How To Make Money As A Graphic Designer | Full Guide

The demand for skilled graphic designers continues to rise as the world continues to rely more on digital communication and technology. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, the opportunities to make money as a graphic designer are abundant and varied.

In this article, we will provide you with a complete guide on how to make money as a graphic designer in 2023. From freelance work to start your own business, we will cover a range of options to help you turn your design skills into a profitable career.

We will also provide tips on how to stand out in a competitive market, build your portfolio, and attract clients.

Whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a full-time job, this guide will provide the tools and resources to maximize your graphic design skills in 2023.

Who is a Graphics Designer?

A graphic designer combines text, images, and other visual elements to create visually appealing designs that communicate a message or idea to a specific audience. Graphic designers may work in various industries, including advertising, publishing, web design, and branding.

Their work can range from designing logos, brochures, and advertisements to creating website layouts, packaging, and product designs. A graphic designer must understand design principles, typography, color theory, and software tools such as Adobe Creative Suite.

 They must also have excellent communication and problem-solving skills to work effectively with clients and team members.

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What does a Graphics Designer do?

A graphic designer typically creates visual designs and artwork that communicate a message or idea to a specific audience. Here are some everyday tasks that a graphic designer may perform:

  • Designing logos, brochures, advertisements, and other marketing materials
  • Creating visual elements for websites, mobile apps, and other digital media
  • Developing packaging and product designs
  • Choosing and incorporating appropriate colors, typography, and layout to create a cohesive design
  • Collaborating with clients and team members to determine project goals and requirements
  • Incorporating feedback from clients and team members to refine designs
  • Preparing plans for print or digital publication
  • Staying up-to-date with design trends and new software tools
  • Managing multiple projects simultaneously and meeting deadlines.

A graphic designer’s specific tasks and responsibilities can vary depending on the industry they work in, the type of project they are working on, and their level of experience.

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How To Make Money As A Graphic Designer

Graphic designers have several popular ways to make money in 2023, including:


Many graphic designers work as freelancers, offering their services to clients on a project-by-project basis. This can provide flexibility and variety in their work and the potential to earn more money per project.

Full-time employment

Some graphic designers prefer the stability and benefits of full-time employment with a company or agency. This can offer steady work and the opportunity to work on larger, more complex projects.

Selling digital products

Graphic designers can create and sell digital products such as stock photos, templates, and design assets on platforms like Etsy, Creative Market, and Envato.

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Design contests

Some designers participate in online design contests, allowing them to submit their work to win prize money or other rewards.

Online courses and tutorials

Graphic designers can create and sell online courses or tutorials on platforms like Udemy or Skillshare to share their expertise and earn passive income.


Some graphic designers use print-on-demand services to create and sell their own designs on products like t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases.

Overall, the demand for graphic design services should continue growing in 2023, offering many opportunities for designers to make a living using their skills and creativity.

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How do I build a Strong Portfolio as a Graphic Designer to Attract Clients?

Building a solid portfolio is critical for attracting clients as a graphic designer. Here are some tips for creating an impressive portfolio:

  • Showcase your best work: Choose your most vital pieces and put them front and center in your portfolio. Make sure they represent your range of skills and abilities.
  • Tell a story: Arrange your work in a way that tells a story about who you are as a designer and the type of work you want to do. Use a consistent style and layout to create a cohesive and professional look.
  • Include a variety of projects: Showcase your versatility by including a variety of design projects in your portfolio. This includes logos, brochures, websites, packaging, and more.
  • Highlight your process: Provide insight into your design process by including sketches, drafts, and mockups. This shows potential clients that you are thorough and detail-oriented in your work.
  • Keep it up to date: Regularly update your portfolio with new and relevant work to keep it fresh and reflect your current skills.
  • Tailor it to your target audience: Customize your portfolio to showcase work relevant to the clients or industries you want to work with.
  • Get feedback: Seek feedback from other designers or industry professionals to help you improve your portfolio and make it as strong as possible.

By creating a solid portfolio that showcases your skills and abilities, you can attract clients and build a successful career as a graphic designer.

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Can I Make A Full-Time Income as a Freelance Graphic Designer in 2023?

Yes, it is possible to earn full-time as a freelance graphic designer in 2023. Many graphic designers work as freelancers and make a good living. However, it can take time and effort to build up a steady stream of clients and establish a strong reputation in the industry.

To increase your chances of making a full-time income as a freelance graphic designer, here are some things you can do:

  • Build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work and demonstrating your skills.
  • Network with other designers and professionals in the industry, attend events and conferences and connect with potential clients through social media.
  • Set competitive prices for your services, taking into account your level of experience, the complexity of the project, and the industry standard.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest design trends and software tools to remain competitive and offer the best possible service to your clients.
  • Provide excellent customer service, including clear communication, timely delivery of work, and the ability to incorporate client feedback.
  • Consider specializing in a particular design area, such as web design, branding, or packaging, to differentiate yourself and attract clients seeking specific skills and expertise.

Remember, building a successful freelance career as a graphic designer takes time, effort, and patience, but it is possible to make a full-time income doing what you love.

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What Are The Essential Tools And Software A Graphic Designer Needs To Know In 2023?

In 2023, graphic designers should be familiar with various tools and software to create high-quality designs. Here are some essential tools and software that a graphic designer needs to know:

Adobe Creative Suite

This includes popular programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, which are industry standards for creating and editing images, vector graphics, and layouts.


