What are the creative business ideas for 2017

40 business ideas for designers and creatives

Are you a designer? Super. Are you self-employed too? Even better. But does that also automatically mean that you, as a freelancer, carry out design assignments for companies? For most designers, yes. There are so many other and varied ways to earn money with your creativity. I went on a search and put together 40 business ideas for designers and creatives.

Business ideas for designers: awaken your entrepreneurial spirit

I distinguish between two areas for your creative and independent work. The first area is primarily about business ideas for designers in which you work directly or indirectly with other clients and implement their orders. This is also the largest area of ​​work. The second area is for all business ideas that you are working on for yourself on your own behalf.

With this list I want to awaken the entrepreneurial spirit in you and make you curious about the great diversity that makes our work so special. Because only when you have found the design focus for which you are passionate about it, you can also make the designs that you really like. Because even the twentieth logo order will not make you happy if you would much rather make and sell your own drawings.

40 wonderful ideas for your creative independence

# 1 through # 18 - Work for agencies, corporations, and individuals

  1. The classic right from the start: You are commissioned by a client with a complete design project and you work directly with the end customer.
  2. You do not work directly with the end customer, but are brought into an existing team as an additional creative. This approach is particularly popular with large agencies.
  3. You regularly work for a company on a daily or weekly basis and are therefore the long-term support of the internal graphics department. With small companies are then sometimes you also do the graphics department.
  4. With freelancer portals such as Twago, Upwork or Remote Freelancer, you can take on design jobs without even working on site or directly with the customer, because the collaboration often takes place online.
  5. You can visually accompany seminars or events in companies. On a large scale, that would be a graphic recording, for example, and on a small scale, you can visualize how the new products or services should look.
  6. You can also give seminars yourself and show employees how to use drawing techniques or how to depict creative processes.
  7. As a lecturer for students in the design field, you can also pass on your knowledge to the next generation.
  8. If design students are not your thing, you can also offer workshops yourself or teach design courses at the local adult education center or other institution.
  9. Coach other creative people and young talents in one-to-one workshops.
  10. If you like working on a large scale, you can specialize in painting the walls, windows and interiors of cafés, restaurants or shops.
  11. Or you can set up a creative company right away and hire creative people to work with you.
  12. Creative work also helps in the therapeutic area and you can use your art to help others.
  13. If you enjoy supporting other creatives, then you can act as an agent or broker to convey the work of other designers.
  14. If you like the trade, then you can resell designs and art.
  15. If you also have an editorial streak and you also like writing, then you can report about other designers and artists in a blog or magazine and then earn money through commissions and participations.
  16. Write articles on design topics for other creative portals and get rewarded for doing so.
  17. Do you prefer photos to texts? Then use that and portray designers and their work at exhibitions, events or in their studios. The fact that you can do both sides helps you to put the right details in the limelight.
  18. The event is more important to you than the photos of it? Then specialize in events for designers and creatives, take over the organization or sell tickets for design conferences.

  19. Your business can do more. Here you will find 40 creative ideas to get more out of your independence.

    # 19 to # 40 - Offer your own products and designs
  20. Are your designs and illustrations on paper? Then you can sell them as originals.
  21. If you prefer to work digitally or want to keep your originals, then you can have prints made and sell them.
  22. Or would you prefer the whole range of mugs, laptop sleeves, shirts or notebooks? With platforms such as Redbubble or Spreadshirt, this is all relatively easy to implement.
  23. Do you rely on manual labor? Then Etsy is more your point of contact.
  24. Sell ​​your designs at events or trade shows like hello handmade.
  25. Write a book about your work, your designs or your creative processes and publish it through self-publishers such as Books on Demand, Tredition or Amazon Publishing.
  26. Or find a classic publisher who will work with you on your book.
  27. Start a blog or an online magazine and become your own design writer.
  28. As a web designer, you can develop design templates and themes and sell licenses for them through platforms like Envato.
  29. You can sell your graphics and illustrations at photo providers such as iStock or fotolia and earn money over and over again with the same visuals.
  30. Develop an app with pictures or an illustrated story and sell it in the Playstore and on iTunes.
  31. Summarize your knowledge in online courses and offer them for sale on your website.
  32. Or sell your online courses through platforms like Udemy or Skillshare, who will then handle the sale for you.
  33. You can also process your ideas into small videos and sequences and disseminate them via video platforms such as YouTube. You then get income through z. B. Advertising or commissions.
  34. You can also offer some of your tutorials or online courses free of charge and only release the continuations against payment (paid content).
  35. Create a member area on your online presence and provide premium content there for a fee.
  36. Team up with other creatives and offer your designs in a bundle for sale.
  37. Affiliate partner programs allow you to generate additional income from your design products by encouraging others to recommend and offer your designs. (The seller receives a small part of your income if someone buys your design product on his recommendation.)
  38. Use crowdfunding to make a large project or idea possible.
  39. 3D print your designs or those of other designers and then sell them.
  40. Draw comics or stories and inspire people with them. Then you can sell the matching merchandise products such as Gemma Correll or The Oatmeal do it.
  41. Set up your own online shop and sell your designs and products, or those of other creative people.

Let's go! Get inspiration and if you can think of a business idea for designers that I have forgotten, please let me know and I'll put it on this list. 🙂

The article was written in February 2017 and comprehensively updated in May 2019.


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