels, effective communication demonstrates value to the client. Try to be available, listen intently, pick up new technology and confront problems. 

Yes, you are your own boss but the best freelancers are those who work as a team player. 

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graphic designer mistakes

9 Common Mistakes Graphic Designers Make

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To err is human, to forgive, divine.

But alas, not everyone is forgiving.
Technical errors such as using too many fonts and colours to lack of inter-personal skills can often land graphic designers in a soup. In this article, we share ways to help you wade through the cloudy waters of creativity.

Here are 9 common mistakes made by Graphic Designers:

 

 

1. Using Too Many Fonts

typo mistakes

How many fonts is too many? The ‘justified’ answer is anything more than three.
Too many fonts can distract and confuse the reader. For brochures, advertisements and shorter documents, limit yourself to two fonts, while multipage publications like magazines can often get away with more.
Study font families and use bold, italics and different sizes of the font family as captions and subheads. Serif fonts are easier on the eye in print, while sans-serif fonts work better for web use.
Can’t identify a font? Upload an image of it on myfonts.com/WhatTheFont and let it do the needful.

2. Using Copyrighted Photos

  

copyright

Every designer in the making knows what this symbol means. Photographs, illustrations and most forms of creative art are usually protected by copyright, meaning that all rights of that work belong to the creator.

The bad news? In most countries, one can face legal trouble for using a photograph without the permission of the owner, especially if it’s used for advertising or promotional activities.

The good news? Copyright laws came into effect not to give the author the right to deny their work to other people but to encourage fair usage. So, reach out to the owner. Chances are he/ she will reply with reasonable terms of usage.

There are also several sites that allow users to download royalty-free images of high quality. Pixabay (www.pixabay.com), Freepik (www.freepik.com) and Pexels (www.pexels.com) are a few.

3. Not Kerning Fonts

  kerning fonts

Have you ever squinted your eyes and tried to read a word that is spelt one way but looks like another? It might be a kerning problem. Kerning is the space between two characters and adjusting this space often improves legibility.

Sometimes, a font’s default kerning isn’t suitable for certain character combinations. An article by www.canva.com suggests to look out for the troublemakers - slanted letters such as A, K, V, W, Y, letters with arms or cross strokes such as F,L,T and letter combinations like W or V + A; T or F + a lowercase vowel.

In her book, Type Rules! noted typographic educator Ilene Strizver talks about the influence of technology on typography. In 1448, came the birth of printing before which all books were hand copied by scribes. The characters of the alphabet were carved into metal because of which the spacing between certain characters could not be easily adjusted. This was probably the first instance of kerning.

4. Using Too Many Colors

  

Colours evoke feelings. This makes colour one of the most important elements of graphic design. Whether it is a company logo, card or any other piece of art, colour is as important as the message one intends to relay. 

The job of the graphic designer is to create visuals that pass the client’s vision to the customer. Using too many colours can distract and confuse the customer. But when used rightly, colours can have great impact, even for website conversions. 

Of course, you could also break all the rules, experiment with fonts and colours and become the next Alan Fletcher or David Carson. 

5. Grammar & Spellcheck

  A simple thing like not proofing your text because you were too busy focusing on the design can undo all the effort you’ve put into a project. 

If you missed the spelling error in the last sentence, you need to be reading more attentively. Sometimes it helps to read the text aloud to catch mistakes. For everything else, there’s spellcheck. Photoshop does have a spell checker. (Photoshop - Edit - Check Spelling). 

6. Not Staying Abreast with New Information

 

Designers today enjoy a wide selection of design software tools be it Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Affinity Designer or Adobe Indesign. Assuming you are harnessed with the skill of one or many of these (11 Ways to Become a Successful Graphic Designer without a College Degree), it is imperative to keep yourself updated with new information. Read design books and journals and stay active on Instagram, Dribbble, Pinterest and Behance. 

The most naïve mistake a graphic designer can make is assuming that he/she knows it all. We’ve all heard the line A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The powerful effects of design tools may help get the angles, shadows, leading and kerning right but it is the thirst for more knowledge that leads one down the path of few mistakes.

7. Being Afraid to Experiment

 

The true method of knowledge is an experiment – William Blake. 

 Many brands believe in following trends and new trends are often born through innovation and experimentation. 

Do not be afraid to think out-of-the-box. Do not let a challenging client diffuse your creative spell. Do not be afraid to have a voice and be heard. 

Trying new things opens up new avenues and opportunities for work. For instance, with the rise in demand for graphic novels, publishing houses are on the lookout for illustrators who are story-tellers. The New York Times https://nyti.ms/2VuxhI5 talks about Jerry Craft’s ‘New Kid’ that won the 2020 Newbery Medal and put graphic novels right up there along with other genres. 

8. Lack of Inspiration

  

Look for inspiration in the everyday things of life. A good mathematician can practice geometry by the patterns on the floor tiles of his home. A good designer can be inspired by the forms of nature. Did you know that the famous World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) logo, sketched by artist Gerald Watterson, was inspired by a giant panda that was introduced to the London Zoo in 1961?

Sometimes, the answer is in the little details around us. And sometimes, on Pinterest.

9. Absence of Effective Communication with the Client

client

 

Things they never taught you in design school – how to communicate with clients.
Being an effective communicator is not as simple as it sounds. The bitter truth of the business is that most clients are like bulls barging through your china shop. Some will offer sufficient creative freedom (don’t let go of these guys!) and some will want to micro manage every step until the phrase ‘patience is a virtue’ never felt more real. 

So how do you communicate better? Whether you’re writing a client an email, conversing with them on the phone or having a face-to-face talk, there are some unwritten rules to abide by. For example, pay attention to the tone of voice, practice active listening, be clear and concise and try to speak their language. Say ‘No’ only if you must and when you do, phrase it tactfully. “I might be unable to complete the project in a week but I can definitely give it to you in 10 days” sounds more positive than “No, I am sorry, I cannot complete the project in a week”. 

One can take the bull by its horns, if the communication cards are played right. 

As you work on more projects, you are bound to make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t stop because mistakes are proof that you are trying.

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