How to Work from Home as a Graphic Designer
Although working from home became a (frustratingly) increasing necessity in recent times, the perks of remote work have not gone unnoticed by many. Technology now allows for effective, collaborative professional experiences, no matter where you choose to work – and graphic design is no different.
Graphic design is an integral part of any business’ communication strategy. If you have an eye for design and enjoy being creative with a clear purpose, a career in visual communications is for you.
Although some graphic designers choose to work for a design services firm or as a company’s in-house designer, working remotely is an increasingly viable and exciting option. Some possibilities to become a remote worker include becoming your own boss as a freelancinggraphic designer, or choosing to be a remote designer for a small business.
A graphic design career means you can pick and choose what projects you wish to collaborate on, who you work with and how often. Unsure whether you want to work full-time or part-time? Remote work could be the answer you’ve been looking for. As long as you have a strong means of communication with your client and the appropriate tools, you’re ready to start designing wherever you are!
An industry overview
Graphic design is often an experience-based industry – the more experience you have, the more you can justifiably charge for your services. In New Zealand, the average graphic designer with 3-5 years of industry experience can earn up to $65,000 a year. This average salary can rise to as much as $90,000 with further experience.
The design industry in New Zealand is expected to steadily grow in the upcoming years, creating more employment opportunities for entry-level designers. According to NZ government-industry reports (2020), graphic design employment is more likely if you choose to operate as a freelancer under short-term design contracts!
A remote graphic designer’s responsibilities and skills
A graphic designer, no matter in what environment they choose to work, needs to have a strong sense of creativity and a firm grasp on the design process.
Graphic designers need to:
Have good IT skills – specifically in photo-editing and design software programs (e.g. Adobe, Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, Photoshop)
Have an eye for detail
Ability to translate abstract design briefs into a workable, aesthetic product
Understand the client’s commercial environment and design trends
Although a graphic designer’s practical design skills are imperative to completing projects, communication and time management skills are arguably just as important to a remote graphic designer’s success. Think of remote work as running your own design business (because you essentially are!).
Without face to face contact, information can slip through the cracks or be misinterpreted by both designer and client, ultimately leading to frustration and dissatisfaction.
Because of this, remote graphic designers need to:
Set up a clear and quick path of communication for their clients
Organise regular check-ins with all involved parties to ensure smooth project progression
The ability to work independently
Possess a strong work ethic to ensure all work is complete to time
How do I become a graphic designer?
So how do you become a graphic designer? Most graphic designers have some form of Diploma or Degree in the area of design they’re interested in. Some areas include:
General design diplomas are also available for those who are yet to discover their preferred niche of design. We highly recommend some formal education to better hone your design skills for the workforce.
Putting your portfolio together
Once you’re feeling confident in your design abilities, it’s time to put your portfolio together. Your design folio is imperative, especially when you’re still a start-up. It is often the first point of call for most employers, so it should show your best and most versatile work.
Some tips for your portfolio, include:
As a remote graphic designer, the types of clients you will take on will vary greatly. Hence, their needs will too. Personalise your portfolio to the potential client, their aesthetic and the project you’re applying for. This will help maximise your chances of being hired!
Working from home: what do I need to do?
Working from home as a remote designer comes with some amazing benefits, as well as some challenges!
Flexible working hours – you can work whenever and wherever you want.
You have ultimate control over your schedule and the methods in which you choose to adopt to complete your projects.
You can choose who you work for and which graphic design jobs you take on.
Your home space becomes your workspace (this can cause the home to become stressful for some).
You are in charge – the responsibility to fix issues fall almost completely on you.
Technology sometimes fails – make sure you have a backup plan if it does.
Distractions (making endless snacks in the kitchen) can slow down your work output, leading to longer, less productive workdays.
Setting up your home office
Here are some quick tips for setting up your perfect remote designer home-office:
Work from home jobs come with their own unique set of challenges; however, the opportunities available graphic design will continue to grow! Give yourself the chance to work as an independent, creative professional and check out your education options below.
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Explore 9 other jobs that are great for working from home.
Graphic Design Courses found:
Graphic Design & Desktop Publishing Certificate
The Graphics Design & Desktop Publishing industry can be a rewarding and challenging creative experience which is fulfilling and satisfying. A huge amount of growth is currently occurring in the freelance sector of the graphics and desktop publishi...
Online courses also available
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