Freelancing in graphic design can be an effective way to earn extra income or even start a full-time business.
With the right profitable graphic design niches and tools, you'll find yourself in a world filled with infinite potentials for the freelance graphic design industry.
But with so many options, how do you choose the most profitable and in-demand niches?
10 Most Profitable Niches in Graphic Design
1. Branding and Logo Design
Almost every business is constantly on the lookout to expand their brand identity. As a freelance graphic designer specializing in branding and logo design, you will attract businesses looking for such service.
In order to be noticed by these potential clients, you will need some sort of portfolio and contact page. A quick way to set this up without building your own website is by offering logo design services on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork.
It can be tricky to drive traffic to your page, which is why we published a separate article guiding you through this process step by step: How to Get Customers on Fiverr in 2023
As more entrepreneurs start small businesses, the demand grows.
2. Flat Illustration
Flat illustration has gained lots of popularity in recent years due to the trend of modern and aesthetic designs.
Many businesses, including startups and creative agencies, are in need of affordable custom illustration services for web pages such as their landing page.
You could offer services providing custom vector illustrations, icons, and character design services. This artistic niche lets you flex your creative skills as it can be divided into many sub-niches.
3. Website Design
A website with a user-friendly web design is one of the most important factors for any website owner, otherwise it won’t attract visitors!
In fact, it is so important that around 20% of all website owners hire a freelancer to make the design for them. And this is where you come in!
With basic knowledge of HTML and CSS coding, you can design and develop responsive websites that meet the unique needs of your clients.
Adobe XD can also be a great tool for visualizing any website concept, making it one of the most popular software among web/ui designers.
4. Book & Editorial Design
Publishing houses, independent authors and corporations producing printed books, eBooks, magazines, journals, manuals and guides require graphics designers to format, layout and illustrate pages to enhance readability and visual interest during long spans of textual content.
5. 3D Modeling
3D modeling is an exciting niche that has gained a lot of traction in recent years due to increasing popularity in games and other virtual industries.
It involves creating 3D graphics using software such as Blender. In most categories it also requires you to learn texturing to give your models some nice colors.
While being one of the most popular niches in this list, it sure is not the easiest to learn. If you decide to specialize in this field, any 3D artist would recommend you to watch the Donut Tutorial by Blender Guru.
Wondering how to make money as a 3D artist? Consider offering your services to people on Fiverr, or creating 3D models for sale on online platforms such as CGTrader.
6. Data Visualization
Data visualization requires turning complex data into easy-to-understand graphics. As data analytics grows, there is high demand for data visualization designers at companies, organizations and agencies.
With the right technical skills, you can offer data visualization services to various clients:
Create data-driven infographics, charts and graphs for business reports and presentations
Transform research findings and statistics into informative, interactive visualizations
Design dynamic dashboards and tools to track metrics and KPIs
Visualize processes and workflows for software products
Produce data-rich graphics and animations for explanatory videos
Develop data visualizations for digital products like apps and websites
Design visual content for social media and marketing campaigns
As more companies realize the power of data visualization for communicating insights, this creative graphic design niche will keep growing.
7. NFT Art
Non-fungible tokens represent an emerging niche where artists sell digital artworks and assets. Setting up an NFT art & design store allows you to sell rare digital creations to collectors on crypto marketplaces like OpenSea.
8. Motion Graphics and Animation
Motion graphics and animation bring a dynamic element to graphic design, making content more engaging and interactive.
From social media marketing to explainer videos, the list of opportunities is very large. This niche is particularly in demand for digital marketing.
Ways you can make money with this skill set:
Create animated explainer videos, promotional spots, and ads for companies
Design and animate branding elements like logos, titles, transitions
Produce kinetic typography and animated text for marketing
Build engaging motions graphics and effects for websites and apps
Animate characters, illustrations and infographics for diverse clients
Use animation to visualize products, services or ideas
Develop visual effects and animations for film, TV, and gaming
With expertise in animation and motion graphics software like After Effects, you can provide these services as a freelancer or creative agency.
As video and interactive media grows, motion design skills will be crucial businesses across several industries.
9. Typography Design
Typography design is a super cool niche for graphic designers who love working with fonts and letters. You get to create original typefaces, fonts, custom lettering, and calligraphy for all kinds of projects.
Companies want unique typography to make their brand stand out. Designing custom fonts for logos, packaging, books, posters - anything that needs words.
You can sell your own fonts online too and make money from font licensing. Pretty sweet deal.
10. Environmental Design
Specialize in designing retail spaces, office environments, restaurants, hotels, trade fair booths, museums and all types of 3D environments. Involves graphics, signage, spatial elements and experiential design.
What to Consider When Choosing a Niche?
When choosing a niche in graphic design, it's important to consider a few key factors to ensure its profitability and suitability for your skills and interests. Here are some points to keep in mind:
Demand: Choose a niche that has a consistent demand in the market. Look for industries and businesses that frequently require graphic design services.
Skills and Passion: Choose a niche that aligns with your skills and passion. Working in a niche that you enjoy will not only bring you satisfaction but also motivate you to continually improve your skills.
Competition: Consider the level of competition in your chosen niche. While healthy competition can indicate a demand for services, too much competition may make it harder to stand out and secure clients.
Market Trends: Stay updated on the latest trends in graphic design and identify niches that are growing in popularity. Being ahead of the curve can give you a competitive edge and attract clients looking for fresh and innovative designs.
Target Audience: Understand your target audience and their specific needs and preferences. Tailor your services and designs to cater to their unique requirements, ensuring that your work resonates with them.
Which type of graphic design is in most demand?
The demand for graphic design varies depending on the industry and the specific needs of clients. Today however, there is a growing demand for web and mobile app design. This includes creating user interfaces, icons, and other visual elements for online platforms. Additionally, there is also a continuous need for branding and marketing design, as businesses are constantly looking for ways to visually communicate their message and stand out in a crowded market.
Can I make a 100k as graphic designer?
Yes, it is possible to make a six-figure income as a graphic designer, but it largely depends on your skills, experience, and the clients you work with. Some graphic designers are able to achieve this level of income by establishing their own successful freelancing business, or by working for high-profile clients or companies that value their creative talents. With dedication and hard work, it is definitely within reach for skilled and motivated graphic designers.
How can I learn graphic design?
There are many ways to learn graphic design, such as enrolling in a formal education program, taking online courses, or teaching yourself through practice and experimentation. By studying design principles, mastering design software, and seeking feedback from others, you can improve your skills and build a strong foundation in graphic design.
In conclusion, graphic design offers numerous profitable niches that can provide a rewarding career or side hustle.
Whether you choose to specialize in branding and logo design, flat illustration, website design, 3D modeling, statistics visualization, motion graphics and animation, or print design, specializing your skills in a specific niche can set you apart from the competition and open doors to exciting opportunities.
Take the time to research and explore these niches, and use your creativity for the final decision.