How to Build and Grow a Graphic Design Business From Home in Kenya

A graphic designer at work

The demand for graphic designers increases every day.

More businesses look for ways to captivate their audience with content and so the services of graphic designers increases.

If you’re a graphic designer, you may be wondering if you will make a cut to help you grow your business.

Are you a graphic designer interested in learning how to grow your graphic design business?

Graphic design is a competitive field of business, you will need to be dedicated and ready to work hard.

If you want to learn how to become a graphic designer don’t forget to read the articles below:

How to Become a Graphic Designer Without a Degree in Kenya

and Who is a Graphic Designer and What Do They Do in Kenya?

Is Graphic Design a Marketable Skill in Kenya?

Graphic design is one of the most pursued courses in Kenya today.

I see a lot of youths asking questions about what it is and how they can enter and grow in this lucrative field.

There are many diverse industries that are seeking graphic designers and technology has made it even more demanding.

As many businesses and companies are going online in this digitally connected world, graphic designers are constantly outsourced to help these businesses stand out from the online crowd. 

What is Graphic Design?

If you do not have a clue as to what graphic design is all about, we are going to break them down in very simple terms. 

The word graphic deals with visuals that are associated with art, imagination and expression, which you can achieve through drawing, painting, engraving or lettering. 

Design deals with the decision about the look and function of something before it is made. 

Graphic design is the incorporation of visual elements and design principles through a creative process for the presentation of information.

Graphic design uses art and technology to communicate ideas to individuals. 

What Does a Graphic Designer Do?

As a graphic designer, you need to have good knowledge and understanding of what you are responsible for.

You will:

  1. Create visual elements like logos, illustrations and original images for the client.
  1. Use design elements to achieve an artistic or a decorative effect in order to convey a message.
  1. Create layouts and choose the right colours,images and typefaces to use. 
  1. Use layout softwares and digital illustrations to create designs.
  1. Determine the scope of the project 
  1. Present the design to clients or art directors 
  1. Make changes that are recommended by clients into the final design.
  1. Review the design for errors before printing or publishing. 

How Do I Become a Self-Taught Graphic Designer?

Most people usually go the university route in order to become graphic designers.

However, if it is something that you discovered recently, you can teach yourself how to do it and grow your graphic design business. 

I am going to give you seven proven steps that you can follow and learn on your own.

Learn the fundamentals of graphic design

Find out what graphic design is all about.

What are the graphic design elements?

What makes a design good and what makes them bad?

There are some courses and YouTube tutorials that can introduce you to the basics of graphic design in minutes.

Go over it and make sure you have mastered the fundamental elements of graphic design, from the spacing, the colours, the shape, typography and texture.

Learn the programs

Once you have mastered the fundamentals, you can start learning Adobe Creative Cloud, which is a suite of Adobe programs that includes Adobe Indesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. 

  • Adobe Indesign is specific to prints and layout in brochures and sometimes packaging.
  • Adobe Illustrator is used for logos and for illustrations that are primarily vector based so that when you scale it out, it will not lose it’s quality; it won’t be pixelated.
  • Adobe Photoshop works with photos but is pixel based. 

Choose what is best for you and make sure that you understand these programs.

Take your time on this because it is very vital for you as a graphic designer.

Apply as you learn so that you do not get lost. Handle each program at a time and take it to step by step.

There are good courses online and also YouTube tutorials that can help you.

You can start with Adobe Photoshop then finish with Adobe Indesign.

There are other programs that you can learn about later on like Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Bridge and Affinity. 

Join social media groups

Facebook has a lot of groups for graphic designers.

Here you can find experienced and willing people to help you in starting out your graphic design journey.

You can ask questions or have your work criticised.

You will be given advice and tips on how to improve your skills.

Join a Facebook group and start making connections today.

Practice projects

Now that you know the fundamentals and have learnt the programs, start doing sample projects.

Use Pinterest to get inspiration and find a design that you can duplicate, whether it is a logo or a book cover.

If you are using a logo, use Adobe Illustrator to help you break down how they did that particular logo and master it. Now try it on your own.

Duplicate that work till you feel comfortable doing it by yourself.

Once you have perfected the art, you can move to another category and repeat the whole process.

Choose a niche

The next thing is to decide what you want to focus on. Is it logos, flyers or package designs?

As you were doing the practice projects, there had to be something that sparked your interest or that you enjoyed doing.

Focus on that and create the best samples of your work that you can use to build your portfolio. 

Join Facebook communities

This is where your target audience is. Interact with them and offer your services at a discounted rate or for free.

Here, you only want to focus on your marketing skills and how you can grow your business by building your portfolio.

Do not be afraid to tell them that you are just starting out as a graphic designer.

