The Business of Graphic Design

Learn the nuts and bolts of the graphic design business.

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Course details

ceus icon CEUs 1.2

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Registration details

The Business of Graphic Design

Learn the nuts and bolts of the graphic design business.

What you’ll be able to do — competencies

  • Build relationships with clients
  • Develop a creative brief
  • Estimate and negotiate project costs
  • Utilize contracts to protect yourself and your clients
  • Identify and correct wayward projects
  • Differentiate between agency and freelance designers
  • Prepare an elevator pitch
  • Discuss networking and marketing techniques to build your brand
  • Detect copyright issues
  • Interview for a graphic design job

Course description

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Whether you plan to freelance or manage a firm, as a graphic designer you’ll need to understand the nuts and bolts of the graphic design business. Learn how to uncover client needs, estimate costs, establish pricing, negotiate solutions, market yourself, prepare contractual agreements and understand intellectual property essentials. Explore techniques for collaborating with other professionals.


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Session 1 Topics

Building relationships with clients:

  • Adopting a money mindset
  • Building relationships
  • Positioning yourself as an expert
  • Preparing to negotiate
  • Meeting advice
  • Setting Smart goals
  • Solicited work by email or phone

Develop a creative brief:

  • What is a creative brief?
  • Background
  • Overview
  • Target audience
  • Competition
  • Promise
  • Support for your promise
  • Key message
  • Timing & parameters
  • Does the client have any creative directions?
  • Extras
  • After gathering the info

Session 1 Assignments

  • Creative brief

Session 2 Topics

Estimate and negotiate project costs:

  • Qualifying clients
  • Determine your requirements
  • Determine client requirements
  • Establish your rule of thumb
  • Consider discussing money last
  • Estimates
  • Bids
  • When negotiation fails

Utilize contracts to protect yourself and your clients:

  • The importance of contracts
  • Seven basic types of contracts
  • What a contract should include
  • Using contracts

Identify and correct wayward projects:

  • Scope creep
  •  Intimidation
  • Limited authority
  • Phone legitimacy
  • Carrot on a stick
  • Wimpy promise
  • Common causes of nonpayment
  • Establish a paper trail
  • Non-disclosure agreement

Session 2 Assignments

  • Design heroes

Session 3 Topics

Differentiate between agency and freelance designers:

  • Equipment needs
  • Software needs
  • Business license tips
  • HR differences
  •  Hours
  • Team vs. individual

Prepare an elevator pitch:

  • What is an elevator pitch?
  • What makes a great elevator pitch?
  • Find your why?
  • Say as little as possible
  • Explain your unique selling proposition
  • Target your market
  • Consider it a conversation for a five-year-old
  • Practice, practice, practice

Discuss networking and marketing techniques to build your brand:

  • The Golden Rule
  • Social media
  • Online networking groups
  • Conferences
  • Find your design heroes
  • Blogs
  • Chamber of commerce, toast masters & limited entrance groups
  • Growing professionally
  • Detect copyright issues
  • Copyright symbol
  • Protecting your digital work
  • Bundle of rights
  • Transferring rights
  • Licensing rights
  • Copyright registration
  • Registration of collections
  • Proof of registration
  • Copyright renewal
  • Fair use
  • Obtaining permission
  • Brief difference of Copyright vs. Trademark

Session 3 Assignments

  • Read “Creating Brand Me”
  • Create your personal brand statement
  • Create a logo based on your brand statement
  • Create your elevator pitch
  • Bring three portfolio pieces to present

Session 4 Topics

  • Present your personal brand, logo and portfolio pieces
  • Finding work
  • Portfolio tips
  • Interview tips

Next available start dates

We aren’t currently offering this course, but we do update our course offerings on a regular basis. Please check back or browse our catalog for more courses that may be available now.

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