Maximizing Creativity: Top Side Hustles for Graphic Designers

Are you a graphic designer looking to earn some extra income on the side? With the gig economy on the rise, it’s easier than ever to find side hustles that utilize your creative skills.

As a graphic designer, you may find that your full-time job doesn’t always offer the same level of creativity and flexibility that you desire. That’s where side hustles come in – they provide an opportunity for you to explore your passions and potentially increase your income.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best side hustles for graphic designers. From freelance design work to selling digital products online, there are endless possibilities for you to showcase your talent and make some extra cash. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of graphic design side hustle ideas.

21 Best Side Hustles for Graphic Designers

These are some of the top side jobs available for graphic designers to consider:

Freelance Graphic Design

One of the most common side hustles for graphic designers is freelance work. You can find freelance opportunities on websites like Upwork and Fiverr, or you can create your profile on a freelancing platform like PeoplePerHour or 99Designs. With freelancing, you have the freedom to choose which projects you want to work on and when. You’ll also have control over how much you charge for your services.

Listed below are some of the freelance graphic design work that you can consider:

Logo Design

Logo design is a popular side hustle for graphic designers. Many businesses, big and small, are always on the lookout for talented logo designers to create unique identities for their companies.

Website Design

Graphic designers can also make money by designing websites. This is a great option for those who are experienced in web development or who want to learn how to code and design websites from scratch. You could focus on creating custom WordPress themes, helping clients with e-commerce sites, or simply providing design advice and feedback on existing websites.

Magazine Design

Magazine design is another great side hustle for graphic designers. You can work with print magazines or online publications to create layouts and visuals for articles and features. This is a great way to gain experience in the publishing industry while also making some extra cash.

Book Cover Design

Book cover design is a great graphic design side hustle and a good income stream for designers. A book’s cover can often be the first thing that catches a potential reader’s eye, so it’s important to have an attractive and eye-catching design. As a book cover designer, you would work with authors or publishers to create the perfect book cover for their books.

Packaging Design

Packaging design is another great side hustle for graphic designers. Packaging often needs to communicate the brand’s values and attract customers, so designing effective packaging can be a rewarding challenge. You can work with companies to create custom packaging or offer your services on freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.

Editorial Design

Editorial design is an exciting side hustle for graphic designers who are looking to develop their skills in print and digital publications. In this role, you would be responsible for creating layouts, visuals, and other content for newspapers, magazines, and online articles. It’s a great way to gain experience in the publishing industry while also making some extra money.

App Design

If you’re looking to break into the world of app design, then a side hustle could be the perfect way to get started. You can create custom user interfaces for mobile apps or help businesses create attractive and functional designs for their apps. This is an excellent way to hone your skills and stand out from other designers while also making some extra cash on the side.


If you’re looking for a side hustle that will allow you to showcase your creative skills, then merchandising could be the perfect option. You can design custom t-shirts, mugs, and other items with your artwork or help businesses create unique merchandise to promote their brand. This is an excellent way to make extra money while having fun.

Branding Services

Branding services are a great way for graphic designers to make extra money on the side. From creating unique logos and visual identities to designing printed material, you can offer comprehensive branding packages to businesses of all sizes. This is a great option if you’re looking for a long-term side hustle that will bring in consistent income.

High-Resolution Stock Photography

Being able to offer high-resolution stock photography can be a great way for graphic designers to make some extra money on the side. High-resolution stock photography typically involves taking pictures of landscapes, people, animals, and objects. You can then upload these images to stock photography sites where customers can purchase them for their projects. This is a great income stream way to make some extra money while also building your portfolio of photographs.

Social Media Management

Another great side hustle for graphic designers is social media management. As a social media manager, your job would be to create content, manage accounts, and monitor analytics for clients. You could specialize in creating graphics and visuals for social media accounts or offer a comprehensive social media management package. This is a great option if you’re looking for a flexible side hustle that allows you to work from anywhere.

If you earn $600 or more through social media management, you will be issued a 1099 form. It is advisable to form an LLC at this stage to deduct the cost of equipment and materials used in assisting clients.

Lightroom Presets

Lightroom Presets are an excellent way for graphic designers to make some extra money on the side. These are digital files that contain saved settings and adjustments that can be applied to a photo with just one click. Lightroom presets give photographers and their clients more options in post-processing, allowing them to quickly create a unique look for their images. In addition, this is a great way to showcase your creative style and market your services to potential clients.

