Can Freelance Designers Earn as Much as Writers?

After writing The Online Writer’s Companion and creating the Freelance With Us Community I’ve received countless questions from aspiring freelancers around the world. One of the main questions has concerned whether or not there is a place in this industry for freelance designers.

The book was always aimed at writers, but that wasn’t a conscious decision and it was always my intention to create a guidebook for all freelancers, because the truth is, there is room for every talent, every skill. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you work online and if you are self-employed then this industry is for you. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that freelancing portals like Upwork are better suited to freelance designers.

Why Designers Have it Easier

Not only can designers earn as much as writers, but they can earn more and they can have more fun doing it. There are exceptions of course and it isn’t always easy to get started. But the same applies for freelance writers and for the most part designers enjoy more freedom, as well as all of the following benefits:

  • Portfolio: There are five words I dread more than, “Can you make some changes?” and “Can I get a discount?” and that’s, “Can I see some samples?” Those samples are on my profile, and most writers have them. But clients don’t want to open files and spend precious moments reading. As a designer, it just takes a show-reel of images and you can win or lose a client. Those images will attract their attention instantly and will tell them all they need to know about your work. This means they will either ignore you or hire you and they will never say those dreaded words.
  • Diversity: I have written for comics, video games and God knows what else, but that’s the exception. 99% of the time I write bland website content and while I’m happy to do it, it’s hardly inspiring. As a designer, however, there are many more opportunities. There is no “average” job. You will find jobs for movie posters, book covers, websites and more.
  • Long-Term Clients: The best thing about being a freelance writer is that websites will always need content. But the same goes for design work. These days designers can make a very good living just by working for printing services on sites like and by focusing on online magazines and other content-heavy sites.
  • Money: If you work quickly as a designer than you can make much more money than a writer who also works quickly. Businesses will pay in excess of $300 for a single piece of digital artwork, something that a skilled designer can knock-out in half an hour. It’s very rare that you will earn that sort of money as a writer.

Getting Started as a Designer

The process of getting started is just the same as it is for a writer. In fact, it’s much easier. As a designer, you don’t need to struggle with your price range. You don’t need to upload documents and create writing samples; you don’t need to force yourself to work on niche content you know little about.

At any given time there are dozens of jobs for designers of all styles. If you have the time and the dedication, you can make a killing.

freelance designer.