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How to Set Up a Graphic Design Business

Learn how to set up a graphic design business from UX mobile and web design consultant Chanelle Henry in this Howcast video.


So you want to set up a design business. How do you do that? What are the steps?

First, you need to ask yourself, "Do I want to have a business of my own?" Because it's a lot of work. Not only will you be a designer, but you'll also be the bill collector, you'll be the marketing person, you'll sometimes have to be the project manager, the developer. You might have to learn other skills that you weren't necessarily ready to do.

I think the good question to ask yourself is, "Is this something that I really want to do? Do I have the means to do it and can I do it?" All of those, of course, the last one is yes. You can do it. But it's really about getting the right knowledge beforehand before making such a hasty decision.

The first thing I would do is, there was this wonderful book that I read called "How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul". And this book really breaks down a lot of different things about setting up, how to find a job, being a freelancer, setting up your own studio, running the studio, winning work, and the creative process, clients, and self-promotion. Like it really goes all around to basically tell you this is what to expect if you're running your own company and if you're running other people.

Another book is called, "Design is a Job". This is a beautiful book, too, that also basically points to the fact that a lot of designers are taken advantage of sometimes because it's just pretty design at the end of the day. But, when in reality, as a job, is business and you have to make sure that you have not only your tax paperwork ready which you can find out everything on or also on You also have to decide your rate, you have to decide what type of corporation you're going to be, if a corporation at all. Are you're going to be just a contractor.

So you're learning basically Business 101 before you even start designing and trying to set up those systems in place so that everything can be done in a productive and organized way. From billing your clients to emailing your clients to having a consistent brand to having consistent, even email template and business cards.

So the decision to be a business is a big one. So do your homework.

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