How to Start a Graphic Design Business: Renderforest for Designers

How to Start a Graphic Design Business: Renderforest for Designers

Planning a side hustle? As a graphic designer, you might have thought about leaving your office job and becoming a full-time freelancer. Or, even starting your own graphic design business. 

Starting something from scratch is both exciting and challenging at the same time. From finding your first graphic design clients to preparing marketing campaigns and materials, it’s a set of important decisions that depend on you as the business owner. 

Considering the competition, you should be armed with effective tools and strategies to succeed. To help you get started, we’ve prepared some important tips and tools you can use. 

In this article, you’ll find graphic design business tips, online portfolio templates, learn the importance of mockups and videos for your business promotion, and more. 

  • Graphic Design Business Tips
  • Create Your Graphic Designer Portfolio
  • Why do Graphic Designers Need Mockups?
  • Promote your Graphic Design Business with Videos


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Graphic Design Business Tips

When you’re just getting started, there will be many unexpected things and issues. This is why you should be prepared for any kind of situation. 

You’ll be responsible not only for the creative process but also for the business promotion and growth.

Besides, as your graphic design business grows, there will be more obstacles to overcome. New business owners make many mistakes. But if you have a business strategy at hand, you’ll have some of your problems solved in no time. 

This is why we’ve prepared the tips below that will guide you in your business creation process.


1. Present Your Skills as a Graphic Designer

For freelance graphic designers, presenting their skills plays a huge part in getting new clients.

This also goes for your graphic design business. Your potential clients will look at your projects before making their final decision.

And, they will compare you with others. To stand out, you need a strong portfolio website. A graphic design portfolio is a compilation of your works that showcase your skills and experience.

Online portfolio templates

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Whether you’re a senior graphic designer or not, having a portfolio is a must. It’s your digital business card, a way to introduce your strong background and skills.


2. Come up With an Actionable Business Plan

Creating a business plan is one of the first steps for creating your graphic design business, and any business in general. If you want to establish a successful business, you should plan every aspect of it: from short-term and long-term goals to promotion and everything in between.

However, this does not mean that you should spend days or months trying to plan everything. Begin with a basic business plan.

What to include in your graphic design business plan?

  • Services and specific niche
  • Ideal client profiles
  • The pricing and revenue goals
  • Short-term and long-term business goals
  • Marketing plan for client acquisition

You should think strategically, as a business owner, not only as a designer. With a business plan, you’ll be able to find a balance between business promotion and creative work.

Each point of your business plan is connected to the others. Based on your skills and experience, you should define the main services of your graphic design company. And, based on your services, you can create your target audience profiles and understand your target market.

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By calculating your business expenses and cash flow, you can come up with a pricing structure. Set a fixed price for different services or per single project.

Another option is to set an hourly rate and discuss the project details with your potential customers. Once you determine your pricing, you can calculate your revenue goals. 

As a business owner, you’ll need to set short-term and long-term goals for your graphic design business. This will ensure that your business has a clear direction and growth potential.

How many clients do you need to meet your revenue goals? Define the minimum number your business needs to stay on track and the maximum number of clients you can handle within a certain timeframe. And, write down a marketing plan that will help you achieve at least the minimum number of clients needed.

What is a Marketing Plan? | Marketing Plan Outline

Starting your own graphic design business is not easy. It requires dedication, desire to learn new skills, and patience for not giving up what you’ve started. Planning is a key step for every business. So, plan beforehand and follow your plan to achieve your business goals.


3. Build Your Client Base

One of the main challenges for a graphic design business, and for any other small business, is finding prospective clients. And, especially as a new business, it will be difficult to attract your first clients.

This is why it’s so important to create a client base. A happy and satisfied client is a returning client. They will also spread the word about your skills and refer new clients to you.

If you’re struggling with landing your first client, you can also try freelance job boards like Upwork and Fiverr.

Networking is another tactic you can use. Join different groups and communities in your niche and initiate dialogues with potential clients, try to help them, answer their questions, and introduce yourself.

This will help you present yourself as an expert in your field, and the new project requests will come flowing.

become an expert in your field

Of course, this is an ideal scenario, as things don’t always go smoothly considering the competition and other factors. 

However, no matter how many requests you get, don’t say yes to every project. Choose your clients based on your niche, budget, project size, and any other factors that you find relevant.


4. Pay Attention to the Legal Part of Running a Business

When it comes to managing your own business, one of the major problems is connected to the legal part.

The first thing you should do as a business owner is to find a lawyer who can help you with the legal aspects of your business like registering your business for taxes, copyright and trademark, insurance, and many other important things.

Don’t do any project without a contract. As a freelancer, you might have had some cases when your client didn’t pay you enough or at all for your work. It happens especially when you’re a beginner and don’t know how to manage your projects.

But, as a business owner, you should prepare a simple contract for your clients mentioning the responsibilities and other points that both sides should follow.