Build your own website

After building your portfolio, you can communicate with your audience and show them awesome design images on your website.

You should tell them who you are and give them a few samples to evaluate your work. Do not show them everything. 

How to Grow Your Own Graphic Design Business

How to Grow Your Own Graphic Design Business 

You may want to start growing your graphic design business from scratch or perhaps you have already started and are looking for ways to improve your business performance. 

Here is how you can grow your graphic design business. 

Find a niche

Focus on a particular area of graphic design that appeals to you.

This allows you to work on it and perfect it as you grow your graphic design business.

It also helps to be a bit flexible to switch up to different niches especially after you have exhausted one particular niche.

Choose a sustainable niche.

Know and improve on your skills

You have to know the skills that are needed for you to grow your graphic design business and hone them so that you can market your services and be efficient.

Market your services

Your clients need to know about you and what you offer.

You can go on social media, create a website or write blog posts to drive traffic to you and inform your clients about what it is that you do.

Use the best templates to attract clients.

Know how to price your services

Pricing your services is very crucial because, at the end of the day, your business has to be profitable in order for it to grow.

Stay motivated

You have probably been told that since the competition is stiff, most designs get rejected by art directors and clients.

Do not fear rejection because this is part of the journey towards your growth.

You will get to learn a lot of things about graphic design through criticism as you grow your business. 

Treat design like a business and client

Spend time understanding and growing your brand

Ask for help/network

Choose a graphic design name

Keep the name of your graphic business simple

Is the name available?

Do you love the name?

Does your business name speak your vision?

Get/have a website

Have a plan

What services will your business provide?

Who’s the ideal client?

What are your earning goals per month?

How/where will I find design clients?

Be a communicator with your clients

Deliver high-quality projects

Ask for referrals

Set your prices

How much will you charge?

Do people recommend you?

How do people recommend your work?

What kinds of projects do you get hired for and how many?

Don’t be afraid of rejections

Use rejections to improve your work and not give up.

Fuel your motivation

Have fun

Learn from mistakes

Understand and polish your skills

What Equipment Do I Need to Start a Graphic Design Business?

Graphic design needs the necessary software and hardware if you want to be reliable. You can buy them from scratch as you are starting out or for an upgrade. 

For your hardware, you will need 

  • A laptop
  • A cloud printer 
  • A reliable hard drive 
  • A swatch book
  • A notebook

For your software, you will need 

  • Adobe Creative Cloud, where you can subscribe for Ksh. 1000 per month.
  • An antivirus software, for example bitdefender antivirus. 
  • VPN software
  • Productivity software, for example GoogleDocs 

What Skills Do I Need for Graphic Design?

These skills are critical when you are starting or growing your graphic design business. 

Time management skills

As a graphic designer, you will be working on multiple projects so you have to make sure you beat deadlines

Analytical skills

You should be able to look at your designs from the customer’s viewpoint and come up with something that is acceptable to them. 

Communication skills

You should be able to communicate with customers and clients so that you make sure that the design reflects the information they want to be put across.

Artistic skills

Graphic design is all about art.

You should be able to create attractive designs that clients and customers love.

Computer skills

Since you will be using different software and hardware to prepare designs, you must be efficient when handling computer systems. 

Creativity

Think of unique and attractive ways to communicate ideas to customers on behalf of clients. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn Graphic Designing?

Getting a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design usually takes 4 years. If you wish to pursue it to a Masters level, it will take you an additional 2 years.

If you are not looking to spend too much time in school, you can spend around 6 to 12  months learning and perfecting your skills.

The time you take to learn graphic design, however, is relative to the following aspects.

  • The time you are willing to commit to the process; if it is an entire day or you schedule it into your routine.
  • How you decide to learn; whether you are taking the university route or you will be self taught. 
  • Your current skill level will also determine how long it will take you to learn other concepts.
  • Your job search as a freelancer or if you are working for a company. 

What are the Expenses of a Graphic Design Business?

The startup costs for a graphic design business will be around Ksh. 100,000 or more depending on what you own.

For example, you have to invest in computers, storage, software.

This is inclusive of the hardware you will have to buy and the software subscriptions you will make if you are self-employed. 

How Do I Attract Clients in My Graphic Design Business?

So you want to find clients for your graphic design business.

Your target audience is most definitely online. Basing your market search only offline is not a wise thing to do especially in this digital era.

This is how you will find clients for your graphic design business. 

Social media

Leverage the connections you have online and use that to get clients for your graphic design business.

Create a business account and update it with your business information including the contact details and email address. Use Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn for this

Create a website

Creating a website informs clients about who you are and what designs you create.

If a client is happy about your designs, they will inquire about your services through phone or email that is available on your website.

