In our current blog series ‘Online Job of the Month,’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. There is actually a huge number of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls, and we really hope this blog post inspires you a little bit!

If you’re curious about other online jobs, check out our features on Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants, Online English Teachers and Online Editors

This month, we are talking all about being a graphic designer! We talked to Morgan Reid, Meredith Norwood, and Jianna Caronan who are successfully working as Graphic Designers while travelling the world. Let’s get straight into it!

 

What exactly is a Graphic Designer? What do Graphic Designers do?

Design is a vague and big word, so let’s break down what it actually means to be a graphic designer!

Morgan says that as a designer, she is “responsible for creating attractive and fully functional assets such as websites, product packaging, marketing materials, etc. 

I organize information to design assets that will provide viewers a unique experience while still communicating a message and accomplishing the overall goal – such as conversions, exposure, or impact. It’s a lot more than just ‘making things pretty’ – but it’s still a lot of fun.”

 

Similarly, Jianna loves her work and says that she does anything from “branding (logos, favicon, etc.) to social media graphics and animation. I also design the occasional website because I have some coding experience!”

On the other hand, Meredith, as a Product Graphic Designer, designs “surface patterns for physical products in the home fashions, apparel, and gift industries. I also design the physical form of objects in some cases, but the majority of what I do is graphic work for products. 

Some examples of my major categories include stationery, picture frames, mugs, socks, decorative storage pieces, piggy banks, & travel products. Another major part of my freelance work is logo design for brands.”

 

What kind of skills do I need to become a Graphic Designer?

Jianna and Morgan both say the most important skill is creativity! 

design creativity graphic

Jianna adds: “Having the ability to think outside of the box is key. This role requires you to come up with unique and compelling ideas, which normally means figuring out how to execute a certain effect or element!”

Other skills that all three girls agree important:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Ability/willingness to learn
  • Eye for detail

Jianna says it is essentially your job to “take a client’s ideas and bring it to life.”

But don’t forget about the relevant softwares, technical skills and tools you’ll also need! Meredith personally really likes her digital devices and predominantly works in Illustrator and draws vectors all day.

The skills you need will, of course, vary greatly depending on what type of graphic design work you’d like to get into! 

 

Do I need any qualifications or certificates?

The unanimous answer? 

No! 

Morgan says the proof is in the pudding – clients just want to see your samples and know that you can create something that they love! “They want to quickly be able to see what you’re capable of and how you’ll be able to elevate their business,” she adds.

Meredith also agrees that design is a skill that can be entirely self taught. Meredith writes, “As they say, artistic talent is given, but I think there are a lot more variables and skills that are learned. 

To work as a designer though I don’t think you’d need any certifications at all.”

Jianna makes a final recommendation to set up “a portfolio of previous work and know how to use industry-wide software. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the most common but I personally use another software and my clients don’t mind at all!”

woman web design digital nomad girl

Where do you find jobs as a Graphic Designer?

The top suggestions from the girls are:

  • Referrals and using your current network

Morgan recommends this method since “your current clients clearly love what you do – and guaranteed they know someone else that could benefit from having you on their team!” 

  • Online freelancing sites like Upwork

Meredith has used sites like Upwork to find and land roles, though she has also started moving more to using channels outside of the platforms.

Online freelancing platforms can be a great way to get your foot in the door and begin growing your online network of businesses! 

  • Facebook Groups! 

Finally, Jianna recommends our very own Digital Nomad Girls facebook group as a great place to land clients. Jianna highlights the importance of networking online and a great deal of that happens in Facebook groups!

 

How much can I earn as a Graphic Designer? How do people in your field price their services? Hourly, per project etc?

Morgan, Meredith and Jianna all say that this depends on a few factors.

But they all agree that the most common pricing structures are hourly, per project, or value-based!

Specifically, Morgan says that “when you’re just starting off – you can easily earn $15 – 25/hr. Once you’ve established yourself in the industry, it’s less about pricing per hour or per project – you need to price your services based on the value you are providing.”

Jianna says that high-end designers can easily make 6 figures salaries, and hourly rates range from $25 – $100/hr once you’re a little more established. 

There is also the option of pricing per package for things “like website design, a set number of social media graphics, or one-off projects like flyers/banners/business cards,” Jianna suggests.

Meredith prefers project-based pricing herself as there is less of the time pressure. “If I know I need to design something, I like to have the freedom to take my time on it and think it over as much as I please.” 

Jianna’s recommendation? “I have clients on retainer that can buy a set number of hours per month. I recommend these for on-going client relationships or when subcontracting for a larger agency.

Is it easy to work as a Graphic Designer while travelling?

Morgan says, “Absolutely! I love travelling as a designer – a lot of what I do doesn’t need internet so I can really cram in a bunch of internet (distraction)-free work while I’m flying or otherwise. 

I’m picky and I like to use a mouse for extra precision, but that’s pretty easy to bring with me whenever I’m moving around.

Jianna similarly writes, “Absolutely! I love this job because all I need is my laptop. I don’t even need WiFi really unless I need to send files over to clients or need to go online for design inspo. As long as you have the software, you can create graphics anytime or anywhere. 

Jianna also has a few tips for taking the show on the road and still staying organized: “It helps to have project management tools like Asana and Toggl. As well as payment/invoicing tools like PayPal. These 3 things plus my website are essentially the bulk of my business.”

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as Product Graphic Designer?

The resounding advice from the 3 girls is to practice, practice, practice and GO FOR IT.

Morgan explains, “Practice is what got me to where I am today. Apply for every gig you can get your hands on, even if you don’t fit their requirements 100%. It shows initiative and willingness to learn. Don’t give up! Keep upskilling and learning so you’re always up-to-date with the latest trends and programs.” 

Meredith says product graphic design is a lot about touch and feel, and that often times, “the best way to get started is by working for a larger company. Take a year to see how it works in an internship or starting level.”

Jianna advises: “Just go for it! I am 21 years old, and have nearly a decade of design experience. I’ve never been formally trained yet I have worked with a variety of brands and businesses. 

If you love what you do, there’s no such thing as too hard/difficult. I’m self-taught and credit a lot of my skills to practice, practice, practice (and a bit to Google and Youtube). There are so many tutorials and courses out there! 

And if you’re ever stuck with a project just start with what inspires you! I’ve spent a lot of time over the years doing things just for fun.”

 

If you’re curious about even more jobs that you can do online, check out our series on the 50+ digital nomad girl jobs to inspire you!

 

Are you an interested in becoming a Graphic Designer? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it, too, and to find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Morgan Reid

Originally from Victoria, BC Canada, Morgan Reid is a full-time freelance web and graphic designer currently based in Bali. You can get in touch with her via her Website or her Facebook.

Meredith Norwood

Meredith is a product graphic designer who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and lived in Mississippi and NYC for a while. She started traveling nomadically at the beginning of 2018 and is currently in Tuscany. You can find her via her Website or her Instagram.

Jianna Caronan

Jianna is a graphic designer originally from the Philippines but has lived in NJ for the last 10 years. You can find her through her Website or her Instagram.
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