How To Start A Graphic Design Business From Scratch

In many parts of the world, graphics design is considered one of the suitable businesses for people who have an eye for aesthetics.

It is also a great career path for those who wish to combine software elements in creating captivating designs that governments, NGOs, private firms, corporations, and other organizations are willing to pay for.

Both online and offline media networks use the beautiful works produced by high-class graphics designers.

These works come as adverts which portray the values, services and other core components of the businesses using them.

If you must succeed in the line of graphics design, you’re expected to develop a strong flair for the production of impressive visuals that will communicate well with viewers.

Through their excellent works, graphics designers portray the significance of visual communication and how it can motivate viewers to take the desired action.

It’s easy to start your own graphic design business provided you’re psychologically and financially ready and have acquired the basic design skills required for churning out engaging visuals.

Fortunately, this article will guide you on how you can start a graphics design business of your own and run it along the path of success.

Tips for Starting a Graphic Design Business


» Conduct a Thorough Industry Research

Graphics design is obviously one of the businesses that attract patronage from different breeds of people including:

  • photographers,
  • fashion designers,
  • manufacturers,
  • advertisers,
  • corporate businessmen and so on.

By reason of this, an intending graphics designer has to carry out exhaustive research covering how best to offer services that will suit the needs of these people.

Moreover, the understanding of industry statistics including:

  • business niches,
  • the profitability of services,
  • the nature of competition, etc.

must be taken into account as this will help you decide the requirements for surviving amid stiff competition.

Based on your design skills and your tastes, you can combine several graphics design niches or simply stick to a single niche.

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Meanwhile, some of the niches you can combine are game design, business card design, design for mobile websites, design for reputable corporations, Twitter backdrop design, etc.

» Obtain Insurance Covers

Readily, you need insurance to protect your graphic design business against unforeseeable occurrences which can defame your business.

Liabilities will likely set in but provided you’ve been covered by reliable insurance, you alone won’t bear all these liabilities.

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t think running graphics design online or as a freelancer wouldn’t require you to have insurance covers.

Precisely in the United States, you need insurance of various types including:

  • Cyber Liability Insurance,
  • Business Owner’s Policies,
  • General Liability Insurance,
  • Errors and Omissions Insurance,
  • Property Insurance, etc.

» Choose a Suitable Legal Entity

Deciding an appropriate legal entity is one of the critical aspects of business start-up.

If you’re comfortable running your business alone, you may decide to establish the business as a sole proprietorship.

Perhaps, a sole proprietorship is the simplest of all legal entities and it’s likely the most suitable for small businesses.

While most people will advise you to choose sole proprietorship, there are still other legal structures such as

  1. C Corporation,
  2. Partnership,
  3. S Corporation, and
  4. Limited Liability Company.

Constructively, ensure you consult your attorney (or certain other legal experts) who should advise you on the appropriate legal entity for you.

» Obtain Some Formal Qualifications

Anyone can argue that graphics design is not one of the businesses that necessarily demand formal qualifications.

However, if you’re bent on appearing more professional and winning design contracts quickly, it’s suggested that you obtain a formal qualification.

You can attend one of the brick-and-mortar learning institutions that offer certifications relevant to the field of graphic design.

Noteworthy is that having a formal qualification isn’t as important as having an excellent portfolio.

Likely, many of the clients that will assign you design jobs aren’t really concerned about the qualifications you hold but the impressive design works you have created.

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» Write a Business Plan

A business plan is an essential document outlining the details of your proposed business and the direction the business will face in order to meet its objectives.

Whether you wish to operate as a small or large firm, it’s advisable that you create a professional business plan for your graphic design.

In fact, writing a business plan is one of the preliminary steps in starting your business since the plan will outline your:

  • business equipment,
  • source of business fund,
  • estimated expenses,
  • projected income and
  • several other specifics.

Interestingly, having a well-written business plan could persuade a private investor to render some financial assistance to your proposed graphics design business.

» Know the Required Legal Documents

If you’re starting your graphic design business in the United States, you should know the prerequisite documents that will authenticate its legality.

Some of these legal documents are:

  1. operating agreement,
  2. business plan,
  3. business license,
  4. insurance policy,
  5. certificate of incorporation,
  6. patent of copyright registration and
  7. NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

» Figure Out Start-up Expenses

Admittedly, you can start a reasonable graphics design business on a small scale with little expenditure and hope to broaden your business scale at a later time.

To ensure you aren’t starting off badly, you’ll have to incorporate a number of expenses into your start-up plans.

Some of these expenses will cover the requisite business tools including:

  • office supplies,
  • business cards,
  • basic design software,
  • multi-purpose printers,
  • drafting table, phones and
  • computer system.

On average, you could be spending about $1500 to start a graphic design business and get all of these business tools, especially if you don’t have them already.

Importantly, you’ll need several other start-up expenses which aren’t included in the above benchmark of $1500.

In that case, the cost of starting a graphic design business, if you’re starting on a larger scale, could rise to $25,000.

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The great thing is that you can run a graphic design business from home on a freelancing basis and still make lots of money.

Here are a few essential pieces of equipment for starting a graphic design business:

graphic design tools and equipment

Essential tools for graphic designers:

 A high-end Laptop or desktop

Ergonomic chair

Reliable hard drive/SSD

Graphics tablet and stylus

High-end smartphone

Studio camera

Design software

Quality sketchpad or notebook

Pantone swatch book

Office desk

Monitor calibrator

Insightful Ideas for Marketing Your Graphic Design Business:

  • Advertise your graphic design business by designing business banners and wrapping them around public vehicles
  • Urge existing customers to help you with business referrals
  • Network with other local graphics designers at relevant seminars and conventions
  • Target the locations of prospective clients and endeavor to send brochures showing some of your excellent designs to them
  • Establish online engagement with potential clients via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Create flyers and business cards to be handed out to people at public spots
  • Build a responsive and professional website for getting your impressive designs in front of many prospective clients