Graphic Design Business: How to Get Your Business Going

Graphic design is a wonderful career path that can offer all the best in creative, fulfilling, and lucrative work. Whether you're just getting started or you're a seasoned designer looking to become your own boss, there are countless business opportunities out there for you to pursue. Here are some graphic design business ideas, as well as a few tips for how to start a graphic design business.

Graphic design business ideas

Build up a clientele with businesses or agencies

Every type of business has some kind of need for graphic design services. Graphic design often goes hand-in-hand with marketing and advertising for various businesses, because it has such an incredible potential to grab people's attention and convey the business's message to prospective customers. There are countless areas to look for potential clients in need of your skill set and services.

Marketing and advertising agencies may not have their own team member who has the graphic design skills necessary to handle their own clients' needs. In this case, agencies might be looking to outsource some of their work to a skilled graphic designer.

Working with businesses directly also presents an opportunity to secure new clients. Businesses of all sizes may need various marketing materials or store signage designed for them. Retailers might need sales flyers or signs created. Restaurants may need new menus or table ads designed. An ecommerce startup might need help designing the packaging for their new line of products. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this type of graphic design business.

Find clients within a specific niche

You can seek out clients outside the traditional brick-and-mortar companies mentioned above. You may want to target online creators in need of your services. YouTube creators or Twitch streamers need video thumbnails and channel art. If you're a music lover, you can try marketing your services to bands and musicians in need of concert flyers and social media ads. Writers are often looking for someone who can design their next book cover or create character art for them.  Narrowing down your services in this way is a great opportunity to hone in on your own interests or hobbies and secure clients in your community for a win-win all around.

Start your own apparel or accessory business

As a graphic designer, you have the skills and talent needed to create some truly eye-catching designs that people would love to sport on a variety of products, like shirts, hoodies, bags, mugs, notebooks, planners, and more. This opportunity is a great way for designers to combine their skill set with their creativity and interests.

If you have the know-how to screen print, sew, or craft your own items, you can get started with selling your products on an online marketplace like Etsy, or you can opt to create your own ecommerce website and run everything yourself. If you have the skills to create the designs, but don't know how to screen print or manufacture your own products, you can set up a print-on-demand shop. Print-on-demand companies like Society 6, Redbubble, Teespring, and more are great options for designers to create their own designs while the POD company handles the inventory, printing, and shipping items to your customers. This can either be a great side income gig, or be scaled up to a full-time business.

How to start a graphic design business

When starting a graphic design business, it's important to treat it like a business from day one. It's exciting to become your own boss and control your own schedule, but there are also a lot of things to keep on top of if you want your new business to be successful. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Map out a business plan early on, including your business goals, budget, and resources.
  • Set up a website, business email, and social media accounts for your business to manage, showcase, and market your skills and services.
  • Make a plan to market your business and network to find clients.
  • Set your rates or pricing packages. Don't undervalue the time, effort, and skill that goes into your work.
  • Draw up a contract for each client that includes your rates, your payment policy, expectations for communication or meetings between you and the client, projected timeline for the project, any limitations for revisions, etc.
  • Be realistic with your time and resources. Be careful not to quit any other work opportunities you need before you are earning enough income through your business.


Starting your own graphic design business is an exciting venture with lots of potential for success and room for business growth. Choose your business premise based on your interests and goals, and keep on top of all the responsibilities that come with being your own boss, and you'll be well on your way to carving out your own path to a successful business and future.

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