Blog

Writing a blog about your graphic designs is one way to drive traffic to your website.

Talk about everything you are learning about and more people will ask for your services in no time.

Have a credit line on your graphics

Once you have designed something for a client, you can have a credit line on the graphic so that people will know about you.

How Many Hours Do Graphic Designers Work?

The hours you work as a graphic designer will depend on the company’s demands, your skills, the number of projects and how complex the projects are.

When you are working for a company, you will be required to work Monday to Friday, although it is typically not a 9 to 5 job.

The hours will depend on the type of project; you can spend around 6 hours or more on a project.

When you are self-employed and working on freelance graphic design projects, you will be scheduling your own time and that will mean setting aside time to meet with clients, look for projects and keep up with the trends.

How Do I Price My Graphic Design Work?

You have to know how you are going to charge for your graphic designs and make them profitable for you.

Pricing graphic designs are more about pricing your artistic services than the actual design.

It can get a bit tricky when you do not know where you stand and how much money you want to charge.

I recommend that you be professional about it.

Do not do a one-off fixed charge for everyone. 

Charge according to the amount of work and always start the pricing once you get a client.

Setting up a fixed price on a website will drive away traffic because high prices may drive people away and low prices can indicate you do not value your work.

How Do I Present Graphic Designs to Clients?

Once you are done with your graphic designs, you can present them in the form of a PDF file or as a JPEG to a client. 

Has it been watermarked to avoid the client using it without paying you?

How Much Money Can I Make From Graphic Design?

The starting salary for a graphic designer is around Ksh.100,000 or more depending.

Some designers make up to Ksh. 1,000,000 or more from a single design.

If you want to earn more, you should also work more.

What Industries Do Graphic Designers Work?

As a graphic designer, you can work in the following areas.

  • Advertisements and promotion agencies 
  • TV and Motion graphics 
  • Magazine layout
  • Web designing
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Branding

How Do I Promote My Graphic Design Business?

Once you have learnt the art of graphic design, you will have to market your services and let clients know about you to grow your business. 

In order to reach your target audience

Use business cards

You can put your contact information on the business cards or brochures and hand them to people. 

Use social media

Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram and ideal places to promote your designs as a graphic designer.

Have a referral program

Happy clients are the best sources for new customers,  so you can ask them to help you get more clients. 

Blog

Write blog posts about your services in order to drive traffic to your website.

Advantages of a Graphic Designer

These are the perks of being a graphic designer. 

Self-employment

As a graphic designer, you can choose to work on freelance projects, thereby meaning that you are your own boss and you set your own pace of work.

Work from anywhere

So long as you have the tools for graphic design, you can literally work on a bench in the park!

You express yourself

Graphic design is all about creativity and what better way to express your emotions through art.

Many career options

Being in graphic design means you can pick on either advertising, publishing, tv and film or corporations to offer your services. 

You can be employed anywhere

Businesses today want an online presence so you can be employed anywhere to help set up a company’s website online.

Quick training

If you are dedicated enough, graphic design will be easy and quick to learn. 

Disadavantages of a Graphic Designer

These are some of the challenges you will face being a graphic designer.

Demanding clients

Some clients will ask for too much and are very strict on the deadlines so you need to do everything you can to please them if you do not want your work to be rejected.

Pay may not be as satisfactory

At the start, especially if you are a beginner, you will only be paid according to what you deliver.

Stiff competition

Everyone wants to be a graphic designer.

You need to keep up with the trends, software and computer technology in order to beat the competition.

This can be a bit daunting. 

Tight deadlines

Tight deadlines interfere with creativity and you may end up producing low-quality designs. 

Multitasking will make you pay less attention to important tasks especially if you do not prioritize the multiple projects that you have.

What are the Qualifications for Becoming a Graphic Designer?

To be qualified as a graphic designer, you will need to have the following things that prove your services are legitimate and can be trusted.

Certifications

Companies will ask for your certifications to show that you have thorough knowledge about graphic design before they give you work.

If you have a degree in graphic design, that’s an advantage.

For self-taught graphic designers, having a good portfolio and an extra course in graphic design will put you in the best spot.

Portfolio

Let your work speak for you.

Building a portfolio is important if you want to land a job as a freelancer or an employee for a company.

Select the best of your works and present them to your client. 

License

To start a graphic design business, you will have to comply with the legal requirements in your state so that you do not end up having your services shut down. 

How Do I Become a Successful Graphic Designer?

Here is how you can become a successful graphic designer. 

Find inspiration

There are a lot of sites online where you can find inspiration about graphic design, one of them being Pinterest and through Google search. You can look at what people are doing and use that to strike your creativity for the next design.

Check on new trends

Technology keeps on changing every day.

