20 Creative Side Business Ideas For Graphic Designers
Are you hunting for ideas for side businesses for graphic designers? Do you long for new sources of extra income?
With the right strategies and resources, there are plenty of ways you can monetize your talents and start earning more money in your spare time with interesting side projects in addition to regular client work.
Whether you're a seasoned designer or just starting out, these creative side business ideas will help you increase your income and broaden your skill set while doing what you love most: designing graphics!
This article will explore a wide range of options available and provide valuable tips on how to get started promoting your services, network with industry professionals, and build recognition for your side hustle endeavours so that developing a profitable part-time venture is well within reach!
Work For Business Owners
Working for other businesses is a great way to monetize your skills as a graphic designer. You can offer services such as logo design, website design, brochure and flyer design, product packaging design, and more. You can also create custom designs for business cards, letterheads, and other marketing materials.
When working with other businesses, it’s important to be professional and provide quality work.
1. Freelance for corporate clients
Earning money through freelance design work for corporations is an excellent way to utilize your graphic design skills.
Corporate clients often need help with the creation of graphic design work for their websites, logos, brochures, and other marketing materials. You can offer your services to these clients and charge a fee for the work you do.
By doing a good job for one client, you may find yourself with more work from that same client or referrals to other potential clients.
2. Create motion graphics and animations
Motion graphics and animations are becoming increasingly popular in the world of graphic design. Motion graphics can be used to create stunning visuals for websites, videos, and other digital media. Animations can also be used to create engaging stories or explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way.
Creating motion graphics and animations requires a good understanding of animation software such as Adobe After Effects or Cinema 4D, and therefore, as it is something that can't be simply learned in a day, it can be a great way to monetize your skills and charge a premium for your services.
3. Design magazine and book covers or inside pages
Utilize your graphic design talents by creating magazine and book covers or interior pages to earn money. You can create beautiful designs for the covers of magazines, books, and other publications. You can also design the inside pages of these publications, such as the layout and typography.
When designing magazine and book covers or inside pages, it’s important to keep in mind the target audience and the overall theme of the publication.
4. Work for other creative entrepreneurs setting up their business
Working for other creative entrepreneurs and helping them set up their businesses is a great way to use your skills as a graphic designer. You can use your graphic design skills, but also gain an understanding of what's required to set up your very own business with the financial risk on someone else's shoulders.
If you plan to set up your own business one day, then this can be a great way to gain experience and learn from someone else's mistakes. A tool that we have developed that will help reduce the number of mistakes, reduce your stress, and add clarity to your life is the Morning Mindset Journal. It is designed to help creative entrepreneurs like you start their day with intention and purpose. It will help you focus on the positive aspects of life, practise gratitude, and remind yourself of your vision and purpose.
Develop Niche Products And Services
You can create custom designs for specific industries or target audiences. For example, you could create logos, websites, and other marketing materials for restaurants, fashion brands, or tech startups, depending on where your interests and knowledge lie.
5. Offer poster and flyer design services
Posters and flyers are effective ways to promote events, products, or services. You can create eye-catching designs that will grab the attention of potential customers.
Businesses are always in need of promotional services, so you can offer your services to create posters and flyers for them that will attract customers and drive sales.
6. Make websites using templates or with coding knowledge
Creating websites is a great way to use your graphic design skills. You can create stunning visuals for websites using templates or with coding knowledge. If you have coding knowledge, you can create custom designs that will make your clients' websites stand out from the competition.
You can also offer website maintenance services, such as updating content, fixing bugs, and making sure the website is optimised for search engines.
7. Create colourful vector art you can sell online
Vector art is a type of digital artwork that can be used for logos, illustrations, and other graphic design projects. You can create unique designs and sell them online on websites such as Etsy or Creative Market.
Vector art is easy to customise and scale, so it’s perfect for creating logos, illustrations, and other graphic design projects. However, creating vector art can be time-consuming and requires a certain level of skill.
Developing niche products and services could be the idea for you, but before you make up your mind, you could specialise in specific types of graphic design projects.