Create CV and Resumes

As a graphic designer, having the ability to create impressive and professionally designed CVs and resumes is an invaluable skill set. In today’s digital world, potential employers expect to see visually attractive resumes and CVs that stand out from the crowd. You could help applicants land their dream jobs by providing them with professional-looking documents. This is a great way to make some extra money while also helping others achieve their goals.

Create E-Books

By creating attractive and engaging content, you can create digital books that can be sold on online platforms such as Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store. Creating an e-book requires careful planning and design. You must ensure that the text is clear and easy to read, while also creating attractive visuals throughout the book.

Illustrations on Stock Sites

When creating illustrations for stock sites, it’s important to keep copyright laws in mind. Make sure that all of your artwork is completely original and not a recreation of someone else’s work. It’s also important to pay attention to the types of illustrations that are in demand on stock sites, as this will help you create images that will be more likely to sell. With a little bit of time and effort, you can upload your illustrations to popular stock sites such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or iStockPhoto and start earning royalties from sales. This can be a great income stream and side gig for those looking for a graphic design side hustle.

Photo Mock-Ups

Mockups are an important tool for graphic designers, as they allow us to show our clients what a design may look like in a real-life setting. With photo mockups, you can create digital images of your designs on physical objects such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more. This is a great way to give your clients an idea of how their design will look in real life and gives them the chance to make changes before it goes into production.

Start a Newsletter

To create a successful newsletter, you’ll need to carefully plan out the topics you want to cover and how often you’ll be sending them. You’ll also need to think about who your target audience is and what kind of content they’re likely to respond to. Once you have a good idea of what your newsletter will look like, it’s time to start creating content. 

When it comes to monetizing your newsletter, there are several options available. You can charge a subscription fee or offer ads in exchange for payment. You can also offer free subscriptions with the option for readers to make additional donations if they choose.

Website Templates

With web development and design becoming increasingly important for businesses small and large, there is a great demand for website templates that can be quickly and easily customized. When creating a website template, it’s important to keep usability in mind and aim for a design that is both eye-catching and easy to use. Once the template is complete, you can then upload it to dedicated websites and start making some extra money.

Digital Planners/Calendars/Trackers

Graphic designers have the unique opportunity to leverage their skills to create digital planners, calendars, and trackers that can help people stay organized. This is an excellent side hustle for graphic designers as it allows them to utilize their creative skills while also generating some extra income. Creating digital planners, calendars, and trackers requires a lot of creativity as well as technical know-how. Graphic designers can use their knowledge of design and illustration to create visually appealing planners that are both useful and eye-catching.

Greeting Cards

With the right design skills and resources, you can create beautiful greeting cards that will be cherished by your customers for years to come. The first step in creating greeting cards is to come up with an original design that is both eye-catching and meaningful. Once the design is complete, you can then upload your cards to dedicated websites and start selling them to customers worldwide. This is a great way for graphic designers to make some extra money while also flexing their creative muscles.

Notion Templates

Notion is a powerful productivity platform that enables users to organize notes, tasks, wikis, and databases in an intuitive workspace. With Notion templates, you can create visually appealing dashboards and organize content in an intuitive manner that makes it easier for users to navigate. You can then upload their templates to Notion template websites, where they can be purchased and used by customers.

Printable Coloring Books

Printable coloring books are an excellent side hustle for graphic designers. It’s a great way to utilize your creativity and design skills to create beautiful and engaging products that people can enjoy. With the current pandemic, the demand for coloring books has increased significantly as they provide a fun, low-cost activity for people stuck at home. You can create printable coloring books and upload them to dedicated websites where they can be purchased.

Online Teaching and E-courses

Teaching online gives you the flexibility and freedom to set your own hours while allowing you to share your knowledge with others. E-courses provide an even more in-depth look into a specific topic or skill that you can offer to those who are interested in learning. Creating courses requires more than just graphic design skills, as you must create engaging content that is both informative and entertaining. This is a great way to build your portfolio and hone your teaching skills while also making some extra money on the side.

Sell Artwork using POD Sites

With print-on-demand (POD) sites, there’s no need to worry about printing, shipping, or dealing with customer service yourself. All you have to do is upload your designs and set a price. There are many POD sites available that specialize in different types of artwork, so it’s important to research which one is the best fit for you. After you’ve uploaded your artwork, all that’s left to do is wait for orders to come in and start making some extra money with your art.

Start a YouTube Channel

When creating a YouTube channel, it’s important to have a clear vision of what you want to do with it. Consider what topics you want to cover, how often you’ll post videos, and who your target audience is. You can use your channel to showcase your work, share tutorials on design topics, or even just talk about the industry in general. 

