Finding Target Markets for a Graphic Design Business – Startup Mindset

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Whether you’re just starting out in your graphic design career or you’re a professional with years of experience, starting your own graphic design business can be incredibly rewarding. Are you a good communicator with great visual storytelling abilities and the ability to meet each client’s needs?

While there is no magic formula for success as an entrepreneur, you do need to identify your target market. Knowing your customer is very important. As a graphic designer, knowing your target audience helps focus marketing efforts and resources on a specific group of consumers. You’ll waste less time and money if you know where best to apply those resources. This gives higher return on investment.

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Understanding your target audience can help you tailor your offers. You don’t want to spend energy learning skills and developing services that no one wants. Plus, knowing your target market helps you identify potential customer pain points. This will help you better address them and differentiate your business from competitors.

Here are four important steps to help you identify your target market for your graphic design business.

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1. Start with Demographics and Location

It is important to know who your target customers are and where they will be located. There are a few ways to determine this. Of course, it would be easier to say, “I want everyone to be my client!” But in reality, it is not that simple. Get a little more specific:

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Have you made a decision about where and how you will work? Do you prefer to work primarily with local clients? Or would you enjoy the opportunity to work with clients from across the country, or perhaps even international clients? Are you looking to work from home or are you planning to rent a separate work space? While renting a workspace can give you a mental separation between work and home, keep in mind that renting a workspace comes with a fee. These may be enough, especially if you are just starting out. You have to decide whether it is worth taking a profit cut for your business. Evaluate where you stand in terms of reputation. Do you have existing connections? Do you have former clients who can give you more work? Or are you just starting out, hoping to land your first client in no time?

If you’re not sure where to start, there are many places you can find freelance graphic design work online. Here are some online job boards for graphic designers:

AIGA Design JobsBehanceFreelancerLinkedInSolid GigsUpwork99 Designs 2. Decide what kind of graphic design you will do

In addition to the demographics of your customers and the location of your future business, you will need to decide what type of graphic design you want to do. What projects have you enjoyed doing in the past? What interests you the most? What can you do better than anyone else?

Graphic designers make their mark in a number of ways. How can a small or large business benefit from your services? Consider which of these potential products or services you might enjoy working on the most or have the highest profit-making potential:

App DesignBannersHoardingCatalog DesignImage LibraryLogosMagazine AdsNewsletter DesignPostersPresentationsPromotional VideosSocial Media AdsCar WrapVideo GamesWebsite

These are just some of the services and products that your graphic design business can provide to your future clients.

3. Consider the income of your customers

As you create your business plan and begin to envision what businesses you hope to cater to in the future, it is important to take into account the potential client’s income.

For example, a business that is in the early stages of operations can really use your services to create a website, logo, and app, but they may not have a decent budget to work with. These projects are areas where you can create value for them, and if they are happy with your work, this successfully completed project can become a testimonial, and the business can spread the word that they are your How happy are you with your work?

A similar effect can occur with well-respected or influential companies. They may hire you for a project, but for an amount that is less than what you desire. A job done to their satisfaction could lead to more work with that company in the future.

As a new business owner, it’s important to view each project as an opportunity to build something bigger and better. Every project is building your business, so it’s important to look beyond the salary. Every client acquired and every project completed is a success story that allows you to build your reputation.

4. Ask yourself what problems you will be solving

While your friends outside of work may think that you only draw pictures all day, you know that’s not entirely true! As you start your graphic design business, think about the problems you most want to solve for your clients. Do you love helping businesses rebrand their images?

Do you enjoy designing new logos? Do you want to help companies address the challenge of getting customers to spend more time on their websites? Being able to visually tell a company’s story can be done in a number of ways, so consider all the problems you can potentially solve with your skills.


In order to successfully start a graphic design business, it is important for an entrepreneur to identify their target market. Deciding on the business location and who the business will serve is an important part of this process. Graphic design businesses can find clients online or locally.

There are many ways to work in graphic design, but the income level of the clients must be taken into consideration. Graphic design businesses solve a wide variety of problems, and each new client the business receives helps a new entrepreneur make their business a success.

erin shelby

Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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