Specializing In Specific Types Of Graphic Design Projects
A great way to start is to offer your graphic design services in the field of something you're interested in, such as a certain sport or music genre. This way, you can create designs that are tailored to the specific needs of your clients that you are interested in.
For example, if you're a fan of basketball, you could specialise in creating logos and other graphics for basketball teams. Or if you're a fan of hip-hop music, you could specialise in creating album covers and other artwork for hip-hop artists.
By specialising in certain types of graphic design projects, you can become an expert in that field and be able to offer more specialised services to your clients.
8. Become a product packaging designer
Product packaging is an important part of any product’s marketing strategy. It can help attract customers and differentiate a product from its competitors. As a graphic designer, you can create eye-catching designs for product packaging that will make your clients’ products stand out from the competition.
You can offer services such as designing labels, boxes, and other packaging materials for products. You can also offer services such as creating product mock-ups and 3D renderings of the packaging.
9. Develop illustrations to show ideas visually
Illustrations are a great way to communicate ideas visually and can be used in a variety of ways. As a graphic designer, you can create illustrations for books, magazines, websites, and other media.
You can also develop illustrations for presentations and infographics that will help your clients explain their ideas more effectively.
10. Create wallpaper designs for sale
Wallpaper designs are a great way to add a unique touch to any room. As a graphic designer, you can create beautiful wallpaper designs that can be sold online or in stores. You can create designs for all types of rooms, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and living rooms.
You can also create designs for specific themes such as nature, abstract art, and geometric patterns.
Creating wallpaper designs requires a certain level of skill and creativity, so it’s a great way to showcase your talent as a graphic designer.
11. Design letterheads, business cards, brochures, etc
As a graphic designer, you can offer services to create letterheads, business cards, brochures, and other printed materials for businesses. You can create designs that are tailored to the needs of your clients and help them stand out from their competitors.
You can also offer services such as creating logos and branding materials that will help businesses establish their identity. By offering these services, you can help businesses create a professional and cohesive look for their brand.
If specialising in specific types of graphic design projects isn't for you, how about trying to teach your graphic design skills to others?
Teach Your Graphic Design Skills
Teaching your graphic design skills to others is a great way to make money and share your knowledge with the world. You can offer classes or workshops in person or online, depending on what works best for you.
You can also create tutorials that explain how to use specific design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. By teaching your skills to others, you can help them become better designers and make money at the same time.
12. Teach classes on graphic design fundamentals
Graphic design is an ever-evolving field, and it’s important for designers to stay up to date on the latest trends and techniques. As a graphic designer, you can offer classes or workshops on the fundamentals of graphic design.
You could teach topics such as colour theory, composition, typography, logo design, and more, the list is almost endless!
13. Offer tutorials on certain elements of design
As a graphic designer, you can create tutorials that focus on certain elements of design, such as colour theory, composition, typography, logo design, and more. You can also create tutorials that explain how to use specific design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
Offering tutorials is a helpful way to help fellow designers improve their design skills while also rewarding you financially.
14. Create online courses on graphic design
Creating online courses on graphic design is a great way to share your knowledge and make money at the same time. You can create courses that focus on specific topics such as colour theory, composition, typography, logo design, and more. You can also create courses that explain how to use specific design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
By creating online courses, you can reach a wider audience and help more people become better designers. Along with that, it can generate a passive income depending on how you set it up. Just imagine earning money while you sleep!
15. Become a mentor to aspiring designers
Mentoring aspiring designers is a great way to help others while also furthering your own career. As a mentor, you can offer advice and guidance on what you would do differently if you were to do it all again. You can also help them develop their skills and give them feedback on their work to ensure they succeed as quickly as possible.
By becoming a mentor, you can help others become better designers while also building your own network of contacts and generating a revenue stream!
Teaching others can be draining, and it often relies on others. Therefore, selling your graphic design work might be the solution for you.
Sell Your Graphic Design Work
Selling your graphic design work is a great way to make money from your skills and creativity. You can create designs for logos, websites, flyers, brochures, and more. You can also offer custom design services, such as creating illustrations or designing t-shirts.
You can sell your designs on online marketplaces such as Etsy or Creative Market. Or you can also create your own website to showcase and sell your work.
