Do you run a graphic design business and want to earn extra income on the side? If YES, here are 50 best small business ideas for graphic designers. Graphic designing is one of the businesses that became prominent with the boom of the internet, and this business has remained profitable ever since.
Graphic designers create logos, posters, newsletters, brochures, signs, and other forms of visual communication, and the industry includes many activities, including corporate identity/branding, advertising, print production, and web design.
These days, the world of graphic designing has expanded so much so that one does not have to be solely reliant on designing logos and stickers to make an income. There are business ventures that are inter-related with this industry that you can take on solely or run as a side business.
If you are probably bored with what you do, and would want to seek out other things you can earn an income with in the value chain of graphic designing, we have outlined a few of these business ideas here for you.
Best Business ideas for Graphic Designers
Start a printing press
One business that has a lot of relationship with graphics and designing is printing. This is because most graphic designed work go through a printing press. So, for a graphic designer looking out for something else to keep busy with or to expand your income, you can set up a printing press.
At your press, you can print the jobs your clients have contracted you to design for them. It is a cool way of making more money especially if the business is located at the commercial printing area. The only thing to be wary of is that the business would demand substantial capital because good printing machines cost a bundle.
Sell Greeting Cards
A graphics designer is generally good at one thing, and that is designing. You can start designing greeting cards that you can sell for some added income. All you need to do is to design and print greeting cards that are suitable for different purposes.
You can sell these greeting cards yourself or you can source for distributors. You can as well sell these cards online if you cannot be bothered with printing them out. This, at least, would save you money and time.
Carry out Graphic designing Training Programs
As a graphic artist, part of the business ideas that you can pursue to make more money is to offer graphic designing training programs. There are loads of people out there who are interested in learning graphic designing, and once they know that you are also involved in training, they will enroll in your training school.
This is a cool way of making cash; you can offer one on one training or classroom training and you can as well carry out online tutoring. While you are at it, you can decide to put together a lesson course and sell it to your students or the general public.
Start a sticker business
Like have been said before, as a graphics designer, you are an expert in designing. You can harness that skill further and start a sticker business. What you have to do is make all kinds of stickers suitable for different people and different occasions.
Yes, there are some materials that you need to buy, and there is the expense of the equipment too, but you can get started on lower capital, and move forward from there. If your stickers have cool captions, you would have no problems getting people to buy them. Another good thing about this business is that you can run it alongside your business, and right out of your home.
Sell custom t-shirts
Another business a graphics designer can comfortably transition to is custom t-shirt creation and sales. You can create awesome t-shirt designs and print them out for sale. There are two basic processes that people use to make a T-shirt: screen printing and direct-to-garment printing.
If you do not want the hassles of printing physical t-shirts, you can just design the shirts and put it up for sale online for people to buy. The market for original t-shirt designs online has grown significantly within the last couple of years. Since 2011, revenue has seen a surge of about 9% – making the industry worth around 3.7 million today.
When you choose to sell t-shirts via print-on-demand, you’ll be required to create your own designs or purchase them from a designer. If you have graphic design skills, you can make your own products using tools like Photoshop or Affinity.
And since this concept also applies to mugs, posters, and even pillows, you can just keep extending it out to whatever cool concept you like. The printing and fulfillment market just keeps getting bigger, and it works to your advantage.
Become an image editor
Image editing encompasses the processes of altering images, whether they are digital photographs, traditional photo-chemical photographs, or illustrations. Image editing and graphic designing are likely in the same niche so you would not have any troubles going this route.
There are a lot of photographers that hate the thought of editing and would gladly outsource their editing jobs. These are the people you should target. It is also possible to work out a formula where you offer your services to places like Dropbox; you do your edits, and then ship the pictures back with the same names with “-rev” at the end. You would usually get good pay for this.
Delve into video Coverage
As a graphic designer, one of the business ideas that you can consider starting is to start a video coverage business alongside your graphics work.
Most people that are into video coverage work directly or closely with graphics designers especially when it involves creating montages and similar stuffs needed for a complete video production. You don’t necessarily need to be the person operating this business; you can employ someone to handle it for you if you feel your skill at not up to par.
Become a video editor
In the same area with video coverage is video editing, and believe it or not, video editing is another business idea that a graphic designer or graphic artist can venture into. If you don’t have the time and capacity to go into full time video coverage and video production, you can just add video editing as part of the services you offer.
