Visual communications have been around for ages, but what is now known as graphic design is one of the great visual attractions that came with the digital age. Graphic design describes the art of creating visual content to project messages or ideas. As of 2021, the global graphic design industry is valued at over $45 billion with millions of small jobs created for individuals and firms all across the world.
Graphic design is an opportunity for creative people anywhere in Nigeria, Africa or around the world that are willing to put in the work needed to learn great design skills to enable them to earn a living from the industry. The good news is, the industry is growing fast and many new sectors continue to develop, aided by advancements in technology and the creation of sophisticated software tools.
If you want to learn graphic design or are already an expert designer, here are some of the most viable small business ideas for graphic designers that you can start in Nigeria. Africa or anywhere around the world.
1). Logo Design Business:
Logo design is one of the most common design services available to graphic designers in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. From time to time, new corporations, SMEs and online brands spring up, and they require the expertise of graphic designers for professional logos.
As a graphic designer, creating quality logos that tell the story of the brands they represent is a way to make money from the craft.
2). Freelance Design Services:
If you’re a budding graphic designer with little to no experience, starting as a freelance designer on popular platforms like Fiverr and Upwork is a great idea. These platforms offer a large international market where you get to work with clients from all parts of the world and earn lots of money.
In addition to making money working as a freelancer in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world, you also get to build your confidence, experience and a deep portfolio to get your personal brand started.
3). Start A Graphic Design Podcast:
This is one of the underrated small business ideas for graphic designers, especially in Nigeria and other African countries. Every day a lot of people continue to develop an interest in the graphic design industry. They are always on the lookout for information related to the craft, and this leaves room for seasoned designers to make money.
If that’s you, all you need to do is to create regular podcasts targeted at the right audience. The more traffic your podcasts drive, the greater the revenues generated.
4). Start A Shirt Design Business:
This is an opportunity for every graphic designer with strong creative skills. It involves creating amazing designs for shirts or other clothing items such as caps and jackets. With a strong marketing strategy, you could push the designs to the right target market and convince them to buy the clothing items.
To start a short design business, you don’t need to own a clothing brand of your own to do this. You could leverage the market of an existing clothing line, make plain brand-less custom designs that will wow the public and have them printed on the shirts for sale.
5). Photo Editing:
Editing images for photographers could be another lucrative small business idea for you as a graphic designer in Nigeria. Africa or anywhere around the world. Editing involves improving the quality of images, altering the structure of pictures or changing the background, and more. These are all services within the scope of a graphic designer.
Simply learn advanced photo editing, network with photographers who are willing to outsource their editing jobs, get the basic tools, and earn money!
6). Start An Online Course:
Are you a professional graphic designer with some years of experience in the bag? You could sell your knowledge to potential graphic designers and generate a lot of income from it. Digital learning platforms like Coursera and Udemy are packed with courses and instructional materials on all types of skills.
Create detailed study materials and upload them on e-learning platforms. Once your lessons meet the required standards, they’ll put them up for people to buy for a small fee.
7). Start A YouTube Channel:
A lucrative business idea for graphic designers made possible by social media is starting a YouTube channel. This is a less demanding way to sell your knowledge to others. By creating lessons on graphic design on YouTube, you get to earn a lot of revenue and become an established authority in the field.
You also stand a chance to run ads and get sponsorship deals from large graphic design firms.
8). Design For Clothing Brands:
The fashion industry operates on designs and sewing patterns. While most patterns are traditional, the industry welcomes innovative patterns and this is where you come in as a graphic designer. If you’re interested in clothing items or have an idea of the industry, you could create designs to be developed into dresses.
As much as your patterns are beautiful enough to be accepted by the public, the clothing brand will always be willing to pay for your designs.
9). Games Anime Design:
Most modern video games involve interesting characters created to give the players a real-life experience or something close. Game developers require the services of graphic designers at this stage to create unique game characters.
Similarly, you could design a set of game animations and put them up for sale. Your target markets are individual game developers and mobile and computer game development companies.
10). Interior Design Business:
The graphic design industry is so wide that you can find your market everywhere! This equally applies to the interior design industry.
Interior design also involves communicating visually and professionally. It is a way of representing people’s personality, preferences and character right in the ambience of their home.
As a graphic designer, you could help people put their feelings into visual ideas that can be integrated into the interior design of their homes, studios, offices, dorms, etc.
11). Create Ad Banners:
Ad banners make up one of the effective tools that web advertisers use to reach and convince their target audiences to buy their products or services. Often, ad banners are filled with visual information to help web users decide.
The preference for graphics is understandable, in the sense that visuals communicate better than texts. As a graphic designer, you could work with established ad networks or small brands to create effective ad banners that can drive sales.
12). Video Editing:
There are a lot of opportunities in the video design industry, even for graphic designers. The introduction of sophisticated software tools has made video editing easier and more effective. Notwithstanding, videographers and others in the industry still require the service for professional video output.
If you’re a great graphic designer, your expertise will come in handy in video editing, which, on its own, is highly lucrative.
13). Flyers/Posters Design:
Flyers and posters are used in every sector where there is a need for public announcements, advertisements, etc. Most traditional businesses use flyers and posters, so you don’t have to worry about a great online presence, for a start.
Similarly, you could reach across to online brands to design their flyers or posters for them, and get paid for your services.