Sketch is a vector-based design tool for creating UI/UX designs for websites and mobile apps.

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Figma is a cloud-based design tool becoming increasingly popular for its collaborative features and user-friendly interface.


Procreate is a digital painting and illustration app ideal for creating digital artwork and illustrations.


Canva is a simple online design tool that allows users to create graphics, social media posts, and other visual content quickly and easily.

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Trello or Asana

These project management tools help designers keep track of their tasks, deadlines, and progress.

Dropbox or Google Drive

These cloud storage platforms help share and store design files securely.

Pantone Color Guides

These guides provide a standardized system for color matching and are essential for print design.

As a graphic designer, staying up-to-date with the latest software and tools is essential to remain competitive and offer the best possible service to clients.

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How Do I Determine My Rates As A Graphic Designer In 2023?

Determining your rates as a graphic designer in 2023 can be challenging, as there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are several factors to consider when setting your rates:

  • Your experience and skill level: If you are starting, you may need to set lower rates to attract clients. You can increase your rates accordingly as you gain more experience and skills.
  • The complexity of the project: More complex tasks, such as branding or web design, may require higher rates due to the time and effort involved.
  • Your location: Rates may vary depending on your area’s cost of living and demand for graphic design services.
  • Your target market: Rates may differ depending on the type of clients you are targeting, such as small businesses or giant corporations.
  • Industry standards: Research industry standards and compare rates with other graphic designers to understand what rates are reasonable in your area and for your experience level.
  • Your expenses: Consider your expenses, such as software subscriptions, hardware, and overhead costs, and factor them into your rates.

Once you have considered these factors, you can determine your rates by calculating your hourly or project rates. You can also offer packages or bundles of services to provide clients with options that fit their budgets and needs. Remember, it’s essential to set fair and reasonable rates while allowing you to earn a living wage for your work.

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Is It Better To Work For A Design Agency Or To Be A Freelance Graphic Designer In 2023?

The choice between working for a design agency or being a freelance graphic designer in 2023 depends on your personal preferences, work style, and career goals. Here are some factors to consider:

Working for a Design Agency:


  • Steady income: Working for a design agency can provide a steady income and benefits, such as health insurance, paid vacation time, and retirement plans.
  • Collaborative work environment: Design agencies often work on larger projects with a team of designers, which can provide opportunities for collaboration and mentorship.
  • Diverse portfolio: Working for a design agency can provide opportunities to work on various projects and clients, which can help build a diverse portfolio.


  • Limited creative control: Working for a design agency may mean you have less control over the creative process and the project’s direction.
  • Extended hours: Design agencies often work on tight deadlines and may require long hours to meet client needs.
  • Limited flexibility: Working for a design agency may require a set schedule and little flexibility, which may not be ideal for some individuals.

Being a Freelance Graphic Designer:


  • Flexibility: Freelance graphic designers can choose their schedules and work from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Creative control: Freelance graphic designers have more control over the creative process and the project’s direction.
  • Potential for higher income: Freelance graphic designers can often set their rates and have the potential to earn more income than a salaried position.


  • Inconsistent income: Freelance graphic designers may experience fluctuations in revenue due to the unpredictable nature of project work and client demand.
  • Self-promotion: Freelance graphic designers must be willing to promote themselves and their services to attract clients.
  • Administrative tasks: Freelance graphic designers must handle administrative tasks such as invoicing, bookkeeping, and taxes.

Ultimately, choosing between working for a design agency or being a freelance graphic designer comes from personal preference and career goals. Some designers may prefer the stability and collaborative environment of a design agency, while others may value the flexibility and creative control of freelancing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular ways for graphic designers to make money in 2023?

Some of the most popular ways for graphic designers to make money in 2023 include freelancing, starting a design agency, working in-house for a company, and selling digital products or services online.

Can I make a full-time income as a freelance graphic designer in 2023?

Yes, it’s possible to earn full-time as a freelance graphic designer in 2023. However, it requires building a solid portfolio, networking with potential clients, and constantly improving your skills to stay competitive.

What are the essential tools and software that a graphic designer needs to know in 2023?

In 2023, graphic designers must know popular design software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Figma, Sketch, and Canva. They must also be proficient in website design, UI/UX design, and mobile app design.

How do I determine my rates as a graphic designer in 2023?

To determine your rates as a graphic designer in 2023, you need to consider your level of experience, the complexity of the project, the timeline, and the industry standard rates. You can also research online to see what other graphic designers charge for similar work.

How can I stay up-to-date with the latest design techniques and industry trends in 2023?

To stay up-to-date with the latest design techniques and industry trends in 2023, you can join online design communities, attend design conferences and workshops, read design blogs and publications, and take online courses to learn new skills. It’s essential to constantly improve your skills and stay updated with the latest trends to remain competitive.


The field of graphic design offers many opportunities for professionals to make a living doing what they love. From traditional employment to freelancing, there are multiple avenues for graphic designers to earn a decent income in 2023.

However, you must be creative, adaptable, and always willing to learn new skills and techniques to succeed in this field. With a solid portfolio, a clear understanding of the market, and a willingness to market yourself and network with potential clients, you can achieve success as a graphic designer.

This complete guide has provided you with the necessary information to build your graphic design career, and we hope that it has given you the confidence to pursue your passions and achieve your career goals.

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