Graphic designers can find part-time work either in-house or as an independent freelancer. Most designers have at least a B.A. in graphic design with a concentration in industrial design, web design or book design. Using your academic background to develop a specialty and signature style will greatly improve your chances of finding independent work. Freelance can be difficult early on as you build clientele, but as you move forward happy clients often recommend or return for your services.
Freelance Web Design
Web design is one of the main ways that many freelance graphic designers generate income. Graphic designers can charge more than web designers because they combine a visual aesthetic and technical skills. Graphic designers know how to communicate visually to solve problems. Clients can hire a graphic designer either to build a whole new website or make changes to an existing one that is not generating sufficient business because the design is not user-friendly.
Freelance Book Design
More and more authors today are deciding to self-publish their own books instead of going through publishing houses. By these authors typically still need a book designer to assist them with the cover, layout and design. Though you can't judge a book by its cover, a bad or boring design sends a negative message to potential readers. A graphic designer can help with this visual communication through font, graphics, color and even paper quality.
Brand Logo Design
Logo design is used by nearly every business. A logo should reflect the qualities that a business wants foremost in a customer's mind, such as trustworthy, fun, professional or caring. A graphic designer is able to convey these notions through visual symbols, color and font. It is also important that a logo not be overly complicated.
Part-Time In-House Designer
Large companies may have an entire design department, but smaller companies may only employ a part-time graphic designer in-house to assist in web design and maintenance or design of their own advertising campaigns. The work that you do with a single company will often be more varied than specializing as a freelance designer in one area. This is a better choice for those who prefer to work on a team or are looking to move up the ladder towards a top design position.
2016 Salary Information for Graphic Designers
Graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $47,640 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, graphic designers earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,560, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $63,340, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 266,300 people were employed in the U.S. as graphic designers.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.