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How To Build a Graphic Design Business

Starting your own business can be the greatest decision of your life, but it also has the potential to be a major mistake. By taking your financial destiny into your own hands, you also accept an immense amount of responsibility over not only yourself, but also your staff. These are the tips that will help you make your graphic design companies a successful one.

Market Research

The most essential first step for businesses of all kinds is to get to know their audience. Your industry and your target demographics will do much to dictate the options you have available to you when developing a business model and marketing strategies, and they can also help you to optimize your plans for maximum efficacy. The foundation of market research is undoubtedly surveys. Creating a survey via Google Forms or a Google Forms alternative is one of the most powerful ways you can start to accrue the necessary data in order to guide your business. For example, graphic design businesses can benefit tremendously from understanding the makeup of their target market, because that can paint a picture of what kind of work people will request from you and, in turn, the skills you’ll need to hone in on in order to meet those demands. As they say, knowing is half the battle, market research proves that point with aplomb.


Once you have the essential market data in hand, you can use it to formulate a plan with which to speak to the largest possible audience and to speak to them in their own language, so to speak. Generally speaking, marketing is multifaceted and complex, however, and you should prioritize outsourcing marketing expertise as a part of your ongoing budget. The results speak for themselves; professional marketing trumps more amateurish production values. Marketing a graphic design business entails a different set of skills, because it starts with creating an impressive portfolio. Before you build the essential reputation and credibility, you’ll have to do some pro bono work in order to generate positive testimonials. Likewise, working on projects for no other reason than practice and as an example of what you can do is essential to building a promising record of your past successes and the potential to be the right business for a given job down the road. The same principle applies to illustrators and other people who hope to make a living in the visual arts.


Branding is generally an important facet of marketing a company, but it’s all the more important to graphic designers. The majority of your clients will likely be other businesses with branding needs of their own, and that means that your own company’s branding will likely be an important part of attracting clients. This makes your business’s branding an honorary part of your portfolio, and it should be crafted with that in mind. Branding serves numerous purposes, but each of them trace back to the idea of identifying your business and distinguishing it from the competition. You will need to use several aesthetic elements to make this happen, starting with a catchy name and a visually appealing logo. The logo itself will ideally establish a strong color palette, as well. Each of these elements should form a cohesive whole, a narrative of sorts that establishes what your company is about and what it has to offer. With a compelling brand at your disposal, much of your marketing will naturally fall into place, because the brand is the identity of a company that carries over into marketing and advertising campaigns.


Establishing your new business will no doubt be a mixture of excitement and terror. Where there is the promise of your own fortune, there is also a lot of hard work and the potential for failure. However, there are solutions to every problem, and approaching a problem from the proper perspective will make things much more manageable.

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