Kickstart Your Own Design Business With These Key Components

Being a designer is one of those jobs that every creative person dreams of undertaking. As a designer, you have free creative reign over all of your work. Your clients will give you some specifications, but you usually know better design principles than most people so you’ll end up tweaking the suggested design and offering advice on how to improve it. It’s one of the few jobs where you get paid for utilising your skills in creative ways and it rewards a good amount of pay in return.

Destined to Freelance

Unfortunately, it’s also a job that’s destined for freelancers and outsourcing companies. Unless your speciality is in web design, your skills just aren’t needed on a regular basis by companies. Even if your forte is designing websites, the majority of people with your skills work as a freelancer for multiple companies because most websites don’t need constant monitoring or maintenance. Once they’re made, you can usually leave them alone or update them now and then which doesn’t require a professional.

However, there are many design outsourcing companies that are flourishing. When companies are looking to hire someone for a design related job, it’s difficult to find the right freelancer. Some people might not specialise in the job that the company wants, and as a result they might end up taking a long time until they can find the perfect artist to work for them. Let’s say a company wants some technical drawings done for a project. It’s a specialised task that requires someone who’s worked in the field before and there’s no use hiring someone that draws comics. As a result, it’s easier for companies to consult an outsourcing company that understands their employee’s strengths and weaknesses.

Starting Your Own

Design outsourcing companies are a create way to collect talent across the internet and put their skills to use. Many freelance artists find it difficult to secure a list of clients, and the most important aspect of a freelancer’s career is their portfolio and a steady stream of work. An outsourcing relationship with freelancers is beneficial to both you and the artist. You find clients and distribute work among your designers, and then your designers increase their portfolio with professional jobs and they get paid.

If you’re interested in starting up your own design business, then read on to uncover some essential components that your business must have, as well as some concepts and principles that make a good design business.

Equipping the Office

A design office is different to a typical office in many ways. For starters, tables should be height adjustable because creating art is a very personal task. Artists and designers prefer to work at different heights, and if you’re using physical media then it makes sense to have drafting tables where they can work more comfortably. Drafting tables can be height adjusted but also angle adjusted.

Next, your computers (if you choose to use digital media) must be very powerful. They need to be equipped with graphics tablets as well. Wacom offers the industry-standard devices, but Huion and Ugee offer some incredibly good value graphics tablets if you’re willing to fiddle with the drivers and settings. They might not be as prestigious as Wacom, but they get the job done and many budget-conscious artists use them. Unfortunately, if you want to stand out as a professional design company that should be taken seriously, then you’ll need Wacom gear or else your employees might take you for a frugal boss.

Software is also equally as important. Your main options are Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite and Corel’s painting suite. Adobe’s Photoshop software is the most commonly used digital art application with Corel’s Painter following closely. Photoshop is somewhat more expensive but comes with many more tools and settings to play around with. The cost of Photoshop plugins and additional media can make it quite pricey, but there are many Free Photoshop Patterns and other resources available on the internet.

If you decide to work with physical media, then you’ll need a steady supply of art-grade pencils, high-quality paper, erasers, paints and canvases. Keep in mind that these art supplies have to be good quality because it will reflect in the final piece of work. Most of the time you’ll need to digitise these pieces of work to display the progress to your customers or clients, so scanning tools or a good camera is also required.

Your Design Philosophy

Like most businesses, you need to specialise. Just like Coca Cola specialises in soft drinks and Rick Owens makes high-end fashion, your design company needs to have a niche. Unfortunately, the design business itself is somewhat of a niche, but highly-specialised businesses can usually charge extra for their professional services and expert advice. As long as you have a design philosophy or goal that you can impart onto your staff members, you’ll succeed in the business no matter how niche it is.

For example, you could specialise in pencil sketch style drawings. You can offer a service to replicate your customer’s favourite photographs or landscape scenes with highly detailed pencil sketches. These types of pictures have a very nostalgic and simple feel to them because they’re made using just one type of tool: pencils. A skilled artist can use the light and shadows from a pencil to create hyper-realistic pieces of work that will blow away your consumers.

This is a field that requires artists who specialise in traditional media. They are quite hard to find and since it’s a physical medium, you’ll need to hire locally and you won’t be able to use freelancers over the internet. It is, however, an extremely popular art item that very few businesses offer and you could charge hundreds for a single drawing. Outside of taking commissions, you could also sell prints, postcards and other small items that are designed by your artists. Commissions usually take a while to start rolling in, but once you’ve gained some exposure you can be guaranteed that your business will have a long backlog of work that needs to be completed.

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Ive been blogging now for 5 years on various sites for the love of knowledge share. I decided to start my own blog a few years back to share everything from tech to business news. Follow me on twitter for more.