If you have talent for graphic design and the desire to create some nifty pieces of commercial art then you could probably make a decent living doing freelance graphic design jobs for friends, neighbors, and clients. Local merchants are a good source of jobs and they are always looking for someone to design their flyers, brochures, pamphlets, business cards, menus, logos, signs, etc. Before you hit the streets looking for freelance graphic design jobs there are a few things you should consider.
You need to have some sort of formal training before you embark on this path. I realize that not everyone has thousands of dollars (make that tens of thousands of dollars) to spend on a formal education at an accredited art school such as the Art Institute or the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, but you need to have some knowledge otherwise you will be laughed out of the client’s office before you get very far into your pitch. There are many wonderful books and some instructional videos available online from amazon.com or at your local mall retail book seller such as Barnes and Noble or B. Dalton. You can also get some inexpensive books at used book stores.
You will also need to have a computer. Since you are reading this I will assume that you have a computer or access to one. Photoshop CS or InDesign software is a real necessity if you are to have any kind of career doing freelance graphic design jobs and you need to get copies of these programs and learn how to use them. These programs are very expensive and not that easy to learn but if you follow the tutorials you can learn at your own pace.
You will need to learn color theory and perspective and know the basics of design and graphic design history before you tackle any freelance graphic design jobs. You can get back issues of Communication Arts magazine and study their design annuals for ideas and to see how the pros are doing it. One great way to learn to design is to try and copy as closely as possible some of the designs that you like from these magazines. If you can faithfully recreate them then you can use that knowledge to create your own similar artwork.
Artwork does not need to be completely original and most of the working designers that are out there doing freelance graphic design jobs will steal ideas freely from other sources. After all this is “commercial” art and not fine art. The whole point is that you need to get some sort of portfolio together with different samples to show your potential clients. Usually that is some form of book though more and more people are just doing online portfolios these days.
Once you get enough samples you can go around to local merchants and show them your book and pretty soon you will get a few freelance graphic design jobs to keep you busy. Keep your prices reasonable and make sure the client is happy with your work and you will get more work from the referrals.