By selling your designs, you can make money from your skills and creativity while also gaining exposure for yourself as a designer.
16. Sell your designs as stock art or illustrations
Stock art or illustrations are a great way to make money from your designs without having to create custom work for each client. You can create illustrations, logos, icons, and more and then sell them as stock art on online marketplaces such as Shutterstock or iStockPhoto.
By selling your designs as stock art or illustrations, you can make money from your skills and creativity while also gaining exposure for yourself as a designer.
17. Offer custom design services on Fiverr or Upwork
Offering custom design services on Fiverr or Upwork is a great way to make money from your skills and creativity. You can offer services such as logo design, website design, flyer design, brochure design, and more. You can also offer custom illustration services, such as creating characters or designing t-shirts.
By offering custom design services on Fiverr or Upwork, you can make money from your skills and creativity while also gaining exposure for yourself as a designer. And what's more, a platform like Upwork will make it easier for you to get in front of potential clients quicker and easier.
If you are looking for an even greater source of income and total freedom, a side business might not be the thing for you; in fact, what you are actually looking for is to start your own business.
Below, we have outlined some business ideas for graphic designers to start right away.
Jump Straight Into A Full-Time Business
Building your own full-time business as a graphic designer is an exciting prospect, and it’s one that can be achieved with the right strategies and resources. However, you will need to have enough money to tie you over in the interim when you are setting up the business and potentially not earning.
If you have enough money to last three months without earning and understand marketing and sales strategies, this could be the option for you.
18. Start a full-time digital design subscription service
By starting a digital design subscription service, you can monetize your graphic design skills and create a steady stream of income.
You can offer customers access to an exclusive library of digital products such as graphics, templates, and other digital assets that they can use to create stunning visuals for their projects. This is a great way to make money from your skills and creativity while also gaining exposure for yourself as a designer.
Think of all the problem areas you have faced as a graphic designer, and how you could create a subscription service that people would pay for to solve them?
19. Start a graphic design agency
Establishing a graphic design business is an excellent means of monetizing your abilities and forming a profitable business.
You can offer a range of services, such as logo design, web design, branding, and marketing materials. You could also specialise in areas like infographics, colouring books, or even motion graphics.
By leveraging your network of contacts and building relationships with potential clients, you can quickly build up a portfolio of work and start to generate income from your agency.
Just think, how cool would it be in 3 years time, that you were running a creative graphic design business with a team of 5 people working for you?
You could be the one creating graphic design jobs, as opposed to the one looking for them!
It's all possible; it's just whether you want it or not!
20. Become an independent e-commerce store owner
Starting an independent e-commerce store is a great way to monetize your graphic design skills and create a steady stream of income. By creating and selling products such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, or other items with your own designs, you can reach a wide audience and generate sales from customers all over the world.
You will need to invest in setting up the store, but once it’s up and running, you can start to generate income from your designs.
Another thing that is great about an e-commerce store is that you can automate it. Therefore, when an order is placed, you could have a fulfilment company process the order and dispatch it, meaning you don't have to be there to sort it.
To summarize, there are numerous creative graphic design side businesses that you could start and run. The thing you need to consider before ploughing on ahead is to ask yourself why you are even wanting to do it in the first place!
After looking over all the ideas above, you may still have some unanswered questions. We have attempted to address a number of these questions, from the most common to the most complex.
So, let’s review a few frequently asked questions about this topic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about side businesses for graphic designers.
How can I market my services as a graphic designer?
Marketing your services as a graphic designer is key to success. You need to make sure that potential clients know about you and the services you offer. Here are some tips for marketing your services:
1. Create an online portfolio
Showcase your work on a website or social media platform such as Instagram, Pinterest, or Behance. This will help potential clients get an idea of the type of work you do.
Reach out to other professionals in the industry and build relationships with them. This will help you get referrals and increase your visibility. Additionally, think about who you know who could help you right now.
3. Use SEO
Optimize your website for search engines so that potential clients can find you easily when they search for graphic design services online.
Utilize paid advertising platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach a wider audience and those who you want to target, but don't forget that there is huge potential for organic growth through the use of blog writing and providing value to potential customers.
