How to Start a Graphic Design Business

How to Start a Graphic Design Business

Do you have a background in graphic design and a strong entrepreneurial spirit? You’ve likely been wondering how to start a graphic design business. In this article we share advice on How to Start a Graphic Design Business.

The creative industry offers a wide range of employment opportunities, but designers with an entrepreneurial spirit wish to branch out on their own.

Graphic design encompasses many skills, talents, and specializations. A career in this field may involve freelance work, self-employment, or independent contracting. This guide is an excellent resource if you’ve been wondering how to structure these plans to start a successful business.

Types of Graphic Design Services

A graphic designer might start by focusing on one service. Choosing a niche when starting a business is helpful. This could result in better or more lucrative clients. 

The following list summarizes a few of the most commonly available types of graphic design services:

  • Branding: The design and development of brands (e.g., colour schemes, logos, etc.)
  • Print design: Layout and design of printed material (applies to magazines, newspapers, and other physical publications)
  • Advertisements: Graphic design services related to marketing and advertising
  • Packaging: Labels and packaging for physical products
  • Motion Graphics: These are graphics in videos, animations, and so on.
  • Website Graphics: Designs and images for websites and mobile devices

When you start a graphic design business, you can take advantage of the fact that graphic design services experience high demand. Graphic design companies have great prospects for growth and employment with the right marketing plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Graphic Design Business? 

Depending on your skillset, you can start a graphic design business on a small budget. However, according to experts, a more comfortable estimation of costs is between $2,000 and $10,000. Some entrepreneurs opt to apply for small business loans to help with the upfront costs involved.

Below are some costs you’ll need to consider before starting your own graphic design business. You probably already own a plethora of these items, however, which could lower your startup costs.

  • Portfolio: Platforms like Wix offer this for free, while Squarespace charges $226+
  • Professional Business License: The cost varies by state
  • Computer suitable for graphic design: $775 – $4920+
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: the software costs $33.99 per user per month
  • Scanner-printer combo: $30+
  • Pantone Color Matching System (optional): $570
  • Drawing tablet (optional): $29 – $1,499

8 Steps to Start a Graphic Design Business

It’s essential to embrace the many opportunities for exciting work that exist ahead, whether you work for a large marketing agency, a mid-sized design firm, or a home office with a stable list of freelance clients.

Below you will find eight crucial steps to find clients and make your graphic design business dream a reality. 

1. Determine Your Business Goals

Cliché as it may be, the phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true, especially for start-up businesses. In the absence of clear plans, your business will be unclear. 

If you outline these goals in the beginning, you can be more precise. Also, setting a timeline for when and how you will complete specific steps would be helpful. After starting your business, make sure to develop a system for checking in and revaluating your goals after a few months.

2. Assess Your Skills and Resources

It is not always a bad thing, but graphic designers with established career backgrounds are usually surrounded by many resources, tools, and advantages. 

You may no longer equipped with the resources you once possessed when employed as a professional. Laptops, design software, and subscriptions to services are included in this category.

Aside from this, you should also examine the skills you have (both personal and professional). It may be easier and less expensive to save time and money at first if you understand how to market your new design business. Despite this, don’t be afraid to invest in the intangible resources and skills you will need to take your career and business to the next level.

3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The graphic design market is a competitive one, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The field boasts several talented designers, as well as companies with established track records that provide services to major clients consistently. 

The number of graphic design service providers out there shouldn’t discourage you once you realize this. New business owners begin carving out a niche in the industry, assisting clients and customers who are a perfect fit for their skills and expertise. Having a clear vision for your goals when you begin a design business is also important, as well as knowing what resources are at your disposal.

4. Identify Graphic Design Clients

Freelancers already have a track record of recurring clients and referrals. Be sure to inform your clients what changes they can expect when you transition to a graphic design business structure full time. 

Keeping a list of your connections and potential clients up to date on your new endeavour can also be helpful. Professional networks such as LinkedIn can help you connect with potential clients, while your new business website can help you promote it. 

5. Prepare Your Legal Documents

A successful graphic design business relies heavily on its legal structure as well as its business plan. 

Decide which business option you would like to pursue and conduct thorough research on it:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • General or limited partnership
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Your business’s legal structure affects everything from how you pay taxes, how you deal with employees, and which expenses, like payroll, are deductible. You should consult a small business accountant specializing in helping entrepreneurs make the right choices before their launch if you are unsure how to plan this step. .

6. Fix Rates and Choose a Feasible Pricing Structure

A potential customer’s first question might be how much you charge for certain services. Providing a standard answer based on a price structure is an integral part of your job as a formal business. They will also expect to see a transparent account statement so they know how much they owe.

If you are tasked with accurately reporting your income and expenses, tools like invoice templates and accounting software can make life much easier. Consult a business advisor for financial advice or conduct market research on industry standards. 

7. Find Workspaces and Offices That Work

You may already have a space that works well for you if you are accustomed to operating as a freelance graphic designer. To ensure strong productivity and efficient workflow, you’ll have to think through more details when you become an actual business. 

  • Do you need additional space to accommodate new employees? How much?
  • Do you plan on storing equipment or other gear to complete projects? Such as printing equipment.
  • Are there no distractions or noise in your workspace?
  • Is it necessary for you to meet one-on-one with clients? 

As you plan to use your space in the future, even if some of these questions do not apply when you first start your graphic design business, consider how your business may grow.

8. Market Your Graphic Design Business

New business owners should spend some time considering marketing their services and products. With graphic design, you can often showcase your customer service skills and talent by looking at your past projects.

Ensure all marketing materials, including your company website, reflect the mission and purpose of your brand, whether you’re handling the task in-house or working with an outside consultant. Marketing materials should also communicate your company’s look, feel, and style quickly because graphic design is a visually oriented field. 

Think about ways to reach new customers online through social media platforms, emails, and printed materials as your business grows. 


It’s time for you to start your own business in graphic design. There are many ways you can go about starting your own graphic design business, from independent freelancer to graphic design business owner.

At the end of the day, you can organize the direction you want to take, if that means hiring specific clients and setting particular rates. You simply need to determine what area of graphic design you wish to specialize in and what kind of services you offer.

Also, what matters most is making sure you follow through with your business plan! Consider the eight steps mentioned above and let us know your thoughts.  

Join The Logo Community

We hope you have enjoyed this article about How to Start a Graphic Design Business. If you would like more personal tips, advice, insights, and access to our community threads and other goodies, join me in our community.

Learn from our Founder Andrew who personally writes our community newsletter. You can also comment directly on posts and have a discussion.

*TIP – Are you looking to Learn Adobe Illustrator CC? Look no further.

This Illustrator CC MasterClass course will set you up with a solid foundation to become a confident Illustrator CC designer. Join over 900 students who have already signed up for this course.

Normally £399 – Now only £20 for a limited time. Don’t wait – Claim Your Seat!

Learn Adobe Illustrator CC Masterclass - Online Learning - Learn Graphic Design Online