Budget: Ksh 50,000 – Ksh100,000 or more
Graphic design can be considered as a form of visual communication that combines words, images and ideas to convey information to an audience. All companies and businesses require some form of graphic design and the market size is considerable.
You can share in this considerable market size by setting up a graphic design business. Every business or person with a product to sell will be a potential customer. Whether it is a company in health sector, real estate, transport, education or an individual, there will always be need for some form of graphic design. A start up or a running business may need a logo design, advertisement posters or brochures, billboards, newsletters or other business documents.
What You Need
Starting a graphic design business does not require high initial capital since there are few products to buy. The main equipment you will need is a good computer with high speeds and enough memory. The exact type and specifications of the computer and software will depend on your initial budget and the market you plan to target as you start up.
Basic graphic design software to start with include Coreldraw, InDesign, QuarkXPress, Photoshop and many others are good to start with. They are easily available and there are very many tutorials online where you can learn how to use them. You can then advance to more professional software as you gain more experience and more clients.
An estimate of about Ksh20,000 – Ksh25,000 should be enough to get a good quality computer with a DVD writer, and a large enough flat screen of about 17 inches. You can start with second hand equipment to bring down your initial capital.
You may require a scanner to scan customer samples for modifications and a colour printer to print out proofs for your clients to approve the designs. An extra Ksh15,000 – Ksh20,000 may be needed for these.
The advantage of graphic design business is that it can be located either at home or in a private studio room, especially when you already have steady, regular and reliable clients.
As long as you have enough space to work on your computer, you are ready to set up your graphic design business. If you opt to have a team of graphic designers later working under you, you may need a bigger space to accommodate your team.
Although you can set up this business and successfully operate from home, if you are located in a busy street, you will have a higher chance of attracting many walk in clients. Areas where there are many printing businesses such as downtown Nairobi are particularly lucrative for this business, however, you should be prepared to set aside about Ksh 20,000 – Ksh30,000 to pay rent and business permit fees
In your graphic design business, be ready to work on various designs depending on your customer requirements, therefore learn how to use as many design software available in the market as possible. Some projects may take days to deliver.
Your client may need a logo design, especially for start ups. Depending on the size, complexity and colours involved, charge appropriately since it may take you either a few hours or days to complete the work. Many designers will charge anything between Ksh200 – Ksh1,000 to design a simple business or company logo. More complicated logos may cost more.
Designs for magazines may mostly need page layout and cover design. This will be charged depending on the size and number of pages of the magazine. You may agree with the client on a fixed amount per page or a package for the whole magazine. The client may have a sample to be used or may need a completely new magazine design.
Other projects may include design of business forms, business cards, brochures and pamphlets, labels, posters or billboards. Individual clients may need wedding cards, party posters, funeral or church programmes.
The variety of jobs or projects that you may be called upon to design is very wide. If you feel you are not be well positioned to deliver on the expectations, you can still give the job to another designer to keep your client instead of delivering a poor design.
Every design job comes with its own complexity and expectations. Use your creativity to come up with the best designs and charge accordingly. The faster you can deliver good quality designs the more you will earn.
Busy graphic designers located in busy parts of town where there are many printing houses such as downtown along Kirinyaga Road, Jainsala Rd, Keekorock Rd etc constantly receive walk in clients and referrals too.
Incomes range depending on the size of the business though. A good majority make between Ksh2,000 to Ksh10,000 in a day depending on size, location and type of clients. Some are complete design houses with a team of designers working under one roof and dealing with many different projects at the same time.
Bigger design business bring in more than Ksh25,000 to Ksh30,000 or more daily. These are fully established businesses which started a while back as simple graphic design businesses.
With the increased use of the internet, options of marketing your graphic design skills and business are unlimited, in addition to the traditional word of mouth and referrals.
One of the cheapest and easiest platforms to use is Facebook. You can create a Facebook page for your graphic design business and invite your friends and others to see some of your designs.
Design pamphlets, posters and brochures and distribute around your church, shopping centre, supermarket or neighbourhood. Talk to people and businesses about your new graphic design business and if possible, give out samples of your work with your contacts.
Another great initiative is to visit printing businesses and talk to them about your graphic design business and skills. Give them your contact details since many of them get clients who want to print but have no designs.
Graphic design business involves dealing with some clients who may not be very sure of what they want. Patience is therefore very important. Many clients will come with jobs which are already due and will really push you to deliver. Keep calm and do your best.
Some jobs you do may be rejected even when you are convinced that you have done your best. Don’t despair, just satisfy your clients’ requirements and the cash will come in.
Some periods may be slow without jobs coming in. Just concentrate on marketing your graphic design business as you wait to get more clients. Many businesses go through such periods.
Apart from the usual business skills such as marketing, customer service, book keeping etc, graphic design business will need skills that may need some training such as use of design software. Other skills such as creativity are also important in setting up and operating a successful graphic design business.
The business can be very challenging for those who do not have the above skills but with enough budget, you can start by hiring people with these skills at the beginning.