The most important thing is that you must learn the skill of video editing, and it will be pretty much easier for you to learn as a graphic designer. Just ensure that you clearly state video editing as part of your business offering and you will sure attract clients and that will translate to more profit for you.
Become a Comic Book Letterer
A comic book letterer is the person that writes the dialogue in a comic book. The comic letter is usually the last person to work on a comic book because his job comes last.
Before they start, the work would have already been penciled, inked, and usually colored, and all that remains to be done is for the letterer to add the word balloons and the text from the script that the writer provides. They’re then given a PDF to work with, make the balloons in Illustrator, fill them in using fancy fonts, and send it back for final proofing.
You can comfortable handle this business if you have been into graphics designing. You can seek your clients online and related social media platforms by making targeted adverts.
Develop a Cartoons Program
Another way of making money as a graphic artist is to develop cartoons that can be aired on TV stations. Previously, creating cartoons was an arduous and strenuous process. It required a fine amount of detail, skill and above else, money.
But today, creating cartoons have become so simple given the vast number of useful apps in the market. The truth is that if you can successfully develop an educative cartoon program for TV, then you can be rest assured that you will make money off it. You can as well sell the soft copy of your cartoon in children’s bookshops.
Start a Package Design Service
Focus on packaging design has risen strongly over the past few years, when it was realized that a great package design has a huge impact on the success of the product. The package design is the only instrument that can create the right impression, properly introduce the product, reveal its values, and draw attention to itself.
Any manufacturer introducing a new product to the market or any company seeking to redesign existing packaging of a product could be your potential clients. This can increase profit because the companies engaged in production always consume stationery a lot.
Become a car wrap designer
Vehicle wraps are a very popular design product for small businesses. The side of their vehicles is a great advertising space that will be seen by many people. It’s basically a mobile billboard with ad space that a business owner only has to pay for once.
However, designing these effective ads can be a little complex. Any designer who decides to undertake a vehicle wrap project should at least be at an intermediate skill level with standard graphic design programs and do their research before they jump into it.
You have to learn to work around three dimensions, trying to ensure that your pattern looks good from all angles and is cohesive. If you have picked up the wrap designing skill on your graphics designing journey, then I suggest you put it good use.
You can sell your wraps online and there are various website that can allow you do that. You only have to do a bit of research to find them.
Design and sell colouring books
Children’s colouring books consist of a lot of drawings that get to be filled in with colour. Since you already have appreciable designing skills as a graphics designer, you can start designing colouring books for children. This business has low startup costs, no maintenance, no physical inventory to worry about, and it can literally make you money in your sleep.
All that is required is to research on the kind of cartoon characters that children in your area or community like, and then develop a similar character in a comic. This is another cool way of making money especially if your comic or book becomes sought after.
You can sell your books online so they can be downloaded digitally, but you can take it a step further and publish it. You never know which publisher would be interested in your work.
Switch to Web Designing
Web design is a process of conceptualizing, planning, and building a collection of electronic files that determine the layout, colors, text styles, structure, graphics, images, and use of interactive features that deliver pages to your site visitors.
Web designing business opportunity is perfect for those who are experts in graphics designing and have basic knowledge in HTML and CSS coding. A graphic designer can also look into this direction if he or she wants to increase profit.
Teach people how to Create How-To Books
A lot of people want to teach others how to carry out an activity, but they are hampered because they do not know how to create how-to books. As a graphics designer, you can easily learn this skill and teach them to people. Starting a business that teaches people how to write ‘how-to books’ is a terrific venture to put into action.
Classes can be held on nights and weekends, enabling the operator of this business venture to manage a daytime business or work a daytime job.
The how to write a ‘how-to book’ instruction class should include details and practical tips on information such as popular topics for the books, writing styles and formats, publisher contacts, research techniques and organizational and time management skills, as well as additional information and guidance to assist students in reaching their ‘book-writing goals.’ Another way to make money from this niche is to create these books for people for a fee.
If you love turning a clever phrase and marrying it with smart graphics, then maybe you should start thinking of starting an ad agency. Of course you can put your graphics designing skills into full use here. The advantages to this business are that it’s creative and keeps you on your mental toes.
The disadvantages are that you’ll usually be rushing to meet deadlines; you’ll occasionally have to juggle your own artistic sensibilities with your clients’ desires. If you don’t have any sort of advertising background, consider specializing in a field where you do know the ropes. You can take a course to further sharpen up your skills.
