For creative types, remote graphic design jobs are a profitable way to not only pay the bills but also a great way to fulfill your passion for the arts. You can specialize in one aspect of graphic design or you can become a jack of all trades.
Whether you enjoy the technical guidelines of corporate design, the diverse clientele of agencies, or marketing your own design style, graphic designers (both trained and self-taught) are a necessary link to inform and visually engage consumers. And, in today’s rapidly changing world, the number of remote graphic design jobs out there is growing. Great news for those of us who love work at home!
By the way, if you’re new to remote work and want to upskill, you’ll find some great resources in The Best Online Courses for Remote Jobs and Online Business. [Coming Soon!]
By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a much better understanding of:
Yes! As a professional graphic designer since 2004, I have found numerous ways to earn a significant income from full-time to freelance virtual graphic design jobs. And, for the past 12 years, I have worked some of the best remote graphic design jobs from the comfort of my home. I love the flexibility in scheduling, seeking out clients, and improving my skills by keeping up with key graphic design programs such as Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, and WordPress.
Working at home does have its challenges. But, if you are seeking freedom from your 9 to 5 and are motivated to make a positive change, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to live your dream life. And, if you’re a creative type, then remote graphic design may well be your dream job!
Have I got your heart beating? Keep an eye out for the next one in this series: How to Start a Graphic Design Business for Freelancers.
Graphic design is the art of combining visual elements and typography to convey ideas visually. While a large portion of graphic design is used for commercial purposes, it can also be used as a form of artistic expression.
Check out this short video that explains the basics and can help you decide whether graphic design is the right career path for you.
Common graphic design elements include:
Graphic designers use these elements to create compositions that follow graphic design principles combining balance, contrast, proportion, etc.
Following these base guidelines can differentiate a novice designer from an experienced one. While your projects may overlap regarding types of remote graphic design jobs, you can also specialize in one of the following categories.
When a client requests a new logo or a fresh overall look for his company, a brand identity package is created. You will put together brand guidelines, create an updated logo (if requested), provide recommended fonts, color(s), illustrations, or other elements depending on the client’s niche.
A strong brand identity package creates a cohesive style that fits the overall brand message. It can contain specific Pantone colors (a universal color language that allocates a number to each color), font size restrictions, and logo variations just to name a few. After the package is approved, the company can send a comprehensive brand file to multiple freelance designers (print and web) and marketers to reduce the amount of time and money needed to create new projects.
Depending on the size the company, they may have one marketing designer or a team. While marketing designers still specialize in print media (trade shows, magazine ads, business cards), digital marketing design is gaining traction. Marketing designers can design ads for PPC campaigns, social media, infographics, and templates for email marketing.
The rise of apps has created a need for graphic designers who know how to code. UX Design improves navigation, features, and in turn, revenue that can quickly propel a company in front of its competition.
UX graphic designers design a visual experience that encompasses the screen, incorporates the keyboard, and navigates the mouse. People that enjoy the functionality along with the aesthetics will succeed in improving UX. You can specialize in designing eCommerce themes, web pages, apps, or video games.
Publications continue to evolve based on the rise of digital media and the need to produce less paper waste. Traditional paper publications include books, newspapers, and magazines. Digital publishing can include eBook covers, eMail newsletters, online magazines, and blogs.
Packaging design is truly an art form. Not only can it inform the consumer on what the product is and how to use it, but it can also be designed to fit on certain shelf space, help decrease shipping costs and environmental impact, or even attract the eyes of a potential buyer.
Packaging designers generally either work on a specific type of packaging (labels, boxes, bottles, bags) or for one industry (beauty, beverage, kids).
Animated graphics help bring life to movies, TV, and video games. They can also be seen in a variety of practical applications including commercial advertisements, business presentations, GIFs, and teaching tutorials.
When you go to a public space such as a museum or a retail store, you unconsciously rely on environmental graphic design to get you where you need to go. Whether it’s finding the right exhibit, the checkout, or even a public restroom, environmental graphic design is created to help identify a given space.
This type of graphic design encompasses a wide range of size, material, and accuracy challenges. An interest or degree in architecture is helpful if you are considering this avenue of graphic design. However, the rewards for this mathematical design are many. Imagine seeing your designs in a popular retailer, on a city bus, or in a stadium!
If you have a passion for illustration, you can open up an online shop selling on-demand printed t-shirts, mugs, art prints, stationery, comic books, and more.
Choosing this path of graphic design requires a healthy market to like and purchase your designs to be successful.
Once you market your unique style, you will have the opportunity to design for companies and individuals looking for your style of illustration. Get commissioned to create original book covers, textiles, and album covers just to name a few. Rock on!
Now that you’re excited about the opportunities that exist around the best remote graphic design jobs, let’s discuss the numbers!
The salaries of graphic designers can vary greatly based on location, size of the company, years of experience, education, type of design, and industry among others.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for entry-level graphic designers in the United States is just over $43K. SalaryExpert.com lists an entry-level graphic design salary as 28,759€ (Europe), £25,932 (UK), ¥120,348 (China), and $58,000 (Australia).
Freelance graphic designers’ pay rates also vary on various factors such as whether you work full-time or part-time, with an agency or individual, and how you get paid. (For example, if the client pays you directly versus a freelance platform where there are service fees.)
You set your rates (hourly or salary), and the total amount you make is determined by how many jobs you complete and efficiency (number of edits, etc.). The salary cap is very healthy if you are willing to work hard and hustle.