14). Decorative Paper Crafts Design:
Decorative paper crafts are for you if you are a creative designer. If you have the talent to make beautiful decorative papers, you can put them up for sale. Such crafts could be used for home or office decorations as well as cars.
It takes nothing to start this business; all you need is your laptop for great designs. You can print them out and distribute them to shops for sale or set up an online store yourself, where people close by can make their orders.
15). Book Cover / Page Designs:
Comic books and all kiddies’ books, in general, contain interesting images intentionally designed to captivate attention and foster understanding. If you can create great cartoon images or funny graphics, this is another means to earn money as a graphic designer.
You can work with book publishers, e-learning institutions for kids, schools, etc.
16). Sell Designs On Digital Platforms:
Selling on established digital platforms is one of the most profitable small business ideas for graphic designers. You can make beautiful mobile and desktop themes, wallpapers and more sophisticated designs and put them up for sale on mobile stores.
17). UX/UI Design:
UX or UI design involves designing an interactive user interface for web or mobile users to be able to effectively navigate through mobile applications and websites. UX design requires a good knowledge of web and mobile programming but it is a highly lucrative business idea for graphic designers.
To get the most of UX design, you need to equip yourself with the needed technical skills. Beyond this, the business requires no startup capital.
18). Font Design:
As a designer, you can specialize in typography and design beautiful mobile and desktop fonts for users to use on a digital device.
There are various formats available and font families to help you design your favourite fonts but it helps to keep them original.
19). Color Flatter Services:
Colour flatting is an easy form of cartoon painting used especially in motion pictures. It involves using a lasso fill and paint bucket to separate shapes and characters. Colour flatting typically involves some time and effort but with the aid of modern devices, the task is now relatively easy.
Computer-aided design is one of the most rewarding and profitable business ideas for graphic designers. Although it requires extensive skills and training, you don’t necessarily need a university degree to excel at AutoCAD.
With some level of training, you could start a light drafting business for different designs ranging from 3D to anime.
21). Album Covers:
The creativity and versatility of graphic designers come to effective use in the entertainment industry too. Graphic designers are responsible for designing creative album covers as well as artworks for music singles and other ad designs.
In fact, most record labels prefer to have their own in-house graphic designers exclusively for this purpose. You can sign a contract with any of the popular record labels and get paid for your designs.
22). Creating Branded Social Media Content:
Most brands and businesses prefer visual content and sometimes combine visuals and texts. The aim is to produce captivating content that will get their target audience to convert.
In essence, the graphic designer works with the brands’ social media managers and copywriters to create meaningful and relevant posts that will cut across the market.
23). Graphic Design Blogging:
As a practising graphic designer, you are in a position to share your opinions and experiences on the job with others. This is where blogging comes to play. You can create engaging posts targeted at other graphic designers and all those interested in the industry.
Over time, you get to build confidence, more expertise and expand your clientele. In the same vein, you could make money directly from blogging through ads and web traffic.
24). Brand Newsletters:
Businesses and brands also use newsletters for their marketing campaigns. However, newsletters are not just texts alone. They can also contain images and graphics, and this is where graphic designers come in.
As a graphic designer, you can make a lot of money from creating ad designs specifically for brand newsletters. The aim is to communicate clearly and convincingly enough with the viewers to make them convert.
25). Business Brochures:
One of the most underrated profitable small businesses for graphic designers is designing business items such as business cards, brochures, and more. While business cards are small pocket-sized cards containing the most basic information about the business, brochures are more detailed promotional materials meant to sell the services of the business.
You could start a graphic design business committed to making quality business cards and brochures and still make a lot of money from it.
26). Card Making:
In addition to business cards, you could design different types of cards like restaurant menu cards, greeting cards, birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc.
These are cards that have a steady market. All you have to do is vary your designs and network with retail shops that can sell them for you.
27). Magazine Designs:
Magazines are appreciated for their textual content and especially for their visual appeal. They provide a lot of technical and professional information, depending on the niche. Notwithstanding, magazines require a great design to make the information appealing and relatable to the readers.
Graphic design is a key component of magazine publication. If you’re looking to use your design skills, you should try the magazine sector.
28). Package Design:
Besides logos, brands and corporations need specific designs for each of their products to make it possible for the products to stand out in the market and to make identification easy for end consumers.
Designing a package for brand products requires specific skills and attention to detail to make sure the design adequately represents the brand and product.
29). Product Catalog Design for Digital Stores:
Digital stores need an organized catalogue where online buyers can view their products and make orders. The arrangement of the catalogue can make or mar the sales rate, and so, It is not enough to just upload pictures of the products. It helps to arrange the products in an organized manner to make it easy for visitors to navigate.
Beyond this, the quality of product designs also affects how well it can convince buyers to make purchases. Based on this, graphic designers also have a role to play in the success of digital stores.
30). Web Design:
Like UI or UX, web design requires the services of graphic designers. It is an opportunity for skilled graphic designers to exercise their expertise. Optimizing websites to make them interactive and appealing enough to captivate web users needs more than just web designers; graphic designers are important.
Fonts, themes, images, etc. are some of the ways graphic designers can contribute to the effectiveness of web design. In as much as you are equipped with the right tools, you can make awesome designs that will work with diverse websites and blogs.
To Sum It Up
Graphic design is a wide field with a lt of profitable small business ideas for designers in any part of the world including Nigeria and other African countries. Whether you’re a budding graphic designer or an expert in the business, there is always a place for you in the graphic design business.
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