Advice for making $500 this year

My graphic design goal for this year is to make $500.

Some facts:

  1. I haven’t done any paid work yet.
  2. I’m still sort of in high-school dealing with my AS Level exams.
  3. I consider myself a logo, social media banner and poster designer currently.
  4. I’ve finished reading the following books:
    100 Rules for the Visual Designer- By Netanel Kraus
    The Vignelli Canon- by Massimo Vignelli
    Designs Iron Fist 2nd Edition- by Jarrod Drysdale
    Typography Crash Course- by Denise Bosler
    Everything there is to Know about Logo Design- by
  5. I can’t use InDesign

Here’s my course of action(what I’ll do to achieve this goal). It mostly includes the aspects which are in my control.

  1. Finish reading Graphic Design School: A Foundation Course for Graphic Designers Working in Print, Moving Image and Digital Media

  2. Finish reading a book on emotional intelligence

  3. Finish reading a book on finance

  4. Make a free online course on typography to gain exposure.

  5. Design for and earn shout outs from trustworthy people with a decent amount of social media followers

  6. Use affiliate links in the description of social media contents.

  7. Monitoring growth every month

  8. Create merchandise for trustworthy people with a decent amount of social media followers

  9. Become the apprentice of a more experienced designer.

  10. Create Instagram content and grow an Instagram account to gain exposure.

Any advice and suggestion(esp. do’s and don’t’s) on how can I achieve this goal
would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks to everyone in advance.

What software do you know?

1 Like

How much unpaid work have you done?

1 Like

I am competent at using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

I have worked on about 10 unpaid projects. Most were not complete because those were not serious projects and back in June 2016 when I started I really did not know about the critical thinking and research part of design. I was all into soft-wares starting from several Adobe products to programs like Blender and Cinema 4d. It has only been a year since I have been exposed to the theoretical, functional and business aspect of graphic design. In case you intend to take a look at my best free work, here is the link to its behance case-study:

I’ve already made changes to the logo. I’ve simplified and changed the illustration. I’ve also changed the kerning to create 2 versions of the logo. One for larger objects and one for smaller ones. I’ll upload a case-study on the new logo withing this week.

Find yourself a summer job working for a sign shop or print shop.
Continue practicing the software.


Here’s the link to the case-study on my best unpaid project:

You have an error in your Standards.
You’ve used the CMYK Coated guide for your Pantone Spot color selection.
From Pantone’s Website:

The CMYK Guide illustrates 2,868 CMYK process colors and their corresponding values. These colors are unique to the Pantone graphics system and cannot be matched to Pantone spot colors. Use this guide when printing in four-color process.

When selecting spot colors as spot colors, use the Solid Coated (and Solid Uncoated) guides, realizing that they both use the same ink just on different paper surfaces. Solid Coated is the usual profiling default.

You can spec the CMYK color as an adjunct color but you will find that not many printers have that book and not a lot of machines in digital world carry that profiling system. In Europe your mileage may vary, but in the US it is uncommon practice to use the CMYK book.

1 Like

Okay, more questions.

Why don’t you use InDesign? It’s a key skill for graphic designers, far better for layout, and easier than either Illustrator or Photoshop.

Who is the target market that will pay you that $500?

I’d put yourself in the shoes of the potential clients. How can you fulfill their needs and solve their problems? That’s what they’ll pay you for.

They’ll want to see evidence that you can do finished design work. In your portfolio, I would prioritize examples of finished designs of posters, logos, etc. over a study of one logo.

They’ll want to see proof that you can design a poster for them, by seeing posters you’ve designed. So I’d leave out the excessive technical details. Most clients won’t understand them or care.

1 Like

PD’s advice is invaluable …run wit it. Learn all about the practical stuff such as stochastic printing and why it matters.

Fortunately I have friends who own both sign shops and print shops :sunny:

1 Like

Thug-D, I think you’ll make an absolutely excellent candidate for a university design program. Until you graduate from that program, however, remember that you’re still an amateur with many, many things yet to learn.

Don’t get so far down the self-taught road that you find yourself needing to back out of what you’ve erroneously learned or from bad habits you’ve picked up. If you can, as PrintDriver suggested, find a part-time job in a sign or copy shop doing anything — even sweeping the floor if you have to. You’ll learn more there about how the real world works than in any book or internet chat forum.

1 Like

Okay, here goes. It’s hard to really know someone from a few posts, and anyone reading your posts will bring their own interpretation and understanding to it. That said, you come across to me like you have some drive and ambition and are serious about learning design. Based on your Behance work samples (including looking at your own identity), I’d say you have potential. I like that you show your process and that you put some thought into work. I like the way you present your work showing the logo design in mock up situations and social media branding and banners across multiple platforms. Good job. That said, and I’m really not trying to be a jerk here, you have much to learn. Seriously, don’t take that as a criticism. You’re in high school. You’ve been working on design for two years, and you’re wanting to get into one of the most nuanced areas of design. So my advice for making $500 this year would be to get a job at a coffee house or cafe or maybe someplace like a Michael’s Art & Craft store. Continue learning, continue observing, continue working on design. Consider adding art school into your plan. I really think you have potential, so work on the long range plan to become a seasoned professional rather than a short range plan of how you can earn $500. Good luck.

1 Like

I’m a bit confused that you have goals like reading a book or two and also “make a course on typography”. It sounds like you are far, far away from creating coursework at this stage.

When I was in high school, I didn’t make any money designing. I wasn’t there yet. Your goals at this stage should be study. You might find a sign or print shop that will hire you without experience but I don’t think they would give you graphic design work.

Do you study design at high school? Do you have access to Indesign? Can you talk to your school’s art/design teacher about it? Some schools have resources, others don’t. But if you show interest, at least they can point you in the right direction. I’ve taken on interns but only with 2-3 years of university level design training. I wouldn’t take on a high schooler without Indesign experience.

In high school, I did all the extra-curricular art and design jobs that I could. Think school productions, school yearbook, school magazine, school newsletters. All school productions need posters, tickets, flyers etc. See if there’s anything you can work on within your school community.

1 Like

©2019 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook