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The Guide to Vector Design

Develop your edge as an artist and designer with CorelDRAW’s Guide to Vector Design. Learn the basics of vector graphics and design, and feel empowered to tackle any challenge that comes your way.

How to Sell Vector Art: Making Money from Your Designs

In earlier articles, we have explained how to become a graphic designer and outlined the industries and careers that use vector graphics. But working as a full-time designer in a regular 9-5 job isn’t the only way to make money with vector art. There are plenty of paths to take to earn a living or just make some extra cash using your vector design skills.

vector image of owl printed on a drink can

Freelance Graphic Design

Some vector artists pursue a full-time position with a brand or agency, but many become freelance designers. Working as a freelance graphic designer has many perks, including:

  • Flexible schedule
  • Ability to choose what work to take
  • Freedom to decide your rates
  • Work from anywhere

Freelance designing isn’t for everyone, though. It can be challenging for freelancers to find steady work, especially in the beginning stages of their careers. Fortunately, there are countless resources and services available to freelance vector artists. The following platforms can help you find projects and build relationships with clients.

overhead photo of woman working on laptop besides pool

Fiverr

Fiverr is an online freelance marketplace developed to connect freelancers to people looking for design services—jobs on Fiverr jobs range from simple design tasks to highly involved projects. For example, you’ll find everything from vector tracing to full website designs. Most Fiverr jobs are short-term “gigs,” but some offer the opportunity for repeat work.

Fiverr has a strong focus on design work, with hundreds of designated categories, including:

  • Branding and logo design
  • Illustration
  • Website and UX design
  • Font design
  • And more

Upwork

Upwork is another freelancing platform focused on connecting freelancers to potential clients. In recent years, the company’s model has shifted away from one-off jobs and short-term gigs and toward building long-term relationships between freelancers and businesses. Many companies turn to Upwork in hopes of finding a freelancer to connect with for ongoing support.

Both Upwork and Fiverr charge a 20% fee for every job a freelancer completes. While that fee may seem steep, these platforms make finding work a lot easier, so many freelancers find it worthwhile.

Toptal

Like Fiverr and Upwork, Toptal bills itself as a network connecting businesses with freelance talent across a range of specialties, including:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Project management
  • Financial services

Toptal requires freelancers to undergo a screening process to assess their skills and claims to accept only the top three percent of all applicants. Toptal bases its fee structure on charging businesses rather than freelancers, so designers can keep more of what they earn. This platform is an excellent option for designers looking for continued freelance work with clients instead of “one-off” projects.

Print-on-demand Services

While freelance graphic design often means creating images according to a client’s specific needs and requests, building a print-on-demand business allows for more creative freedom.

One of the top benefits of vector art is its scalability. You can print a vector design almost anywhere — and on any surface — without loss of quality. For those using print-on-demand services, this means uploading one file and applying it to dozens of products, including mugs, pillowcases, shower curtains, and paper products.

The other significant benefit of print-on-demand is that the seller doesn’t need to worry about production, keeping an inventory, or shipping to customers — the platform takes care of that for a reasonable fee.

futuristic design printed on sweatshirt

Redbubble

Redbubble offers over 70 unique products on which to print your vector designs, and they ship worldwide. Artists selling their designs on Redbubble have control over pricing, and anti-piracy measures protect against art theft. Some unique product options on Redbubble include:

  • Pet bandanas
  • Socks
  • Water bottles
  • Journals

Society6

Like Redbubble, Society6 allows you to sell your art on various products. However, Society6 has an extensive range of home decor, wall art, and furniture, with a list of continuously expanding products. If you sell vector art through Society6, you can have it printed on things like:

  • Wall tapestries
  • Area rugs
  • Cutting boards
  • And even bar stools!

Threadless

Starting in 2000, Threadless launched as a t-shirt company and currently operates as an artists’ community and ecommerce platform. Despite its original business model focusing only on apparel, the company has since expanded to include other products like accessories and home decor items. Their commitment to sustainability, diversity, and inclusion and providing more opportunities for artists to sell their work are other value-adds.

In addition to appearing in their product listings, Threadless lets artists set up a custom storefront to feature their print-on-demand products. As with other platforms, sellers on Threadless have control over pricing to achieve fair profit margins.

Selling Vector Stock Images

If being a freelance graphic designer or selling your artwork with print-on-demand platforms doesn’t appeal to you, there are other ways to sell vector art. Across the web, there are many different stock image marketplaces — and not just for stock photos. Some sites are dedicated solely to vector stock images and illustrations, and vector artists can earn money by licensing their work on these sites.

Prominent stock image providers include Shutterstock, Creative Market, Vector Stock, iStockPhoto, Iconfinder, and others. Here’s how these sites work:

  • Artists create original work — typically photos, music, videos, and vector art — and upload it to a stock site like the ones listed above
  • Someone who needs an asset for a project goes to the stock website and pays a subscription fee or a one-time payment to license whatever they’d like to use
  • The original creator is typically compensated based on the number of times users download their work
retro pop art of mouth

Explore the Many Ways to Sell Your Vector Art

There are many options on the web for vector artists looking to monetize their skills outside of a typical full-time design job. Freelance graphic design platforms offer short-term and long-term opportunities to do design work for others. Print-on-demand and stock image platforms allow you to sell vector art on products or for licensing.

Even if creating vector art is just a hobby, and you’re not trying to make a full-time income with it, it’s worth looking into how you can make some extra money on the side.

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