What Does a Freelance Visual Designer Do?

Being a freelance visual designer involves creating visual concepts and designs and contracting your work to clients. Keep reading to learn more about freelancing in visual and graphic design. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Freelancing in General

A freelancer is an independent contractor who isn't an actual employee of a company. As a freelancer, you are self-employed and offer your services to a client or business. With this contract, you set terms on employment, such as salary and hours. While working as a freelancer, you can work at home, a coffee shop, or any other area where you can get the work done.

Freelance work might not be for everyone. Your workload can be unpredictable at times, and you must be willing to put in the hard work some clients will require you to get a project done.

Important Facts About Freelance Visual Designers

Professional Certification Voluntary; offered by Adobe Training Services
Key Skills Clear communication, critical and analytical thinking, problem-solving, negotiation, creativity, time management, computer competency
Work Environment Studio or home-office setting; schedule depends upon workload
Similar Occupations Art directors; multimedia artists and animators; desktop publishers; craft and fine artists; web developers

Career Overview: Visual or Graphic Design

As a freelance visual or graphic designer, you would work with your clients to create illustrations and images for them. By using computer applications and software, you develop layouts and sketches that bring their ideas to life. A client might need to see a rough draft of any concepts you create, so editing and revisions might be necessary. As technology progresses in the field of computer design, you will also need to keep up with emerging technologies and software as they relate to the field.

Education Required

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) recommends having at least a bachelor's degree in graphic design to obtain employment as a graphic designer. In a bachelor's degree program, your core classes will involve working with computer software such as InDesign, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop. Learning about design applications and how to use them are key to working as a visual designer. You'll learn how to bring color, images, and theories to center stage to create effective logos and advertisements for potential clients.

If you have obtained a degree in another area, you may want to earn a certificate in graphic design. You'll learn the basics of graphic design, focusing on illustrations and practicing theories as they relate to this field. Both degree and certificate programs will help you network and gain work experience through internships. As a freelancer, having proven past experience in projects will be helpful when you interview for a contract position.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

Although the BLS does not report information for freelancers, it did publish in May 2018 that the average annual salary earned by graphic designers, in general, was $50,370. Because freelancing workers may negotiate their own rates for a project, their resulting salaries vary widely. Additionally, the BLS predicts that work opportunities will likely increase by 4% for graphic designers from 2016 to 2026.

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