Design

Can design make big bucks?

Translation of the article “Getting Rich From Design?” Published on the Hongkiat website.


Many people dream of getting rich by doing what they love. And designers, by and large, become precisely “out of love”. But sooner or later, the need to earn a living, pay bills, support a family and so on begins to prevail over creative aspirations, and you begin to take on uninteresting orders and projects solely for the sake of money.

Most designers do not dream of earning untold wealth in their field – after all, this is the goal of more financially oriented professions. Or is it not? How could a designer make tons of money? How realistic is this goal? Let’s think about how you can make big money by doing purely design.

Create a real masterpiece

Most single designers who have managed to achieve fame and fortune have come a long way: they gradually made their way through the thorns to the stars and honed their skills until they developed a design of unprecedented beauty, elegance and perfection, which ensured them success both in the professional community and outside of it.

An example would be Massimo Vignelli and his famous New York City subway maps, or (more modernly) Jonathan Ive and his revolutionary designs for Apple. When the whole world is eager to see more and more of your work, large sums will inevitably be thrown at your feet.

Having become famous for working on a separate project, you will take the first step towards creating your own profitable empire. In the meantime, try to take on your most daring ideas and apply them in practice, so as not only to please the customer, but in a good way to surprise him and everyone who sees your work.

Start your own business

Everyone knows that real money is about entrepreneurship, not design. The designer is just part of the team that helps create the best-selling product. If you enjoy designing, and at the same time, you are not intimidated by the role of an art director or CEO, starting your own company will help you earn more.

To earn more, it is necessary to increase the volume of services provided with the help of additional employees. There are several options here. First, you can find a partner. A familiar designer who will help you cope with the flow of orders, or a person who will take care of accounting, negotiations with clients and the like, so that you can deal exclusively with design.

The second option is to create your own brand, within which you will manage several designers dealing with all aspects of your daily work with customers. Again, this requires an entrepreneurial streak, not just a love of the profession. Having your own business comes with its own risks and challenges (and much harder work), but in a situation where you are your own boss and can take on more orders, there are definitely huge benefits.

Invest in a startup

Here’s another popular way to get rich while designing (we live in the era of online startups). Here’s how it’s done: just get in at the entry-level startup, work on the design and concept of the company’s website, branding, or merchandise, and wait until it makes a million dollars. It’s simple, right?

Not really. Of course, you will need to work hard, and luck will not be superfluous. If you’re serious about getting a startup company up and running, you’ll need to perfect your “startup detection skills”. When assessing the potential of a startup, carefully look for warning signs and analyze anything that raises doubts. First of all, make sure that the company actually sells the specified products or services, and is not engaged in cheating.

Founders of start-up companies love to talk about their Napoleonic plans in color, and if you lose your guard, you can quickly get signed up for a venture that will end in complete collapse. You will spend months or even years working towards an unrealizable goal. Not the best path to financial well-being.

Trade licenses for your work

This is perhaps the most promising way to make good money. Selling design licenses is a straightforward procedure. You come to a company that produces something and offer it to buy the rights to use your work in its products in exchange for royalties (usually around 7-10%). Well, then you sit down in a chair, put your feet on the table and wait for money to start dripping into your account while you work on something new.

You don’t have to deal with anyone else, no intermediaries, and you don’t have to worry about how the products will be produced or distributed – that is the concern of the licensee.

Of course, there are also difficulties with the sale of licenses. For starters, it’s not easy to find a company that:
– will offer you a good percentage of deductions;
– suitable for the area of ​​design that you are doing;
– will be successful enough to afford to buy a license from you.

The task becomes easier when you build some kind of platform around your brand: enough people will know about your work and will be willing to pay to use it.

You can increase your chances of success by working to expand your online presence. Interact with people who love your work, create interesting projects to get more attention, and don’t forget to share your design ideas on blogs and social media.

When your brand becomes recognizable enough, you no longer have to think about who to sell a license to – buyers will contact you themselves.

What do you think about it?

Are you personally familiar with examples of rich designers? How did they succeed? What do you think is required to achieve this goal in a highly competitive environment?

From translators: We hope you enjoyed the article. We would be grateful if you point us to mistakes in translation so that we can correct them. If you find errors, send to [email protected]



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