Business Opportunities: Graphic Designers

A shoutout to Fed from GummySearch, a tool that we regularly use for our community research:

GummySearch is an incredibly helpful tool for your research in online communities. It allows you to find communities and conversations on Reddit through keywords, which has been a game-changer for our weekly research. You can create topic-specific audiences and save relevant posts and comments. Also, you will find a number of useful guides, including our guest post.

If you want to do your own research in Reddit communities, you should definitely give GummySearch a try!

๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ Graphic Designers

This week, we dove into online communities of graphic designers. The signal that got us interested in these types of communities came from our ExplodingCommunities database: we saw that the subreddit r/DesignJobs has been buzzing over the last half-year, growing at a rate of >70%. That got us interested in diving into other design communities on Reddit as well: r/Design, r/graphic_design, and r/learndesign.

We hope you enjoy this report on business opportunities around Graphic Designers and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.


๐Ÿ–Š๏ธ On-demand problem solving

Problem: The design process often yields highly specific problems

For non-designers like us, scrolling through posts in design communities can leave you pretty confused. Designers face all kinds of highly specific challenges, and it’s not always easy for an outsider to understand what exactly they are struggling with.

Some of the problems we found revolved around topics like scaling, fonts, colors, effects, techniques, and many more. Oftentimes, these problems include struggles with the ins and outs of specific features of design software like Photoshop.

Solution: Stack Overflow for design with guaranteed, fast delivery

Highly specific problems call for highly specific answers. Sometimes online communities like Reddit or Graphic Design Stack Exchange can solve your problem. But it is by no means guaranteed that you get an answer at all, and if you do, when to expect it.

However, there’s got to be experts for almost every problem. But it might take too long for an expert to respond, and solving the problem might require access to the design. A platform where experts would get paid for helping with individual problems would incentivize those experts to take the time, while the designers would have more certainty that their problem will actually be solved on time.

๐ŸŽ“ Education for design beginners

Problem: Many design newbies don’t know where to start and what to expect

The field of design is vast and the possibilities can be quite overwhelming. This is why design newbies – whether they are changing profession or still in school – seek for help with getting started.

Solution: Curating jungle of educational resources

As manifold as the field of design, as wide is the range of educational design resources. There are books, Udemy courses, Universities, YouTube tutorials, online communities, and other sources to draw from. Depending on your own strengths and preferences, some of these resources will be more helpful than others. A curated guide or newsletter that shares relevant content and highlights what types of backgrounds they are suitable for could allow for a better overview of the jungle of educational resources.

๐Ÿ”ง Finding specific tools & techniques

Problem: It’s hard for designers to identify certain techniques or tools

Similar to the first problem, many designers look for specific tools or techniques that could help them achieve the desired effect in their design. Most of the time, they post an image and ask how a specific effect was achieved, or where to find a specific tool.

Solution: Automated effect- and tool recognition

In line with the first problem we discussed today: online communities are great for using crowd intelligence to find specific effects and tools, but not all requests are being answered. We know that there are automated font recognition tools like WhatTheFont, but we’re not sure about an equivalent for image effects (or the tools used to achieve them). Maybe this is too complicated of a problem to solve, but what we can say is that this type of request shows up a LOT.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Client communication & rates

Problem: Setting realistic expectations and negotiating fair rates with clients is tough

Most designers seem to be freelancing, which means that they need to get clients. This is almost never easy, and the fact that a) there are so many designers out there, and b) designers often don’t know how much a client is able/willing to pay, puts them in a difficult position for negotiating rates.

Not only that, but clients often have vague or unrealistic expectations, which can make a project really annoying.

Solution: A course on how to negotiate rates and spot problematic clients

The considerations on how much to charge for a certain project can be quite complex. Wages depend on country, competition, the client’s financial resources, the importance of the project, working hours, complexity of the task, and so on.

Also, we suspect that there can be indicators in a client’s behavior that point to potential problems in the future. A course that addresses all the factors mentioned above, as well as some tips on how to spot problematic clients early on, could help designers a lot when it comes to negotiating rates.

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