So, where do you find these opportunities? Let’s go!
FlexJobs was created in 2007 and is an industry leader for finding quality work-at-home jobs. If you don’t have the time or the resources to look for “graphic design jobs remote” daily, subscribing to a paid service like FlexJobs is a smart option.
It is important to note that the majority of job listings on FlexJobs can be found for free on the Internet. However, the monthly fee is affordable if you want the ease of finding them all in one place or if you are worried about handing over your personal information to a random website form or Gmail address.
FlexJobs also offers a no-risk satisfaction guarantee.
As a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer, I’ve spent a fair amount of time getting clients and completing work through Upwork. While Upwork is great for graphic designers that have just completed a degree or who have a current portfolio, the competition is fierce.
As with most jobs on Upwork, it is best to narrow down your niche to stay competitive. For example, only design presentations, logos, or branding kits.
Spend time on each proposal by first personalizing it to the job poster (the name is often found in the feedback section), include keywords from the job listing (so it’s clear you’ve read it), and inject a little personality and speak to their needs. The more your proposal stands out, the less the dollar amount will matter.
Always complete your work on time and over-deliver to receive or retain your top-rated status.
Since you purchase credits to apply for every job, really read the job description to make sure you are qualified and the perfect candidate. Look for jobs that offer long-term or additional work after the first milestone so you can design more and write fewer proposals (Upwork charges a 20% fee on the first $500 you make with a client, 10% until $10,000, 5% after).
Guru is similar to Upwork in the way you bid for jobs. However, the fee structure is different. With Guru, you can have a completely free account with ten bids per month (1 bid = 1 job application). Plus, Guru’s highest fee is 9% which is less than half of Upwork’s fee.
If you like the platform, you’ll quickly want to upgrade to a paid plan to get more work. The benefits outweigh the monthly cost. For example, with a paid plan, you can promote your portfolio website on your Guru profile and use bids to contact job posters directly (a feature Upwork doesn’t provide).
While I have a Guru account, I have personally found more success with higher-paying jobs on Upwork. However, if you are just starting, I would recommend using both platforms to see which one works best for you.
With a gig bought every 4 seconds, Fiverr is a freelancer community you’ll want to belong to. Whether you create social media designs, photo editing, or flyers, Fiverr has a virtual shop window space just for you. You can charge $5 and up for services, with more complex designs and experience driving up the pricing.
Before deciding what you will sell on Fiverr, I recommend doing some research to see which type of graphic design or design niche is selling the best. Look at Fiverr users with over 1K of feedback and see if you can imitate their special sauce.
Once you score jobs and complete top-notch work, your feedback will start to add up getting you higher in the search results. Overachiever? Apply for Pro Status. Fiverr claims only 1% of applicants earn the badge which could increase your job requests and pay dramatically.
While a client can still request a design contest if they are not sure what they are looking for and would like to see multiple designers’ works, 99Designs also has a “hire a designer” feature. With “hire a designer,” the client can choose your profile and work directly with you on a specific project. Designers are ranked as Entry, Mid, and Top Level, and prices can be negotiated for the requested design work.
I recommend 99Designs for brushing up on your graphic design skills by entering contests that speak to you as a designer. Learn from other designers and grow your portfolio on the free platform.
AngelList is the best-kept secret for jobs even your acquaintances will be impressed with. Home to the largest startup community, you can frequently find design jobs that offer good pay and even some with equity opportunities. From apparel to healthcare to finance, there is a wide variety of niches open to a global remote market.
At the time of writing, there were over 800 graphic designer jobs listed. If you have a portfolio in hand, take a few minutes to create a profile and reach out to some of the startups that interest you.
While working for a startup can be chaotic at times as you go through growing pains, adding working for a startup experience on your resume can give you a competitive edge. It’s also a great opportunity to work with enthusiastic, hard-working people!
With Toptal the projects are diverse. Sometimes you will be placed with a big company as part of a team or solo in a startup. On certain projects, you can give creative input and the platform provides productivity tools.
You can also work at your own pace. Select a project from a list of options available or let your recruiter know you need a break from the daily grind.
When you first start in graphic design, your portfolio is the best way to showcase your skills. Behance, a live portfolio service powered by Adobe, is a great way to make a first impression without shelling out money for your own website.
You can use the platform to connect with other designers and with companies that are interested in your style of design on a global scale. Job opportunities include full-time, contract, internships, and freelance remote work.
With well over 4 million users worldwide, Dribbble is an invite-only community that is full of inspiration and professional feedback. With a beautiful UX (user experience) and a family feel, the platform is great for design diehards.
Dribbble offers hundreds of design job opportunities, many of which are marked “remote-friendly.” They also offer job listings for freelance designers with simple design requests and a message button if you are interested in getting in contact with the job poster.
There are several design job boards available online but three of my favorites are RemoteOK, Working Nomads, and Jobspresso. They all have top tier curated job opportunities that motivate you to take your career to the next level.
Job listings are easy to view in a visually pleasing table format and the apply button often takes you to the company’s website you will be applying for. This is a great way to apply directly when jobs from lesser-known companies can be buried within their website or difficult to Google search.
Now that you know more about graphic design, what areas you can specialize in, and the sites to find the best remote graphic design jobs, I’m confident you can take your first steps into the flexible career you’ve always wanted.
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