The field of graphic design is broad and encompasses both traditional and innovative forms of design. As a designer, you can be motivated to recreate the allure of bygone times by developing stunning designs in the classic style or ones with a retro or vintage aesthetic. Alternatively, you are an expert at designing contemporary business cards, websites, brochures, and logos. In actuality, the range and styles of graphic design, which use 3D designs, are infinite.
But, you must be aware of the internet marketplaces where you may offer your designs or artwork for sale at a price that suits you. You can make a respectable living as an illustrator, 3D artist, art director, or anybody working in the graphic design industry by showcasing and selling your creative work on websites. Such online venues are very helpful for regular revenue for independent designers.
You might be looking for ways as a designer to start your own graphic design company. However, that can require some time. You can sell your designed products online and generate a consistent passive income until then.
You may sell your graphic design work on the internet! These are some suggestions for graphic artists seeking active, semi-passive, or passive income. Let’s examine each of these suggestions and the reasons you ought to attempt at least one of them in order to make money.
1. Comics and graphic novels
Comic drawing is a billion-dollar industry. Just last month, 1194 new comic books and 391 new graphic novels were released, according to Wired. That allows us to safely assume that people are interested in this form of art, and more importantly, still willing to pay for it.
By selling digital comics online, you’ll have the chance to get a piece of the market share. What’s also important, selling comics as digital products will let you avoid the challenges traditional publishers face: the need to cover the costs of physical stores or convince people to pay for shipping when they order online.
2. Printable coloring books
Designing coloring books will allow you to show your design skills in full glory. The adult coloring book trend surprised the world in 2015 when over 12 million books were sold, with some sellers making even up to $329,000 that year. While some say that the trend is now gone, Forbes argues that it may not be entirely true.
Adults and kids alike still enjoy coloring, but instead of buying from traditional publishers, people today prefer to shop from small self-publishers. Their sales numbers aren’t always reported precisely, yet it’s known that as much as 60% of hobby books today are sold by indie self-publishers.
Coloring books are a product that has been taken over by small sellers. This is a great opportunity for new sellers because markets that aren’t dominated by big players are much easier to enter. Printable coloring e-books are therefore the perfect product for freelance designers to sell.
3. Web elements and icons
With close to 200 million active websites found online, business owners today want to stand out from the crowd. One way companies can show off their personality is through unique web icons and custom illustrations that help them tell their story.
According to 99designs, custom illustrations are one of the main web design trends today. Looking further, we can assume that with the web becoming more saturated, the trend and demand for custom web illustrations will continue to grow. So, selling icons and illustration packs online will be a good way for graphic designers to earn with digital art on the side.
Fonts are a huge part of any website. Especially nowadays when designers and programmers (and Google) pay extra attention to things like website readability and usability.
According to Monotype, the US company whose core product is fonts, the interest in original typefaces is growing steadily. Their sales results prove it: last year, the company reported $235.8 million in revenue, which was an increase of 16% in comparison to the year before.
Fonts have not only become a part of UX but also play a serious part in branding which explains the growing interest. For freelance graphic designers, this might be the best moment to jump on the bandwagon and offer their creative fonts for sale.
5. Instagram Highlights Covers
Everyone knows that if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. What people have also realized is that quality and eye-catching visuals are a must to attract and retain followers.
While Facebook is still the most popular social media platform in terms of daily users, Instagram is a close rival. That being said, Instagram is where visual appearance matters more, so if you wonder which platform you should focus on when creating your pack of visuals—this is it.
Besides images for the feed, a product that’s especially trendy right now is Instagram Highlights Covers. It’s something barely noticeable, yet essential for a professional and polished image when people visit the profile.
6. Emojis, stickers, and emoticons
With more than 60 million emojis sent on Facebook Messenger every day and half of all Instagram posts including emojis, it’s obvious that people love to communicate with visuals. And of course, if people love something, brands will make use of it.
As soon as Twitter introduced branded emojis in 2015, companies in various industries immediately started to add their custom emojis and logos. So far, over 250 companies have already created their own emojis, including Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, and Chevrolet.
With emoticons becoming an integral part of everyday communication, this trend will definitely continue to grow. Thus, more and more brands will be looking for unusual and witty emojis to use in their marketing. This is where your designs can come into play—offer emojis, stickers, and emoticons that would help companies show their personality and sell their products.
7. Printable wall art
According to research analysts, the global home decor market is steadily growing by almost 20% a year. In fact, Printful, the drop-shipping company that offers custom-printed products, reported that posters are their second best-selling product of all time, with hundreds of thousands of pieces of wall art sold every year.
As long as people and companies move and renovate spaces, decor like posters, canvases and wall stickers won’t leave the best-seller’s top. But the best part is that selling wall art doesn’t mean you need to print and ship physical products. Instead, skip the hassle and offer downloadable print files, leaving the printing part to the customer.
