The Downsides of Freelancing as a Graphic Designer

Working at an ad agency is not exactly my dream job. Sure, I’m getting experience, but I am not happy working there, so I thought about making the move to New York before the end of the year. In doing so I have a fair amount of fear that I could make it as a freelance graphic designer. I have a degree in design, but without a job in an advertising or marketing agency, could I make it?

To be a freelance graphic designer I would have to get clients, who would pay me to generate ad copy , brochures and logos. I will have to give out my business card to everyone I meet, and have a winning  portfolio to wow my prospective clients. Networking is a large part of my scheme, I scoured online job boards and really did not think, given the  cost of living in New York that I could afford to work for the pittance those jobs were paying.

I am a confident person, I am sure that I could advise clients on the best designs to reach their target audience. My job is to formulate this design first by hand and then using a CAD program to further flush out the colors, text, style, and layout. It required collaboration with writers who would choose the words and  then I would decide whether the words would be in paragraphs, lists or tables. I could find myself working with advertising people, promotion people, public relations and marketing.

I will have to stay current with what designs are popular, and which were no longer being used. Of, course I know that working in an ad agency, would allow my access to more jobs, but given that I liked working alone and not part of a design team, I thought freelancing would work out better for my temperament.

Creativity had always been one of my strengths, along with time-management, communication, analytical, and artistic ability. As a freelancer I have to be flexible as to the different types of jobs I would take. I would be competing with other graphic designers for the available work, instead of the jobs coming to me.

If I could get enough work designing websites for business and individuals that would be a good start. My objective is to design packaging of common products to make them more attractive to the public. There are too many snack foods on the market, making one brand’s packaging look delicious over the others would be a job I would like to attempt.

Books will often languish on the shelves because of a boring book jacket. Designing an exciting one would make the sales of the book soar. People have to notice the book, before they will read it. A vivid book jacket can assist in promoting the book to the public.

Being a freelance graphic designer, as in any freelance pursuit, is not for the faint of heart. You must have enough money, especially, if you are living in New York, to survive until you get a healthy client base. It really only takes a few good clients, and then “word of mouth”, will get you more jobs. I have been working as a graphic designer for two years, and it is time to move on to the greener pastures New York has to offer.. It will take a large “leap of faith”, but I think I am ready to move. There are people I know in NY, but no business contacts yet…