How to Get Started as a Graphic Designer

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If you are have been wondering about how to get started as a freelance graphic designer, then you are in luck, because this short article is a comprehensive guide with all the information you need to get started.

Let’s begin with who a graphic designer is

Designers basically work with symbols, letters, imagery, and colors to create an impressive brand feel that is related to the business or project they are working on. Your work as a graphic designer will be to effectively communicate an intended message visually to a specified audience. This includes logo designs, brochures, flyers, business cards, folders, postcards, company letterheads, social media pages, web graphic elements and so on.

Getting started: learn the skills

Needless to say, the starting point to your journey as a graphic designer will be to learn the required skills. This could be in form of formal education, a certificate course or simple self-study. While a formal education offers a good foundation, it isn’t compulsory and you can totally make it as a graphic designer with the talent and the skills you learn from someone or you teach yourself. Formal education will give you a full grasp and all round knowledge of the fundamentals. But the best approach is to combine whatever you learn in school with self-study.

For the purpose of self-study, it is a great idea if you have a plan and a goal of how and what you want to learn. While there are a number of online courses on a design that will give you a grasp of the basics, there are also a lot of areas you can focus on which is why it is important to decide which area you want to focus on.

Set goals and work on projects

Most online platforms will break a complete subject into small courses, once you have learned all that you need to learn, start working on sample projects to test how much you have learned.

Get the Recommended tools

You need some basic tools if you want to work effectively. Of course, you will need a reliable computer. It doesn’t matter whether this is a Mac or Pc, just get a good laptop that can handle your work. You will also need adobe creative programs. You can start with programs like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop or Muse. Try to learn multiple programs in order to better deliver quality to your clients. You will also need to get a Pantone Color Matching System. A good scanner will help you transfer your sketches to a computer and a printer is important for test printing. A sketchbook will also come in handy sometimes.

In addition to all these recommendations, here is a list of resources to help you get started with making money as a freelancer. They have been grouped into different categories to make it easier for you:

For Learning: Your Local College or university, online platforms such as Lynda, Treehouse, Dribbble, SkillShare, Behance, Udemy, Inspiration and so on.

For Design Resources: Free and paid Stock Photo Websites such as,,,,, etc.