How To Stand Out Online as a Freelance Graphic Designer

May 20, 2016

Many designers out there are struggling hard on getting noticed – not knowing how to stand out, especially online in such a saturated market!

How do you get clients to come to you instead of you having to chase after them?

I’m going to cut straight to it: standing out online and having clients come to you all boils down to how you brand yourself.

First things first, you have to do great work. And that only comes with practice and experience. There’s no secrets or shortcuts there.

When it comes to how you present yourself, your brand, it’s so much more than just a logo. So much more!

Your brand is:

  • what you do and who you do it for
  • how you do it
  • and why you do it

Your brand is what people feel when they think about you and what experience they get when interacting with you.

Your brand isn’t just the visuals, but it’s what you’re putting out in the world. It’s your portfolio, and most importantly, it’s your content strategy.

So knowing the what, who, and why will help you easily define what you should be sharing to attract clients.

For me, I’m most passionate about t-shirt design. This is why when you come to my website, the first words you’ll read are “T-Shirt Design”.

If you don’t define the exact work you want to be known for, you’re going to struggle. When you want to do everything and reach everyone, you reach no one.

No one will know you exist in this over saturated market, because there are countless other designers that can make a website or design a logo.

So you have to find what makes you stand out.

Why should anyone hire you or buy your product?

Finding out what makes you different is what piques people’s interest.

Maybe you post a new design every day to Instagram. Upload a new resource to your blog every week. Maybe you dedicate calls every week to your clients – maintaining a personal relationship.

Every brand or designer you look up to does something differently. And it’s why they stand out. That’s how you discovered them, and it’s why you follow them.

For me, I don’t just design t-shirts – I help brands stay creatively relevant. That’s what I’ve coined for myself.

I post case studies of most of my client projects, and I always link to the bands I work with, sending any exposure I can to them.

I create and share content about what I love.

Because all of these things, you’re here here. My clients find me through these outlets as well. And it shows what I do, that I have experience in doing it, and that I’m passionate about this stuff.

So, how do you stand out online as a graphic designer?


Right now, you have to define your what, who, and why.

Even if you aren’t 100% sure on what you want to focus on, just go with your gut. Whatever work you think you could see yourself doing. What you want to be known for – do it. Go all in on it.

The great thing is, you can always shift your focus as you continue to grow. But you’ll grow faster with this focus.

Now with your focus, what are you going to do to stand out? What’s it going to take?

The best thing you can do now is define your goals, then work backwards and identify the steps you can take to get you there.

Here are some examples to draw inspiration from:

  • I need to start creating content on a weekly basis.
  • I need to take three online courses to beef-up my web dev skills.
  • I need to make five case studies for my online portfolio so I can direct potential clients to them.
  • I need to redesign all my social media accounts so they’re consistent across all platforms.
  • I need to set up an email newsletter and create free incentive to start connecting more intimately with my audience.

With all that said, I want you to be fighting. Fight to stay excited, and work hard towards your goals.

Just a few years ago, I was barely making a few hundred dollars a month with my freelancing. I wasn’t actively working towards any real goals. I was doing any work I could and just hoped I’d get a new project. So I did something about it.

I rebuilt my freelance business from the ground up. I defined what I loved to do most, I rebuilt my website around it, and I write down the things I had to do to stand out.

Then I took action.

I’m now at a point where I don’t feel like I’m constantly struggling. I’m in complete bliss with the work I’m doing – designing t-shirts for the merchandise industry. And I love that I can take the time to shoot these videos or create a new product whenever I’d like.

The only thing holding you back is yourself. You’re the one who will decide how hard you’ll work. How you’ll overcome hurdles, and persevere when times get tough.

You can stand out. You can be successful. Embrace what makes you different, and go make it happen!

See my latest work and more on Instagram @BrentGalloway