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your channel, it’s time to start creating content. You may need to invest in some equipment to get started, such as a camera and microphone. Your graphic design business can utilize Canva to create infographics and design assets to be included in your blog posts as part of your income strategy.

Online Mentorship or Seminars

Online mentorship is an excellent way for experienced graphic designers to share their knowledge and expertise with others. Through video tutorials, webinars, or other virtual platforms, you can teach others what you know and potentially make some extra money in the process. 

Mentorships can be offered as one-on-one sessions or group workshops, depending on your preference. You can also offer different packages based on the level of instruction you’re providing. Mentoring is a great way for graphic designers to make some extra money while helping others grow their skills.

Public Speaking

Speaking in front of an audience is a great way for graphic designers to showcase their knowledge and experience, while also sharing valuable information. Public speaking requires a lot of preparation, so it’s important to have a clear plan for what you want to talk about and how you want to present it. Once you have a plan in place, you can start looking for speaking opportunities. You can find these through online job boards or even by reaching out directly to potential clients.

If you earn at least $600 through public speaking, you will receive a 1099 form. We suggest that you establish an LLC at this stage to deduct the cost of materials and expenses incurred in doing the side gig.

How to Start Your Side Hustles as a Graphic Designer in 5 Steps?

Starting a side hustle as a graphic designer can be a fulfilling way to showcase your creativity, expand your portfolio, and generate extra income. Here are five steps to help you get started:

1. Define Your Services and Target Audience:

Determine the specific graphic design services you want to offer as a side hustle. This could include logo design, branding, website design, social media graphics, or print materials. Identify your target audience based on industry, niche, or specific design needs. Understanding your services and target audience will help you tailor your marketing efforts and attract the right clients.

2. Build Your Portfolio

Create a strong portfolio that showcases your design skills and capabilities. Include a diverse range of projects that highlight your expertise in different areas of graphic design. If you’re just starting and don’t have many clients, consider creating mock projects or personal projects to showcase your abilities. Make sure your portfolio is easily accessible online through a website or online platforms like Behance or Dribbble.

3. Establish Your Online Presence

Create an online presence to promote your side hustle as a graphic designer. Build a professional website that showcases your portfolio, provides information about your services, and includes your contact details. Utilize social media platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn to share your work, engage with your target audience, and attract potential clients. Consistently update your online presence with new projects, case studies, and testimonials to demonstrate your expertise and build credibility.

4. Set Your Pricing and Processes

Determine your pricing structure for different design services. Research industry standards and consider factors such as your level of experience, the complexity of the project, and the time and effort required. Establish clear processes for client onboarding, project management, and communication. Develop contracts or agreements to protect yourself and your clients, outlining project details, timelines, payment terms, and ownership rights.

5. Market and Network

Promote your side hustle through targeted marketing and networking efforts. Reach out to your existing network and let them know about your services. Attend industry events, join design communities, and participate in online forums to connect with other professionals and potential clients. Consider collaborations or partnerships with complementary businesses to expand your reach. Actively engage with your target audience on social media by sharing valuable content, offering design tips, or participating in relevant discussions.

Get Creative and Profitable with Side Hustles

Starting a side hustle as a graphic designer allows you to pursue your passion, showcase your talent, and generate income doing what you love. With dedication, a strong portfolio, and effective marketing, you can build a successful side hustle that complements your full-time work.

If you’re managing multiple side hustles, partnering with doola bookkeeping could ease the burden. Our team can assist with income and expense management, as well as tax season administration. Contact us for more information about our services that could help manage your income stream.


How can I find side hustle opportunities as a graphic designer?

Start by checking out freelance websites such as Fiverr or Upwork, networking with other designers or entrepreneurs, and reaching out to local businesses in your area.

How much money can I make from a side hustle as a graphic designer?

The amount you can make will vary depending on the type and amount of work you do, but many graphic designers earn thousands of dollars each year from their side hustles.

Is it necessary to have a portfolio to start a side hustle as a graphic designer?

Yes, having a portfolio showcasing your work is essential in attracting clients for your side hustle.

What skills do I need to start a side hustle as a graphic designer?

You will need a solid foundation in graphic design principles and techniques, knowledge of graphic design software such as Adobe Creative Suite, and strong communication skills to work effectively with clients in a graphic design business.

What are some tips for successfully managing a side hustle as a graphic designer?

Some tips include setting clear boundaries and expectations with clients, keeping your portfolio up-to-date, and setting realistic deadlines for projects. It’s also important to prioritize self-care and not overwork yourself.

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