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What Does a Freelance Graphic Designer Need?

What Does a Freelance Graphic Designer Need?

A freelance graphic designer needs to be familiar with the latest graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other special tools needed for designing professional graphics. You will also need administrative support, including contract templates, such as a web design contract template or a logo design contract template, depending on the projects you book.

You also need to have strong graphic design skills and a broad portfolio to prove your capabilities. So, make sure you understand the important aspects of freelance graphic design before you get into this profession.

What Does a Freelance Graphic Designer Do?

A freelance graphic designer works with clients from across the globe to design illustrations, brochures, images, and other types of visual representations. These illustrations can be used for various purposes, including marketing, education, and entertainment.   

In this digital era, freelance graphic designers have become an integral part of software and web development. They help startups and well-established enterprises to design visuals for their apps and websites.

Many businesses work with freelance graphic designers because they help them to cut down the cost of projects by working remotely. Instead of setting up and maintaining expensive offices for graphic designers, many companies prefer to hire freelancers who can get the job done from any part of the world.

If you’re not sure what you’ll be doing as a freelance graphic designer, here are the main responsibilities you can expect:

  • Conceptualizing designs using relevant data and materials
  • Scheduling design projects
  • Defining budget constraints
  • Developing drafts and presenting design ideas
  • Turning drafts into actual designs
  • Choosing colors and outlines for designs
  • Communicating with clients about the progress of the project
  • Collaborating with copywriters and other creatives to create unique designs

If you want to succeed in your career as a graphic designer, become a freelancer. But make sure you have everything you need to succeed in your career. So, what do you need to work as a freelance graphic designer?

Checklist for a Freelance Graphic Designer

Working as a freelance graphic designer is pretty exciting as it offers you an opportunity to earn good money from the comfort of your home or wherever you prefer to work from. You become your own boss, work on exciting projects, and set your schedule.

However, succeeding in this industry requires you to have everything in place before you start pitching your ideas to potential clients. Here’s a comprehensive checklist of what you need to become a successful freelance graphic designer:

Graphic Design Tools and Software

Aside from having a reliable computer and internet connection, you also need to put together an assortment of all the necessary graphic design tools and software. You’ll use tools to create, edit, and preview your graphics.

Some of the most common software and tools used for graphic design include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, InDesign, and After Effects. Each of these programs has its unique functions and features that contribute to the overall success of your business.


As a freelance graphic designer pitching to clients from different parts of the world, you need a strong portfolio of your best work. It should also include your background info and your contact details.

At times, it’s recommended to include your pricing details in your portfolio so that interested clients can have an idea of how much their project might cost them when they hire you. Even if you won’t include the exact prices, at least provide a rough budget for each element of graphic design.


Dealing with clients from across the world can be risky because of the differences in language, work culture, and viewpoints. This is why you need a well-drafted contract, defining your services and expectations. This prevents misunderstandings and disputes during and after the project. But why are contracts important in projects? A contract is a legally binding document that covers both parties in the agreement.

So, in case of a disagreement, you’ll use the contract as the reference point. Luckily, you can now use our professional web design contract template to draft your contract. This template has been prepared by experienced attorneys.

Therefore, expect it to have everything you need to include in your graphic design contract to cover every interaction with your clients. Presenting a professionally drafted contract to clients shows that you take your responsibilities seriously, giving potential clients confidence in your work.

Next Steps

Need help covering all your bases when it comes to the paperwork, especially legally-binding contracts? Check out our contract bundles, catered specifically for freelancers and small businesses in the creative fields, developed by professional attorneys. We cover the legal end so you can keep on creating!

Kevin Gallagher
Kevin Gallagher

Kevin Gallagher is the CEO of The Contract Shop®, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, coaches, and more. His background is in helping online businesses grow, having previously worked at Allbirds managing part of their operations. He is proud to report that his digital artist wife Mandy is a happy customer of The Contract Shop®, and his main motivation is to help as many people like her as possible with the tools that they need to confidently manage their businesses.

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