How to Start a Graphics Design Studio Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

how to become graphics designer freelancer

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How do I start a Graphic Design business?
  • Is Graphics Design a good business?
  • What is the Graphic Design business?
  • Are graphic designers high in demand?
  • How graphic design earn money?


In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Graphic Design Studio Business

A graphics design studio business is a company that offers creative services related to visual communication and design. 

These services include graphic design, branding, illustration, web design, user interface design, and other related services. For example, a graphics design studio aims to help clients communicate their messages effectively through visual media. 

A studio may work with many clients, from small businesses and startups to large corporations and government agencies. 

The work may be project-based or ongoing, and the studio may employ a team of designers or work with freelance designers on a project-by-project basis.

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Types of Graphic Design Business Models?

Several types of business models can be applied in the graphic design studio business.


1. Project-based Model: 

In this model, the studio charges a fee for each project completed by a client. The price is based on the scope of work, the time required, and the project’s complexity.


2. Hourly-based Model: 

In this model, the studio charges hourly for the time spent on a project. This suits clients with ongoing design needs, such as regular branding or marketing materials updates.


3. Subscription-based Model:

The studio charges a monthly or yearly fee for design services in this model. This can include several monthly design hours, access to design templates, or priority support.


4. Commission-based Model: 

In this model, the studio earns a commission on sales made through designs created for a client. For example, a studio might design product packaging for a client and earn a percentage of each sale made with that packaging.


5. Hybrid Model: 

This model combines two or more of the above models to create a custom solution that meets the needs of a particular client. For example, a studio might charge an upfront fee for a project, followed by ongoing hourly charges for updates and maintenance.

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How to Start a Graphic Design Studio Business 

Starting a graphics design studio business requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some critical steps you can take to get started:

1. Develop a business plan:
A business plan is a roadmap for your business that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. It should include your target market, competition, marketing and sales strategies, pricing, and expenses.

2. Choose a business structure:
Decide on the legal system of your business, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. This will affect your taxes, liability, and other legal considerations.

3. Register your business:
Register your business with the appropriate government agencies and obtain any necessary licenses or permits.

4. Build your team:
Hire designers, project managers, and other staff members as needed. Consider working with freelancers or contractors to save on costs.

5. Set up your workspace:
Set up a physical or virtual workspace that meets your team’s and client’s needs. This may include office equipment, software, and other tools.

6. Develop your portfolio:
Create a portfolio of your work to showcase your design skills and expertise. This can help you attract new clients and build your reputation in the industry.

7. Market your services:
Develop a marketing strategy to promote your business and attract new clients. This may include advertising, social media, networking, and other tactics.

Note: Starting a graphics design studio business can be challenging, but you can build a successful and profitable business with careful planning and hard work.

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Pros and Cons of a Graphic Design Studio Business

Here are the pros and cons of starting a graphics design studio business:


  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • High demand
  • High-profit margins
  • Personal fulfillment


  • Competition
  • High pressure
  • Creative differences
  • Financial uncertainty

A graphics design studio typically consists of a team of designers, each with their own area of expertise. This can be advantageous as it allows for a broader range of skills and specializations to be brought to a project.

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How much investment is required / onetime setup cost? 

The investment required for starting a graphics design studio business can vary widely depending on several factors, including the location, company size, and services offered, and equipment needed. 

However, here are some of the potential costs involved in setting up a graphics design studio business:

One-time Setup Costs:

  • Office space rent or purchase
  • Office furniture such as desks, chairs, and storage units
  • Computers, laptops, and other hardware equipment
  • Printing equipment such as high-quality printers, scanners, and other production equipment
  • Internet and phone service installation
  • Branding and marketing expenses such as logo design, website development, and business cards
  • Social Media & Google Paid Advertising.
Graphic Design Studio Online Business Ideas

How much you will earn in a Graphic Design Studio Business 

The amount of money you can earn from a graphics design studio business can vary widely depending on several factors, including the size of your business, the services you offer, your location, and your level of experience and expertise.
As an approximate idea, the hourly rate for a graphic designer can range from $20 to $150 or more, depending on their experience level and the project’s complexity. 
The average annual salary for a graphic designer in the United States is around $50,000, but this can vary depending on location, industry, and experience.
As a business owner, your earnings will depend on the revenue generated by your business minus your expenses. However, it’s important to remember that as a business owner, you will also have to factor in the cost of running the business, such as rent, utilities, equipment, employee salaries, and marketing expenses.
Overall, the earnings potential for a graphics design studio business can be significant.

Still, it will depend on your ability to attract clients, deliver high-quality designs, and manage your expenses effectively.

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The Licenses Required for a Graphic Design Studio Business

AAs a graphic design studio business owner, you may need to obtain a few licenses and permits to operate legally. The specific licenses and permits required can vary depending on your location and the nature of your business. 


Here are some standard licenses and permits that you may need to obtain:


1. Business license: 

A business license is a general license required to operate any business. The local government issues it, and the requirements and fees vary depending on your location.


2. Sales tax permit: 

If you plan to sell products or services, you will need a sales tax permit to collect and remit sales tax to the state government.


3. Professional license: 

Depending on the type of graphic design services you offer, you may need a professional license. For example, you may need a professional engineering or architecture license if you offer architecture or engineering services.


4. Zoning permit: 

If you plan to operate your business from a commercial property, you may need a zoning permit to ensure that your business is allowed in that location.


5. Health permit: 

If you plan to serve food or drinks to your clients, you may need a health permit to ensure that your business meets health and safety standards.


6. Copyright and trademark registration: 

If you create original designs, register for copyright or trademark protection to protect your intellectual property.


