Career Planning for Freelance Web Designers

Freelance web designers careers are becoming a major creative outlet for a lot of talented people across a very wide range of areas. These are the true new media careers, and they’re expanding into new types of career modes which are rewriting the rules for working in media.


The first major career issues for freelance web designers is qualifications. Although the basic web design qualifications are both essential and unavoidable, for career purposes the design role has to expand. Freelance web designers often offer a huge range of services, and study in particular forms of web media and types of design services is a natural development.

(Note: The usual career qualifications for web design are degree level. Some designers do work on lower levels of qualification like certificates, but for major jobs the degrees are the preferred option.)

Experience and Portfolio Development

Most freelance web designers work as interns during qualifications. These internships are an invaluable career asset when starting out, and will get you your first jobs as a freelancer. They’re also particularly useful if you intend to specialize in an area of web design.

Your early freelance work will usually be pretty basic. That’s better news than it sounds, because these early jobs help establish a working portfolio. It’s advisable to get jobs which cover a range of web design, because some of the contract web design jobs are often hybridized tasks like creating templates, doing artwork and graphics and multimedia combination jobs, not single tasks. As you career develops, so will your portfolio. The business and creative opportunities also develop along these lines, so pick your jobs well.

The Business Angle- Watch Your Cashflow!

This early portfolio helps provides a good income, too. It’s extremely important for freelancers in their early stages, particularly those in a very competitive field like freelance web designers, to maintain a healthy business cashflow.

The cashflow not only pays bills, it can pay for:

  • A degree
  • Advertising your services
  • Materials
  • Upgrading your software and equipment to meet contract standards 

Career Dynamics

Freelance web designers work in a uniquely flexible form of media. The career options are equally flexible, if you know how to use them. Career progression in this field can be multi-tracked.

You can develop your skills and services in several areas as part of your package of services, and this can pay off extremely well in terms of career credentials, technical capacity and portfolio values, as well as letting your creativity off the leash.

For example, each of the basic web design studies can progress into new fields:

  • Graphics- Visual media, animation, photography, video, 3D graphics and animation, design services with multimedia
  • Business web design- Databases, commercial website design services, multimedia, advertising, marketing, e-commerce
  • Multimedia- Content production, graphics, animation, TV, web TV,

Freelance web designers can actually do all of these as an integrated, natural series of career moves, because of the common elements in each area.

If you’re seeing how your creativity is going to have some fun with these roles, you’re right. No other form of media even approaches this level of multi skilling or range of job opportunities. Freelance web designers never get stale. They’re too busy.