Let’s get one thing straight: graphic design is a face-paced industry that requires everyone in the field to keep pace. After all, the market is introduced every year to new trends, techs, and techniques. And all these matters heavily impact your career opportunities, let alone when working as a freelancer. The following tips will show you how to have a thriving creative career.
1. Get Rid of Distractions
Disturbances are always there whether you work as a freelancer or with a company. And as a graphic designer, you know how much focus you are required to get every project done. Don’t fret; below are some tips to free yourself from any distraction while working on a crucial task:
- Clear your workspace: The best way to combat distraction is to declutter your workspace. Keep all inessential items off of your desk surface. These include emotion-inducing stuff like photos.
- Create a designated workspace: This one is essential for freelancers. To do this, you may convert unused space into a home office. The benefits of having this room will be regularly seen, mainly if it’s also supported by the daily habit of an office worker.
- Block certain sites: Graphic designers require internet access to do work. Consider using software that can temporarily block specific sites you have an interest in but could distract you from your design work. You still have internet access, but only to visit websites that are related to your task.
2. Master New Design Skills
As you know, graphic design is an ever-evolving industry where the tools are constantly changing, and designers must keep up with those advances. The reason is that it’s the only method to guarantee that you possess the competencies that most businesses currently seek. Therefore, it’s essential to expand the list of your design skills, which includes hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are more about measurable, specialized abilities, such as the capacity to use specific design programs. Some of the widely-used ones include Adobe Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Photoshop CC, and CorelDraw. If you are only proficient in one of them, it’s highly advised to master the others as well.
Meanwhile, soft skills are comparably less tangible since there are no actual means to measure them. A few examples of soft skills graphic designers ought to have to include flexibility, time management, and teamwork. And you could provide some case studies to show them off to prospective employers or clients.
Mastering all these skills will increase your credibility as a qualified graphic designer. Therefore, you will need to mention them as qualifications you possess in your portfolio.
3. Explore New Career Opportunities
Graphic design is a vast field with a plethora of work prospects. As a graphic designer yourself, you may have been working with a wide range of clients. While it can be fun at some point, you still don’t want to be a master of none.
Especially for self-employed designers, your network may be affected if you hone your skills to focus on a particular area within this creative field. But on the bright side, it could be a pivotal aspect of taking your career to an entirely new level.
Exploring new career opportunities means that you have a lot of options. Still, eventually, you will need to focus on one specific area that could be a good fit for you. And it’s advised to opt for one that is currently in demand. Web design, for example, this position is projected to increase by around 13% from 2020 to 2030, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Having a specialty means you will have a sense of direction. This can also help you win more new clients because most of them want to work with graphic designers experienced in the subject.
4. Hone Your Communication Skills
You were once a newcomer in the graphic design industry with a burning passion for improving your creative competencies as quickly as possible. You even began to dig deep into what skills are possessed by professionals like Design Managers or Senior Designers. And then you came up with one question: what actually makes a good graphic designer?
Good designers are many things, but they are all just excellent communicators. You may master as much design software as you want, but you will be nothing more than a pixel pusher if you have no communication skills.
Communication skills for graphic designers go beyond being able to talk and convey well. It permeates every facet of the role and responsibilities of a designer. These include presenting work, understanding product requirements, providing and receiving feedback, pitching ideas, and many more.
That is why it’s essential to improve your written and oral communication skills. Your hard skills will only get you so far. But the ability to speak the same language as clients and successfully convey your creative views and ideas will take you all the way.
5. Look for Some Freelance Gigs
Graphic design is one of the many versatile career options available in this day and age. You can always be your own boss and manager of your time however you see fit. This works well, primarily if you used to work as a full-time graphic designer but currently find yourself between jobs or simply want to change the direction of your career.
Pursuing some freelance gigs will bring you to a whole new level of experience. And if you impress clients with your work, your chances of landing permanent positions will significantly increase.
Then, how easy is it to get a freelance gig? There are a bunch of job portals that make it easy to see available opportunities for freelance design jobs. Some of them include Fiverr, UpWork, and 99designs. With the many freelancers competing, make sure you hone your portfolio to stand out.
It’s also advised for you to use social media for advertising your services in an effort to attract potential clients. Instagram is easily your best bet for showing your stellar portfolio that can help you land freelance gigs.