Run a barter and swap publication
Business bartering has been around for a while, but the pace is rapidly increasing. Now, at barter exchanges across the world, professionals from doctors to electricians are trading their services for goods, services or “trade credits” which can then be used to pay for business expenses whether printing, advertising or travel.
Because of this business, barter and swap publications have become very popular today, as people seek more creative ways to get rid of items they do not want or need, and trade for useful items they’d like to have.
The publication can be published on a bimonthly or monthly basis, and in addition to featuring thousands of barter and trade classified ads, the paper could also feature puzzles, games and facts on local history or trivia. You can generate revenue by either selling the paper, or by giving it out for free and selling ad space.
Publish history guides
If you are looking to start a very interesting and potentially profitable graphics designing related business, then maybe you should start publishing your state or community history guide. You can write guides about local historical buildings in your community, as well as features displaying advertisements promoting community businesses.
Your history guide can be published each month and distributed free of charge throughout the community. Revenues to support the business would be earned by selling advertising space in the guides to local merchants wishing to promote their products and services.
Design and publish business directories
There are a lot of companies that need business directories to run their affairs. Since you are a graphics designer, you can start publishing these directories for these organizations. Generally, revenues are earned in two ways in this type of business.
The first is to charge companies, organizations and individuals a fee to be listed and featured in the directory, and the second way to earn revenue is to sell the directories to companies, organizations and individuals who are seeking these types of business directories for information, marketing and resource purposes.
Individuals who have got a flair for the written word and a talent for turning out new materials in a specific field on a regular basis can initiate a newsletter publishing business. As a graphics designer, you can start providing newsletter making service to the companies who do not have an in-house department for this.
Most business owners believe that creating a monthly newsletter and distributing it to valued clients is a very inexpensive and powerful marketing tool for their business. You can produce custom-tailored newsletters for clients to send to their current and potential customers.
Design Silk-Screened Mouse Pads
A personalized mouse pad is considered as the most popular promotional item, and it’s production cost is low. Having a silk screen printing machine, you can design and print mouse pads for business houses.
Purchasing silk-screening equipment and a few hundred blank mouse pads is all that is necessary for starting your own business that produces mouse pads emblazoned with printed images, logos, and slogans. You can sell the mouse pads to companies with corporate logos printed on them for use in their own business or to give or sell to their clients.
Cover page Making
Any hard copy or digital book demands an attractive cover page because the cover page is the first thing people will see of your word document.
Its purpose right at the beginning is to give the reader the “Big Idea” about the document. You can start designing cover pages for writers, and this business can be started from home and on a part-time basis also. Any individual or institution associated with book publishing could be your potential clients.
Open a Graphic Designing Institute
Another way to make money from your trade is to teach what you know, and you can do this by starting an institute. You can establish a graphic designing institute with the accreditation of reputed universities. The graphic designing career is on high demand. You can initiate this business as small scale basis with some basic courses.
Design and sell marketing brochures
Professional marketing brochures help businesses a lot. This acts as a first impression about the company. The business can be operated from home on a part-time basis and expanded to full-time as the business grows.
Millions of catalogs are designed and produced each year in the U.S., and securing just a small portion of this very lucrative market can make you rich.
The key to success in this industry is not to have all the skills required to produce the catalogs yourself, but to have excellent marketing skills and a good contact base of professionals who can assist in the creation and production of the catalogs from start to finish.
In terms of marketing the service, you first must produce sample catalogs to act as a marketing tool. The next step would be to simply show potential customers the sample catalogs whenever and wherever possible.
Start desktop publishing
As a graphics designer, one other thing you can comfortably do is desktop publishing. Combining your design and computer skills, you can provide clients with a wide range of desktop publishing services.
With the aid of desktop publishing software programs from Adobe and Corel, you can create and produce print and electronic promotional fliers, brochures, product catalogs, business reports, posters, presentations, coupons, and advertisements of all sorts.
You will need to invest in computer equipment, specialized software, scanner, digital camera, and high-quality printer to get this business off the ground, but you would definitely recoup your investments in a short while if you charge the going rate of $40 per hour.
Sell Sewing Patterns
Sewing patterns are another thing you can design and start selling if you are a graphics designer. So what does this have to do with graphics design? A sewing pattern is usually all lines and numbers, and you can make those with an Illustrator app.
If you want to sell them, then you have to put them together as PDFs, and that is within your line as a graphics designer. Basically, if you sew and design, and you like creating patterns, you could be selling them to make some cash.