You have to keep up with the new software features if you want to develop something unique. 

Practice, practice, practice

Practice makes perfect. If you want to grow in your business, make sure you dedicate time to hone your skills before you start marketing your services. 

Learn from the best

Look at the works of the best graphic designers in the world and see how you can create what they have. This will open up your horizon to a new set of ideas about graphic design.

Develop the skills

Make sure that you have mastered the skills that are needed to grow your graphic design business so that you can be as successful. 

How to Create a Good Graphic Design

I have seen a ton of articles giving tips and advice on graphic design and I want to give you the best tips on how you can develop the best designs when you want to grow your graphic design business.

When you want to create a good graphic design, you have to focus on making the key visual elements in graphic design as attractive as possible.

Colour

When you are focusing on colour, have a colour theme, a colour palette and do not forget about using the psychology of colour that can evoke an emotion from your graphic design. 

Lines

Use lines to guide a viewer’s point of focus on your graphic design. 

Typography

When you are using fonts, the general rule of thumb is that you do not use more than three fonts in your graphic design. If you are using more than one font, make sure you know how to pair them to create a perfect look. 

Spacing

Spacing is very important when you want to create balance in your graphic design. You want to make sure that your elements are aligned, balanced and complement each other. I recommend using white spacing to allow that.

Form

You do not have to spend a lot of time working on three-dimensional graphic designs. More people are embracing the use of flat designs.

How to Find Graphic Design Ideas

These ideas will help you develop very attractive designs for your business. 

With many people being in this field, you have to have a competitive advantage over them and there is no better way to do that than knowing what to design based on the current trends and how you can find these ideas.

Are you running out of inspiration? You will get creative ideas in these ways

Through social media

Go to Pinterest and collect the best graphic design content and place them in their categories.

Take classes

You will get to learn about new trends and ideas hence boosting your creativity. 

Look at other people’s designs

This will help you look into their creative skills and find out how you can add a little twist to their design and make it unique.

Look at your old designs

This will help you see if you could change something in your previous design and what that would be.

Interact with other designers and learn something from them about how they do what they do

It will widen your scope.

What Graphic Designs Sell Well?

Do not just focus on designing logos, billboards and posters with your skills.

There are some project ideas you can take on that sound very interesting.

For example:

  • A colouring book.
  • A travel guide.
  • Postcards with messages.
  • A reinterpretation of classical work.
  • An inspiration of pop culture.

FAQs on Growing a Graphic Design Business

1 Is graphic design a growing profession?

Yes, graphic design is a growing profession.

2. Are graphic designers rich?

YES, graphic designers are rich.

3. How do I get my first job as a graphic designer?

You get the first job as a graphic designer by:

Applying for jobs

Work in-house

Have a portfolio

Get experience

Nail the interview

Network

4. How do graphic designers get noticed?

Graphic designers get noticed by:

Have a portfolio

Getting portfolio reviews

Social networking

Word of mouth

5. How long does it take to be a graphic designer?

It takes you a number of months to years to become a graphic designer depending on the niche you choose.

6. Can I learn graphic designing by myself?

Yes, you can learn graphic design by yourself.

7. What skills do you need for graphic designing?

The skills graphic designers need include:

Creativity and innovation

Time management and organisation

Attention to details

Keeping up with the trends

8. Does graphic designing require coding?

NO, graphic designing doesn’t require coding but the knowledge of HTML, Javascript and CSS is desirable.

9. How do I make graphics of better quality?

You make your graphics have better quality by:

Pairing contrasting fonts

Match colours/contrast fonts

Use white spaces

Consistency

Use icons

Think of the audience

Keeping it simple

10. Do graphic designers work from home?

YES, graphic designers work from home.

Graphic design is a perfect work from home job/location independent job.

11. Where do graphic designers find work?

Graphic designers find work on platforms like:

Upwork

Linkedin

99 Designs

Google search

Have a website

Starting an agency

Aggressive marketing on social media.

Resources Related to Growing a Graphic Design Business

How to Become a Graphic Designer Without a Degree in Kenya

Who is a Graphic Designer and What Do They Do in Kenya?

Graphic design is an interesting and rewarding business for people that love challenges.

In a graphic design business, you won’t work the same task over and over so your work won’t get boring ever.

The graphic design industry has competition like any business.

Start from and with a niche to become a guru/an expert.

Get prepared to face the problems and challenges with a clear mind and trust the process.

If you want to grow your graphic design business, apply all that you learn.

Make sure to keep tabs on the current technological trends and graphic design ideas to know and understand what customers want and are looking for.

Are you a graphic designer?

Are you wondering how to grow your graphic design business?

Leave a comment

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Online Businesses / Work in Kenya