How To Become A Freelance Graphic Designer In 6 Easy Steps

The steps in how to become a freelance graphic designer are learning graphic design principles, learning key graphic design tools, developing your portfolio, growing your network, and creating a referral network.

If you’re looking for a way to make money as a creative artist while keeping your schedule relaxed. Freelance graphic design could be the career for you.

But knowing how to become a freelance graphic designer and being one takes a few crucial steps. What are those steps?

1. Learn Graphic Design Principles

The first step in how to become a freelance graphic designer is to learn the principles of graphic design.

It suggests how a graphic designer can best arrange the various elements of a page layout in connection to the overall graphic design and each other.

The following are the 5 basic principles of graphic design:

1. Alignment
One of the most basic, but most important principles of design. It allows our eyes to see order, which is quite comforting to a reader.

2. Repetition
Helps people recognize that different things belong together. Think of it as a family. Each person in the family looks a bit different, but there are enough similarities that you can see they are all related.

3. Contrast
Created when two elements are total opposites. For example big and small size, classic and modern fonts, thin and thick lines, cool and warm colors, dark and light, or smooth and rough textures. Contrast helps different elements stand out.

4. Hierarchy
Creates a visual organization to a design and gives the reader an idea of where to begin and finish reading. Each element that is part of the design can be given a ranking of priority.

5. Balance
Visual balance comes from arranging the elements so that no section is heavier than another. Sometimes elements are thrown out of balance to give emphasis or create a certain mood.

To produce a graphic design that clients will love. You need to learn these basic principles and apply them to your design projects.

2. Learning Graphic Design Tools

An effective graphic design tool not only enhances efficiency but also helps in putting attractive creativity into real-world design.

The following are the best graphic design tool on the market right now:

1. Adobe Illustrator
Offers 2D or 3D graphics manipulation to increase efficiency in the design workflow.

2. Adobe Photoshop
It is one of the most popular photo editing software tools in the market in a robust package that offers excellent graphic design capabilities.

3. Canva
It uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that is easy to use for individuals with no previous experience in graphic design.

3. Work On Your Projects

To develop your graphic design skills, you need to apply what you learned in the first and second steps. The third step in how to become a freelance graphic designer is to work on your personal projects.

While you are learning to become a freelance graphic designer. You need to practice doing design by creating infographics, posters, or social media posts for your personal brand.

4. Develop A Portfolio

A portfolio is an online representation of the work you have created, as well as your skills and experiences. It could be a website, blog, or even a video channel.

The fourth step in how to become a freelance graphic designer is to develop a portfolio.

A strong portfolio is a must if you plan to bring in clients on your own. Use your portfolio as a showpiece to sell your work to potential clients.

Think of your portfolio as a best friend who tells others about you at a party while you are not there. They are not shy to tell others about your experiences, achievements, and personality.

A portfolio promotes your brand and connects with your visitors. You can also use your website for marketing purposes

5. Grow Your Network

When it comes to networking, LinkedIn is everyone’s top choice. However, If you’re a freelance graphic designer, you might need a platform where you can showcase your work and display all your creative talents.

The fifth step in how to become a freelance graphic designer is growing your network. The following are the top social networking sites for freelance graphic designers.

1. Pinterest
Suitable for visualizing your ideas and projects. Operates in the form of pins.

2. Dribbble
Best for quickly exchanging bite-sized information. Previously named “Twitter for designers” as everything here is bite-sized.

3. Behance
One of the most widely-known portfolio websites for designers to showcase their work and discover talented professionals.

Networking smart can get you the clients you need, as well as your first big project. Showcasing your work is a big part of it, and a great way to get exposure and start making a name for yourself.

6. Create Referral Network

Referrals are the best way to get low-cost leads for your graphic design business. The sixth step in how to become a freelance graphic designer is to create a referral network.

Once you secure a referral and you can convert it into a paying client, you’ll want to ask that client for more referrals, and the cycle continues.

To guarantee a referral from your client, make sure he/she is satisfied with your work.

There will come a time when every freelancer is maxed out. You just can’t take another project because you are busy and that is ok.

Refer clients to other graphic designers that you trust. Creating a referral network that you can send clients to establishes your reputation and can work reciprocally when other freelancers refer clients back to you. Only send clients to other designers that you trust.


To position yourself as the best freelance graphic designer in the marketplace, you need to work smart and work hard. 

I hope these tips gave you an idea about how to become a freelance graphic designer. Click this link for more freelancing tricks.

Written by: Japhet Torres, creator of

People Also Ask

Becoming a freelance graphic designer is no easy task. but it's completely worth the effort. Being a freelance graphic designer can be freeing.

The time it takes to become a freelance graphic designer can vary depending on the person's education and experience. A typical university program can take four years, while a graphic design course can range from a few weeks to a few months.

The simple truth is that you'll almost certainly make more money as a graphic designer if you go freelance full-time. Doing the 9-5 limits the time you have to freelance to evenings and weekends.

Despite limited employment growth, about 23,900 openings for graphic designers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

While you don't need a formal education to become a graphic designer, you do need to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals.

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