6. Improve How You Sell Yourself
It’s less likely that you will have difficulty successfully promoting your work as a professional in the graphic design industry. Putting together a portfolio that stands out from the competition should be an easy-peasy thing. Likewise, each attribute and credential within the portfolio are not strange for you.
However, graphic designers often have specific difficulties while trying to sell themselves. If you are in this position, consider revising your current biography on social channels or on a website. Do the same action to your resume because the perfect word choices you use in it will increase your chances of grabbing and impressing potential clients or employers in an instant.
In some cases, graphic designers may feel a little awkward when they have to talk about all the wonderful things they have accomplished in their professional life. Let alone putting them on their resume.
However, it’s crucial to recognize and appreciate any accomplishments or positive evaluations you have achieved throughout your career. After all, employers won’t have any cause to question you if you use all your professional achievements to support the quality of your portfolio design.
7. Connect With Other Creatives
If you work as a full-time worker in a graphic design agency, working with other designers is not uncommon. But some freelancers are also required to team up with others when the project is relatively big, and the deadlines are tight.
The most likely situation, though, is that you will always have to collaborate with other creatives throughout the project. In this case, it’s impossible for you to be a one-man army, and you ought to lose such a mindset.
Notable examples include teaming up with SEO specialists, writers, photographers, and other types of creatives. All these people may have a critical role in the success of any projects you are working on.
Above all things, these creative souls have the potential to be crucial connections for your professional network. Since you don’t directly compete, you may keep one another in mind while working with clients about similar jobs. These kinds of agreements may, of course, be quite advantageous to both parties.
8. Consider Mentoring
Finding some freelance gigs or collaborating with other creatives are not the only methods to boost your graphic design career. Many aspiring graphic designers today are looking for guidance to develop their abilities. In this case, teaching could be a good fit for you if you have the required qualifications.
Not only will teaching increase your stability, but it is also the best way to hone your skills. After all, teaching is the best way to learn. This side job can take various forms. You can work part-time in a design school or attend some workshops; the options are innumerable.
If you have a considerable amount of free time, you could create an online paid courses website. This option could make it possible for you to get regular payments from aspiring graphic designers around the world.
Some designers out there even double as content creators who focus on sharing educational content related to design on many video-based social platforms. This could be an excellent fit for you if you don’t find any trouble in making and editing videos.
9. Join Third-Party Design Platforms
Finding some side gigs in the graphic design field is always a new challenge. It’s also never easy to find clients due to the tight competition. For that reason, you need to perform specific methods for them to easily find you.
Building a solid social media presence or investing in SEO for your design website will help you market yourself. But an increasing number of companies will usually go straight to specific websites of self-employed designers.
There is a wide range of sites to choose from and finding the ones that will give you the highest chance of success ought to be a priority. You don’t always have to join a freelance job portal. You can directly sell your design works in various design marketplaces. This, of course, can help you start off your side gig by saving you lots of time and money.
10. Learn to Say “NO”
This tip is dedicated to freelancers or contractors in the graphic design industry. Graphic designers who have been working independently for years are truly aware of how easy it is to fall into the trap of saying “yes” to every job offered. If you are new in this career path, be advised that there will always be some clash between projects.
But with a great sense of organization, there should not be any difficulty for you to manage your workload and give priority to the right job. You have probably aware of the fact that some clients may try to take advantage of their position by receiving services for free. And this is one of the worst things about pursuing a career in a creative field.
It’s possible for some popular sites or newspapers you are working with to help you increase your exposure. However, the bulk of jobs in this range is nothing but a waste of time, although some of them could assist you in paving the way for future achievements.
Regardless of the size of the business you are working with, quality design products will always impress potential clients. That is why it’s advised to only accept jobs that will directly contribute to your ability to make the most earnings. Then again, all graphic designers should prioritize the highest income. If you think the job won’t benefit you in many aspects, encourage yourself to say “no.”
Graphic design is a fast-moving industry that requires professionals in this field to keep pace with all the advancements. Now that you know the pro tips to thrive in this creative industry, it’s now your turn to put them into practice. Select the ones that could be an excellent fit for your desired career path, and then get going. We have faith in your abilities!