It is important to research your area’s specific licensing requirements and obtain all necessary licenses and permits before starting your business to avoid any legal issues down the road.

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List of main Products / Services List to offer in a Graphic Design Studio

You can offer a wide range of products and services as a graphic design studio. 


Some of the most common ones:


1. Logo design: 

Create unique and memorable logos for businesses and organizations.


2. Brand identity design: 

Develop a cohesive brand identity, including logo, color palette, typography, and other visual elements.


3. Print design: 

Create print materials such as brochures, flyers, posters, business cards, and stationery.


4. Web design: 

Develop responsive websites with user-friendly interfaces that are optimized for search engines.


5. User interface (UI) design: 

Design intuitive and visually appealing interfaces for digital products, such as mobile apps, software, and websites.


6. User experience (UX) design: 

Develop seamless and enjoyable user experiences for digital products through research and testing.


7. Packaging design: 

Create compelling product packaging designs, including labels, boxes, and bags.


8. Illustration: 

Develop custom illustrations for books, magazines, websites, and other media.


9. Motion graphics: 

Create engaging and visually stunning animations and videos for websites, social media, and other platforms.


10. Copywriting: 

Write compelling copy for marketing materials, websites, and other media.


As a graphic design studio, you may specialize in one or more of these areas or offer a full suite of services to meet your client’s needs.

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Trends & Challenges in a Graphic Design Studio

Here are some current trends and challenges in the world of Graphic Design Studio Business:



  • Minimalism
  • Bold and Bright Colors
  • Custom Illustrations
  • 3D Design
  • Integration of animation and motion graphics



  • Competition
  • Time Constraints
  • Keeping up with trends and technology
  • Meeting client expectations
  • Creativity Burnout
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Checklist of essential equipment required for Graphic Design Studio

The equipment needed for a Graphic Design Studio business can vary depending on the services offered.


Here is a general checklist of essential equipment that most Graphic Design will need:


1. Computer:

You’ll need a reliable computer with sufficient processing power and memory for graphic design software.


2. Graphics Design Software: 

This includes industry-standard software such as Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), CorelDraw, Sketch, and others.


3. Printer and Scanner: 

A high-quality printer and scanner are necessary to create hard copies of your designs and scan images for your procedures.


4. Drawing Tablet: 

A tablet can help create digital illustrations and designs.


5. Camera: 

A digital camera can help take product photos, location shoots, or capture images for your designs.


6. External Hard Drive: 

A backup system such as an external hard drive is essential for storing and backing up your design files.


7. High-speed Internet: 

A high-speed internet connection is essential for uploading and downloading large files and communicating with clients.


8. Furniture and Office Supplies: 

Desks, chairs, lighting, and office supplies such as paper, ink, and other materials are necessary for running a graphics design studio business.

Graphic Design Studio Online Business Ideas

Tools & Resources for a Graphic Designers 

Here are ten resources and tools for graphic designers:


1. Adobe Creative Cloud 



2. Canva



3. Sketch



4. Procreate



5. Affinity Designer



6. CorelDRAW



7. Wacom tablets



8. Shutterstock



9. Google Fonts



10. Colors


Graphic Design Studio Online Business Ideas

Top Graphic Design Studio Platform:

Here are some of the top Graphic Design Studio marketplaces, including Designer, that you can consider using:


1. Adobe Creative Cloud: 

Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of software applications used by many graphic designers. It includes programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more.


2. Sketch: 

Sketch is a vector graphics editor and digital design tool popular among web and app designers.


3. Figma: 

Figma is a web-based interface design tool that allows real-time collaboration and is popular among teams.


4. Canva: 

Canva is an online graphic design platform that offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of templates for users to customize.


5. Affinity Designer: 

Affinity Designer is a vector graphics editor and digital design tool popular among graphic designers.


6. CorelDRAW: 

CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor and digital design tool that has been around for many years and is popular among designers who prefer non-Adobe software.


7. Procreate: 

Procreate is a digital painting and illustration app popular among illustrators and artists.

The choice of platform may depend on personal preference, the type of work being done, and the project’s specific needs.


Starting a Graphics Design Studio business can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those passionate about creativity and design.


While challenges and risks may be involved, careful planning, a strong work ethic, and dedication to customer satisfaction can lead to success in this field. 


With the right skills, equipment, and team, you can offer clients a range of high-quality services, build a loyal customer base, and grow your business.


In addition, staying current on industry trends and embracing new technologies and tools allows you to remain competitive and expand your offerings. 

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Starting a Graphic Design Business from Home – YT Channel ‘4 The Creatives’

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2023: Everything You Need to Know – YT Channel ‘Caitlin Audrey Creative’

5 Tips to Grow your Income as a Graphic Designer! – YT Channel ‘Fisayo Fosudo’ 

A. No, you do not necessarily need a degree in graphic design to start a graphic design studio business. However, having a degree or formal training in graphic design can be beneficial in terms of developing your skills and knowledge in the field.

A. You can find clients for your graphic design studio business through various methods such as networking, social media marketing, online marketplaces, referrals, and cold outreach. Building a strong portfolio and having a clear understanding of your target audience can also help attract potential clients.

A. The amount you should charge for your design services can vary depending on factors such as your level of experience, the scope of the project, and the market rate in your area. It is important to research and establish a pricing structure that is competitive and fair while ensuring you are earning a profit for your work.

A. There are many software options available for graphic design, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, Figma, Canva, Affinity Designer, and CorelDRAW. The software you choose will depend on your personal preference, the type of work you do, and the specific needs of your projects.

A. Not necessarily, but hiring a team can help you expand your services and take on more projects. It can also help you specialize in specific areas and provide better customer service to clients. However, hiring a team can also be costly and may require additional management and administrative tasks.

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