What is graphic design?
It is the craft of creating visual content, to communicate a message visually. It’s a combination of many skills ranging from information hierarchy, layout, typography, color psychology, art theory, aesthetics, illustration, … It mixes photos, color, fonts, lines, shape, texture, size, order, space and variety of design principles (balance, alignment, proximity, repetition, contrast,…) to create balance and harmony between all elements. It’s not something that can be easily done to be at a higher level.
By using all these skills as one a designer creates something that can have an emotional impact on the viewer. Graphic design work is used in advertising, marketing, corporate design, branding and packaging, motion, print and web. Basically, anything that’s communicating a message or grabs our attention. Either to present an idea to us or inform us about something.
Historically we can find visual designs back 17,000 years ago in cave paintings and has evolved tremendously over time and the impact today is huge. Add strategy and business goals to design practices and you could evolve your company 10x.
Not everyone that can use a design tool is a designer.
Tools don’t make you good at what you do, what and how you use them makes a graphic designer a creator.
Why is graphic design important?
It’s not rare that some of the most successful startups today use design thinking as a growth strategy. Design connects with people on an emotional level. You can be a small business or a big conglomerate but at the core of anything you do there will be design. A visual identity is the strongest asset your company can have.
For example, Coca-Cola and its specific tone of red triggers emotion, maybe even thirst as they’re put an enormous amount of money into advertising over many years to get that message across. When you think of Santa Claus today, don’t you deep down think of the Coke? It’s like the company and its values are now fuelled with Santa and they really own him in a way. That’s the power of branding at a high level.
But you don’t need to put in tons of money to get results, having the core branding and visual identity with a solid structure can take you really far. And anything you do, the core values that are created will be rooted in your company culture.
You need a system and a strategy and design can be in the middle of it as it’s something people connect to on an emotional level, it’s memorable and has energy. Startup ideas are great, but the execution is better.
It can be also seen as an investment and trust me it will be a lot pricier if you don’t do it right. I’ve seen brands destroy their identities or rather were suffering from an identity crisis as they didn’t know what they are or what they represent. So they changed their logo, colors, look & feel every year for a couple of years until they close the business down. Their own inner conflicts were also felt by their customers and an almost 100-year-old story came to an end.
Of course, their identity wasn’t the only thing that made that happen, but it did show that some things are almost sacred and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Why is a freelance graphic designer needed?
There are many ways you can hire a design professional that will create solutions to the problems your company service or product needs. The main thing is, that you need something small like a business card, or something bigger like a print ad or a new logo.
If your company isn’t that big enough and doesn’t have resources to employ an in-house designer and you don’t need regular design jobs done, you can outsource. An independent freelance artist will solve the problem for you quick and easy. You could also hire an agency for a project or two, or find a part-time freelancer if you have a design backlog. There’s a lot of options so business owners can choose what will work best for them in their current situation.
Today the internet and technology are so great, that you can hire a remote graphic designer from any part of the world. And he has a special skill like for example creating posters out of paper art, that you won’t be able to find locally near you. It’s good practice that brands find specialised artists to collaborate and help solve problems. Unique visual requirement or specific messages you want to put out there have a higher chance of being successful that way.
There are studies that creative design work has 11x more impact than basic low-level executions. Imagine the growth you’re missing out. There’s also added value and benefits that can be obtained from this, systematisation or processes can also be designed by senior designers.
As an example, I’ve had a client that needed 6 weeks to build a website including design,… I’ve managed to develop a specific WordPress system for them, where they could do it effectively within 2 weeks. Great designers find solutions to problems, they optimise and create added value which in some cases can transform companies. Airbnb would have closed their service long ago if they didn’t try using professional photography for their renting services.
Today we can even measure design with a/b or split testing what works best and results can be up to 3x better or more. No wonder startups are turning toward design thinking and create more value.
What exactly do freelance graphic designers do?
The main definition or rather a purpose of a freelance graphic designer is to help it’s clients communicate a message. It’s combining a companies visual identity (logo, colors, fonts,…) to get the look&feel right so all the communication materials and the message has consistency throughout media channels.
Skills and services you can expect
- Brand Identity
- Packaging & Label Design
- Marketing graphic design
- Logo / logotype design
- Custom typography
- Graphic design for business cards and stationary
- Car Wraps
- Computer graphic design
- Print Design
- Letterhead graphic design
- Graphic design posters
- Brochures and Flyers
- CD Cover
- Magazine Design
- T-Shirt design and illustration for apparel
- Retouching with Photoshop
- Book Cover Design
- Ad Design
- Graphic Banner Ads Design
- Print Ads and billboards
- Facebook Ads
There are many designers that specialise in certain fields. For example, there are many brand logo designers, that just draw logotypes while others focus on creating visual identities for the brands. There are different types of graphic design fields and being talented in one specific field means that the quality of that work will be better.
That’s just a small overview of what graphic designers do.
How much does it cost to hire a graphic designer?
The answer can only be “it depends”. For smaller things, there could be a freelance graphic design price list that’s a like a menu for ordering design work. Some designers have an hourly rate, other per projects and some also take retainers if it’s a big and ongoing project. Again it depends on the needs and the skill specialisation.
How much does it cost to design a logo?
Graphic design rates for a logo can be anything from $300 to $10.000 based on the companies size, revenue,… Cheaper is not always better, in most cases, small to bigger companies can’t just swap a logo as their visual brand identity consists of specific rules for each designed element. They’ve put hundreds of thousands to promote their brand and a sudden change would render that investment wasted. Also changing a logo could have additional costs like a new business card, stationery, store signs, car wraps,… It’s not something to be taken lightly. An experienced senior designer will have higher rates, but the quality of work and the results are worth it.
For a small company of one of the self-employed people, a $300 range for just a logo they put on a business card or a website can be a good deal.
How long does it take to design a logo?
Again it depends on the project scope. Some can do it quickly, but for a brand identity where a logotype is just a small part off, projects can take up to a year or more.
Hire a Freelance Graphic Designer
Need a graphic designer for your company or next big project? I’ve been a designer for +15 years and have worked with companies like Nike, Fox, Viasat.
I’m currently looking for projects as a website and logo designer, but do variety of other things.
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