If you’re thinking about starting your freelance graphic design career, you’ll need the right kind of tools to jump-start your business.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about all the solutions Adobe offers, as well as other useful tools such as Zoho, Freshbooks, and Upwork.
However, even though these tools are excellent for managing your business, they can be quite pricey, and when you’re just starting up, they can build up to quite an investment.
I’ve gathered a list of six lesser-known tools that are just as good to help you with your freelance graphic design career, but come free or are quite affordable.
Plutio is an excellent solution for organizing and running your freelance graphic design business professionally. It is an extensive, all in one solution that you can use to manage your projects, track your time, create proposals, and invoices.
You can easily create tasks for everything that needs to be done, so you can stay focused and better organized. You can use Plutio to make and send invoices in a minute, track when they’re opened, and get paid seamlessly via diverse payment options, such as Stripe or Paypal.
The proposals you send will be stunning, and you can create them swiftly using drag and drop options.
It comes with a CRM and branded client portal so that you can manage projects.
The pricing plans start with $15 per month for a solo user. If you want to white-label Plutio and replace its branding with your own, you can pay an extra $9 per month, and change your logo, interface colors, set your own email, custom domain, etc.
Even though Upwork is one of the best-known places for getting you a graphic design gig, some lesser-known platforms might land you a job even faster. On these platforms, you’ll face less competition, and you may also earn better pay.
By creating a profile on Workhoppers, you can advertise your skills both locally and globally. The platform is completely free of charges, no commissions and no bidding. A robust algorithm matches your profile directly with vetted companies looking to hire.
Gimp has comprehensive functionality, and it is free of charge, a suitable alternative for Adobe Photoshop. Primarily beneficial for graphic designers who mostly work with photos, Gimp can be used by beginners, as well as those looking for more advanced options.
Even though it’s one of the best open-source tools for photo retouching, image editing, and image composition, it does a great job when it comes to producing icons, art for UI components, and various graphic design elements.
Gimp also provides high-quality color management features. You can use it for your clients’ branding and print marketing campaigns, as it ensures that, when it comes to color reproduction, all branding visuals will be authentic and consistent across digital and printed media.
4. Gravit Designer
For those working on vector illustrations and in need of precise design, Gravit Designer is an attractive alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Gravit Design has a clean and uncluttered interface that even beginners will find easy to use. With professionally designed templates and preset canvas sizes for social media, print, and popular website and screen size dimensions, you can kickstart your creativity and learn through the process.
You can access the tool anytime, anywhere, from whatever desktop platform you’re using.
You can use it free of charge if you can settle with 500 MB of cloud storage, RGB color space, and PDF export of 72 and 150 DPI. For a reasonable price, a pro version comes with unlimited cloud storage, PDF export up to 300dpi, and CMYK, HSB and RGB color space, and some other benefits such as working offline.
5. Font Forge
One of the most significant challenges for graphic designers is the choice of the font they will use.
If you want to customize or create the font and truly stand out with your design, you can try out Font Forge, a free, open-source font editing tool for graphic designers.
On the website, you can find extensive documentation that will help you with the font creation, so that you can come up with smooth and unique font designs.
Calendly is a perfect tool that can help you organize and schedule your meetings with potential and current clients.
It enables you to set up different meeting types inside the platform, define your time slots and set your availability for each type of meeting. When a client wants to schedule a meeting with you, all you need to do is send them a link to your Calendly page, and they can see when you’re available, and choose a time that they find suitable.
As it integrates with your Google Calendar, it can automatically block out time slots for meeting with clients when you schedule something on Google Calendar.
By using the tools above, you’ll save a few extra bucks at the very beginning of your freelance graphic career, without compromising quality.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.
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