8. Printable party decorations
In the era of Instagram and Pinterest, people are putting a special emphasis on decorations. Think about it—parents today can easily spend up to $250 to decorate their kids’ birthday parties. Couples are spending as much as $2000 to make sure their weddings look picture-perfect.
There might never be a better time to use this trend to make passive income. Besides the chance to make money as a freelancer, selling party decorations also offers you endless possibilities to express yourself.
Focus on a specific:
- theme (e.g. superheroes, disco, high tea party)
- style (e.g. rustic, minimal, the 20’s)
- type of party (e.g. birthdays, weddings, bachelorette parties)
- age (e.g. adults, teenagers, toddlers)
9. GIFs or animations
Animated images have been around for over 25 years, but it’s the last three years that the trend has really taken off. From telling stories to expressing emotions, GIFs today are used by nearly everyone and everywhere in digital communication.
When Instagram introduced GIFs in stories, many savvy brands on Instagram saw them as another way to increase brand awareness. So, they started uploading custom GIFs for everyone to use.
Now, with the trend in full swing, more companies are looking for original GIFs to purchase and use in their communication. So, if creating moving graphics is your hobby, this is a great time to put your work for sale and start making money with it.
10. Premade 3D designs
3D designs give opportunities that would otherwise be impossible to reach in the online environment—they give a face-to-face effect. Experts predict that realistic-looking 3D graphics and animations are something we’ll continue to see more in the following years. And not just in big-budget campaigns, game designs, and Hollywood movies.
We can expect that in the following years, there will be a growing interest in premade 3D models. Small businesses will be willing to use the trend but on a budget. Instead of creating 3D models from scratch, companies that want to save money will be looking for ready-made content that can be customized. So, use this demand to sell assets that you’ve previously created for a different project or for fun.
11. eBooks and resume templates
While many still read print books, digital publishing has grown ever popular in the social media world. According to Statista, user penetration is expected to hit 15.9% by 2024. That tells you that eBooks are here to stay.
Writing eBooks is one way to sell your skills and knowledge as a graphic designer. You can write a step-by-step guide to graphic design for beginners, or create a beautiful guide to product branding. Whichever way you choose to sell, there’s no doubt that your eBooks will sell like hotcakes.
When you take a look at online marketplaces like Creative Market or Etsy, it’s evident that eBook templates are in high demand. Social media influencers, creators, and makers—entrepreneurs from all walks of life sell at least one as part of their brand.
So, putting pre-designed templates up for sale is a great way of earning passive income. Apart from selling eBooks online, you can also try to sell resume templates. These are quite popular as well, as more job seekers these days care about the look and feel of their resume.
12. Freelance on Upwork
Freelancing could work for you when you have a diverse set of graphic design skills, but you’re not into selling products. If you’d rather experiment with different gigs (like social media post design, illustration, etc.), Upwork could be a potential source of income for you.
With hundreds of jobs for each skill set, Upwork is the world’s largest freelancing website. Once you sign up, you can easily filter graphic design jobs by using their search function. Upwork makes it easy to find suitable jobs faster than you would on your own by matching you to offers that need graphic designers.
While freelancing may not be the most reliable option for earning a steady income, it’s a great way to build a reputation and earn positive feedback. For example, you can try part-time freelancing while working on other side projects, and use the reviews you’ve received on Upwork for future reference.
13. Business branding
In recent years, business branding has seen a huge spike in popularity. As entrepreneurs and startups don’t always have in-house designers, they need someone with the talent and the vision to help them come up with a strong visual identity.
From logos to business cards, designing the critical components of a new brand is a great way to utilize your talent and earn an income. Not only will you have a stunning portfolio, but it’ll also ensure similar future opportunities.
14. Teach graphic design
Not into selling products or freelancing? Then perhaps online tutoring might be your thing. If you’ve noticed that you enjoy teaching people, why not teach them your passion?
The rise of online tutoring can be attributed to an increasing interest in acquiring new skills from the comfort of one’s home. Previously, people would sign up for courses in their local neighborhood and then try to match their busy lives with the program’s schedule.
Now that e-tutoring is available to all, people no longer need to struggle with time slots—they can learn at their own pace. So, if you’re a highly skilled graphic designer, you could give this a shot by selling courses online via learning platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Skillshare. Your clients will definitely appreciate the chance to learn from you at their convenience.
15. Illustrate publications
The indie publishing industry has enabled thousands of books to be sold by just about anybody. Oftentimes, with similar book covers due to the availability of free stock photos.
So, here’s your chance—use this to your advantage and offer private photoshoots or unique illustrations. Most authors these days want to ensure that their book covers are one-of-a-kind and not an almost exact copy of somebody else’s.
Illustrating publications doesn’t just stop at book covers, though. You can also illustrate magazines, comics, or even fictional characters and world maps. So, if this is something you’d love to do, consider becoming an illustrator on freelance marketplaces like 99designs or Behance.
After seeing the various options available to graphic designers, the next step is to choose a service or product and launch an online store. Next, begin making money with graphic design.