How to Make Money as a Freelance Graphic Designer

By | February 5, 2017

How to Make Money as a Freelance Graphic Designer

I believe that right now, graphic designers are in demand.

A lot of businesses out there would need design work to be done in one way or another, from business cards to logos. Which is why this is the best time for all you freelance graphic designers out there to rise up !

The best part is you can do freelance graphic design work in a ton of ways, you can even design for yourself ( I’ll tell you what this means later ).

Of course you can’t just do your design at home and hope someone finds you, you have to actively seek out some opportunities.

The best place for you to make some extra money with your design work is definitely online and I will show you the best websites to do just that.

1. 99designs

If you’re not quite popular yet, you might want to find some design competitions to submit your designs. This way you aren’t waiting for people to come to you.

99designs is a great platform to do this. 99designs is a place for those requesting a design and freelance designers to come together.

How it works

The way it works is that companies or individuals come along and post a request like this :

Different contests from 99designs

Their contests page will show you all on – going requests or contests. You can see how much time you have left until the contest expires and the number of submissions on the right.

The red tags that you see will vary depending on the person putting out the request. Guaranteed means they will definitely choose a winner and pay that person. Blind means you can’t see other people’s design.

If you click on a competition you will be able to see the request in more detail. Some will have a specific color or specific words they want you to put and so on.

What’s amazing about 99designs

  • A great way for anyone to actively seek out designs
  • They have some training material as well for designers called the designer resource center
  • They have a HUGE amount of pending competitions. Currently I see 35 pages worth which is more than enough for you to find something you’re interested in
  • A great variety of requests from e-book covers to logos even product packaging designs
  • People can view your portfolio of past submissions which is a great way to promote yourself too
  • If someone likes your work they can even hire you for projects

Overall I believe this is a great platform for both designers and those in need of some design work to interact. If you’re looking to make money as a freelance graphic designer I do suggest you check it out.

2. Zazzle

Zazzle is something like an online store where designers can choose a base product, for example a plain white t-shirt and add their designs to it.

There are 3 ways to make money with Zazzle and you should choose the “become a designer” option.

How it works

1. You first choose a base product, something like a plain white t-shirt

Zazzle plain white t-shirt

2. Your chose base product will have a base price, which in this case is £16.45.

3. You can now add your design to the front or the back, in the form of an image or plain text, or both if you really want to. For simplicity I’ll add some text ( I’m not a designer ).

Zazzle adding text to t-shirt

4. You can preview your design and once you’re done click “sell it”.

5. Add your title and description and some tags, and some options to tell Zazzle about which section to put your product in, if it’s seasonal and who would be a suitable buyer.

6. Lastly you get to choose the royalty percentage. For example in this case if I chose 8% the total price would be £17.00. There is a minimum royalty of 5% which is already included in the base price.

What’s amazing about Zazzle

  • Once your product is out you can keep earning royalties when someone buys it
  • Zazzle handles the shipping, printing and customer service for you
  • You have an option to open your own shop to showcase your designs too
  • Wide variety of products from mugs to towels

Since Zazzle is more passive in a sense that you release your product and others will come find you, you might need to do some extra work here.

If you just randomly post a product you probably won’t see many sales. You have to do your research about tags and keywords to help get your products in front of those who need it and are interested.

3. Graphicriver

Graphic river is part of a bigger system or community called Envato.

Envato creative projects

Envato has a ton of offers and opportunities for creators and designers like creating themes or even making music.

We will however focus on graphic river.

How it works

1.You first choose your product category, like vectors. Vectors would look something like this :

Graphicriver character vector products

2. So in this case once you have your character design done you type in your title and description.

3. Now you have to upload your ready made files, a preview of what your selling, a thumbnail which is what you guys see in the above image and the actual files.

Graphicriver file upload

4. After this you will choose your desired category and state your included file type ( the files you put in your main file above ) like JPG, or Photoshop files.

5. Now you choose your price. There are 2 prices you have to set regular license and extended license.

If someone uses your file on a product that they give out for free then they just need the regular license, if they use your file on something they plan to sell then they need the extended license.

6. After you upload you have to wait for your design to be approved.

What’s amazing about Graphicriver

  • More focused on digital products if that’s your thing
  • Extremely diverse options for you from presentation template designs to game user interface designs
  • Once your product is released you can keep earning money

Graphicriver is more strict with the need for an approval, I haven’t tried it out personally so I’m not sure how easy it is to get approved. If you have experience with Graphicriver do leave a comment below.

Final thoughts

There are many ways for all you freelance graphic designers out there to get noticed and start making money. These are just a few examples that I’ve found.

I do believe that you do need some sort of passion in designing because if you’re just putting out low quality designs no one will buy them.

The buyers on these websites buy for a specific purpose and usually it is to be used in some other material, like this blog for example. In that case they will want something nice and appealing.

Nevertheless, whether you’re experienced or just a beginner you should give these websites a try. You will definitely learn something and improve your skills.

If you have any suggestions or want to share your own story please comment below,


2 thoughts on “How to Make Money as a Freelance Graphic Designer

  1. Tom Lawrence

    Hi Lucas,

    Really great article and very informative. If I was looking to be a free lance graphic designer then this article would definitely help me.

    Well done and keep up the great work.


    1. Lucas Post author

      Thanks a lot! I wrote this post after thinking that freelance graphic designers might be wanted these days haha.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *