Finding your way as a graphic designer generally means choosing one of two career paths. Do you join an established design firm or do you strike out on your own as a freelance graphic designer? There are definitely advantages and disadvantages that you will want to consider before choosing which path is right for you. But consider that going freelance or seeking employment at a graphic design firm is a choice that you can change in the future depending on your plans and passion for the creativity found in the world of graphic design.
To join an established design firm seems to have several merits, foremost of which is job security. Being employed means knowing that you have a regular paycheck and you can advance either in the company or by joining another, larger firm. Also, you can learn from those around you and be exposed to some techniques and practices that you otherwise might have to learn the hard way if you go freelance.
However, the downside to going with an established business is that you lose a lot of creativity that brought you to the world of graphic design. While you certainly have input, most of your designs will ultimately be decided by the collective group as well as the client. Part of keeping a larger firm in business is established a good relationship with their clients and keeping within their expectations may not meet your own.
On the other hand, striking out on your own and becoming a freelance graphic artist may seem risky at first, but only if you look at it with an “all or nothing” attitude. The truth is that a freelance graphic artist can start part-time with smaller projects to establish their name and reputation. Often, larger firms will employ a freelance artist to come in and assist with a design or project.
As a freelance graphic artist, you enjoy many advantages such as the low overhead of maintaining your equipments, a flexible work schedule and the type of personal one on one service with your clients that you cannot get when working for an established firm. This type of life is not without the risk of failure, but if your talent is strong along with your work ethic, there are plenty of projects that await you and your skills.
The first step is getting the basic information you need to help establish your freelance graphic design business. Obviously, you’ll want to have the basic tools of your trade and a place to work, which usually starts at home. The next step is starting with projects that will help build your portfolio and establish yourself as a graphic artist that businesses and customers can turn to when they need a new design.
The process of becoming a freelance graphic artist is accomplished in small steps rather than large leaps, though admittedly you might land a large project that will make your name very well known. More often, it’s the steady buildup of success through smaller projects that will establish your name and secure your future as a freelance graphic artist.