How can a beginner learn product design

Students and beginners in self-employment as designers

Anyone who goes into self-employment as a designer naturally needs a certain basic training, a lot of talent and creativity. Otherwise nothing stands in the way of freelance work. Regardless of whether the designer works independently or in a trade, he always provides indispensable services for the economic success of products and services, which of course require appropriate remuneration. It is clear that the graphic designer salary is higher after graduation. In general, however, it is easily possible to gain a foothold as a student and to build up a customer base in advance.

And how much can I earn?

Unfortunately, there are no binding guidelines for a designer, because ultimately the fee is a matter of negotiation between the two contractual partners. Earnings depend on various factors, including the chosen focus and educational qualifications. Designers with a college degree generally earn more than college graduates. The starting salary for an academic graphic designer is around 2250 euros and up. Designers with a school leaving certificate receive between 1,600 and 2,250 euros at the start of their careers. That's a little less than the graphic designer salary after graduation. The average earnings are between 1700 and 3300 euros. The merit depends, among other things, on the field in which the designer works. Graphic designers in the marketing sector can book up to around 41,170 euros a year in their first job. However, students and beginners who are self-employed as designers usually do not receive a fixed salary, but a fee. It makes a difference whether the designer works independently or in a business

How high is the salary in self-employment as a designer?

The fee for a freelance designer is difficult to set at a flat rate. Too many parameters are included in cost accounting. The fluctuations in terms of creativity, motivation, qualifications and the pace of work are sometimes very large. The degree of specialization and the subject area also play a role in the level of earnings, so that objective comparisons of daily and hourly rates are hardly possible. There are beginners who earn from ten euros an hour and up, and renowned star designers who work internationally and earn several thousand euros a day. In between there are various levels. There is no such thing as a designer salary set by a collective agreement, as self-employed persons are prohibited from doing so under the Cartel Act. The lack of standards in the advertising and design industry makes cost transparency and calculation much more difficult.

How do I calculate my work?

When a graphic designer wants to calculate the salary after graduation, after or during training, he often lacks clues. Students and beginners who are self-employed as designers therefore like to orient themselves towards VTV design, even if they do not necessarily have to refer to it. The VTV Design is a collective agreement registered in the tariff register of the federal states and the federal government, the eighth edition of which was revised in 2011. Based on the contract, it quickly becomes clear that the amount of the remuneration is derived from the subsequent added value of the service. With the help of VTV Design, a quick and flexible calculation that is appropriate to the use is possible. Support is also provided by AGD, the Alliance of German Designers, one of the largest professional associations for creative people.

What is the basis of the calculation?

The basis for calculating the daily and hourly rates, licenses and flat rates should be commercially based financial planning. It is advantageous to present the customer with a detailed list of the individual services. This creates trust and offers the best conditions for lucrative follow-up orders. The invoice usually consists of the following items: remuneration for the design and use, organizational and material costs, external costs and costs for other services. The design is usually remunerated according to the time it takes. A flat rate is also common for certain services, for example for a corporate design or a logo. Even a self-employed designer without special qualifications can estimate the basic hourly rate of around 90 euros for the pure design without using it. The basis for the calculation is a recommendation from the Alliance of German Designers. In comparison, a freelance designer with around 10 years of professional experience and his own professional equipment can expect around 120 to 260 per hour. As a rule, strategic design services such as new, one-off and custom-made products as well as creative individual solutions are better remunerated.

The usage fee, on the other hand, is a license that is calculated on a flat-rate or percentage basis according to scope, duration, area or type of usage. In some areas, for example in fashion, industrial and product design, a self-employed person can definitely count on a percentage share in sales.
Other services are activities without a great deal of self-creative effort. These include typesetting work, research, making contact, image and word processing, text entry and programming.

What should I put attention on?

In order to be able to earn any money with the design at all, it is first necessary to find financially strong clients. In addition to a solid basic education and a good dose of creativity and talent, successful self-employment therefore also includes the ability to sell yourself well. Students and beginners in the self-employment as designers must therefore learn to acquire new customers. Or to put it another way: If you want to set up your own business as a designer, you have to advertise your work and focus on yourself. This type of self-marketing includes all types of communication, be it verbally, visually or via the new media. Creative people in particular benefit from the opportunities offered by social media. Anyone who shares their specialist knowledge on social networks is perceived as an expert. In addition to Facebook, YouTube also offers an ideal platform for designers. One of the ways to achieve widespread awareness is through tutorials on design topics that suit you particularly well.

And what about copyrights?

Intellectual property is protected by law and comes under what is known as copyright law. Students and beginners in the self-employment as designers are creatively active and thus creators of various works. Copyright protects these works that belong to the designer as a creator. The designer is free to decide how and by whom his work will be used. This applies, for example, to distribution, reproduction or publication. This is how the designer ultimately earns his money. However, anyone who works with images, texts and graphics must also protect the copyright of third-party property. This means that it is forbidden to use the works of other people without their consent. Among other things, this applies to photos that a designer uses to create a brochure. It is therefore advisable to use design templates that are available for a fee or freely available, such as those from Photoshop.


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