Freelance Graphic Designer Career Potential

A freelance graphic designer has a job that offers both flexibility and creativity. But some difficulties also come with the job. In this article, you will read about a freelance graphic designer's job and the potential rewards of this career.


A graphic designer creates objects and media that are both functional and attractive. There is almost no limit on the products that use graphic design. Projects could include drinking cups for a fast-food restaurant, road signs, and indoor or outdoor advertising. The artist works in the medium he or she is most comfortable with. A freelance graphic designer may use software like Photoshop or QuarkXPress to model and design the product. The modern designer needs to be comfortable with using computer technology.

A freelance graphic designer works on a contract basis. A freelancer is not a permanent employee but offers graphic design services to a number of clients. The contract may be for just one job, or it may be for a specific length of time.

Education and Training

Education and training can vary quite a bit. Most graphic designers have a bachelor's Degree in graphic design as well as college-level software knowledge. But there are rare cases where the designers have educated themselves. It's usually not a bad idea to have a background in business and marketing. A freelance graphic designer especially has to be a savvy businessperson.

Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Freelance graphic designers technically answer to no one but themselves. They can accept or reject job offers as they see fit. However, this sort of freedom has its price. The freelancer needs to constantly hustle up clients in an extremely competitive environment. Freelancers must be on the lookout for new opportunities night and day. The security of being a full-time designer for a major firm is not there, so the freelancer needs to be creative not just in the actual work but in acquiring it. A professional portfolio and a well-designed, attractive website are musts.

Most freelance graphic designers are experienced and confident in their abilities. If they are aggressive in seeking clients and demonstrating their skills, many will earn more than their full-time counterparts. The most successful freelancers are often sought out by clients.

Earnings and Opportunities

As stated earlier, a freelance graphic designer has the opportunity to earn more than a full-time employee. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, freelancers average a yearly salary of $57,000, while full-timers earn around $45,000 a year. Entry-level designers have lower earnings, but that is to be expected.

Some freelance graphic designers become so successful that they can establish their own firms and hire others. The earnings of these "design directors" average $95,000, but it usually takes many years of hard work to get to that level.