5. Offer discounts
Offer discounts and special deals to attract new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more. This will help you stand out from the competition and increase your customer base in the early days.
Should I specialise in one area rather than several?
When it comes to graphic design, it can be beneficial to specialise in one area rather than several.
Specializing in one area allows you to become an expert in that particular field and develop a reputation for providing high-quality work. This will help you stand out from the competition and attract more clients who are looking for someone with expertise in a specific area.
However, if you want to offer a wider range of services, you can still do so. Just make sure that you are able to provide the same level of quality across all areas.
What can I do if I don’t have enough clients to sustain my side business?
If you don't have enough clients to sustain your side business, there are a few things you can do.
First, you should focus on marketing and networking to reach more potential customers. Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Behance to showcase your work and build relationships with other professionals in the industry.
Additionally, use SEO techniques to optimize your website for search engines so that potential clients can find you easily when they search for graphic design services online.
Second, you should consider offering discounts or special deals to attract new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more. This will help you stand out from the competition and increase your customer base in the early days.
Finally, think about diversifying your services to offer a wider range of products or services.
Are there any challenges that come with starting a side business for graphic designers?
Yes, there are several challenges that come with starting a side business for graphic designers.
One of the biggest challenges is finding enough clients to sustain your business. As a new business, it can be difficult to stand out from the competition and attract customers. What's more, it can be difficult to find the right balance between providing quality work and making a profit.
Another challenge is staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in graphic design. As technology advances, so do the tools used by graphic designers, and it's important to stay on top of these changes in order to remain competitive.
Finally, managing your time effectively is essential for success. It can be difficult to juggle your side business with your day job and other commitments, so it's important to plan ahead and make sure you have enough time to dedicate to both. A tool that we have developed to help ensure you create a great balance in your life is the weekly planner pad, which is a tool that empowers you to prioritise.
The Weekly Planner gives you the freedom and flexibility to handle unforeseen events, shift appointments, cherish relationships and interactions with others, and deeply enjoy spontaneous experiences, knowing that you have proactively organised your week to achieve key goals in all areas of your life.
What are the best ways to price my services?
When pricing your services, it’s important to consider the value of your work and the market rate for similar services. You should also factor in any additional costs, such as software or equipment, that you may need to purchase in order to complete a project.
It’s also important to be aware of the competition and what they are charging for similar services. This will help you determine a competitive price that will attract customers without undervaluing your work.
Finally, you should consider offering discounts or special deals to attract new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more. This will help you stand out from the competition and increase your customer base in the early days.
What marketing strategies should I use to promote my side business?
When it comes to marketing your side business, there are several strategies you can use to promote your services and graphic design business venture and reach potential customers.
One of the most effective strategies is creating a website or blog that showcases your work and provides information about your services. This will help you establish credibility and showcase your portfolio to potential clients. You should also consider setting up social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach a wider audience.
Another great strategy is to network with other professionals in the industry. This will help you build relationships with potential clients and get your name out there. You should also consider attending industry events or conferences to meet new people and make connections.
Finally, you should consider using paid advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, to reach a larger audience. Paid advertising can be an effective way to reach potential customers, but it’s important to ensure that you are targeting the right audience and that your ads are relevant.
We hope you are now feeling inspired and have a few ideas for side businesses for graphic designers. With creativity, determination, and effort, graphic designers can achieve success with a side hustle.
For starters, make sure you have the necessary software and hardware to make your graphics look professional and invest in marketing strategies like creating an online portfolio or providing discounts for loyal clients.
It is worth considering specialising in one area, such as logo design or illustration, so that you become an expert in that field and can become the go-to person in that area.
However, if you are thinking that perhaps graphic design is actually something you would like to move away from, we have written an article on the top 50 innovative small business ideas for creatives.
Most importantly, whichever way you decide to go, be prepared for challenges along the way and remember that Rome was not built in a day! With time and effort put into everything you do, your side business can grow both financially and creatively over time, giving you more opportunities in life to explore!
From us all here at OCCO London, we wish you all the best on your journey to setting up your side business... You can do it!