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5. Prepare Marketing Materials for Business Promotion

When you start a graphic design business, you realize that either you need to hire a marketing specialist, or you should learn the basics of marketing to grow your business.

First, you should understand what marketing materials you’ll need to promote your graphic design business. This may include digital and print materials including your logo design, social media graphics, presentations, videos, banners, case studies, business cards, flyers, and more.

Then, find tools to help you out. You can create some of your materials yourself, but it could be too time-consuming. So, instead, you can use online tools with ready-made templates.

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And last but not least, don’t quit your day job until your own business is up and running.

Following these tips is crucial, especially for beginners who don’t know much about running a business. Planning beforehand will help you have everything organized and set up.


Create Your Graphic Designer Portfolio

If you’re a freelance graphic designer, you already know about the importance of a professional graphic design portfolio.

So, to share your business online, having a portfolio is an essential step. This is why we’re going to show you how to set up a basic website for your graphic design business.

You don’t need any technical skills or web design knowledge to create your business website. With customizable website templates, you’ll have it up and running in just a couple of minutes.

Personal brand portfolio Designer portfolio template Photography and design portfolio template

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Customizable website templates will help you create your website. Choose a portfolio template, add your content, upload your works, and publish your portfolio. When you decide on your business name, check the domain availability and add it to your website.

With the wide variety of components, you can easily create a portfolio that stands out and attracts the attention of potential clients.

Portfolio website components

Besides, Renderforest Website Builder gives you an option to add different messengers and live chats to connect with your audience and be available whenever they need you. 

Once your website is ready, you can share it on different social media platforms to gain visibility and attract your ideal clients.

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Why do Graphic Designers Need Mockups?

Your amazing designs should be introduced to your clients in the best way possible.

Many graphic designers use mockups to present their projects in a realistic environment, that is on different devices, clothing, products, etc. Depending on your project, you can select the right mockup to demonstrate your design.

Mockup designs

With mockups, your clients will have a clear idea of how the final design will look. They will have an opportunity to preview the colors, typography, spacing, layout, and other visual elements.

For example, if your project is to rebrand a restaurant, you can present your creative design ideas through mockups. You can include their new logo, menu design, business cards, delivery packaging, and much more.

Menu design mockup Signage design mockup Business card mockup

More Mockups

Besides, when you create your graphic design portfolio website, you can add mockups with your designs to the gallery and introduce them to potential clients.

Renderforest Mockup Editor offers a wide variety of mockups for different purposes. The creation process is easy and fast. Select the mockup, upload your design, and export the final result.




Promote your Graphic Design Business with Videos

The graphic design industry is overcrowded, so instead of waiting for your new graphic design clients, you should attract them using different tools. One of those tools is video. While preparing your marketing plan, consider adding videos to your business promotion strategy.

For your graphic design business, you can create different types of videos.


  • Service Explainers

94% of people watch explainer videos to understand how a service works. So, take your chance and introduce your business in a creative way. 

Prepare a list of key points you want to include in your video and customize the scenes. Make sure to keep your explainer video short – up to 3 minutes – and to the point. Below is an example of a unique design studio explainer video.

Edit Template


  • Promo Videos and Ads

Promo videos and ads are short videos used to promote a product or service. These videos are usually 30-60 seconds long, and their main purpose is to generate sales.

You can create animated ads to promote your graphic design business. They are more engaging and catchy. Here’s an example of an animated video ad you can use and customize online.

Edit Template


  • Social Media Videos

In this day and age, if your business doesn’t have social media accounts, it doesn’t exist at all. So, being active on social media and sharing interesting content is crucial for your graphic design business. 

On social media, you can share educational content, design tips and tricks, teach design principles, and anything else that can help your audience. By becoming an expert in their eyes, they will most likely turn to you for their design projects than to someone they’ve never heard about.

And again, with customizable templates, you’ll save time on the video creation process. Check out an example of an educational video about design principles below. You can create your own video by customizing this one.

Edit Template


Videos, if used wisely, can be your number one tool for lead generation. They are dynamic, informative, interactive, and fun. And, with Renderforest Video Maker, you don’t need any animation or technical skills.

Besides, you save your time and money. Which is crucial for any new business. So, don’t hesitate and start creating today to find graphic design clients for your business!

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To Sum Up

Starting your own graphic design business can be a huge step forward in your career. Although there are many different graphic design companies out there, you can still find ways to stand out with your professional approach, the quality of your designs, communication, and something that makes you unique.

From deciding your business name to creating a simple website portfolio and getting more clients, it all depends on you. So, you should be ready to acquire new skills and knowledge.

By following these tips, you’ll get prepared to start a graphic design business yourself and learn how to grow it. Make your first steps with Renderforest. Create your logo and portfolio website today! Click the button below to learn more about our free plans and subscriptions.

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